Jack

Jack

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Kids...

Mine just came slamming in from the backyard, where she's been playing, trying to get a few outdoor hours logged before the rain starts, and burning off the 'TOMORROW IS CHRISTMAS!' energy. She goes out and plays with the chickens, who are by now used to her running up and just scooping them up for hugs and kisses, and patiently submit--even Phoenix, our huge rooster. Some of her favorites are Potato, Scrambles and Honkey, the youngsters from the June hatch this year.

So when she came in just now she yelled, "Hey mom, guess what? I just kissed Potato on the mistletoe!" Then she was gone again, with another slam of the back door.

My response a full 3 seconds later: "What...?"

Heh. Kids!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Check Your Smoke Detector Batteries, Everyone!

Because about an hour and a half ago, ours got a workout.

Wouldn't you know, the one night I get to bed early, at 10 PM. The rain had just started, and we were snuggled in for a nice night of cozy sleep, listening to the rain come down.

Until 12:30AM, when our smoke detector started SCREAMING. J. and I woke up together...we both thought at first it was his alarm clock, then immediately realized what it really was. My first thought was, naturally, 'The damn thing wants a new battery'. J. sat up and smelled smoke, and in admirable Alpha Male fashion, began barking, 'THE HOUSE IS ON FIRE, GET OUT!' at the top of his lungs. He went for the phone while I went for the kid, turning on lights as we went. The house was smoky, but no obvious fire. I did have trouble waking N., I was yelling, 'Wake up, the house is on fire!' and shaking her leg really hard, which got -zero- results, the kid was either out or starting to succumb to the smoke, which was heavier in her room. I ended up grabbing her by the ankle and dragging her towards me, hand over hand, thinking I was going to have to put my years of CPR training into use.

We all got out to the living room, and had the front door open and every light in the house on. Still no flames, and the smoke detectors had shut the Hell up, since we had opened doors & windows. We stuck N. on the front porch with instructions NOT to come back into the house, and to run out to the tree in the front yard (our fire drill plan we practice) if she saw flames, while we waited for the fire department, got dressed and grabbed our wallet/purse, N.s favorite stuffed bunny and my computer tower, which has family photos on it. Two things I did not grab and damned well should have were our folder of important papers (birth certificates, N.'s immunization records) and our daily medications. We did haul Jake the sparrow and Nadine the crow out back, where they got rained on a bit...they ended up thinking it was a fun midnight bath, though.

The police got here first, and their first task was to take a head count and get everyone out, which we did. The fire department was less than 15 seconds behind them. One of the cops was nice enough to let N. sit in the back of her police car while J. and I went around with the firemen (and women), telling them what we smelled where, was anything left on, etc. We all get well soaked since it's POURING rain still.

Still no source for the smoke and no flames, but everyone agrees that something is damned well burning, somewhere. I had turned off the central heat, which was set to 68 degrees but had not come on, since the house was 70 degrees. The attic was smoky, so J. climbed up on the roof to check the central heat/AC unit (he doesn't even get a break from his job at night, in the pouring rain, poor guy!). Well, I heard him YELP, and knew we'd struck paydirt.

He climbed down and killed the circuit breaker for the thing--it had shorted out and shocked the crap out of him when he touched it. Yay, we have a source! Everyone agrees that it should be OK now, with no power to it, and we collect the kid, thank the emergency personnel and wave goodbye to them. I've already decided that I'm not sleeping anymore tonight, and that N. is going to spend the night at grandma & grandpa's house. So we get her into dry clothes, pack up her favorite stuffed bunny and J. runs her over there. Meanwhile I've got every window open, and am trying to air out the house...but that smell does hang in the air.

Overall, it went about as well as a house fire could go, and was a great test of our fire drill practices.

I could have done without it, really, though, especially the ringing headache the smoke gave me.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Weird Nesting Spot #176 Or; Oh Come ON!

