Archive for May, 2009

Pip, Zip, Peep!

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

Today is day 20 for my two broodies setting on eggs. The last time these two broodies hatched out their eggs between day 19 and day 20, so I’ve been checking on them a lot the past couple of days. And looky what I found a little while ago:

Baby Chicks

Those are eggs that Broody1 is setting on. And look what she’s got:

Baby Chicks

I think she’s actually hatched out six of her nine so far, but I had a hard time counting them and couldn’t get them all to come out. I didn’t want to mess with the ones underneath her too much for fear they’d trample on the zipping eggs. Cute little buggers, aren’t they?

Broody2 has only hatched out one of her four so far. And this is the sweet little face of her first born in this hatch:

Baby Chicks

Could you not kiss it’s little beak right slap off? Lordy. I just love baby chicks. If all of these eggs hatch, we’ll have 13 new little baby chicks running around. And I’ve got two more broodies due to hatch out four eggs in about two and a half weeks.

My parents get here tomorrow and I’m really happy my mom will arrive in time to see these babies still being babies. And she’ll get to kiss them – every clucking one of them.

Bee Free,
Penny

Make a Soap Mold and Needing Chickens

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

I trust each of you had a nice Memorial Day. I had the day off work, so it made for a nice, long weekend for me. We spent most of it working outside, and took the time on Memorial Day to remember those that have given their lives in service of our country, and those that have served and continue to serve our country.

My parents are coming to visit us in six days. They will be here from Monday until Sunday. We are extremely happy that they are coming, and really look forward to the visit. We are also busy doing a few things around here that need to be done before they arrive. Not that it really matters, it’s just a good excuse to finish some things up. Trust me when I tell you, there will be plenty of things NOT finished before they get here. I’ve already told my father that if he complains about it, he’ll be handed the tools to fix it. He promised he will not be saying a word.

My blogger friend, Lilla, asked me for instructions to build a soap mold. I thought there may be others interested, so I posted a page on making your very own soap mold. It’s not difficult or expensive to make. Check it out

My two broodies are so much better at it this time than last. They are setting tight as little drums on those eggs. Two of the fifteen eggs they were originally setting on had thin shells and cracked, so they were kicked out of the nests. There is a total of 13 eggs between the two of them now. The biddies should start hatching out about the time my parents come for their visit.

I’ve also noticed a little Golden Penciled Hamburg starting to act like she wants to go broody, as well as yet another little Phoenix. I told Bernie that if either or both of them go broody, I’ll probably put about 5 eggs under each of them. He didn’t say anything for a few minutes, and then he announced “You’re going to have to do something with all those chickens”.

I stared at him blankly. “Huh?”

“We can’t have all these chickens running all over the place around here.”

I continued to stare blankly.

“Well, that’s a lot of chickens you’re hatching. You’re going to have to think about getting rid of some of them.”

In the saddest voice I could muster I said “Well, the reason I want more babies to hatch is because I need more pullets so that I can keep Jethro and Pico. You know I need more pullets to keep more cockerels. Without more pullets, the balance will be off and I just don’t have enough hens to handle two more cockerels right now. I don’t really want more babies, I really need more babies.”

Bernie gave me a blank stare.

“Thank you, honey. I knew you’d understand. We’ll get rid of any future roosters.”

As I walked out of the room I think I heard him mumbling something like “Yea, just like we got rid of Jethro and Pico.”

Look at what we noticed in the backyard this weekend – on a little figurine thingy in the bird bath:

hornet nest

That hornet nest is small right now, but it’s been growing every day since. And it’s in a really bad location – that bird bath is right in the backyard and we walk by it every day. It can’t stay there. Those hornets wouldn’t be very understanding if anyone were to bump that bird bath.

Did you notice that caterpillar on the hornet nest? And isn’t it kind of creepy that the little boy and girl seem to be looking specifically at that caterpillar? I would think they would be more concerned with the hornet nest growing out of the little boy’s cheek.

Oh, well. To each his own. I really only posted that picture for my no-blog-reading-picture-looking-only niece. I figured she’d end up with a migraine if I posted even one more blog without a picture or two in it.

