About Me

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I am a 50+ yr old stay at home wife of a scientist/Military man.  I raise chickens for eggs, rescue dogs & cats & spoil them all.  I am a silver/metal smith & stained glass artist.  I, at one time was an secondary art teacher & Social Studies teacher.  I am sorta a eclectic earth mother who recycles everything I can get my hands on.  Enjoy working with power tools & even built my own 10ft by 6ft chicken coop.  am pretty much interested in learning everything I can thur books, magazines & friends. I enjoy veggie gardening & doing gardens just for the chickens. I also sew & love making pioneer style comfortable clothes for myself & adding vintage lace when I can find it. I am pretty easygoing, but need my coffee first before I am ready to face the world & day.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Ok now who has the snow, cause it sure ain't up here where it belongs!

Well you would think by now we would be covered in a few feet of snow, but tonight we got a huge down pour which I know by morning will be ice on the roads.  I keep waiting for the snow like what we had in October, but it seems to have gone on else where.

I think with my bad shoulder its probably a good thing that I am not having to carry in the firewood, but I keep waking up hoping to see the snow.  I am sure there are many around here that are not looking forward to any snow but then again if you live in Massachusetts what do you expect?...Florida weather?...

I am doing better with the shoulder pain most days, today was not too bad, but I will tell you I never knew simple movements we take for granted could be so painful when you have a damaged area.  This getting older bit doesn't seem to bother me but I sure do hate all the aches & pains that seem to come with it for me.....  who knew a heating pad would be a best friend?

I hate taking drugs if I can keep from it so I am a fan of heating pads & ice packs but I did find a medical lotion for pain that has cobra venom in it...OK that sounds really bad, but other than the weird taste in my mouth, it works really good for the shoulder & arthritis I have in my ankles.  Even the pharmacist said if people get stung by bees for arthritis this should work out fine for me.....We'll see how it does in the long run & over the winter.

Cagney & Lacey seem to be adjusting just fine to their new home. I actually let them out of their cage yesterday since they seemed to not be afraid of the other chickens.  I am very happy to see they are eating everything I put in their feeder for them.  Poor things are literally skin & bones under all those pretty feathers.
Hopefully soon I will get some pictures of them up for you as they are quite pretty plus the newest babies that were hatched last July have gotten bigger & I want new pictures of them as well.  Indora grew to have white around her comb while the rest of her is mainly black.  Reminds me of a skunks strip on each side of her comb. its fun to see how they will be one color when small but then totally change as they grow.  Sometimes I can't remember who is who when this happens....

I am hoping by the end of the winter to have Cagney & Lacey fattened up enough that they will lay eggs for me.  I think if they get healthy that CeeCee will mate with them & maybe I will have a few new babies in the spring from those two.  should be interesting to see what colors show up.

Well next Wednesday I will be picking Thomas up from the Reserve Center in Hudson, Massachusetts....He is now I think in country but have no idea where he is or how he is, but I am sure he is tired from all the flights & waiting for flights to get back.  I have all his Yule gifts wrapped except for the popcorn popper I just got him. He loves popcorn so thought this would be a nice gift for him, plus now I can pop corn for the chickens...Yeah its really for the chickens but I will let him think its all for him. I am sure the 'kids' won't mind sharing with Thomas as long as they get some also while he is popping it.

(Added Saturday) Just found out they are still in Afghanistan, seems while its snowing the civilian pilots can't fly the is now suppose to get in country on Monday but not sure if he will be home actually on the 21st.
Didn't go to therapy today, dealing with a migraine & if any of you have them you know driving & thinking are hard enough without having to have therapy on top of it.  Now these I will take pills for since after nearly 40 years they found a drug that actually works for me.  I started getting them at age 17 & they would go on for up to 2 weeks at a time.  Talk about pure hell!  I can't tell you how many times I stayed in bed, in the dark for days on end, no eating, no talking, no moving.  Around the age 37 they started to go away some, instead of days/weeks I'd  have one that would be semi-bad for a day or two...then by my 40's I got them only a few times a year.  Well with the change of life they have decided to come back but now my doctor finally found a drug that I can take that makes me loopy but I don't have to hide in the bedroom as often.  But forget about driving!  You really don't want me behind the wheel of any car while on them.....not that I would be speeding but I would be driving so slow you could walk faster than I would drive.

I must say I am happy medicine has advanced to where people like me who have these headaches can get relief even if we move in slow motion for awhile.

I pretty much am prepared for the winter, the 'kids' all have feed, heat lamps & a well supplied medical kit ready for them.  That's all I worry about around here cause I know I will be fine no matter what hits....but the chickens need to be happy & comfortable...its not like they can put on an extra sweater when they get cold even though I am making little knitted sleeveless sweaters for them...Yeah laugh all you want, but they love them when they get used to them being on.  I even have some cashmere scraps I am working on for them...I need to felt them before I sew them into sweaters so they will be more

I am not the only one who does this, just the other day I saw on the web, a chicken in a knitted poncho that as so cute.  My biggest worry is they will trip over the things so I am always working on making mine better but since the chickens are all different sizes it means I have to make each one to fit the chicken I want it for.  the bigger fluffier chickens I don't worry about but I have some that don't seem to have as many feathers & those are the ones I make the sweaters for.  Porgie my little Serama is not used to it being so cold & I rally worry about him.  When I pick him up he is shaking so hard you know he is cold so I have made one for him that will go one him later today when he comes into the house to visit.  this will be his first winter & I think even with the heat lamps he will stay colder than the others.

Well its time to go get some more coffee so I shall close for now...Until next time have a wonderful chicken day!.....M'

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Having the whole world at your finger tips

                                                          Saint Augustine, Florida

I find it amazing that with the push of a button I can open the whole world up to see.  I can find out what is going on in any country if I feel like it, look at real time pictures of places & watch videos on my computer.   How is it you can connect to anything you want yet feel so alone?  I keep up with my friends either by phone or email or if feeling really wild will sit down & write a letter by hand.

I go through these periods of time where I don't know who, what or where I am.  Its not like being body or mind tired, it goes deeper than that inside me & I wonder what in the hell I am doing.  Am I suppose to be doing more?

Its funny in my younger years, I never seemed to have a moment to myself so any quiet time was wonderful. Now it seems to be all quiet time & no one knows I am here.  Maybe its because of the consent shoulder pain that has me so blue, because everything else seems to be fine.  The chickens & cats are all doing well & are healthy.  I even went & got 2 new hens today, that were going to spend the winter outside so I made a deal with the guy.  I would take the 2 hens he had & give him eggs in trade whenever he came by for them.

I have worried about them all Fall & knew they would die if I didn't do something, since he only fed them table scraps & had no real place for them.  He wanted them for eggs, but would not get them chicken feed that would make them healthy enough to lay.  So Cagney & Lacey came with me today & are now settled in a nice big hay filled cage, with lots of feed & cracked corn in the shop.  Until the other 'kids' get used to them they will stay in the cage for about 7 days, then I will hopefully be able to release them to be with the others.

Tomorrow I will check them, dust them for mites & do a medical inspection of them.  You would think with the 'kids' I would be a very content person, but I seem to dip down into this darkness that makes me wonder if I am doing all that I should be.  Plus I hate not having anyone my age around, being every ones Momma at times is so hard.  No they don't ask me for things, it my mind set with them.  I can not see them as equal age friends but as my children who I worry about & want to take care of. I love them but its more of a Mothers love than a friendship love...if that makes any sense to you all.

Soon Thomas will be home & I worry about that even.  will we go back to the same way things were before he left, him up in his game room & me down stairs?  Will we go days without speaking to each other again or me doing all the talking, while he watches TV & doesn't really hear me?  I know part of our behavior towards each other is because we have been together for over 20 years so its like there is nothing new to say.  but I hate when I want to talk or feel lonely & I have to fight the TV, computer or his games to have him pay attention.