The chickens have outdone themselves this year on finding odd nesting sites to hide eggs in. Sometimes we spot them right away, other times we don't. Mostly it's the banties that pull this stunt, being more savvy then their heavier laying hen sisters.

What's this? Why, it's the 'green waste' trash can, stuffed full to overflowing this week! A couple of branches that didn't quite fit are sticking out and propping the lid open a bit, but surely THAT won't cause any issues, will it now?


Will it? Wait--what's that...?


Arrgghhh! Of course, a hidden nest that is SO perfect, four of the little buggers had to lay there. Those are rock-hard Carrotwood seed pods, too.


Heck, that's nuthin'. The day before Halloween we found THIS gem, tucked away in a pot of aquarium gravel I'd just put out after transferring N.'s monster goldfish to their new tank:

The gravel was still wet, for crying out loud!

But for sheer esoteric beauty, my personal favorite is this one from August:

While we were making the new chicken run, we set our tools on top of the rabbit hutch to keep them out of the kid's reach. The banties (once again) decided that the wooden top of a rabbit hutch, out in the open, in a bunch of zip ties was PERFECTION ITSELF.

I just liked the swirly pattern they created.

Other People's Houses...

...are drifting down onto my cars, in the form of ash. :(




And the sky is a really nasty color. This was taken around 2PM.



Earlier in the morning, around 11AM, this was how the eastern sky looked from my back porch:


And only 10 minutes later, like this:


The day had started out with a lovely blue sky, not a cloud anywhere. All of that gunk is smoke from the Yorba Linda/Anaheim Hills/Brea/Diamond Bar firestorm.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hey, Brother & SIL!

Happy Anniversary!

Ours was our 10th anniversary, traditionally the 'Tin' anniversary.
My. Crappy metal roofing, anyone?

Instead, I got J. a new wireless XBox 360 headset, he got me a 'Cthulhu' T-shirt.

Perfect!

True happiness is knowing exactly what your spouse likes.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Barnyard Politics...

The kid is all excited about elections after her yearly trip with me to the polling place. So she's having a 'Chicken Election' this afternoon in the back yard.

The candidates?

Bu-cawk Obama and John Buck-cain.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Too Many Irons In The Fire...

Medically speaking. Between myself, my husband and the kid, it's been the Summer Of Medical Issues at our house, continuing it's wildly popular sold-out run into the Fall!

yay.

And, southern California is burning. Again.

Monday, August 18, 2008

HEY--!

Today's WTF moment was provided by Bear. I went out onto the back porch for a moment to tell J. something, who was in the garage. As I'm standing there, Bear suddenly leaps up out of nowhere and attempts to knock the root beer popsicle from my fingers.

Happily, she was unsuccessful as it was still in the wrapper, and was shooed away, grumbling.

Seriously, chickens will eat ANYTHING.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Why?!

Well, sometimes it happens. When hatching chicks you never know what you are going to get, and sometimes the luck of the draw seems to be of the 'cruel' variety.  This is a chick named Why:




Why had a normal beak when she hatched 6 weeks ago, the crossbeak appeared after one week and just got worse and worse. We decided to let her be, as she was otherwise healthy, and let Nature take it's course--if she survived without assistance, fine--if she was suffering, we'd help her on her way, as that would be the kindest thing.

Well, here she is at 6 weeks old and although she is a bit behind in developing feathers, she runs around, plays and interacts with her siblings and us normally. In fact, she has formed a special attachment to the kid, and they play all over the living room.

So it seems, little Why is here to stay!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Um...Well...OK, Me Too!

So the kid and I were watching the last part of John Carpenter's 'The Thing' on TV today--she LOVES horror & sci-fi flicks and isn't afraid of anything--and were watching the part where the monster kind of erupts into a gross conglomeration of every creature it's absorbed.

As a skinned dog's head erupts from inside the monster and turns it's horrifying, slavering jaws towards the camera, she turns to me and says offhandedly, "If I had a dog, I wouldn't keep him in my stomach. I'd put him on a leash and take him for walks!"

