Wednesday, December 24, 2014

It's a Christmas Chicken post!

Actually, I didn't intend for this post to coincide with Christmas. BUT one must blog when she has time. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! It's all about the chickens. So this spring, we had two Goldies, Marvin and Ruby, But the two Goldies were retired. One quite laying eggs and the other became peckish. Have you heard the saying “I'm feeling a little peckish.” and it means you're hungry? Well peckish means that a chicken has discovered her egg is food. Maybe she laid a soft shelled egg or accidentally stepped on an egg and busted it but somehow, someway she's figured out that her egg is edible. And that's bad. Because once she figures this out, she eats eggs, then the other chickens see her eating it and then they figure out eggs are food and then no more eggs for me. I knew is was happening because not only did I have less eggs, but I also found bits of shell and a wet spot on the straw in the nest box...because that was all that was left. We figured out which chicken it was through process separation. I would take one chicken over at a time to Dad's tractor and we figured it out in about a week. So most of the summer Marvin and Ruby had a glorious time. They ranged in the garden, in the lavender and the grapes. I told Mom when I let them out I could almost hear them singing that old song “You and me and me and you together forrrevverrrr!” But change is a part of life, and change started for Marvin and Ruby in June. All summer Ruby and Marvin had something new taking shape in the pen. The green sheet metal along the bottom is a new addition from this spring, in response to the fox throwing himself against the chicken wire. And here is a snapshot of the elusive Andrew. He's not a photo op kinda guy. I was in charge of painting it. Here is the nest box from the outside. Three nestboxes for eggs, and a lid so I can get the eggs without going into the coop. The front of the coop has a little door for the chickens to use and a larger one for me to get into the coop to clean it out, or put the feed in on rainy and snowy days. Why do we need a new and bigger coop in the pen? Well we need more space, as you can see from this spacious interior Drum roll please.... Easter Eggers! Eight easter eggers chickens moved into the pen in September. Easter Eggers are a hybrid chicken that come in brown and black and white and black. They lay blue eggs. Or green ones. Seriously. Google "easter eggers" Here are some pictures of the girls: The next picture is of Eugenia. Eugenia had a bit of an issue. When she came to the house she got it in her head to get broody or “laying” where she quit laying eggs, sat on the eggs the other eggers laid, so they were laying eggs in the pen. To “break up a laying hen” you have to isolate her from the other hens so there are no eggs for her to sit on. Eventually, she will lay an egg to sit on it, but laying the egg will reset her brain so she doesn't want to sit on it. We kept her by herself in Dad's chicken tractor for two weeks. She also molted a lot of feathers which is also common. Once I found an egg in the nest box, I reunited her with the other hens. One thing that's good about easter eggers is that they are very cold hardy. Note their little comb, so little it is very hard for them to get frostbite on their combs. Ruby's comb is also pretty small. She was the first to molt this year. Ruby says “Merry Christmas”

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Summer at the House

Even though I ripped up the last of the 2014 garden a couple weeks ago, I have some pictures from this year's garden. I'll start with my very favorite, a picture of Ruby and Marvin enjoying a good roll in the dirt in the herb garden, surrounded by chamomile, oregano, and a yellow flower, I can't remember what it's called. Once again I grew Malabar spinach from M, my green thumb friend. I just love it. The last picture in this series is actually the seeds that I collected in mid-November. They stained my hands super deep purple, but it washed off pretty easily. In California, they can grow rosemary hedges 2 or 3 feet tall. Here is Ohio, 18 inches is the best I can do. We had ripe strawberries as late as October And here is a shot of the mum my friend M gave me a few years ago As far as animal life around the garden, we had chipmunks most of the season, but not in the fall. I'm not sure if they moved somewhere else, or if the neighborhood fox or Cooper's hawk got him. They were fun to watch, racing around with their little tails stuck straight up like a flag on a go cart. The cats sure had fun watching them too. One of the best things about being outside this summer, was our new neighbors, cows, calves and a short horn bull in the field around the house. I loved watching the calves grow up, and seeing the cows in their shiny summer coats. The dusty gray cow is the herd's lead cow. She is my favorite. The short horn bull is standing just to the left of her. Is his forehead patch in the shape of a heart or the shape of Ohio? I'll let you decide.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thankful for Molly

I know, I know, it's been forever since I've blogged. I've just been so busy this past summer and fall. At first I thought I would blog from my phone more often but even that got away from me. I do have lots of pictures to post and now that the days are shorter, I'm hoping to catch up. Remember if you sign up for the email on the right hand side, my new posts will be delivered right to your inbox. Of all the things I have lined up, I thought I'd start with some news about Molly. Most folks who see me often already know about Molly burning up a few of her lives this fall, but many don't and I have some nice pictures of her. So here is a picture of Molly taken in late September after about three weeks of recovering from major surgery.
You can see her shaved patch on her neck. She was actually meowing has she was yawning, but it looks like a little roar. So we are all thankful that Molly is with us this Thanksgiving and especially thankful for Dr. Charles Wingfield and his staff (Betsy, Shirley, and all the others) who took such good care of Molly, no matter how grouchy she was post surger. You would never know it to look at her now, but she was quite sick in August.
All summer Molly was throwing up a lot and we thought she had hairball issues. But in late August, she wasn't responding to medication so I boarded her at Dr. Wingfield's hoping they could get more medicine in her. Giving tortoiseshell cats medicine is a dicey proposition. She is cute, but she's very hard to treat or put in a carrier. Dr. Wingfield discovered two things as they boarded her, that she had a super rare parasite from eating a beetle that had it. Then an ex-ray revealed she had something really big in her stomach. The most obvious thing would be a hairball and huge hairball removal is a fairly standard operation.
But there has never been anything standard about Molly and when Dr. Charlie did the surgery, it wasn't a hairball but a big tumor in between her stomach and small intestine. So he removed it and sewed her up and I thought okay, a nasty surprise but she'll be okay. A day after the surgery I got a call. Tortitude, is what they call it (look it up on google.) Molly was so mad and depressed that she wasn't eating or drinking or letting anyone pet her. So the next day I had to go in and hand feed her and perk her up. By the end of the day I could bring her home and I put her by herself in the guest room so recover. I was particularly worried about her because I had to go out of town a few days for work and Andrew was working a lot that week and I was worried about her. When I got back, Molly had developed an infection, so another trip to Dr. Wingfield's. We got medicine and then for the next three, count 'em three weeks, Dad came and helped me give her medicine. She is so smart thought, I had to go into the room first and wrap her in a towel before Dad could come in the room. Luckily we just had to do it once a day.
Molly's only 7 and we aren't ready to give her up yet. Dr. Wingfield told me he's seen animals with tumors like the one she had live for years and torties are known for their longevity. So thank you Dr. Wingfield!

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Friday night harvest

Croxtons wild lavender, mint, lemon balm and an egg from Marvin and ruby.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Monday, May 26, 2014

Testing out blogging from the new fancy phone

Hoping this works. If so expect more frequent blog posts.  I didn't have the heart to chase the hens out of their favorite dust bath even with the Malabar spinach planted there...