One of the reasons I got so into the chickens was because I felt so lost & needed to feel connected to something, even if it only has 2 legs & runs to me for treats.  When they feel sicky I can hold them, nurse them as best I can & know I tried to help.  But when I am sicky or need to be hugged, held or listened to I hit a brick wall.

I am not feeling sorry for myself, just realizing that things are not how I saw them 20-30 years ago.  I thought by now I would be a grandmother, a good wife & friend, who had everything she needed to be happy & content.  Now I am not talking about material things, those I don't care about, but I thought my insides would be at peace finally.

I am blessed in a lot of ways thought, I have a wonderful little Sister,who is always my best cheer leader, a son who is healthy,working & making it on his own.  I have a hard working husband who never complains when things are tight or hard. But most of the time I feel so disconnected & separate from everything.  its like I am in one place & everything else is in another place & I can't seem to meet up with it.

I know I have a part of me that wants to live like a pioneer woman, I feel best when I am doing things the old hard way.  I do best when things are tough & I feel alive.  No electricity, no problem, no running water, no problem, washing clothes by hand also not a problem.  But I get this odd feeling of not being part of the world when I have to just push buttons to get things done.  Its like I was born at the wrong time or have been here before & remember what I was then & it doesn't fit with what I have to do now.

No I am not drunk or on drugs right now, The person who writes all these fun stories about her chickens ect is me, but there is a side of me that never feels she's in the right moment of things.  Its like that sock the dryer eats & you never find...I feel like that missing sock, I know I am suppose to be in that dryer with its match but somehow I got sucked into a dryer void, just sitting there waiting for the dryer to let me come home again.

To be part of the pair, but my thing is I no longer know what the pair is I am to be with.....I do know that in time things change & I will change with it but days, weeks & months of feeling disconnected is hard to fight.

I also know that this time of the year is a very hard time for me emotionally, its the time I think of my Mother more than normal, she passed away when I was just barely 11 & even 41 years later I still miss & long for her. Each year, I think it will be easier on me but then it hits hard all over again, so I sort of stumble through the months until I am back to being fairly normal.  I know many people go through the blues during the holidays like I do & eventually work their way out of it.  So I hope those who read this realize that even this crazy ole chicken lady has her hard times but I promise I will get through it, I always do plus my kids need their Momma to bring them their treats each day.

until next time have a wonderful chicken day & a safe & peaceful holiday...M'

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Bumps, bruises & just too darn cold!

Ok, I know the sunflowers have gone for the season, but who knew me, who loves the cold would be freezing!.....Right now I have on a sweater, long velvet dress, leggings & socks & still can't get warm!...Now I want to know why my change into a Crone has decided this winter loving girl now has to be cold all the time?

Where are the hot flashes when you need them?  Did I mention I have on fingerless gloves also?  maybe should put on a hat to finish out the outfit.

My biggest fear is the summer is going to come & I will be out there sunbathing....will not be a pretty sight & I hate to sweat, but if I am cold now & there is no snow on the ground, the sun is shining what will I be doing next?

Things have settled down here & the chickens aka 'kids' are doing well.  Since it has cooled off they are laying like crazy.  I am getting so many eggs I have 3 neighbors now getting them, which I might add they really enjoy.  Today I gave one a doz of green & light blue eggs from my newest layers & they are so pretty...
Who knew eggs could be so much fun to just look at?

Can't wait for Thomas to get home the 21th so I can start up the baking for him & use more of the eggs myself.  I have a bunch of wonderful gluten free bake things I want to do.  we aren't gluten allergic but my little sisters boyfriend is so I find recipes for her & some are really good so I have started making them because of how healthy they are.

I ordered some oriental beans from my Co-op to sprout this winter for us & the chickens.  Since we get so much snow & they can't get to grass, I thought this would be a easy but good treat for them throughout the snowy months. Plus its another good treat for them.  I also bought about 3 pounds of beef fat to make into special chicken suet.  I was able to find a huge suet holder at the feed store for the bigger coop, I do have the smaller ones that will work well in the 2 small coops but wanted a bigger one for the 12 in the large coop.

My neighbor Kelley's husband got a 8 point deer a bit ago & I asked them to give me the rib cage since they were not going to deal with it.  I took bolt cutters to the ribs & snapped them off & have them in bags in the freezer to throw into soups & stews plus trimmed about 2-3 lbs of meat off the under side of the spine that will be excellent for chili. After I got all I could from it, all was left was the spine area, so took that out to put under the shop for my 3-4 wild cats I have out there.  They have been here since I moved here & I try to give them things like this to help them out & they re-pay me by getting the mice.

I screwed up my shoulder this summer moving frigs & wood stoves so finally got into physical therapy.  It's working out well, but I never knew all those simple movements you normally do during the day can cause a fire in my arm.  Yeap, am slowly learning what not to do or to do differently.  Last night Monk kitty decided to play with some yarn & got it on the steps so when I was taking a dish to the kitchen I fell down 2 stairs & landed on the elbow of the bad shoulder....Cussed up a storm while everything turned today has been  no movement except for the exercises, the therapy lady is going to have a field day this next week with me.

Thank goodness a neighbor was out & I got him to take the 2 feed bags of chicken feed to the shop for me & dump it in the big barrel I have.  Or it would have just stayed in the car until I ran out of feed in the shop.  For his help he is the one who got the green & blue eggs.

Still have not been able to get any pig fat to make my lye soap with.  Everyone who is having their pigs butchered is keeping the fat, so hopefully soon I will be able to get some because I really want to make soap with the ash lye I made this summer.  I may have to just make it in the house on the wood stove if too much more time passes since I do not want to be out in the snow cooking it, if I am cold now I will be a frozen girl out there with a wooden paddle stuck in my hands & no way to get back into the house since I am sure the chickens can't carry me in.

Well I hope all of you are doing well & getting settled in for this winter & all the holidays.

Until next time have a wonderful chicken day....M'

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Another Fall clean-up / did a tornado hit this house!

                                                                        Lovey 2009

OK so maybe the house isn't quite a pigsty yet but what is it about Fall that makes me want to drag out everything & try to organize?  Most like to do spring cleaning but with me its the time of the year I start that whole nesting thing over again & come up with a huge mess that grows by the day.

I have such great plans in my head that I will go through things that I never seem to use & get rid of them one way or another but what happens is I get side tracked & instead of working on one room at a time I wonder from room to room & see things that need to be done....So what happens is i get these piles/nest of things in different areas that are all screaming at me to do something with....yeah you know where this is going, don't you?!

All that wonderful energy has now left the body & the mind has gone on to another country to visit....where I might add everything is in its place or now lives with someone else.  Now, I wish I could say its just having a hurt shoulder but I do this every year.  I can remember as a teenager having this big wonderful room with my own bathroom & deciding to fix things.....move furniture, dust, re-organize the clothes & on & on....It always started out well but after 2-3 days of this my mind would burn out.

You would think I would have gotten a clue to this & stopped it,..... but for some reason I can't.......  its like someone else takes over & says you can do this Michele'...... this year will be different. Well the only difference is there is different stuff to tend to!. Everyone has been so kind about giving advice throughout the years...take it slow, do one thing at a time, take mini breaks & so on....Oh please!  Even if I put on horse blinders I know it would still come out the same way.

My thing is & I question often...Who is this person who is needed to do this & why?  Wasn't everything just fine sitting there covered in dust...... not bothering anyone?  Why do lots of items start needing all this attention at the same moment in time?  why aren't they wearing the horse blinders?

