Thursday, April 28, 2016

It Has Begun!

The hatch has started, Chickam has begun!  Watch here: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/chickam2008

9 eggs pipped so far, one chick has started to unzip!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Hey, You're Early!

So I got home this afternoon from a trip and went to check on the eggs in the incubator...no sweat, we have three days to go, the eggs just went into lockdown this morning, all is well...

Then I saw it.

Two tiny eggshell shards in the bottom of the incubator.  From egg #16.

Switch on the two dollar cuss words!  And wouldn't you know it, the egg that is pipping ridiculously early is a bantam egg (let's all try and act surprised), the one laid by Toaster, a bantam Cochin hen who hatched last year.

And just to make things interesting, the chicks is pipping at the wrong end of the egg!

What a stinker.  Now I get to sit up and worry tonight.

And, I hear you ask, is the brooder box ready...?

OF COURSE NOT.  I had planned to build the thing this afternoon because I still had THREE FREAKIN' DAYS UNTIL HATCH.  Lots of time!

So I sat and whacked together a brooder box in short order.  Not my prettiest job, but hey, it's done ahead of the chick hatching!

Meanwhile, here's what well-behaved chicks who are rocking in their eggs and peeping sweetly look like.

Now we wait to see what happens...if more eggs begin to pip early, we'll move Yoya in tonight and slip some eggs under her.  If not, we'll stick with the original plan and bring Yo in tomorrow night!

So the start of Chickam is kinda up in the air while Mother Nature has her little joke.  When eggs begin unzipping, we'll start the cam!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

On The Road Again...

Time for another trip down highway 395 through the Owens Valley!

Today it was hideously windy, which meant blowing whiteout snow by Mammoth and dust everywhere else, overturned semis and the road getting closed *right* behind me.  It was weird driving for more than 100 miles and not seeing another vehicle.

But I scooted through and made it, had a nice visit with my mom.  The next day when I headed back things were considerably quieter, although the fun billboard for Wave Rave, made entirely of old snowboards, had snapped off in the wind and made the uprights into toothpicks.

And Big Pine is apparently going to be Ground Zero for the Zombie Apocalypse, according to the warning on this billboard.

I enjoy the Banksy-type artwork, but not when it's painted on the cool old abandoned buildings that dot the area.  Sadly a lot of the old buildings are being lost to this and other destructive things people are doing.

But on a happier note, the Give & Take Sculpture Garden in Olancha has a new figure!
The pink belt buckle on his polka-dot shorts says 'EGO'.

In his hands he's clutching some flowers torn out by the roots, a VERY unhappy squirrel, some solar panels (I think) and a dollar sign.

And even if he is eating daintily with one pinky finger extended, Ol' Ego isn't exactly a friend to animals there, as hapless screaming squirrel can attest.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

We Have Embryos!

I candled the Chickem eggs tonight, and while we had 6 duds (all were infertile so never would have developed), the GOOD news is we have 7 eggs with embyos for sure, with another 5 eggs that I *think* have embryos but at 8 days old, it's hard to tell due to the eggshells being so dark.  It's a nice cross section of our flock! 

7 Embryos: 
#3 & 5, which are large, light brown eggs
#8 & 9, large dark brown eggs
#13, a small light green egg--this egg was laid byToaster, a bantam Cochin hen
#15, a small dark green egg
#16 a bantam egg laid by Wiggles, our gray mottled Belgian d'Uccle--Wiggles has actually gone broody and is a candidate for mama!

5 Embryos I *think*:
#1, a large dark green egg
#6 & 7, large light blue eggs
#11, a small light green egg
#14 & 15, small dark green eggs

So we may have as many as 12 chicks hatch!  I'm feeling good about the five 'maybes' having embryos so I'm leaning that way...hatch date is April 29th & 30th!

Spring Is Bustin' Out All Over...

So the landscaping we put in last year is really taking off...

The pink dwarf flowering almond is especially gorgeous and seems really happy.

They're beautiful things, I'm really glad we put in three of these!

These petunias reseeded from last year, the kid's school grew them for the town's hanging baskets that line Highway 395 through the center of town, they smell amazing.

Both the Lavender Twist contorted redbud trees are blooming with tiny, snapdragonlike blooms.

The Showtime crape myrtle is gearing up...

And out in the future vegetable garden, the Sugar Tyme crape myrtle tree is being stupendous!

But all is not happy in Chickenland today.  Shake, the tiny Belgian d'Uccle, decided to get jealous and take personal offense at Alice the Barred Rock following me around as I took pictures, and picked a fight.

At first Alice politely ignored her, but you can only take so much of a microhen pulling your tail and growling and talking trash at you. 

Alice stares at Shake as if to say, 'You sure about this, little bug?'

She's sure!

Zip stands by, unhappy at the fight and growling, warning these two she's gonna break this nonsense up any second.

Luckily Alice ends things by jumping and sitting on Shake, who wisely decides to retire from the field of honor and runs off.