I just stared at her, unable to come up with anything other than, "Uh...me, too.". The kid handles horror movies MUCH better than I ever did.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

*Insert Maniacal Laugh And Wild-Eyed Stare Here*

OK, so I may have gotten a little happy on the whole 'canning thing.

But that doesn't mean that I'm crazy--

Oh.
You know what, never mind.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Why Stop There?

Why stop with just jam when you can go completely crazy and can fresh fruit, too?
The prepared jars with cut nectarines:


Then the sugar syrup goes in:


Sealed & boiled:


...and DONE!

The skins cooked off, but they give a nice flavor boost to the finished product.

Time to go pick more nectarines!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

It's Like Music!

The sound of the freshly canned jam jars as they cool and seal themselves with that unmistakable 'tink!'

Three more batches done today, with still enough cut up fruit for at least 1-2 more batches. I have to return to the store for more sugar & lids/bands first though--I cleaned them out yesterday when I went. Actually I'm going to hit up a different store, as I'm sure the one I went to yesterday hasn't restocked yet.

AND I still have to pick more nectarines today, they're ready...

Summer!

Friday, July 25, 2008

TA DA--! Metamorphasis!

In case you've ever wondered what 35 pounds of nectarines looks like, here it is:


...that's about 1/3 of the total amount of fruit on the tree, so more of this is in our future.

It took all of yesterday to cut, pit & chop it to get all that fruit ready. Today it became THIS!


Well, part of it, anyway. This pic doesn't show it all, but today I got through about 5-6 batches; tomorrow and likely part of Sunday will be devoted to making nectarine jam as well.

I'm tired...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Harvest Time!

Snow Queen white nectarines from our back yard:


These were the first ripe nectarines of the season, and the tree is loaded with tons more. This coming weekend will be nectarine preserves canning time!

The back yard is positively perfumed right now with the scent of the fruit, and those dumb-as-a-rock green June Bugs are just beginning to zoom about--much to the delight of the 8 year old armed with an old badminton racquet and our personal chicken army.

They do such a thorough job that I only found ONE June Bug on this batch of nectarines that I picked tonight. One of my favorite summer sights is watching the chickens madly chase June Bugs.

Time to farm out home-grown nectarines to everyone I know!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Strange Creatures Creeping Through My Garden...!

Ol' King Lizard makes his way through the rose bushes...


While his buddy, OhmygodHUGESPIDER obligingly gives a lift to friends Squirtle and Walrus.


The kid leaves behind some really interesting play set-ups sometimes, you gotta wonder what fantastical story is behind all of this.

Also, that damned T Rex was RIGHT by the hose bib and scared the Hell out of me when I went to turn the hose on.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Group Shot...

Here are our baker's dozen!



We have one Frizzle for sure, the light gray bird at the right side.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Good & Bad...

Good: One of the eggs in the incubator is pipping, 48 hours early! Hopefully the chick is formed enough to survive, and we're working on moving the cam over to the incubator & off the 25 day old chicks. There are 50 eggs in this batch, and candling the other day showed that some were clear (never developed), some had shells too dark to tell, and others had dark masses inside that meant chicks--alive or dead, we cannot tell.

We're back to Stickam for this hatch:

http://www.stickam.com/chickam2008


Bad: We just lost one of our favorite hens, Beast, to some damned mystery illness that stumped us, our fellow chicken owner friends, AND our vet. Best he could say was that he thought it was something bacterial in nature. Seems no amount of Lasix and Baytril could save her, and the best I could do was to pet her, talk to her and be with her as she went. Meanwhile, Louise and Houdini, who caught it first and were deathly ill, have recovered and are fine.

This is extra depressing since yesterday Beast had turned a corner and was walking around the house, talking and eating up a storm on her own, we felt we just needed to fatten her up a bit and she'd be fine. :(

EDIT:  We later realized that we had had a sudden infestation of weird black & orange caterpillars on our Curly Willow tree several days before the hens got ill.  We knocked them down for the chickens, and only three hens had actually eaten any...Beast, who ate the most, and Louise and Houdini.