Plus once they get to the piles, where do they next go?  into boxes or bags, then what...I am sure some the garage man will enjoy but who really needs or even wants the stuff I have collected & not used?  Will it just get the same treatment elsewhere? or worse thrown into a box & left in the attic?

It seems so simply to just go through the stuff & deal with it, but then when you have to make paths throughout the house just to get to another area, it gets to be too much for even me.  Its now time to crash & burn...brain shuts down, body refuses to pick up or store another item & you tiptoe through the rooms pretending everything is neat & clean.

OK I admit I am a bit of a pack rat, blame it on childhood or whatever, but I get things that I have wonderful dreams for & then something else comes along & replaces those dreams.  It seems to have gotten worse with the raising of chickens.  Every plastic container now can have a use, those milk jugs can now hold water for them during the cooler months, that piece of fencing could be used...newspapers can be shredded for the compost or used in the wood stove....Cardboard also for the compost or gardens or to hold the plastic stuff for the chickens....See it can be madden to say the least.

Thank goodness I didn't do this with the bedroom, but with my bad shoulder I am not sleeping in the only clean room in the house.  Plus I am sure if I was in there I would be dragging out the clothes & bedding & doing the same thing that is in every room of the house.

For those of you who know me its my manic stage kicking in so you get what is going on with me, but for those of you that don't, it can get pretty crazy to think that every room has boxes like moving day, but I am not moving!

Over the years I have tried to come up with things that would make it easier on me but all good deeds in thought never make it to the front of the brain & to the hands.  Once my mental tornado has hit, I just have to wait out the ride & go from there.  which means months instead of days getting the things back to where I want them or out of the house.

Now if I could just get up, grab that coffee & work on it I would be ahead of it but then my chickens need something like a coop cleaned out, I need to go to the feed store for bedding hay & feed, checks need to be written for bills or its Sunday & Dexter is on....See, that's why it takes so I need to check my email, make sure my FarmVille is tended to, write something just never ends.

I am thankful that Thomas is understanding or turns a blind eye to this, but then again his game room which I never touch is a wreck as well!....But after 21 years of living with me he just stays out of my way if he is here & never complains about the paths he has to take to get to his chair to watch TV.

By the way, Gertie has decided she needs to come into the house to spend time with Piper,  tonight she refused to leave & go to the coop, so she is down with Piper & Lauria for the night.  I have a feeling this will keep happening as long as Piper is in the house healing her bad leg.  But to be honest I really missed her once she went to the coop at night......she is my talker & a joy to hang out with, so I am fine with that.

Until next time have a wonderful chicken day!....M'

Monday, November 14, 2011

Winter blessings are soon to come

                                                                     Baby Monk 2011

My little sister took this picture of Monk while she was here in July for my minor surgery.  It was so cute I had to post it for all of you to see.  As many of you know, his 4 siblings didn't make it, but everyday I am so happy that Monk pulled through & is here with me.  He just had his last series of shots until next year & even gained almost 2 lbs within 3 weeks.  This boy has 2 different kitty foods to choose from, the no grain feed of Big Momma's or the urinary tract feed of Einsteins.  so he gets the best of 2 worlds in this household.

I finally was able to once the blizzards snow melted, to get the 2 coop kids together during the day so instead of just 6 kids in the backyard, I now have 17 that are free to roam around & enjoy the yard.  I hated having the big coop kids in a run once I got the fence in, but just had no good days where I could set up a fence so they could see each other but not get to each other to fight.

After 3 days of this, the smallest of the babies was able to get through a section & was left alone to wonder & eat grass, so the next day I opened up that area of the fencing after CeeCee figured out how to get out also.  Only Gertie faced off with CeeCee, but I was there to stop it & now after a week they are doing wonderful.  They still go back to their own coops at night, but I enjoy that they all have more freedom during the day.  Plus Monk & his Momma Macy seem to enjoy running around & playing among the kids.  Just so you know the baby kids are now 4 months old & tower over Monk so he doesn't try to go after them.

Now I will work at getting the 4 basement kids out there & hopefully into the smaller coop before the next snow.  I would love for them to be together, even though to be honest I don't think they care as long as they get their share of the feed & treats.

I have gotten much better working the old wood cook stove but have yet to cook anything on it except for water. But soon I will be using it as Thomas is getting to come home in Dec instead of Feb. Can you say Happy Dance!  In the 18 yrs we have been married we have spent 5 yrs of that separated.  I don't mind so much since I do well being by myself, but I don't eat well when he is away.  Its not that I eat a lot of junk, I just don't eat & drink too much coffee. with him home I cook so that I know he is getting good healthy foods which means I get good healthy foods also.

Now that my little Sis & I learned how to use my bread machine, I can't wait to make him whole grained & egg breads.  We are not big bread eaters, but I can make enough different breads & rolls with this machine that we will have good breads to go with the homemade soups, stews & chili's I make during the cold months. Plus this machine will let me make quick breads like pumpkin which we both enjoy.

You all know I can't make bread to save my life, but with this I can have the machine do the mixing, then I can take it out, do more batches & let it rise in bowls, then bake it all at once.  When I use my oven, I try to make sure I have plenty of things to go in it so I am not wasting the fuel.  Plus now with the old cook woodstove I will work on learning the oven part so I can bake in it....I will first do casseroles in it so not to destroy the breads. At least with a casserole if its not done I can microwave it or throw in in the regular oven.

This winter was going to be a slow season for me without Thomas, partly due to a bad left shoulder that has not healed & has gotten worse.  But I have an appointment for it this Wednesday so hopefully something will get worked out.  With Thomas home he can do the heavy lifting, if & when I remember to ask am looking forward to him being home even if it may be a short time.  He may go back to Afghanistan for 2 years to work for a computer company that sets them up for the military.  So far its up in the air but I will enjoy knowing he is here & with me & the kids.

I have been working on a few different things lately.....finally boiled the deer legs I had in the freezer, outside of coarse...since they smell something nasty.  Once completely dry I will cut them to make bone buttons for my old fashioned clothes I sew.  Been practicing my needle tatting & am more comfortable with it now & am enjoying it...still got a long ways to go on it looking really good but its fun.  Got up into the sewing room & completed a skirt & top & working on a long muslin skirt right now.

Also decided since so many people ask me questions about raising chickens to write a small book on how I raise chickens.  You can get so much information through books & the web but some of the stuff I have learned isn't listed anywhere.  Everything is more on a professional level but not all of us need the professional information, we just want the common sense information.  Well its a bit bigger..ok its a lot bigger than I thought it would be but I decided since I was doing it to add recipes, medical, Vitamins & mineral information  plus add pictures & information  of things you can make yourself instead of going out & buying things.

Right now its still in the rough draft stage but I will send it to my little sis to review for me & catch my mistakes.  She is good at seeing things I might have misspelled or repeated so she is in a sense my editor.
It will be self published here at The Old Batz Farm & I will do a poor mans copyright on it until I know its something people want to have.  I am excited about this as I love to write & eat up information whenever I can. So keep your fingers crossed for me & this booklet on my kids.

Until next time have a wonderful chicken day...M'

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Massachusetts Oct Nor'easter 2011

                            The Shop

Must say it sure is pretty but I was one of the lucky ones who had oil lamps, a cooking wood stove & plenty of wood to keep us all warm.  We went 2 or so days without electric which didn't bother me a bit but I could hear generators running from the neighbors.

Most around here live in all electric houses so they have a tougher time of it than I do....but years ago I learned my lesson being in that type of house & knew it was not something I wanted to deal with ever again.  I also have a propane stove & hot water heater which is a blessing when times like this come here.

