Chicken Report

My chickens are growing up! They’re doing grownup things like crowing every morning, and laying eggs. I look forward to finding eggs every day, and I usually check several times a day, trying not to disturb the hens too much. Today I actually stood there and watched one hen lay her egg!!

Here’s my egg washing system. You can see they are still laying a variety of sizes. The big ones are double yolkers.

DSCN5895

And my new pink egg cartons! I have asked people to save their egg cartons for me, but I was worried that I would not have enough cartons so I checked around the internet and found one place that sold cartons at a discount. I have a LOT of pink egg cartons ๐Ÿ™‚

DSCN5894

Today I worked in the garden a bit. I pulled up all the mint (haha, I’m pretty sure it’ll make an appearance in the spring…) The chickens love to pick over fresh greens.

DSCN5872

 

The two big boys. So far they are behaving themselves for the most part–not fighting with each other, not being aggressive towards me, and not bothering the hens TOO much. As long as they behave themselves they are welcome at my farm. They have names: Buddy #1 and Buddy #2.

DSCN5880

The little king. He stays away from the big boys and he doesn’t bother the hens at all. Probably because he can’t see… Somebody pecks his topknot at night, so now he gets anti-pick medicine on his head.

DSCN5870

And Here’s Baby!!!! She is so smart. She might be low in the pecking order, but she just knows how to stay out of everybody’s way, and she gets her fair share of all the treats too.

DSCN5877

Baby’s big sister. She is probably the largest hen, and really she is probably the most outstanding.

DSCN5886

This is a New Hampshire Red. All of the red hens are pretty friendly, and very curious. They always come very close to me, and usually let me pet them.

DSCN5885

Chicken in a Bowl ๐Ÿ™‚

DSCN5875

One more shot of Buddy #2. He is really a gorgeous rooster–a Speckled Sussex. You can see his female counterpart in the corner there. Oh, see that woodwork along the ground in the back? The chickens were digging their way UNDER my woodshed. I was worried that the cement foundation would collapse, so MLG rigged that up to deter them.

DSCN5878

Buff Orpington. They are very quiet. I love their soft color.

DSCN5887

Every afternoon I spread a bunch of “scratch” for them. Its like a chicken treat. They look forward to it every day, and always follow me along the fence line to see if this time I will be giving it to them.

DSCN5888

An action shot of Baby–that’s how she does it. Identifies what she wants and finds the most strategic place to get it ๐Ÿ™‚

DSCN5890

And that’s the chicken report for now. I wish you all lived closer. I have a lot of eggs to share with people. I had eggs for dinner tonight. They taste good, but I am not a good egg cooker, and they don’t look very appetizing, so no pictures.

 

Advertisements

This ‘n That

The chickens are starting to lay eggs! I’m having so much fun gathering them. So far they’re laying all different sizes. Even though all my chickens are standard sized, some of their eggs are still “banty sized.” The big ones are double-yolkers!!

IMG_3909

Sometimes this is exactly how I feel:

IMG_3963

“I just want to drink coffee, raise chickens, and take naps”

My knee is doing great. But the heel on that same leg hurts like heck. I went for my final checkup with the surgeon (for 9 months) and told him about it, and they did x-rays on it. No fracture. The physical therapist doesn’t think its plantar fasciitis (I don’t think so either) but they are having me do some stretching exercises and that seems to help a little. Its just discouraging to still have that same leg hurting to be walking. HOWEVER, after saying rather pitifully to my BF that I didn’t think I would walk too much any more because my arthritis was so bad, I decided that I was being a baby. So I have been challenging myself to take longer and more vigorous walks. It feels good mentally :/

I’ve been trying out some new recipes. Jill recommended this one, which says its pizza sauce, but its really just a marinara sauce recipe. Its easy to vary the recipe a bit using what you like/have on hand. I like chunks of tomatoes in my sauce, so I usually use ย I am loving making this and freezing it in zip lock baggies and then using it for whatever. I made a low-cal chicken recipe using some chicken tenders. I mixed in some fresh spinach with the marinara sauce, used less than half a serving of penne pasta, and then topped it with some fresh mozzarella that was on sale. YUMM, and only 250 calories! Sorry, no picture.

