Chickens Move Outside!

I love my chickens, in case you couldn’t tell! I’m so happy I went ahead with this project. They provide a lot of enjoyment for me, just sitting outside watching their antics–chicken TV ๐Ÿ™‚ ย They now look like little miniature chickens.

MLG came over Monday and helped (well, he did the whole thing) to put bird netting over the top of the chicken yard. I wasn’t worried about adult chickens, but the babies were still so small, I was worried that a hawk might decide they were easy pickin’.

So then we opened their little door to the yard. Nothin’. They are afraid of anything new. Later in the day, I carried four of them out to the yard. And threw four of them out their little door. Pretty soon others were curious. And now, four days later, they are LOVING their new yard. They scratch around in the dirt, run from one end to the other, check out anything moving, and eat any vegetation they can find (the planters of pansies I had put out there are stripped bare already.)

This morning I thought I would bring them some offerings from the garden. Oh boy–such excitement!

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This one in the picture below has stayed out past her bedtime for the last two nights. Chickens automatically go back inside their house when it starts to get dark. They are blind, as far as I can tell, at night. So I’ve had to go and rescue this little girl before I close their little door each night.

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A very self-assured chicken:

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Don’t panic. Its not a dead chicken. This is what they do to relax. They stretch out on their side in the sun.

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The same day, I had some leftover lettuce leaves. I decided to give it to the chicks that stay in the house. My favorite Baby is still going strong, and I was hoping she would get some of the lettuce. She has not ventured outside yet.

This was so fun–she grabbed a piece of lettuce and ran around like a crazy woman, going ย to all her hidey-holes, and stopping once in a while to take a nibble. But mostly just running around ๐Ÿ™‚

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And that’s the chicken report for this week. I keep saying I won’t post chicken news every week, but I can’t help it–they are just so darn cute!

Garden Party

The weather has cooled a bit, and the garden is starting to perk up. Here’s what’s blooming this morning.

This front bed is doing well. In the back, against the stones, is some new columbine. They won’t bloom this year, but they should look nice next spring. In the center is a baby’s breath. I got it to replace the carnations that used to be there. I love baby’s breath, and I am glad that it seems to be doing well. At the top of the picture you can see the rose of sharon blooming. They are so tall, in spite of me cutting them back almost to the ground last fall.

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The rose of sharon is nothing spectacular, but it is pretty to see them up so high waving in the breeze. Below the phlox is starting to bloom.

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I got a new gaillardia. This is a color I don’t usually choose, but I thought it would look pretty with the blue salvia growing behind it (when they start growing ๐Ÿ™‚ )

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I thought the bougainvillea was not going to make it for a ย bit, but then it started blooming and growing. Happy happy happy ๐Ÿ™‚

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The daisies are doing well after their traumatic move last year.

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Okay. Hollyhocks. I have some thoughts. I grew these from seeds. I got three or four plants. It takes 2 years for them to bloom. And then they got “rust” in the spring. I cut off all the affected leaves. This one plant is spectacular. But I don’t think I’ll be growing too many hollyhocks in the future.

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The hydrangeas are still just starting to bloom. These were three of the very first plants that I had MLG plant for me. They were half dead in their containers, so it is nice to see them thriving now.

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And that’s the garden report for this week. I’ll be back tomorrow with the chicken report ๐Ÿ™‚

Pre-Op!

Yesterday was my pre-op doctor’s visit. Its getting real. And just to make sure the inner me doesn’t weasel out of this surgery, I have taken to leaning on counters, shuffling when I walk, circling the parking lot for the closest parking space–all those things that really old people do (haha, I know that to some people I am already really old.)

I had a lot of nerves leading up to the visit, including worrying that they would tell me I was too fat for the surgery (even though I’ve been this same weight at all my visits for the past year.) Ah, the mind is a mysterious and wonderful place. Of course, my weight was not even on their radar.

Multiple X-rays were first. They asked me to get into and stay in positions that were foreign to me. “Now hold very still” the X-ray tech would say as he walked out of the room. “Take that picture before I topple over!” I would think back in my mind.

After a few preliminaries with a young nurse (during which I gave her encouragement and financial advice ๐Ÿ™‚ ) –my blood pressure was a perfect 114/73–it was finally time to see the doctor. The doctor was pretty impressed with how flexible my knee still is (its so nice to see some positive results from keeping up my PT exercises all these years.) And after looking at all the X-rays they took, he said what would I think about a partial knee replacement? WHAT WOULD I THINK ABOUT A PARTIAL KNEE REPLACEMENT?!! I would love it if that could be done. At the previous visit, he had said a total knee would be needed. He won’t know until he gets in there and looks around, so I won’t know until I wake up. But it would be wonderful if he could do that. I’m all for keeping original body parts if they are still useful, and of course, the recovery is much quicker. I asked him what my hips looked like on the X-rays. I’ve been very concerned that they were shot too, but he said they looked fine. That was a great relief to me.