I also got extra bedding down for the chickens & gave them cracked corn to help keep them warm so they all made it just fine...even if they refused to come out of the coop that first

I had to shovel 3 foot of snow off the tarped garage since the snow was so heavy it was starting to bend the frame.  Can't have that as that's where my wood supply is :).

Off & on throughout my life i have lived in places with no heat or electricity & I don't seem to mind it when we are without...I have good sweaters, warm heavy socks & lots & lots of blankets.  I guess I am one of the few who just doesn't think about what is happening but what I have to get done....then get it done.

I do know that as I age I am thankful I am smart enough to be able to handle these events without going crazy & worrying.  its sorta nice to just go with the flow of it all & know that I can take care of what needs to be done.

We did set a record for snow in October up something to talk about at the grocery store when I do decide to go.  I am thankful though that I built extra good chicken coops for my kids & that they would be alright.  They are all I thought about while this was happening...did I get enough hay down for them?  do they need more corn?...if the water frozen?  but I guess I did something right because they are all happy & now that the electric is on I made sure all their lamps were dusted & working correctly.

The cats have been piling on me at night to the point I can't move without knocking one of them or the wearing a movable fur coat.

I hope all of you that went through this as well are safe & sound.

Until next time have a great chicken day...M'

Monday, October 24, 2011

The antique wood stove is in / how I almost broke my spirit

                                                     1936 cream & green cooking stove

Hello to all my chicken friends,

I may only be about 5ft 5ins tall & around 148 lbs but when I decide to do something there is little that stands  in my way......not even a 250-300 lb cooking stove!

A week ago yesterday, a friend was suppose to show up to help me move this from the shop into the house......yeah like I need to tell you!...a no-show as usual....I was a bit mad so decided it was coming in one way or the other.....well I was able to get it onto its side & on a far so good..started to move it towards the house & it hit the lip of the cement into the shop.

For the life of me I could not get it over that silly lid & it finally decided it had had enough & was coming down.....stove,Dolley & my arms.  Thank goodness I had just enough energy not to let it free fall & was able to get it down fairly ding to the side....

OK good time to over & out there trying to get it back up...who knew I could dead weight something that heavy???  but only to about my waist so down I let it & decided to just pull that puppy as far as I it again...this went on for 6 hours!  But low & behold I got it in & within 12 inches of where it would end up.  Loved having it in the house even if it was on its side & attached to the Dolley.

 I have been battling a bad left shoulder since the beginning of July....possibly pulled or torn tendon...well since I am alone right now, the things I have to do sometimes make it so I have to rest for a few days before I try anything open a door...& yes I am left handed so that's the hand that always goes out first to do anything.

I had a friend I needed to pay some money to who cut some of my wood, so after 2 days of resting the shoulder I went over to see him......a miracle happened, he had a friend with him  & they offered to move the stone onto its legs for me right then & there...5 mins to drive them to the house, 10 mins to get the stove exactly where I wanted it & 5 mins to get them back home...I can not tell you just how happy this ole lady was to see that stove in place & ready for me to do the pipes.

Next 2 days I worked cleaning pipes, sanding pipes & cutting pipes so they would fit this stove correctly...not as easy as the old wood stove.....But I did it & got them in nice & tight & correct to boot!...score one for me!

Now if any of you have ever dealt with a old wood cook stove, its not like a traditional wood stove...can't just throw the paper,wood & kindling in & off you go....Thank goodness I was able to find a old book on cook wood stoves that told you what all the levers, vents ect were for & how to use them.....

But if you have read any of my stuff you now its never that easy...I made sure the doors & windows were open & a fan pulling air out of the house......very little paper put in, kindling , a few pine cones plus a small tea candle of two.....learned they do great for helping stat a fire.  OK stepped back, rechecked everything......lookin' good...lite it.

No one notified the fire department because they knew if they see smoke coming out of my back door & I am not running down the street screaming, that I am trying to build a fire......This was not a small amount of smoke, it came out of the top closed burners, through every vent & was so bad I had to kick all the pets out plus I had to come & go outside while I tried to deal with this.....I knew that when the pipes are cold that sometimes heating them will help draw the smoke up through the I got out my small hand held jewelry blow torch & heated every thing I could reach.......yeah that helped a bit but I could not image doing this every day but it finally worked..An hour later smoke gone & nice hot fire going.

So you think that's the end of it?  Please!..did I mention that for some reason I decided to oil the top to help get some of the rust off?.....I am up in the office & smell more smoke...go downstairs & see the oil being burned off the top cooking,doors & fans open & on again....I did not do a heavy coat so it just smoked like a cast iron pan would....grabbed some paper towels & wiped as much oil off as I could, which I might add with the heat the rust came off wonderfully....another 30 mins or so later could shut doors/window/fan off.

You have to realize as you are laughing, that I have never ever had one of these stoves so was clueless even with the book on what to do right....thank goodness for the web is all I can say.  I found on You tube a man who takes you through the steps & shows how to prim a vent...prim a vent?  New one for me.....he used a tight wad of newspaper but I thought I could use one of the tea candles to do the same thing...hey it worked!  When the candle flame quit dancing around & stood up straight & then bent towards the flue the wind in the chimney was going the right direction so I could light the fire without it coming back into the room....How smart is that!!!

Yesterday did another fire with only small bits of smoke before it took off & today I had a bit more trouble because the winds outside were pretty fast...but no hour of clearing out the house.  I still see this as a on going event of fan use ect but hopefully I will have it down pretty well by the time the snows come.

Then when Thomas returns I get to teach him, which should mean the fans come out again....does he ever listen to me?????

I was able to give Mason, the broiler Roo to a friend to butcher before he  got any more weight on him & injured himself....he stopped by today & brought me a bit of the cooked meat & raved about how tender that Roo I said 'Now you know why I feed them as I do'......he was impressed & I must admit Mason turned out to be a very tender tasty bird......May he rest in peace.

Was down to only one hen in the house, but this morning noticed Piper my girl with the Charlie Chaplin leg was having such a hard time walking plus she is molting, I decided she needed to come in for the winter.  She can't get to the food & water very well with the bad leg so this way she won't have to work to get the food plus with her having few feathers she will be warmer in the house....I just checked on her & Lauria....Piper is on a big old wool piece of fabric & Lauria was up near the wood I think they are content.

My winter supply of feed for them is all here but the 7 grain mix.....They will all have a good winter again with all the different grains ect I add to their feeds.  With the weather cooling now they are starting to eat more which I am glad to see since this summer they all got a bit skinny under those feathers from the humidity.

Macy kitty is now fixed so no more babies for her & her son Monk is growing & healthy.

                                                                        Macy 2011

So anyhoo the Old Batz Farm is doing alright & almost ready for the winter.............Happy halloween to all that celebrate it...its my favorite much so I got married in costume on halloween in 1993.

Until next time have a wonderful chicken day......M'

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Add-on to big coop done, now to get the chickens all housed

                                                   Lauria, My crooked neck broiler girl

There is something that just melts my heart with my odd chicknes, don't get me wrong I adore everyone of them, but this picture of my little Lauria just makes my heart all warm.  her & Mason both the broiler chicks I took from the feedstore because no one else wanted them are doing very well for being over 4 months old.

Mason is now the size of a small turkey & I do worry about him, I so want them to grow old but a broilers life is short because of the breeding...a bantem hen to a regular sized rooster.....everything I have read says the heart can't grow fast enough or strong enough for them & the legs will sometimes break from the weight. 

So far so good with Mason, he has super big strong legs & he is no longer eating 24 hours a day so I may have a chance with him......Now Lauria can't eat like a normal chicken so her weight is not heavy & she seems to be doing well as far as the legs go....Because of her defective neck that keeps her from eating as much I think I can keep her for quite awhile.....fingers & toes crossed!