So yeah, poison caterpillars, it seems.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Three Is Better Than None, I Guess...

Well, boo to both the old AND the new incubators, we only got a measly three chicks to hatch.  What we got is cute, though!

Here they are all together:


Actually the fault most likely lies in something we are doing wrong...now I just have to find out WHAT.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

NOW HATCHING! Chickam2008 Is A Go!

Yeah, baby! This time we have success! One egg, #9 (I numbered
them this time) is already peeping madly and has pipped, 6 hours ahead
of the estimated time of 8PM (PST).

After the last crushing disappointment, we didn't want the same thing
to happen again. So we waited until one of the little buggers
actually started to HATCH before starting this thread. Y'all are
guaranteed at least one cute fuzzy chick. :)

We ran the new incubator and old side-by-side once we got a new
thermometer for the old one.


The 42 numbered eggs for Chickam are in the new
incubator, and 18 non-numbered test eggs are in the old
incubator, just for us so we can see if it works.

We'll keep the cam on the pipping #9 egg for now, and we'll move it
around as needed once more pipping and hatching begins. Once the
hatch is done, we'll move the cam to the brooder box, so you
can enjoy the frenzied running about that IS baby chicks in action:
Hilarity in the form of little fuzzballs. As a bonus, we'll toss 'em
some live mealworms or crickets from time to time, so you can place
your bets for Chicken Football (fun for you, not so much so for the
bug; but oh, well).

We've changed Chickam2008 to the Yahoo site, the new URL is below.
http://live.yahoo.com/chickam2008

Unfortunately, the pip on #9 is facing AWAY from the camera, and we
cannot open the incubator to move the egg (it's a non-no during the
beginning of the hatch), so you'll have to trust us on this. Also,
sorry--no sound, we tested it and the ambient room noise (and cawing
from Nadine the crow and peeping from Jake the sparrow) overpowers any
peeps from the incubators. But once we place the cam in the brooder
box with the dry chicks, we'll try it then.


So place your bets, there are 42 eggs total in the Chickam
incubator! Or, if you like to root for the underdog, go for the eggs
in the old incubator. And remember--the first egg to pip isn't
always the first one to hatch! :)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Countdown...

...to chicks, hopefully.

Today is the day we stopped turning the eggs, increased the humidity & ventilation in the incubators, and start hoping for the best.

We candled the eggs with the lighter color shells (those dark brown and green ones were impossible to see through)--some were clear, with no chicks, others had chicks formed inside. It was difficult to tell if the chicks were alive or not, or HOW fully formed they were. The cam is ready and waiting.

Saturday night/Sunday morning will tell!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Yay!

J. is home from his business trip to Chicago and with my family back under one roof, all is again right with the world.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Let's Try This Again...

OK, now it's Incubator Wars!

New one on the left, old one on the right:


The chart on the wall is so we can mark the three-times-daily egg turning routine. The new incubator has 42 eggs in it, the old one 18--plus a new thermometer. We're running old and new side by side in order to test the old one. If all goes well, all of the eggs will hatch simultaneously.

All loaded up!


The eggs in the new incubator on the left are numbered, so when Chickam fires up, people can place their bets on which egg pips hatches first. :) It kills me how in the 6 years or so since we bought the first incubator, the only thing that is different with the new one is a different style thermometer.

Twenty-one days from now, on May 24th, there had better be cute fuzzy peeps running around this house!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

They're Late...

We should have seen something by now. :( No pipping, nothing.

Well, we just found out that the incubator thermometer is giving a false reading of 100 degrees when it is actually 94.3 in there. None of the eggs even developed. So we're getting a new thermometer tomorrow and trying again with fresh eggs.

At least it wasn't the incubator, cause that really had me scratching my head. Still, no cute fuzzies tonight.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Now Showing: Chickam!