Then, Biz recommended this pumpkin baked oatmeal. I looked the recipe over, and the stats on it were pretty high–400 calories for a serving. Then I realized that the serving size was huge, even for a volume eater like me. So I cut it into 8 pieces instead of 6, and voila! 300 calories per serving ๐Ÿ™‚ I got up bright and early one morning, and made this recipe. Right before I put it in the oven, I had a brief thought that there was not much pumpkin pie spice in it, so I took a little taste, and it seemed okay. After it had been in the oven for 15 minutes, THAT’s when I realized that I actually left the pumpkin out of the recipe. Aaargh. I guess I wasn’t quite awake enough. Anyway, I adjusted the cooking time down, and it is still quite delicious. I can’t wait to make it with the pumpkin in it!

Thursday night we had a good rain storm, the first in months! Saturday I went out to see what was still looking good in the garden. Here are the petunias I planted by the studio door. I think I will always have some flowers growing in this–it mostly protects the plants from the deer, and its cheerful to see the flowers when I drive up.

DSCN5848

The roses are loving our cooler temperatures. This is the “wild” rose. The branches hang down. I plan to put a little support for it for next spring, but I love how it is a prolific bloomer.

DSCN5849

Other roses:

DSCN5852

DSCN5861

The tuberous begonia. I got a two for one in this pot!

DSCN5850

The dwarf abutilon is loving the fall.

DSCN5853

And the mandevillea vine is still going strong.

DSCN5856

So, in other garden news, I have voles in my yard! I couldn’t figure out why the dirt was rising up in certain areas. MLG is here today, and pointed out the vole trails to me. I found these solar vole repellants on Amazon. Anyone have any experience using these things?

And that’s about all for now. Have a great week!

 

 

An Excellent Day!

But first! I have other things to share with you. My blog life is somewhat divided. I have this blog, and then I have my quilting blog. But sometimes things overlap. I have been working for the past month on a big event. I was invited to teach my quilted embroidery and be the “guest artist” at Quilting in the Garden, which is held at one of my favorite nurseries, Alden Lane. I wrote about the event over on my quilting blog, in case any of you want to see more. It was a wonderful experience. Getting to share 40 of my quilts with the hundreds of people who came through was really special.

IMG_3816

Here is part of my quilt display in their greenhouse:

IMG_3784 2

My sister came over to the quilt show and brought me two huge boxes of velvets and silks. When I got home, I went through them and divided them into 4 piles: for me, for my BF Robin, for the thrift store, and for the garbage. The garbage pile got thrown on the floor, and Sophie claimed it. “My treasure,” she says. This is what she does when anything new and even semi-soft lands on the floor. She sat on that pile for hours, until I finally picked it up and put it in the garbage. Don’t feel sorry for her, there are only about six dog beds that she can choose from to sleep in.

IMG_3821

Chloe was Robin’s favorite when she visited. And so I started sending her a morning snapshot of Chloe, especially because I won’t let her get in my lap in the morning, and she does her best to get as close as possible–she must be touching me.

IMG_3823

IMG_3824

IMG_3828

Okay, so today…. The day started out bright and early at 7am when Kevin arrived (MLG) to help with some chores. My neighbor (who’s been my neighbor for 29 years) is moving, and so she offered me some furniture. I don’t really have that much room, but I like this pine chest. It will be nice to have a place to display a few things without them needing to be dusted all the time.

IMG_3825

And this green leather chair with wood carving–her parents brought it from Italy! Its so beautiful, I couldn’t resist. I’m not a huge fan of green, but its not a bad green. I had to move some furniture around yesterday to get these things to fit in my house.

DSCN5830

Then it was on to other chores. My neighbor also gave me a LOT of oak wood for my wood stove. Kevin measured it at one and three-quarters cords! I am all set for winter this year! While Kevin was working on that, I decided that this was the day to clean out the chicken house. It didn’t actually smell bad (when it gets wet is when it smells bad) but I wanted to clean it out before the rains come. It was a big job, and I was exhausted when I was done. But it looked so nice with fresh shavings on the floor. Later in the afternoon I ran out to see if the chickens were enjoying their clean house. This is what I saw–they kept coming in and out the door and staring at the floor. I texted Shelley a picture and she came up with the perfect caption: “THE FLOOR IS LAVA!!” Silly chickens.

IMG_3832

And then I turned around and looked at my nest boxes again. I WAS SO EXCITED when I realized that one of my chickens laid her first egg. I had just been telling Kevin that two of them were early egg layers and might start at four months (which is exactly how old they are now.)

IMG_3830

Its such a nice little egg.

IMG_3831

And then I came back inside and pretty much did nothing for the rest of the afternoon ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Chickens!