Bee Free,
Penny

Did You Really Knead That?

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009

I never make a loaf of bread without recalling a story a fellow told on one of the cooking lists I subscribe to.

When he was young and first in his own apartment, this fellow got to missing the fresh, home made bread his mother made when he was living at home. So he called his mother and she gave him step by step instructions for making a loaf of home made bread. He attempted to make the bread several times, and each time it was a flop.

Completely frustrated, he called his mother on the phone to discuss his experiences and ask where he was going wrong. He explained each ingredient he used and each step he took.

His mother listened patiently, and when he finished explaining, she said “Well son, it sounds like you did everything right. But let me ask you a question. Did you knead it? I mean really knead it?

He responded “Well, no, mom. But I really wanted it!”

Bernie and I both got a good chuckle out of that story, and it is rare that I make a loaf of bread without Bernie asking me “Now, did you really knead that bread?”

Bee Free,
Penny

Back to Normal on the Homestead

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

Diesel and Dolly are home. Bernie and I are over joyed. The cats are pouting. We are back to normal on the homestead.

When we went to pick the pups up this morning, the receptionist went on and on about how adorable Diesel and Dolly are. She said that when Dolly was in the recovery room and they brought Diesel in, he was still out and Dolly could barely move. Not only did Dolly wag her tail, but within a few minutes she tried to stand up and couldn’t. So she belly crawled over to Diesel and laid her head on him and went to sleep. The receptionist said the vet assistant called them all in to see it and they took pictures. They said they have never seen two sweeter puppies or two puppies that were so in love with each other. Naturally, we agree. And we whisked those puppies out of there so fast it left their heads spinning at that vet’s office.

The only thing they told us was to watch the incisions for infection, and to keep Diesel and Dolly calm. I’m not even going to comment on how ridiculous the whole “keep them calm” thing is.

When we got the pups home, they ate like they had never seen food before and then they took a nice long nap. When they woke up, they told me it was time to get the mail. I hesitated, but I knew if they missed their evening mail run, they would be impossible to live with. So we walked down to get the mail, and other than keeping them from getting in the creeks, I let them romp and play as usual. When we got home, Bernie grabbed his camera and said “Let’s walk around the yard a bit.” The puppies were all about that.

I took the egg basket out with the intent of collecting eggs and cleaning the chicken coop. Dolly had other ideas. She became completely obsessed with the egg basket.

Photobucket

I finally gave it to her.

Pups

She even posed for a picture.

Pups

And then, in complete disregard of the vet’s advice, Diesel and Dolly started running, jumping, chasing, and in general, NOT remaining calm.

They are not supposed to be doing this.

Pups

They are not supposed to be doing this either.

Pups

And they are definitely not supposed to be doing this.

Pups

After playing for a good long while, Diesel took a break to watch the chickens.

Pups

They’re inside resting now. And they are smiling while they sleep. It’s good to have these puppies home. It just didn’t feel right without them.

Oh, and here’s a picture of a raised bed and the green house.

Garden

That’s horseradish in the tire. Our potatoes, radishes, lettuce and spinach are growing like crazy. This week we’ll get the tomatoes, peppers, melons, etc. in. Lucky we didn’t do that this past weekend, when we had planned. It was 28 degrees this morning! But it’s looking like the week will warm up nicely.

Things are back to normal on the homestead. Well, as normal as it gets around here, anyway.

Bee Free,
Penny

Who You Callin’ Runt??

Monday, May 18th, 2009

Thanks to all who have commented on the blog, emailed, and called about Diesel and Dolly. We talked to the vet this afternoon and both came through their surgeries just fine. They spayed Dolly first, and she was just waking up as Diesel was being brought into the recovery room after being neutered. The vet said Dolly couldn’t even lift her head, but when her eyes saw Diesel her tail started wagging. I don’t need to tell you I started crying when I heard that. We’re thankful they are fine, and now we just can’t wait to get them back home.

As we dropped them off this morning, I asked if they would be weighed right away. The receptionist said “Well, we do weigh them before surgery. But if you’d like them to be weighed while you’re here, we can do that.” So we took the pups back to the scale.