I got the 6 foot by 6 foot add-on to the coop done finally & have 7 of the in-house kids in it.  I put in a 4ft by 3 ft wooden box I had made for one of the original coops & set up the purches on top of it so it actually has more foot space now for them.  Gertie & Piper who limp stay on the floor area but the other 5 sleep on the purch.....They seem to be comfortable enough to use both laying boxes.

As you can see I am still the queen of recycling!  I used 2 damaged pallets & some extra stair posts....there is actually 2 post up there for them so they are not crowded.  this is on top of the 4 ft by 3 ft box & I lined the underside with old fabric vinyl to catch the poo & I can take it out to clean it &  return it.....much easier for me & I don't have to bend over to do it.

As you can also see from this picture I tarped the walls again, since I use old wood & some may have lead paint I want to protect the kids from eating it plus the tarps help since the coop is on the north side of the shop.

I am getting pretty good at building coops now since I have had to do so many in the last 4 years, plus I have learned treats that help me clean easier & make the space better for the kids.  All I ever wanted was happy healthy chickens.

Now if I can get rid of that neighbors Chow chow.  He showed up again this last week & climbed the 4 foot tall horse fencing my sis & I put up.  Porgie & Star missing but I was in the shop so able to get him to leave without any more damage.  The man had the nerve to drive down with the dog in his SUV & ask me how I knew it was his dog......& the dog was right there looking at me!  Called the police again & they came out, went up & told the man I could kill the dog & if it was there while they were there they would shot it.

I doubt the man will do anything since he has been warned before but I am sure he will change his mind if the dog comes home with an arrow in it....Crossbows have become my newest best friend.

Its so hard to be an animal lover & animal caretaker when you have to deal with someone like this who just doesn't care.  I have lost 5 hens & babies to this dog, 1 injured & 2 scared out of their little minds.  Oh just to let you know Porgie & Star finally came back home about 3 hours later unharmed.  I am thankful I decided against clipping their wings thats for sure.

The Farmers Almanac says we are getting a very bitter cold winter so am glad I got the firewood because I have been battling a messed up shoulder.  Doc thinks its a torn or strained ligament but boy does it hurt like the dickens if I use it too much with lifting.  Right now I can't let it heal like I need to since I have things that need to be done but I know this winter I will be able to let it rest & hopefully heal correctly.  We can only hope right?  those that know me know a bum shoulder won't stop me from doing what I need to do.

I haven't forgotten about posting the lye soap demo but we have had a shortage of pig fat at the slaughter house lately...leaner pigs you know have less fat...but I did get pictures of making the lye from the ash & as soon as I get the pig fat I will take pictures of rendering that & making the soap for you.  Hopefully I will get to that soon before the snows hit so I can render the fat outside but if not I have a woodstove I can do it on for you.....

In 2 days I am hoping to get the antique cook wood stove in the house, one of the roof workers is coming to help me, with pay of it or not I can move it, just not get it on top of the leg bracing that goes under it. I am very excited about having it in the house & being able to learn to use it correctly.  I even got a book on old fashioned cook woodstoves to show me how to mess with all the vents....I can't believe how many vents this thing has for all the different areas.  If you are not using the oven you have vents for the cook top, vents for the wood areas, vents for the oven & then vents for the chimney.  Yes I have a fan ready cause I know I will be smoking up the house until I get it right. I will have to warn the neighbors so no one calls the fire department when they see smoke coming out the back door.

What I find really cool about this stove is the chimney pipes are iron compared to what we have now...ok let me re-say are in iron & it has a iron vent piece with a knob for adjusting air flow to the chimney.  yes this type of thing fascinates me.  I am hoping to re-use some of the chimney pipes that are connected to the regular wood stove that is in there now with the cook stove as well.  I promise to take pictures & put them up once its done.  It a beautiful 1930's cream & green which I have always loved & to get this for only $50 still amazes me.

This year up here the corn crops weren't good so I didn't get a bushel of corn to can up, nor did I get any pumpkins since no one needed them.....I still have a freezer full of pumpkin I did last fall.  So I am only doing pears this year....well thats if it will quit raining & I get the energy to go get them from the neighbors tree....With all the rain we got this year the tree went crazy & is very heavy with fruit so I will have plenty to can, dry & make juice with. 

If you have never had pear juice you need to try it, not only is it great just to drink but I use it in pear/apple crisp, liquid for pies plus use it in the feed for the chickens. I add no sugar & only enough water to cook them down with before I put them through my juicing machine.  The pulp from that gets frozen into baggies for the chickens as well so there really is no waste.  Which I might add is a bonus.

Well this ole hen is tired so I will close for now......

Until next time have a wonderful chicken day......M'

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Time has run away from me or is my age is just catching up?

Hello my chicken friends,

As the title says I am so behind on everything, including up-dating this blog like I should.  It seems ever since Thomas left this time I just can't get all that I want done....Some days its all I can do to tend to the chickens, thank goodness they are easy to please.

Macy Gray had her 5 kittens July 13th & within 2 weeks I lost 4 to fleas, talk about super heart ache......I was bathing them every other day in a herbal flea bath but it just wasn't enough & the vet kept saying no to any chemical flea meds for them...the only reason I still have Monkshood (aka Monk) is someone told me to put just one drop of the flea meds on him & that is what I think saved him...

He & momma will be going in next week for their shots then hopefully soon after that they will both be fixed so I have no more new kittens coming.  I must say I have enjoyed having a new kitten in the house, its my first time to have a newborn & to watch it grow...the ankles aren't too happy since he thinks climbing & chewing on them is right now...OUCH!!!

Also I have 6 new chicks, Prudence & Ginger both hatched the eggs they were nesting on & they are so cute to watch.  I just took them off the medicated chick feed yesterday since they are more interested in the stuff the others were eating & the hens were getting into the medicated stuff... which was alright but had to throw out all the eggs for the last month or so.

I had minor surgery the beginning of August & my little sister came in from Arizona for 9 days to be with me.  I really didn't need a nurse, but boy was it nice to have her here with me.  I forget how quiet it is here & how the chickens & cats are the only ones I talk to.  She got up every morning & let all the chickens out so they got used to her & when I got up I would check them for food & water.  She also had a wonderful time with Monk, they would be together in one of the big chairs in the living room him napping on her while she watched TV. 

She & I were able to get up some 4 foot tall horse fencing in the back yard for the in-door chickens so they won't have to deal with that nasty chow chow getting to them...Oh by the way they are moving, well actually they got evicted from their place.  I guess the landlord got tired of the police & animal control being there & decided enough was enough.  Can't say I am sad to see them go.

I have been trying to get a few things done, but am slowing down to the point it takes days now instead of hours to complete got a load of firewood in & am slowing getting that stacked for the winter because I have another cord coming in in the next week or so once its cut for me.  the front porch roof is slowly getting repaired on nice days.

Leno who is rebuilding it for me took me to a neat old fashioned lumber yard where everything is done with very old machinery.....I must say it was really cool to see & smell all the sawdust...We were able to get 20 rough cut 2x4x10s for $50 to replace all the braces that are rotted.  while out we also stopped at a salvage store & I got 70feet of old ceiling tin tins for $50 also...there are areas near the front of the house & sides where if we remove the wood it will look really bad so I though why not leave that wood there since its not rotted but cover it with the old ceiling tins...they are all painted white that I will sand to age more, then spray with a clear coat before I put them up...this way it will add a bit of character to the ceiling area plus I have a ceiling fan I am putting in for a more southern feel that will go well with the tin tiles.  I miss my southern roots up here & this house being stucco I can do this country southern feel with & not have it look too odd...not that I would care but the neighbors may be unhappy if I go too crazy...