After that, it was a visit to the lab, and then some time with the nurse specialist reviewing dates and facts and all the nitty-gritty of surgery. One of my biggest concerns is that so far, stronger pain medications make me nauseated. So she reassured me that they would work on that while I was in the hospital.

All in all, I was in the clinic for about four hours!

Did I already tell you that they will do this surgery with conscious sedation instead of general anesthesia? I am very happy about that as well. Conscious sedation is what they do when you have a colonoscopy. Its also how they did my carpal tunnel surgery. You are not aware of anything. But its much easier on your system than general anesthesia.

So, a good plan is in place, equipment has been borrowed from several friends, and all that is left is all the pre-preparing and planning that I like to do before any big change.

I totally admit to over-eating some favorite foods after the visit. A combination of stress relief and celebration I suppose. Fortunately, I don’t like how I feel after I overeat any more, so there is no danger of that becoming a habit. And today, its back to the gym for a swimming celebration!

Summertime!

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Glory be! Its HOT here! I just spent a couple of hours in the garden weeding and checking the watering system, and fixing the timer. Fun times. And here are my words of wisdom for you this week:

Growing old is not for the faint of heart.

And that’s all I got to say about that.

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When its so hot its hard to work up any enthusiasm for going to the nursery, much less actually buying plants and bringing them home to try and keep them alive. So right now I’m more focused on garden equipment LOL. I got a new hose THAT IS AMAZING. I got so tired of the Costco “kinkless” hoses constantly kinking. So I asked Sallye at the garden center if she would order me a good hose. She ordered me the same hose that they use at their nursery, a Gilmore Super Duty Flexogen. It was expensive, but so worth it for the lack of frustrating kinks. And Sallye says it really lasts a long time.

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The chicks are growing quickly in this heat. First I opened up the whole house to them. And then I turned their lamp off when it started getting so hot. They are almost fully feathered now, and look more like tiny bedraggled adult chickens. I watch them closely for signs of rooster behavior (I ordered all hens, but they don’t guarantee 100% accuracy.)

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That one that I claimed was a Rhode Island Red rooster the first week? That is my new best friend. So I’m hoping against hope that he is a hen ๐Ÿ™‚ He comes running to the door when I open it, and enjoys hopping up on my hand and getting an aerial view of everything.

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They are fascinated by anything shiny, which I guess includes light spots.

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I was proud that I figured out how to build them a lower perch. And I found scraps of wood to make little steps for their ramp. They would climb up the ramp halfway and then slide back down.

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Of course, its always fun to find a higher spot to roost on…

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And they still do the same thing–“oh look, there’s something fascinating here, come look! come look!”

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And that’s how it goes around here. I am (literally) limping towards the finish line. I guess that’s a good thing. Because if it didn’t hurt to walk, I would probably back out of the knee surgery. They moved my pre-op appointment up a week. It will be good to get more answers to some of my questions.

 

The Chicks, Week 3

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At just three weeks of age, the chicks have entered that gawky teenage stage. That’s what I call it anyway. Feathers are coming in, but not all the way. there are still odd patches of down here and there. Just enough to make them look unkempt. Not so cute anymore. But they still provide me with hours of fun, just watching their antics.

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Look everybody! There’s something very interesting here.

Remember how all the chickens were trying to escape their yard in Chicken Run? That’s what my babies are like. constantly straining their necks to try to see over the top of the cardboard. They “fly” up to the top of the waterer and try to see over the top. They run and flap their wings.

And then this happened:

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Yes, one of them, well, actually several of them, made it to the top of their cardboard surround. So that made my decision a little easier. I HAD to let them out of their cardboard nursery, and out into the big world of the chicken coop.

I still have a cardboard barrier to keep them away from the door, but that will probably go tomorrow. One of them has already flown over the top of it.

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After they got over the shock of their world being made larger (there was lots of squawking and carrying on as I worked as quietly as I could to fix up the coop and take away the cardboard,) they were VERY interested in this big new world.

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They are endlessly interested in climbing the ramp (that will eventually allow them to go outside.)

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They still find “things” to be fascinated with, and they do love scratching in their pine shavings.

My favorite baby is still alive, and she eats and drinks regularly. She just isn’t growing as fast as the others.

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And that’s the chicken report for this week.

The Garden

I imagine that some of you think I have abandoned the garden in favor of my chicken duties. Not so. But the garden seems to be in one of those in-between stages, and there didn’t seem much to share with you. So this morning I headed out with my camera to see what there was to see.

There are some places where I am not fighting mother nature. This little bed has always been difficult to get things to grow in. Some of the fairy impatiens popped up here, and I decided to just let them stay.

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Just above that little bed is the shade garden. Finally, one of my heucheras is doing well. I added a little begonia and am trying impatiens again. I used to have a lot of success with them, but haven’t tried much in the past few years. That is my first hosta behind the impatiens.