As promised, my husband and I have set up a live webcam so you guys can watch chicken eggs hatch into cute fluffy chicks! :)

The link to the live webcam is below. We chose to use the Stickam site, hopefully it can handle the bandwidth demands. The Chickam will mostly be operating during the daylight hours at first for the incubator (we turn off the lights at bedtime), then 24 hours when we move it to the brooder box. The color camera is a playstation2 EyeToy usb camera, but there will not be sound with the picture, and no camera controls for viewers. Here's the incubator with the webcam on the right:



Watching baby chicks hatch is fascinating and fun for all ages. We currently have 46 assorted chicken eggs in a Little Giant still-air incubator, scheduled to hatch out late Saturday night, April 26 and Sunday, April 27, 2008. But they may jump the gun a bit and start hatching anytime Saturday, so the cam is live now! The eggs are all from our backyard flock of mixed breed chickens here in suburban Los Angeles, California.

The camera will first be on one of the viewing windows (hence the kinda foggy look)of the incubator so you can watch the chicks hatch, then on the brooder box so you can see them run, play and interact with each other. We plan on having the camera operating until at least Wednesday, April 30th, possibly two more days beyond that. This is assuming the eggs hatch--we have not candled them, so we may have zero hatch, we may have ALL of them hatch, or anywhere in between. This incubator has worked well for us in the past though, so we see no reason why it would fail now.

Chicken eggs need 21 days of incubation in order to hatch. The breeds represented in this batch of eggs are below, the mother hens' name is in parenthesis, and if I knew which hen was mom, I wrote her name on her eggs:

2 Buff Orpington (Betty) ~~large brown eggs~~
8 New Hampshire (Maggie) and/or Kraienkoppe (Baby) ~~smaller brown eggs~~
5 Buff Laced Polish (Sugar) ~~long white eggs~~
6 White Crested Black Polish (Poof) ~~round white eggs~~
7 Blue Wheaten Americaunas (Louise)~~round, pale blue eggs~~
2 Unknown breed (Bear) ~~large, army-green eggs~~
2 Jersey Giant/ Americaunas mix (Skitters) ~~smaller, olive green eggs~~
2 Frizzled Buff Cochin (Moet) ~~small beige eggs~~
1 Black Silkie (Fuzz) ~~small beige eggs~~
1 Kraienkoppe (Baby)~~small brown eggs~~
2 Buff Cochin (Chicken Sister) ~~small beige eggs~~
4 Asst. Bantam (?) ~~small beige eggs~~
3 Asst. Americaunas (?) ~~large greenish-blue eggs~~

The fathers of the chicks are our Blue Wheaten Americaunas/Barred Rock mix standard size rooster and our Belgian d'uccle MilleFleur/Frizzle mix bantam rooster. The 'X' and 'O' marks you see on the eggs were used to tell which eggs we'd turned during the incubation process. The eggs have to be turned by hand three times a day for the entire 21 days, and you need to be able to tell at a glance which ones have been turned and which haven't! During the initial stage of hatching, the eggs will rock back and forth and move a bit, and faint peeping can be heard. Then the chick will 'pip', which means it pecks a little hole in the eggshell. After that, it will continue to pip, working in a circle until it has pipped all the way around the wide end of the egg. The amount of time it takes from first pip to a fully hatched out chick can be a matter of minutes or hours, even as much as a day.

Fresh chicks are exhausted, wet and helpless for a few hours, but as they dry out in the incubator they will become more steady on their feet and will soon be running around, bumping into other chicks and eggs. This is normal.

We will be opening the incubator from time to time to remove dry chicks and place them in the brooder box. Once we get most of them into the brooder box, we will switch the camera to it. Here's what a previous hatch looked like--this is NOT the current hatch:



The brooder box is just a large cardboard box gleaned from a local furniture store, with wood shavings underfoot, a heat lamp overhead to keep the chicks warm, and food and water. The chicks will live in this box in our living room, with occasional trips outdoors, for the first two months of their lives, until they are old enough to join the flock outside. We plan on keeping a few of the chicks, the rest we will take to our local feed store for them to resale.