I have decided to also paint the cement floor & trim a turq/teal color to give it a bit of life. & maybe put a very light wash of it on the tin ceiling tiles to bring it all together.....this just depends on if I have the energy to get it done before the winter hits...right now I still have to build the other coop inside the shop for the basement chickens & part of the in house chickens so I can get them out there before it gets too cold.  but I must admit its getting so hard to try & do all this on my own.

a few years ago I fell down the stairs 2 days in a row & knew I had hurt not only discs, shoulder blades but shoulder joints also...well they have now decided to start acting up...the shoulder sockets that is, I can't even hang laundry very well without it hurting so it makes it hard to do some of the building, lifting ect that I need to do right now.  So that will mean a doctors appt in my near future, not something I want to do but if I can't use my arms I guess I will have to just get it done.

With all the rains we have had my garden didn't do too well this year but since I am by myself that was alright, but I sure missed the fresh tomatoes.  I actually dug up a few potatoes so that was nice.  next year the Farmers almanac says we won't have the rains like we did this year so I am hoping I will get the tomatoes I missed this year.  It will be nice while its snowing to sit & design my garden for the spring. 

thomas has decided when he gets back from Afghanistan to try & go back for 2 years as a civilian working for a computer company that is there setting up stuff for the military.  so that means he may be home all of 6 months before he leaves again... Not sure what I think about it but he & his dad decided it was a good thing to do without telling me so........

Plus he has also decided he wants me to pay off all our bills, buy a house back home (Missouri) & move us while he is gone plus sell this house.....So if his plans go the way he wants I will be very busy while he is away for the 2 years. In a way its better that way since we do not do well moving together....he gets pissy, then I get pissy & what should be easy becomes WWIII around here....this way I can do it the way I want & make it easier on me.  I have decided that if this happens I will buy a old van so that I can put all the 'kids' in it so they are with me while I drive back home....Yes I will have to have cages set up, nesting boxes, tarps ect but at least I will know they are with me & safe...should be interesting with the cats in there also....

Yes I could sell them all & get new chickens once I get there, but these are my kids & most are crippled or have medical problems so no one would want them or they would butcher them so I refuse to give them up.  Plus I do have earplugs so I am sure with those or a head set of music I will do fine......

I have been teaching myself to needle tat, bobbin lace & battenburg lace making this last month....I have had the bobbin lacing stuff for at least 2 years & just could not figure it out until I found a website where they showed how to do it......Its actually quite easy like the needle tatting but I can't see myself making yards of lace or tatting anytime battenburg lace I just wanted to say I could do it, but I now understand why its all done on machines no a days....lots of thread & time to do one small piece but still very cool.

Well my dear friends I had best go for now bu just wanted to let you know I am still kickin'

have a wonderful chicken day...M'

Monday, July 11, 2011

rain,rain,sun,rain,sun,rain ugggggggg....

                                                             Ginger snap AKA Ginger

Hello my chicken friends.....yes I know I have been so bad as of late to write...seems too many things going on or am just too hot & tired to want to write.

I decided to add Ginger as the picture because that little girl is broody again, so she is sitting on some eggs I need to go mark tomorrow.  I think its great since she is such a wonderful mother & right now with all the rain (since April) I really don't mind except I worry she may get too hot on the non-rainy days.....

I do have a fan set up in there so I think she will be alright, as the nights still get into the high 60 degrees & help cool the it down for her & the others.

The 2 newest babies...Laura & Mason are doing well, I got them free from the feedstore as Mason was injured & Laura had a crooked neck so no one would buy them...bad thing though is I am attached & they are broiler babies which means they will not stop growing but thankfully my friend Denny who is a hunter will take them when they get too heavy for their legs & butcher them for his family...I do not want them back nor can I eat them....yes its silly since they will be gone in a sense but to me their my babies.

I finally decided I couldn't take anymore loose chickens, even injured running around the dining room anymore, so set up a 5 man tent attached to the in-house chickens movable pen outside...So as soon as I get up they all are taken out of the playpens & put out there....even on rainy days...yeah for me!!!!  Plus they do have a lot more room, fresh air & some fresh grass they haven't eaten all up yet.  Plus I am no longer having as many allergy problems that I am sooo thankful for.

Thomas finally made it here for his 2 week leave the 1st of July from Afghanistan & I sent him to his folks in Vegas on the 5th & he will come back here July 12th for a few more days before I have to get him on a plane once again.  yes I said in my last blog I was going but.......

One of my friends in Florida was dying so I sent my best friend down there to be with her, unfortunitely she passed away this evening but with little pain & her children have been with her for the last 2 weeks, so she was not alone. My best friend had just returned home so she wasn't there but she did get to be with her while she was still awake.  The friend got Hype C back in the 1970's & refused to quit drinking so she over burdened her liver to the point the poisons were leaking out into her system & the doctors could do no more for her, so sent her home as she wanted to die in her home, not the hospital. Very sad, but I am more worried about my best friend because we all knew the other friend was going to die, maybe not this fast but my best friend is hurting really bad right now.

Ok thats part of why I didn't go to Vegas I admit part of me was too worried to leave the 'kids' for a week plus with all the airline tickets I have bought money is tight so I thought since Thomas would be hanging out with his dad & I would see him again before he left that I didn't need to be there. I am also having some minor surgery the 5th of August & my little sister Tamara is flying up to help me with the 'kids' since I will be slow moving...No its nothing serous but I will be in pain a bit for a while, so she wanted to be here to play Nurse Rachet.....hey its her words not told her as long as we didn't run out of coffee I would be fine...see I am so simple when it comes to help.  Plus she has had a time lately if you know what I mean so this will give her some down time to relax & see what she wants to do next with her life.....

After the chow chow attack on the 'kids' I got an infection & blew off taking Macy the cat to get fixed & wouldn't you know it the next door neighbors got a unfixed gray male cat...Yeap my little girl is now huge with babies.  Yes I will take responsiblity for this as its my fault for not doing the right thing, so we will have new cats here soon that will get fixed as soon as they can be done as will Macy.  though I feel guilt for this I am also excited since I have never had a pregnant cat or dog before, so when I get to hold her I love feeling the babies move around in side her....such a cool feeling knowing soon those little kids will be born....

I am pretty much ready for them...have the medical kit plus have dried farm milk that kittens can have if Macy decides she doesn't want to mother them....have plastic eye droppers & syringes to be able to feed the bathroom is all cleaned & ready for a box to be set up for them when they arrive.  My biggest concern is Macy is less than a year old & I hope she only have at the most 3 babies, but everyday she grows bigger & bigger & she may have a larger litter that could be really hard on her & the babies.

I have started her on a wet canned cat feed once a day to help her physically, she also eats Big Momma's no grain cat feed so hopefully she is getting the vits ect that she needs.

I am still sewing on the rainy days & am still enjoying it.  I watch/listen to DVD's while I sew so the time gts away from me just finished two 1950's dresses, one is a sundress the other is a house dress with a fabric belt that can be worn with it when you are out & about to fancy it up a bit....Must say they are both very roomy & comfortable.

I also decided to learn needle tatting & broke down & got a book on it & so far so good....not as hard as I though as its the same 2 moves over & over again...problem is sometimes I forget which move I just did but am enjoying trying.  I also got one of those knitting hoops & just finished a pair of socks on it & am doing another pair that are neon pink & will sew fancy lace around the top for the cuff.....that so far has gone quite well while sitting in the living room...I just wish the tatting went as fast but maybe someday it will so I can actually make something with it.  Right now is the learning stage & thankfully I am patient enough to know that I can not be a pro at it without practice.