Well, I went out in the afternoon hoping to get some good chicken photos. They are hard enough to photograph, with their constant movement, but the afternoon shadows did not help. Next time I’ll try earlier in the day.

After I found a home for the first two roosters, this guy appointed himself king. He is smaller and so his crow is higher. As long as he behaves himself, I might let him stay.

DSCN5825

This is one of my French Maran hens. I say hen with great optimism. She has a pretty pronounced red comb and wattles, but I googled Maran hens, and some of them look like this. Fingers crossed she never crows!

DSCN5804

The little king better watch out. These two boys are a lot bigger.

DSCN5807

DSCN5802

Baby continues to do well. She is an eating machine! Trying to make up for lost time, I suppose. I still think she is one of my prettiest chicks. I love her soft silver color.

DSCN5815

DSCN5827

This is baby’s big sister. She is a darker blue color. Very pretty also.

DSCN5814

Buddy likes to stand quite close to me. See how his comb is different than most chickens? That is called a rose comb.

DSCN5810

And just another of the cochin hens. This week I changed over from baby feed to layer feed. High hopes that a few eggs will be coming soon ๐Ÿ™‚

DSCN5812

All the chickens like to take turns standing on these pots that I left in the coop. Its really interesting to watch the feather development on the roosters. If only they didn’t crow and fight and want you-know-what all the time, I would love having roosters.

DSCN5828

I am still really enjoying ย being a chicken “farmer.” I just love watching them, and I even enjoy cleaning up their house a bit and doing those farmery things.

And Back to our Regularly Scheduled Program

Here is a big long picture-heavy post to catch you up on the garden and the chickens! The garden hasn’t exactly suffered this year (since we put in a watering system,) but it hasn’t had my full attention either. Next year will be a better year in the garden. Here’s what’s blooming this week.

The Zinnias are finally starting to grow and bloom more. Behind them is the gaillardia, blue salvia, and a geranium.

DSCN5735

A nice mandevillia vine. MLG built me a little trellis for it to grow on. They are not frost hardy so it will be an annual. Most of the plants I buy are either six-packs, or a gallon sized plant for $7.50. To me that is a nice price for a summer’s worth of blooms.

DSCN5736

This is a new plant for me. It looks like I plopped a bouquet in the garden. It is a rudebekia Prairie Sun. Huge yellow flowers. Its supposed to be a perennial, and I thought it would look nice between the wild pink rose and the small blue perennial (don’t know the name but the bees love it.)

DSCN5738

Here it is in context:

DSCN5739

Liriope. I have several of these, and several were transplanted this year. This one is doing the best of all of them.

DSCN5740

And now for the chicken report! I was glad that I had the chickens to amuse and distract me after my surgery. I loved going out and sitting and watching them in the late afternoon. Chickens are attracted to anything red, and I think they have a sweet tooth too, so they really love watermelon. Since they are still so young, I am careful to not give them too much fruit. Do you see who is in the very center of that picture? BABY!! She is doing so well. Goes in and out with the big girls, and doesn’t let anyone pick on her. She knows to just stay out of the way.

DSCN5741

Buff Orpington, with a Dominique behind her:

DSCN5772

New Hampshire Red:

DSCN5782

And here is Baby in action. She seems to know how to get exactly what she wants. She looks the situation over, and chooses the path of least resistance.

DSCN5751

DSCN5753

Speckled Sussex. I am still a little hopeful that this is a hen that just has a rooster-like appearance.

DSCN5777

This IS a rooster, darn it! Both of the polish chicks turned into roosters.

DSCN5768

These are the Delaware chickens. I really like their delicate lacy black neck feathers. They seem to be very peaceful chickens.

DSCN5784

All the chickens take turns sitting on/standing on/laying in these pots.

DSCN5778

Pretty sure this guy will turn into a rooster. He always comes and stands by the fence right where I am sitting on the other side. I started calling him Buddy. If I keep a rooster, this will be the one.

DSCN5779

Can’t you tell by Baby’s stance that she is saying, “I’m cool. What’s that over there?” I am so happy with all the forward movement she’s made by herself. I’ve even seen her get up on a lower shelf to roost the past few nights.

DSCN5776

And now you are all caught up with the chickens. Today I stopped at a nursery and got a few more plants to fill in a few places in the garden. What can I say? I like pink. These are snapdragons, a Pentas, and dianthus–small, but has a definite carnation smell!

DSCN5786

And a Vinca–three colors in one pot!

DSCN5787

And that’s the garden report for this week.