Dolly weighed in at 41.5 pounds. Diesel weighed in at 48.5 pounds! That boy has been working hard at getting bigger, and it’s paid off. He never did like that whole “runt” label thing.

They’re not quite six months old yet, and they are really big. But I have to say, every ounce of it is nothing but sweetness. Well, maybe a few ounces of ornery, but mostly it’s sweetness. Between Dolly’s heart melting marble eyes and Diesel’s breath taking smiles, well, it’s pretty easy to over look the moments of orneriness.

And they know it. Boy oh boy, do they ever know it.

Bee Free,

Penny

24 Hours Can Seem Like a Lifetime

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

Tomorrow we will drop Diesel and Dolly off at the vet’s office at 8:30AM. They are getting “fixed”. And we are just dreading it. We’re not dreading the “fixed” part of it. We’re big advocates of spaying/neutering pets.  We’re dreading the part where Diesel and Dolly have to stay over night at the vet’s office.

That’s 24 hours without Dolly crawling up in our laps – even though Dolly is WAY to big to be a lap dog.

It’s 24 hours without seeing Diesel smile at us – and Diesel has the best smile ever.

24 hours without watching these puppies run with wreckless abandon.

24 hours without puppy kisses.

24 hours without our sweet Diesel and Dolly.

It seems like a lifetime.

We miss them already.

I’m sure Diesel and Dolly will be just fine.

I’m not so sure about Bernie and me.

24 hours can seem like a lifetime.

Bee Free,

Penny

I Think We’ve Been Here Before

Saturday, May 16th, 2009

I can’t believe it’s been two weeks since I posted. I was a little under the weather for about a week of it – and I have no idea where the other went. Sometimes that happens.

Last week I was shocked to learn that BOTH Broody1 and Broody2 have gone broody again. *sigh* It’s only been about eight weeks. After my last experience with these two, I was really hoping not to have to deal with two broodies at the same time again. So much so that when I did spring cleaning in the coop, I only built one broody pen. So…… I added the second broody pen to the coop and put both broodies in them one night. Broody1 went right to her eggs and continued setting like nothing happened. Broody2 apparently spent the entire night trying to escape. The next morning her eggs were right where I put them in her pen, and they were stone cold. I put her back in the nest box with her eggs. I just don’t have the strength to fight with her this time. I’ll move her if/when the eggs hatch. Broody1 has ten eggs under her and Broody2 has four.

I’m hoping for more pullets out of this hatch. I’m hoping if I increase the number of pullets, I can keep both cockerels from the last hatch. They have names now. I mean, how can I get rid of them when they have names???

Meet Jethro:

cockeral

And this is Pico:

cockeral

Poor Pico is looking a little like an ugly ducking right now. He started off black, and is now sprouting brown feathers here and there. I can’t wait to see how he looks when he grows up. His mother is a White Faced Black Spanish, and his father is a Phoenix.

Take a look at this cute little egg.

tiny egg

This is only the second tiny egg I’ve found in the nest boxes and it just tickles me to death to find them. Too cute.

And, just for fun, here’s a picture of a normal size egg, the tiny egg, and an itty bitty wild bird egg on the far right that Bernie found.

tiny egg

Bernie found an abandoned nest in his sawmill with that little egg in it. The nest was apparently built during the four or five days we had rain and he didn’t work on the sawmill. The nest was soaking wet and had been abandoned. That little egg was the only one in it. I think it’s a House Wren egg. Cute little thing.

On a sad note, I lost yet another Golden Penciled Hamburg this week. This is the third Hamburg I’ve lost, and her symptoms were identical to the other two. Very suddenly they begin acting lethargic, and within a few hours they are dead. I seriously wonder if there is not some genetic reason for it. It makes me sad and each day I hold my breath as I let the chickens out of the coop in the morning and tuck them in at night for fear of finding a Hamburg looking puny. I only have four left now. On the up side, of the fourteen eggs the broodies are setting on, several are Hamburg eggs. I can only pray that if there is a genetic defect in these girls, it is not passed on to their offspring.

I don’t want to end this on a sad note, so I’ll leave you with something that should bring a smile to your face:

That’s Pico practicing his crowing by answering Duke’s crows. If that doesn’t get a chuckle out of you, you need to go back to bed. Both Pico and Jethro have been crowing a couple of weeks now. Lordy, those boys crack me up.