Meanwhile in the coop, Burger thinks it's too warm to engage in such silliness and cools off.

And egg laying goes on full steam in the nest boxes.

It's SRO, line up girls!
Pie voices her displeasure at being at the back of the line, however.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Chicks In 21 Days And Counting!

As of 9AM this morning, the eggs are in the ReptiPro incubator and cookin' away!

We ended up setting a total of 18 eggs...we always have some that don't develop so setting 18 and hoping to end up with about 12 seems like the sweet spot to aim for. I selected a variety of standard size eggs and bantam eggs in various colors and types, all of the eggs this year came from our own hens.  

#1,2 are large dark green eggs, #2 came from Crack, a grey Americanas/Giant Cochin mix,
#3, 4 & 5 are large light brown eggs,
#6, 7 are large light blue eggs,
#8, 9 are large dark brown eggs,
#10 is a large white egg,
#11, 12 & 13 are small light green eggs, #13 was laid by Toaster, a white/gray/buff bantam Cochin,
#14, 15 are small dark green eggs,
#16, 17 & 18 are little bantam eggs, #16 came from Wiggles, a mottled gray/white Belgian d'Uccle hen.

So off they go!

Hatch days should be in three weeks:  Friday, April 29th for the bantam eggs (banty eggs tend to hatch at 20 days rather than 21) and Saturday, April 30th for the rest of them!

And yeah...gonna be turning eggs 5 times a day for the next three weeks...

Friday, April 8, 2016

Countdown To Chickam!

So we're tired of waiting for our uncoopperative big fluffybutts to get on the stick already and go broody.

It's still just little Sophie, the half Sicilian Buttercup bantam mix, who is broody right now. So we've gathered 12 eggs to hatch for Chickam and we'll start them in the ReptiPro this Satruday morning, the 9th!

Hatch day(s) should be April 29th-30th!  This is allowing, of course, for the probable early hatch of the bantam eggs, those little suckers love to hatch at 20 days instead of 21.

This year's candidates, we tried for an interesting mix:

Our plan is to move Sophie into the brooder box one or two days before hatch and place 6 (or fewer, don't want to overwhelm her) of the eggs under her, the other six will stay in the ReptiPro. After the hatch, however many chicks we end up with will all be transferred to Sophie so she can mother them all.

Hopefully all goes according to plan and on hatch day we end up with chicks hatching in the incubator AND under Sophie. In the event Sophie doesn't work out or drops her brood before hatch day, we'll do it like we usually do, all the way in the incubator.

Of course if one of my BIG girls would go broody, THEY could be mama and successfully cover all 12 eggs...we'll see!

Now to turn eggs 5 times a day for the next three weeks...

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Day Hike To King's Canyon

Today we decided to celebrate the last day of the kid's Spring Break with an outing to King's Canyon, which sports a pretty little waterfall, on the outskirts of Carson City.

It's a short hike, only about a half mile each way.  There's a fair bit of rise in elevation to it though, and the trail is steep in spots.

There's some room to park at the trailhead, and judging by the number of cars we weren't the only ones with the idea of a hike today.  But off we went anyway!

There is a nice memorial to three firefighters who died in 1976, people in our area take honoring and caring for the firefighters very seriously as we have serious brush/forest fires around here every year.

A little way up the hill, looking back at the parking area.  I have no doubt that the poor guy who lives in the house on the left is constantly beseiged with people knocking on his door and asking to use the bathroom, the phone, can I get a drink of water, yada yada yada...

Gaining a bit of elevation...

The kid with her trusty walking stick was enjoying herself...

A little further up, looking back again...

The kid channels her inner Muir!
...while her parents cop a squat, rest for a few and enjoy the view.

We get to the top where the cleft and waterfall are and gawk at the pointy, angled rocks on the hill above.

Sadly for me, this is where I am thwarted by the inability to scramble over a small rockfall in order to get to the waterfall.  I have no doubt I would have taken the quick way to the bottom if I'd tried.  Not wanting to end the day at the ER I chose to wait here while J. and the kid explored the waterfall.  It was disappointing, but maybe someday I'll be able to make the climb all the way to the top.

Husband and kid climb the rocks and find the waterfall!  My kid immediately turns into a mountain goat and climbs the rocks.

It's a pretty little thing, from here the water spreads onto the rocky ground to the depth of a few inches, then continues on down the gorge.

The base of the waterfall...

...and where it spreads out before flowing down the gorge, this is looking back at the rockfall I couldn't manage.

People over the years have carved their names into this tree.

The upper part of the waterfall...

We had plenty of company, people taking their kids to enjoy the day.  To everyone's credit, we found absolutely NO trash on our hike.  People are awesome about packing out their trash and the area is pristine.

The kid explores closer...

The moss is inspected...

 ...and pronounced 'slimey and slippery'.

Yup. pretty much.  Anyone who's ever hiked and discovered a waterfall can attest to how treacherous this stuff can be!

After enjoying the waterfall and the view for a while, it was time to head back down.

We'll definitely be back!