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I changed out this sun garden. It used to have the big patch of carnations in the middle of it. I think I over-pruned the carnation last fall and killed it. Anyway, I found a small baby’s breath plant for the center, and then got some of my favorite white marigolds. I got a six-pack of pansies called “waterfall blend” that had various blues/violets/whites and planted them in there. And finished off with some new sweet alyssum in a crystal blend. Some of the white sweet alyssums still come back outside the planter. Oh, I also have some columbine planted at the back of this planter. I don’t think they’ll bloom until next year.

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Just above that I have some pansies (Noah seems to have finally tired of eating all the pansies.) I planted a few zinnias in between to take over when it gets too hot for the pansies.

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I’ve gotten a few grasses. I bought a six pack of ย fescue grass for the patchwork path, and there were three leftover, so I just popped them in the ground next to the violet path. They seem to like it there.

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I found this fiber optic grass. I had it several years ago and loved it. So I’m excited to have it again.

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Next to the fiber optic grass I planted these Starry Night petunias! Aren’t they spectacular?

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The petunia breeders seem to be having a heyday breeding so many different colors. I couldn’t resist getting this one at the nursery today. Not because I like brown and white flowers, but because it is named Latte!ย How could I not get it?

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I planted some extra snapdragons in this front bed. See the short ones that are just starting to bloom? That’s because Noah mowed that plant down. There’s something to be said for his unplanned pruning! Oh, and I planted some lupines in here. They are growing well. I’m thinking they are another one that won’t bloom until next year.

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Walking back over to the other side of the garden, I passed the hydrangea bushes. this is the very first bloom just starting.

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And I couldn’t resist including this Japanese maple. It is so vibrant and green. All the plants are loving our wetter climate this year!

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On my very last trip to pick up the last stones for our projects, I let myself buy this heart shaped stone. I like seeing it every time I walk by.

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I don’t think I showed you my newest bonsai tree. I bought it at my last bonsai class a few weeks ago. Its a little elm tree.

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Here is my bonsai bench.

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And here is a new project. One day I realized that I never sat out in my garden. And I thought, the place I really like looking at is right out my bedroom window. That is a nice sized area that is relatively flat. I thought it might be a nice place for a patio. So I talked to J. the Contractor, and sure enough, he has experience doing patios too. He has done colored and stamped cement. So that is a project for next year. I am also going to have him do something with that old cattle gate there–put in some kind of decorative fence and gate. And maybe build some benches for my bonsai. In the meantime, I decided to move some of my chairs out there to see if I would like it. MLG spread some of the shredded cedar there to keep the dust down. It is a very nice place to sit, and the chairs are in the shade for most of the day, which is a big plus!

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Well, how about that. I did have a lot to share with you this week! I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend.

The Chicks, Week Two

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Well, it was a very intense and eventful first week. We had a total loss of four baby chicks. The company was very nice and offered to replace the two that died in the first 48 hours. I was excited about that at first, but when I realized that the replacements wouldn’t arrive for a month, and I would have to do the baby thing all over again, I decided I didn’t want to do that. So I went to the Feed Barn to see if they had some chicks I might want. They did! They had Dominiques, which are a fairly rare breed, one that originated in the colonies. They look similar to Barred Rocks. They were the same age as my chicks, so they fit in without any problems. That black chick in the front (up above) is one of the Dominiques. They will end up black and white striped.

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You can see the chicks are already sprouting quite a few feathers. From my previous experience with baby chicks, these feathers are not always the color that they will end up being as adults.

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This chick (above) is that Appenzeller–the national chicken of Switzerland. They have a little topknot, and you can see that starting to sprout. They end up white with black dots.

Chicks at the feeder:

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You can see a couple of the chicks with feathers on their feet in this picture:

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The chicks are VERY interested in that little hole in the cardboard. If one chick looks at something, a bunch of them crowd around to see what’s so interesting.

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Here is my favorite chick–the silvery one in the picture below. Of course, there is something wrong with her. I think it is some internal or genetic abnormality. I was sure she was going to die, but in the past few days she seems to be making her way in the world, finding food and water. (This is why I became a neonatal nurse. I am always drawn to the weakest, most hopeless cases ๐Ÿ™‚ )

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More feathers. This one in front is a Speckled Sussex:

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Something is happening over here? what is it? Is it food? Is it an escape route?

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If I jump on top of the feeder, I am closer to the top. Something very important is on the other side of this wall!

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Time for bed. The chicks are so funny. It takes them a while to settle down, but then they all seem to agree its time to sleep.

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There is always one straggler at bedtime.

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And that’s week two of the chick report. Soon they will figure out how to fly over the top of their enclosure, and I will have to decide whether to allow them to roam the whole coop, or to put a wire top on their cardboard kingdom.