 

Chicken and Garden Report

Baby goes outside! One day I looked out my window (whenever I am near the studio or kitchen window I always look out to see what’s going on in the chicken yard.) I was SO SURPRISED and excited to see Baby out in the yard. She seemed to be enjoying herself, running here and there with her little hitch, checking out the greens I had thrown out there, and mixing in with the big girls. So far she has not gotten picked on–you know, the pecking order. I have a feeling she will know to just stay out of the way. She also has a couple of “friends” who seem to stick close by. And of course, she didn’t know to go back into the house at night. It was so cute–one of the buff orpingtons had settled down next to her in the yard. Anyway, got them back inside and all was well. I think it was maybe a little overwhelming, because she hasn’t gone back outside since then…

DSCN5695

DSCN5701

Another day I looked outside and there was something very large and brown standing on top of the bird netting that MLG had put across the top of the chicken yard. I ran outside–it was a HUGE hawk, who was not at all afraid of me, and was bouncing up and down on the netting to try to get in! I was SOOOO glad that I had had MLG put that netting in place. He did a very secure job. If I had done it myself, it might have been much easier for Mr. Hawk to get inside! He hasn’t been back since then, so fingers crossed that he thinks its a lost cause.

Here is the view of the garden that I enjoy when I sit on my fake patio.

DSCN5713

The volunteer petunias have returned, although a much smaller batch of them. along with some weeds…

DSCN5714

Phlox.

DSCN5720

Most of the oriental lilies came back. I had kind of forgotten about them, so that was a nice surprise.

DSCN5718

Mr. Bougainvillea is doing very well, and I love having it.

DSCN5722

Close-up. Aren’t those little white centers a beautiful detail?

DSCN5725

The Jackson Perkins rose that I complained about last year. It is doing very well, and I do love the color and the smell of it.

DSCN5715

The hydrangeas are doing well, but I’m a little stumped as to why the flower clusters are so small.

DSCN5719

This is that rose that is grown on its own root stock. Its kind of wild and crazy. I think it might need a little fence support behind it next year. Lots of little blooms.

DSCN5710

And that’s the garden and report and chicken update for this week.

 

Chicks at Seven Weeks

DSCN5616

Well, its been a little over a week, and that is a long time in the life of a chicken! Here’s the latest report from the ladies.

Remember this one? Last week I captioned her picture “a very self-assured chicken.” Well, the day after I wrote that, I was out watching their antics, and “she” crowed. Yes, the first rooster has made an appearance. Dang. I only had one of these Spitzhaubens.

DSCN5628

This here has become a piece of prime property in the chicken coop for the past few days.

DSCN5599

This. This little scooped out place in the dirt is prime property.

DSCN5601

And this is why. Chickens love to take dust baths. I guess the dirt was just right there next to the automatic waterer I added this week. The waterer has a top to it that will hopefully keep out dirt, and for sure will keep out chicken you-know-what. I just wanted to make sure they knew it was their water before I put the big scary top on it.

DSCN5649

Whaddaya say? Whaddaya say? I bet the plain girls are so jealous of our fancy hairdos.

DSCN5613

You know how when you chop down a little oak tree more branches grow back? Yes. This is all that’s left of a pretty hefty clump of branches. The funniest thing they do is to jump up and grab a branch and then stand on it so they can peck at the leaves.

DSCN5614

They really like their new water dish. (I do too, as it ย saves me a lot of time.) I believe that this is another rooster in the works. No crowing yet, but he’s got a bigger comb and fancier feathers than the other two Speckled Sussex.

DSCN5640

A good close-up:

DSCN5690

Hey what’s going on out there? Is it safe? Anybody? Anybody? Tell me its safe.

DSCN5619

DSCN5622

Hey, you were just inside the house. How did you get out here? (I was inside the henhouse and ran outside to get pictures of this one coming outside. I love the look on her face.)

DSCN5624

And the Baby report. Baby is the queen of the hen house. Because she stays inside and does not go outside yet. Today I held her up to the doorway, and she did seem very interested in what was happening out there. But I will let her decide when to go out. She is starting to get more real feathers now.

DSCN5658

DSCN5659

DSCN5663

Here she is in one of her little hidey holes.

DSCN5668

This is their new feeder. They seem to have adjusted to it fairly quickly.

DSCN5661

And there you have it. The chickens at 7 weeks of age. They still have to eat baby food for another three weeks. And only greens for a while longer. I can hardly wait to be able to give them watermelon and cantaloupe rinds–they LOVE them!