For us this is a trying time...we can't help but worry, LOTS of things can go wrong during the incubation process and hatch that can prove fatal to the chick. It takes superhuman restraint to resist assisting a chick who is struggling to hatch. You have to just trust in Mother Nature A LOT and keep your damned hands outta there!

We hope you will enjoy the chicks! I'll be happy to answer any chicken questions, and I'll post updates when new chicks hatch. The picture isn't the best, and is heavily pixelated, but it's still fun. Here's a link to the cam, you'll have to copy and paste it into your browser window since it may not link directly to it for some reason:

www.stickam.com/chickam2008

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Duds!

Well, surprisingly, the 5 eggs we had under the broody mamas never hatched. So now we wait until the 26th to see what the incubator produces. I promised several of N.'s friends that they could come over and watch the hatch, which is always a fascinating process.

Meanwhile, Chicken Sister is STILL laying eggs, producing like a 2 year old hen! Sheesh...

And I have my Plymouth back again, yay! It still makes a ridiculous 'ftftftft' noise, which the mechanic tells me is the exhaust, so that fix will be in the near future, once I get a little money saved. But it now has a working gas gauge AND (thanks to a lucky, new-in-box online find) clock, which are both total luxuries that I've never had with this car before.

Now if I could find window weatherstrip for it, I could be dry during the rainy season, too! It's gettin' there...

Friday, April 11, 2008

Yellow Belt!

On Tuesday, N. moved up to a Yellow Belt in Karate.

Getting her certificate and new belt...


Getting her medal...


Bowing to her Sensei...


The class in action!


She really enjoys the class, and wants to continue taking lessons. We're happy because it seems to be helping her focus and pay attention, yay!

Letting Mother Nature Throw In, Too...

In addition to the eggs in the incubator, which are due to hatch in another two weeks, we have two broody hens that we gave some eggs to, also. Their eggs are due to hatch today...nothing yet as of nearly 2PM, but today or tomorrow should see some tiny balls of fluff. Here they are in the custom hen pen that J. made, which we moved inside the enclosed run the other day:



This way, they are protected by the walls of the run and protected again from any jealous hens who may try and take over the chicks or just plain fight the moms. Boots is on the left with two eggs, Moet is on the right with three eggs. Each got their own fancy cardboard box nest. Hopefully these two moms can share the space, if not, one of them will have to be removed and the remaining broody hen will take charge of all 5 chicks--provided the eggs hatch!

Moet has been growling at me since yesterday when we moved her and Boots into the hen pen, I think she's SURE I'm going to mess with her eggs again. Whatever the reason, I'm on her Shit List!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Here We Go Again...

It's been a couple of years since we hatched baby chickens and I couldn't resist any longer, so I dusted off the incubator. The candidates to choose from:



...and the final group, 45 assorted eggs:



If I was sure of the mom, I wrote their name on their eggs. The green and blue ones are various Americaunas/Americaunas mix eggs, the small ones are bantam eggs, white ones are Polish, the large brown ones Buff Orpington, New Hampshire and Kriaenkoppe eggs, 45 eggs total. The 'X' marks are a marker they all get, an X on one side and a O on the other, so you can tell at a glance at egg turning time (three times a day) which ones you have turned and which you haven't.

In three weeks I'll post pictures of the hatch!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

Our roses are just getting started blooming after I was really late in cutting them back after the first of the year, our 'Peace' rose was, fittingly, the first and only one with a flower this morning:



But the cherry tree is blooming nicely...it has yet to produce a single cherry, mind you, but is a pretty tree just the same.


Meanwhile, N.'s pet bunny, Ace, volunteered to pose as the Easter Bunny this morning.


Bear just eyed the basket skeptically, she's seen this 'colored eggs' nonsense before.