I have yet to work on the big coop by adding more rooms to it, this year has been weird with the weather & since I am one of those who is affected by weather its sure slowed me down.......but I tell everyone its I am sure that has a bit to do with it also.  I was able to save most of the porch ceiling that I tore down to use on the added coop area.  The porch roof is being replaces so I though why not try & save as much of the good wood as I could.  The ceiling is about 90 yrs old but 90% of it is still in beautiful condition.  I do know that part of the paint has to have lead in it so thats why its being used for the coop.  The unpainted side will go inside the coop area & the painted area will be on the shop inside where I can seal it.  Plus I tarp the inside walls just to be on the safe side since chickens like to peck at if I can just get the energy to do it.

My poor garden is doing poorly this season, basil is the size of lettuce & bolted, but I will try & collect the seeds.  Tomatoes just stopped growing, they are pretty but no blooms & the same height they were a month ago.  My yellow squash & cantiloupe are doing great since they like all this rain, plus the mints I put out are also growing well.  Am happy that Kelleys tomatoes are doing well cause I will be over there hitting her up for some soon.  since I still give her eggs I am sure a few tomatoes weekly won't be a problem :).

The grass seed I put out 2 years ago in the back has been eating up all the rain & is now waist high, yes it needs to be cut but I can't keep up with the rest of the yard so I have let it go.  I do plan to weed eat it so I can take it over to Kelley's goats.....right now when I mow I rake up the grass & lay it out on the sidewalk to th shop to dry then use it in the coops.  Cheap free bedding then it goes in the compost.  It has too many other things in it that I am afraid to let the goats have so thats why I have been doing this.  The grass in the back I know will be safe for the goats this I am unsure of so better to be safe than have 2 sick goats...right?!

Well as you can see not much is going on here, but will get pictures of the new kittens when they come & post them...maybe someone will help me with names for them???   hint,hint....

Until next time have a wonderful chicken day!


Monday, June 6, 2011

April/May rains mixed with bits of sun & heat, bring out the ice please!

Hello my chicken friends, yes I know it has been awhile since I wrote last & I had promised to be better but this last month was a month I would have liked to have slept through.....

You all know from the last blog, I lost Bess & then Willow within a few days of each other around Mother's day so I was feeling pretty blue the last time I wrote but I had thought things would get better...boy was I EVER wrong.....

When I built my large chicken run I dug out the dirt so that I could bury chicken wire & attach that to the chicken wire fencing so that it would be harder for animals to get in & that maybe they would give up & go away.  Well the Sunday following Mother's Day I decided since it was a nice sunny morning to head out to see my friend Mary & pick up all my Co-op grains I had ordered for the chickens.....I can't tell you how much I enjoyed our visit, she is such a sweet gentle woman & just wonderful to be around.

I got home & decided to take out the in-house chickens out to their movable run & then felt it was a good time to give all of them some dried mealy worms.....I hadn't noticed that the big coop kids had been quiet until I got up to the run door & I didn't see any of them running up to me.  Well I found out why when I opened the door.....

there were feathers everywhere & I saw baby Opal dead, of course I started screaming cause I knew in my brain that this was just the beginning...I saw blood & another dead chicken inside the chicken condo.  Now when I came in to the run I always shut the door, well I am very lucky cause I didn't realize the animal was still in the run with me until I turned around & saw a very large red Chow Chow who had Tilly pinned to the ground with one of its paws.

I am still screaming & crying now & I ran at it to get to Tilly, that's when it bared its teeth at me & I realized it had no way out so I backed up & got the run door opened then charged at the dog yelling & hitting the plywood roofing near it..  Thank goodness it took off & I re-closed the door & ran to Tilly, she was chewed up all over her back but still alive, so I grabbed her & got her into the house onto the rocking chair where she would be safe.  I found my sweet little Mercy smashed under one of the wooden stairs leading to the coop that the dog had somehow torn away from the wall, I also found Mother & Crone dead but found Rosy scared & hiding behind the condo nesting boxes with her tail feathers missing but no other damage.

I got her into the house & ran back out into the coop now as I still had others that weren't in the run.  Thank goodness CeeCee, baby Pearl, Scarlette, Prudence & Zelda were alright.  Zelda had tail feathers missing & some rug burn wounds on her back so I brought her also into the house......I grabbed some plastic bags & got all the dead ones & laid them out......then after falling to my knees & crying for quite some time I was able to wrap each up & get them into the freezer so I could take care of the ones I had brought into the house.....But after checking on them I decided they needed the calm quietness of the house & I needed to go see if Kelley's chickens had been hit as well....

Sometime during all of this they had come home from church & they had been running last that morning & had left the chickens in the coop but Kelley came back with me to help me doctor the hurt ones.  Poor Tilly didn't move or cry out when I was bathing her bad wounds & her eyes were growing foggy so I knew I had to put her down.  Kelley held her while I got the chloroform out & before I did it I bent down & kissed her head & told her I was sorry.....The others got washed with benadine & antibiotics put on them & then put in cages in the house where it was quiet for them.  Kelley & I went back out to the run & shut up the coop since the kids were all to scared to come out & this way they could calm down better & I rechecked to make sure I got everyone.....

By the time Kelley left I was in a numbing fog but brought everyone back in that was out in the movable run & got the basement kids back into their coop & locked them in.  Even though it was a nice day all the coops were cool & I was so afraid the dog would come back, that I needed more for me than them, the feeling they were all safe.

The next day I had laid down to rest & realized I had missed Ginger so I ran out there & she was on top of the small roof in the run just looking at me & talking softly.  some how she had gotten on the roof & between a piece of plywood & the tarp & was so well hidden that I had missed her the day before even though I had moved the wood & tarp.  She was completely unhurt, but poor thing had been out there all night by herself.....I brought her into the house & put her in the cage with Rosy just to make sure I hadn't missed anything...Well by that night she & Rosy were doing fine so I took them back to the coop so they could be with their friends.  Poor Rosy who is a brown leghorn did alright, but the next day I noticed the others would chase her so I brought her back into the house....She is my nervous Nelly & I think she was just shook up more than I had realized.  She has adjusted to the inside to where I have the cage open so she can come & go & she is doing better every day now.  But I will not put her back in the big coop she will go with the basement coop as I think they will leave her alone.

I had screamed so much, I couldn't talk for 2 days which was fine with me, as I really didn't want to talk to anyone anyway.  Now I didn't call the police as you all know I am not suppose to have the chickens because I am a couple of feet short land wise for them, so I would have had to deal with all the crap over the chickens while the dog would have just gotten its owners a talking I let it go...

.But I did go to the Remington Rifle Company & bought a 12 gauge shotgun with practice if it does come back it will not be killed, but will be hurting when it heads home after being on my property. From what I understand this dog has bared its teeth at a neighbors child as well as an older retired gentleman who lives down the block from this tells me its not the nicest of dogs & after killing my chickens I have no problem taking care of the situation & legally I am allowed by this town to shot any animal that is a threat while on my property......

I have 30 foot of chained link fencing that I am going to put up but I have to dig a shallow trench so I can bury it in the ground...the dog was able to dig & tear apart what I had put in so I have to make it stronger as I never ever want to go throught that poor heart just can't take it.....

Now you are probably wondering why I haven't done it yet....well I have a fiberous cyst that is in my armpit area & it decided to get infected & got a limp node infected as well.....last saturday morning it was the size of a pea, saturday evening it was the size of a large lima bean, sunday evening it was the size of a walnut & very painful....I didn't know it was infected at this time, all I knew was that it was growing & at times it felt like fire racing through my arm.....

