Saturday, November 22, 2008

More Eggs!

Two more eggs today - another small light brown one and a small dark brown one. Five eggs in two days - here they are compared to a Grade A Large store-bought white egg. I know brown eggs aren't any more nutritious than white ones, but they sure are prettier.
Here are my eggs sitting in what I hope are the last store-bought eggs that I eat in many, many years.

No pictures, but all the girls (except Kick-Start) got their right wing feathers clipped and leg bands. Since Kick-Start can't fly and is easily recognizable, I figured I didn't need to clip her or adorn her with jewelry. The roosters don't really fly and are also easily identifiable, so I didn't clip them or adorn them, either. Hopefully this will stop any more of the girls from flying over the fence and getting themselves eaten. And, hopefully, it will help protect my garden.

On the gardening and I-Can't-Wait-For-Spring front, the first of the seed catalogs came this week. Other than that, I think the rosemary and oregano are the only things showing any green at this moment. I'm not sure why the rosemary is alive - it should have died many, many hard frosts ago. Still, I am delighted that we will have fresh rosemary for the turkey this Thanks Giving.

    Things to do
  • Secure the garlic planting area from chickens
  • Plant garlic
  • Deep water trees as soon as the hoses thaw in the morning to give them the maximum amount of above freezing time to absorb the water
  • Mulch strawberries
  • Mulch herbs (rosemary, oregano, sweet marjoram, lemon balm)
  • Re-dig the watering basins around the trees and put the mulch back in that the chickens have spread all around

First Eggs!

My husband discovered them while I was at work yesterday. Right on schedule - I had estimated Thanks Giving. We actually got 4 eggs, but one of them was cracked and he threw it out. I am guessing that the darker ones are from a Maran and the lighter one from a Silver Laced Wyandotte. If we get a few more this morning, we'll be having scrambled eggs for breakfast!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Another Day In Paradise

Chicken Coop 11082008Although the chickens have been living in the coop for quite some time now, it still isn't totally finished. Sort of like the Winchester Mystery House - there is this urge to "keep building." Son and husband continue to work hard to make sure it is done before the really cold times arrive. You can see the beginning skeleton of the awning that will help provide shade in the summer. What you can't see is that tar paper has gone up on the roof and that the whole south side has been flashed, edged, papered and shingled. The north side is papered - which is a good thing because it actually rained today. See the clouds in the picture - it was pleasantly cool yesterday when those clouds were white. Now those clouds are black and dripping rain. (And slowing down my Internet connection on top of that.)

The Princes Chicken/Rooster/Hen/He/She/It had a tough week last week. Spent a lot of time being beat up by the Roosters. In particular, my other Easter Egger Rooster would make a bee-line for the Chicken and start whacking away at him. Then the other two roosters would join in. We kept the Princess in a dog crate in the coop while I was on travel - with my son making sure it had food and water and some supervised/protected time out of the crate. But my husband seems to have solved the Princess Rooster bashing - he took the instigator and stuffed in in the head rooster's face a few times and after the instigator got beat on a little, he stopped being so mean. Both my husband and I took a broom to the instigator (now known as the PIA Rooster (Pain In the A... Rooster)) and PIA is no longer flying at us, either. Good thing, because the consensus that I've been getting on how to deal with PIA was to roast him. (Ok, a few people said he could become stew, but since he's a young rooster, they felt he could still be quite tender and should be roasted or baked.) I did carry PIA around for a while and discuss these possibilities with him. So far, 3 days now and he seems to have mellowed out quite a bit.

The girls are gaining weight and their hips are broadening. They are definately getting "rounder" in the behind. I believe the same things happened to me when I was ready to hatch out little chickies of my own. And while the Roosters are getting amorous, the Hens are mostly still squawking at them and running away.

Here's a few rare photos of my husband. He is decidedly camera shy. But he was hand feeding some of the chickens so he was trapped - and I got my shot. This photo is taken in the garden as there is not one smidgen of green left in their run.

Here is my husband holding Kick-Start, our lame girl. She knows he will carry her everywhere, so when she sees him coming, she hop-flaps over to him and looks up and waits. She fully expects treats with her transportation and he never disappoints. Here they are in front of the "rescue" apple tree that my husband brought over the Sierra Nevadas for me. It was slated to be bull-dozed to make way for new houses - but instead, it came to live with us in the desert. He's a tough guy, so he blames adopting all the strays on me! Well, ok, so we're both softies - he brings 'em home and I end up taking care of them.

Water has a veneer of ice early in the mornings these days, but the temps usually warm up quickly after sunrise. Still, they appreciate it when I bring them warm water - which is to say "house temperature" water. But the days are coming when the water will be solidly frozen and I will be bringing warm water serveral times daily. Winter adds at least a half hour of hot water hauling to dogs and chickens for my morning chores. It's a PIA, but I am more than happy to pay the price of not living in the suburbs or city.

Here's the Top Dog Rooster. He's actually pretty gentle when not provoked. He can be mean if provoked, though, as the PIA Rooster has discovered. He crows a lot and "talks" to the hens as they go about their business. When he sounds the alarm, everyone mad-dashes to the hen house.

I'm supposed to be planting out garlic, but the weather has not been cooperative and it was much more fun to take photos of chickens yesterday. I'm also supposed to burry the strawberries in shredded paper. I did, at least, throw tomato vine trash on the rosemary, oregano, sweet marjoram and lemon balm, so hopefully all of those will survive the winter.

Semi-home made chicken pot pie
This chicken pot pie is made with store-bought chicken - but I did inform the PIA Rooster that it could easily be made with Fresh PIA Rooster if he could not figure out how to get along! (Yes, I know, those of you who know me well are probably thinking that I did not really make this all by myself, but I did. So see, yes, you can teach an old hen new tricks!)