Some of the other hens had better, more interested reactions, and Bear hung around:


The Easter Bunny apparently had fun hiding the eggs, and seems to have a devilish streak when it comes to camoflage:


OK, you saw the red one on the crotch of the tree in the background...but did you see the purple-pink one?

Friday, March 21, 2008

Two For One Sale On Chicken Emergencies, Aisle 3!

So yesterday afternoon, we had not one, but TWO hens appear on the back step with dire health issues...one was Houdini, a small gray and white bantam hen, who had managed to rip off one toenail and was bleeding pretty good. She had the sense to come and stand and bleed on the back porch so I'd see her, and let me pick her up and bring her in to clean it up and apply Kwik-Stop, a birdie coagulant. We get her fixed up and close her up in the bathroom for a bit until the she is OK to go outside again without reopening the wound, and return out back again to finish feeding the animals and putting them away.

Then I see Chicken Sister, the surviving VERY elderly buff cochin bantam hen twin, standing in one place, facing the garage door. I do the 'Food' call, and she doesn't move.

Crap.

Go over to look at her and see her do the trademark 'eggbound hen' strain. DAAAAMMMNNNN!!! At age 8 or 10 years (we got her and her twin sister as adults in 2001), she's way too old for this egg-laying nonsense. I can see the egg crowning when she pushes, but it ain't comin' out any time soon.

Grab her and truck HER into the house, for nasty egg binding treatment, which involves me oiling up a finger and getting personally acquainted with her most holy of holies, something which dignified old ladies like her do NOT approve of. The egg is stubborn, so she gets to spend the night on the kitchen floor on a heating pad in hopes of her laying the egg herself. Meanwhile, Houdini has ceased bleeding and is allowed to return to the flock.

This morning, Chicken Sister still has not produced the egg and is straining harder with a pained squeak, and no amount of oiling/coaxing by pressing with my fingers is moving that egg, so off to the vet we go.

Pop! He gets that egg out in under two seconds.

Everyone at the vets' office loves to see the chickens, though, I guess it's a break from dogs and cats all day long. Tonight Chicken Sister is again in the house so we can keep and eye on her and she can rest, tomorrow she should be able to return to the flock.

Criminy.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Weird Nesting Site #213

Today it was Millie, taking advantage of some stuff earmarked for garage storage one day while we were cleaning it out...


She's actually tiny enough to fit into the Christmas tree stand, so I'm sure I'll find an egg in here later.


Poking around to make sure it's good enough for her egg...


Whoops, watch the footing--!


Whoa, whoa, WHOA!!! OK, be cool...


Hmmm... that foot must have something wrong with it, I never lose my balance...


Meanwhile, Stoney, a little banty hen, took the more mundane approach of actually using a nest box, although she DID have to growl and warn off Boots, who was looking to oust her.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Happy Birthday Sis!

A very happy birthday to my sister K., hope you had a GREAT day and stood the town on it's ear!

Friday, March 7, 2008

The Darling Buds Of...March!

Spring has sprung, here at our house. Geraldine the tortoise is fully awake and chases you down to see if you are doing Something Interesting, the chickens are in full cackling crazed-egg-laying mode, and the flowers are doing their thing...


Ha, it's like a game of 'Which Does Not Belong?' The hens sometimes produce these tiny eggs in the Spring when their egg laying apparatus is gearing up.


The crocus plants by the front door


The white nectarine tree is just beginning to bloom, fruit in July!


And criminy, it's time to harvest the blood oranges! The tree is threatening to just keel over. I was a bad gardener and failed to thin the thing out the second time around, so we have a ton of oranges to pick tomorrow. It's beginning to make flowers, so now is the time. Ace the bunny has been standing up on her hind legs to nibble away the leaves she can reach.


Here's what they look like when cut, hence the name Blood Orange. They taste marvelous, like a cross between an orange and a raspberry. We picked three of them tonight to taste test them, from different areas on the tree--they're ready! We'll be gifting everyone who stands still long enough with blood oranges and eggs...