Broody hens, tiny eggs, and cockerels crowing. I think we’ve been here before.

Bee Free,
Penny

In the Bag

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

There are about a million things I love about my mother, but the fact that she is so darn easy to please is close to the top of the list. I’ve probably made several hundred hand crafted gifts for my mother over the past 50 years, and the woman still has every one of them. Even the clay pitcher I made her in the 3rd grade. That thing is lopsided, painted with the most hideous shades of brown and green, and wouldn’t possible hold an ounce of water without leaking. But my mother still has it – and prominently displays it in her kitchen. And each year her Christmas tree is adorned with ornaments made out of egg carton pieces that I’m guessing I made her about 45 years ago. She has every hand made item each of her children ever made her. Amazing.

So, when I read Angie’s post about making tote bags out of black oil sunflower seed bags on The Big Red Couch blog, I immediately thought “Oh, mama would LOVE one of those.” Of course, I have no idea if that is actually true, but since she has always graciously accepted every hand made gift I’ve ever given her, I knew she was the one person that would at least ACT happy about receiving this bag. She did not disappoint me. Here is her bag:

bird seed bag

And here’s the back of it.

bird seed bag

I think it’s pretty awesome that Angie was creative enough to find a really cool use for such a pretty seed bag. I routinely buy these black oil sunflower seeds for my chickens, and I’ve thrown several away in the past. I won’t be doing that anymore. Mama seemed so appreciative that I plan to make her a few more to use as shopping bags. I wouldn’t mind having a few myself, but I never go shopping, so that wouldn’t make sense.

I bet these bags hold up for a good long while. We’ll certainly find out. Mama will never get rid of them. That’s for sure.

Bee Free,
Penny

Missing Morels and More Polymer Eggs

Sunday, May 3rd, 2009

We spent a few hours yesterday scouring the woods on our property for morel mushrooms. We may have been a week late or, depending on what you read on the internet, a week early. Either way, we didn’t see hide nor hair of a moral mushroom. Darnit. We’ll head out again later in the week and see if we have any better luck.

We took the pups out with us while we were searching through the woods. I had hoped to show you pictures of morel mushrooms but, since that’s not going to happen this weekend, I am going to show you pictures of Diesel and Dolly instead.

Dolly managed to find a deer skull pretty quickly, and she toted it around, playing keep-away from Diesel for quite some time.

Dolly

Yea, I know. You’re probably grossed out that we let her play with a deer skull. But, hey – these are country dogs and it’s cheap entertainment. They’ve got to find fun where they can.

Soon Diesel lost interest in chasing Dolly with the skull, and decided loving on daddy was more his speed.

pups

We walked for several hours, and the pups spent most of it running around ahead of us. As the day wore on, they wore out. Soon they were staying right with us.

pups

And when Diesel started sitting down, we figured it was time to get home.

pups

Even though we got skunked looking for morels, we had a great time watching the pups romp and enjoying our walk through the woods.

It’s been raining here all day. I made some egg noodles for a batch of home made chicken noodle soup I’m making for supper. I also started making some more polymer clay eggs. Here are two I finished this afternoon:

Polymer eggs

I baked two more, but will leave them to sand another day. Sanding those bad boys takes a little bit of work and time, and I’m ready to just chill for a bit before getting after supper.

The chickens are doing great and we are averaging about a dozen eggs a day. The babies are really getting big, and I’m 99.9% positive I’ve got two roosters out of the five of them. I should get rid of both of them. I don’t have enough hens to keep up with all four roosters. I’m really struggling with the whole thing. I’ll probably end up getting rid of one of the cockerels, and keeping the other for a while to see how keeping three roosters works out. I suspect I’ll end up having to get rid of the other cockerel as well. It makes me sad to even think about it. So I’m not going to – I’ll think about it later.

It wasn’t the most productive weekend we’ve ever had on the homestead, but it was a nice and relaxing one. Sometimes it’s nice to take a day or two and do little more than just enjoy the homestead.

Bee Free,
Penny