Called my doctor on Monday & he is on vacation until later this week, so I am not going to the ER since I think its just the fiberous cyst growing & he can take care of it when he gets back. Ok so this last week, I really can't do much since I can't use my arm well & any movement that bumps it into my body hurts...but me being me I still go out & mow, plant tomatoes ect but it just takes longer & I forgot...I had some extra antibiotics from when I got the infection from the old roosters spur attacks...I wrote about this in an earlier blog...anyway I started taking them just to be on the safe side....Thank goodness I did, because as it grew it came to the surface area & started to leak out infection which I took care of...that I won't tell you as you will just scream at me.....No I am serous you I am not telling! 

Finally 2 days ago, I couldn't deal with it anymore as I was yelling at the cat...thats when I realized the pain was more than I could bear & I was getting mean so aound 8:30 friday night I headed to our ER.... was seeing a doctor within an hour.....yeah I love this hospital...they don't goof around...anyway Ms. Doctor gave me a shot to numb it, needle going in was fine, liquid being forced in wasn't...I started cussing up a storm, the room was spinning & I thought I was either going to pass out or throw up....did neither thank goodness & told her I was so sorry for cussing & that I hoped no children were in the ER......there wasn't.....

She left me for a few moments to calm down & came back in with a thing that looked like a mini apple corer......a hollow tube with a very sharp razor blade looking end......even with the numbing shot it didn't feel that great when it took a chuck of my skin & tissue with it but I must say it hurt less than it had in a week....The infection was pretty bad but she was able to clean it & sent me home with some better stronger antibiotics & told me to call a surgeon on monday...which is today as the mass will need to be looked at, tested & probably removed. So for the last few days I have been a good girl taking the antibiotics & putting heat on the area to help it drain & keeping it cleaned......Its now back to the size of a large lima bean but doesn't hurt very much unless I forget & bump it....

So thats why the fencing hasn't gotten done but I go out & spend most of each day outside doing things so I am near my kids & can watch the yard.  With all the rains we had I am forever mowing the same areas over & over so its not like I am out there working on a tan or I did get some of the gardens done & put in another small garden with giant sunflower seeds that my friend Debbie in Colorado sent me....& as you notice the picture of the picnic table...that poor thing was falling apart so I took out all the screws & nails & redid it so it should last me a few more years......every nice evening I take my supper out there & take Gertie & Piper out of the movable run & put them near me so they can run around in the yard for a bit before they have to come in for the night....Piper was having such a great time 2 nights ago she was running & jumping in the air with her wings was the cutest thing to see & made me smile cause I knew she was happy.....

To leave this on a good note, Thomas is getting to come home from Afghanistan on a 2 week leave the beginning of July so we are going to Las Vegas to see his that will be nice & by the time he gets here I will have the fencing up so when Kelley's daughter takes care of my chickens I won't worry while I am gone...yeah right...I will worry & miss them before we get on the airplane!

Have a wonderful chicken day!....M'

Monday, May 16, 2011

So much going on, so little sleep & too much darn rain!

Hello to all my chicken friends, yes as you can see there is 2 pictures up this time to start the blog...As I had stated before I bought a greenhouse, my Mother's day gift from hubby & kids...Its my tradition to have a outdoor item each Mother's Day so I pick, hubby pays.

You all know how crazy I get about whether my chickens are happy, safe, protected & comfortable so instead of battling another wooden building as extra shelter for them I got this lovely Chicken Condo as my little sister calls it .....Believe it or not I was able to put it up by myself, but trying to get the tarp over the pointy part of the roof on a windy day was like trying to dance in the air.  But as you can see I got it up. 

Now you ask "Who is that lovely little Rooster posing in the 2nd picture?" Well that is my big but gentle boy CeeCee who loves to stop & pose for me...I was trying to get an inside picture of the condo for you, but he decided he was much more attractive to look at.....Yes for the moment it is boring with just the 2 laying boxes I had made way back when & a few pallets to give weight to it so the house doesn't do a Wizard of Oz & blow away.  .I added the 2 perchs for them but it also helps keep the condo fairly centered for the moment & they do seem to like to get on them & sun themselves...What I really like about this condo is that it has a zippered door I can zip down or up depending on the weather & I can leave just enough space at the bottom for them to get in it...also the 2 side windows are netted & also have velcro fasteners so I can rise or lower them as well......I mean really, is this not the greatest chicken play area?? 

Now, I just can't leave this alone & as I was telling my dear friend Debbie in Colorado, I have some country fabric that I will make curtains & maybe use a few fabric panels I have of farm animals to make as flags for the wall areas.  Plus the blue mailbox that you can sorta see in the picture will go on a post for a hen that wants to rule over the others, you know how they like to be higher than the other ones.....who knows maybe one will take a nap in it sometime.  A few years back a friend gave me a 2 foot plus plastic wine bottle that was used for a decoration of some sort & its made of very heavy good plastic.....well I spray painted it to look like a old milk jug & since the bottom of it is open I will drill a large hole through the top of it & hang it on rope sideways so the hens can get into it as well.....I can hang that from one of the upper beams so they can jump up into it, I think anyway, that I will have to see if will work..... if it doesn't I can always attach it to wood & post it also into the ground.....I do think once we get over the rain & I have it all set up nice the other hens in the neighborhood will come calling to check out the new place.....If I hear a lot of clacking then I know they have arrived & will get out the treats so my hens aren't embarrassed by not having anything to offer their guests.

Ok I have been avoiding this, but I must tell you I lost 2 hens this last week or so.  Bess who was the momma to Star & Patunia passed away the Friday before Mother's Day, she had been acting slow but was eating,  drinking & interacting with the others so I thought she was alright.  I did have to help her into her cage Thursday night when I put her & the babies to bed but hoped for the best.  It was not meant to be because she died sometime during the night ... I felt so bad for Star & Patunia who peeped all day Friday for her.  I am glad that both babies have feathered out so they do not need her as much for protection as they once did & as of today they are both growing & doing well.  Patunia has made me a buddy & will come & sit on my shoulder & even nap, whereas Star is just getting to where she can handle being near or on me if I pretend she's not there.

Now this one is breaking my heart...You all know Willow was my crippled hen who I have been taking care of daily for 10 months.  This Spring has been really hard on her & we had been battling colds constantly, but about the time Bess dies she got sick again.  She still ate & drank but she wanted to spend all her time on me to sleep, so I knew she wasn't doing as good as usually.  The day after Mother's Day she was really tired but would try to move her legs & wings to get up in my arms, so I held her a lot that day....I had gotten up in the night because my legs were bothering me & something keep telling me to go check on her....I did & she was gasping but wanted up so I picked her up & held her tight to my chest, talking to her while she passed away.

I know that some of you will not get why I am still so upset over her leaving me but for those 10 months I fed her, held her, talked to her, bathed her & nursed her when she was sick.  Everyday, all through the day when I wasn't doing something she was in my arms or in my lap talking or warbling to me.  When I had a bad or sad day I could go get her & she made me feel so much better.  The worries of Thomas going to Afghanistan, Not having money to take care of things or just having a migraine, all seemed to not be so bad when she would look up at me & worble or close her eyes & go to sleep.  She gave me so much peace that it is hard to try & explain & make you understand...She was like Voodoo Moon who I had a few years back who was also a crippled hen....The 2 of them gave me something that I didn't know I was lacking in...peace & calmness.  Yes I have owned dogs & cats all my life & some I have bonded with but these 2 little hens changed me ...maybe its my age, I don't know, but there was something there that they gave me.  I know other damaged hens will come along & I will love them just as much as these two....but for now, with being alone its hard to get up somedays because I still go look for my Willow & see that she is no longer here.

One of my best friends emailed me & asked me if I was getting tired of being the ferryman for them...sometimes I want to say yes it is, but overall if I am not there for them then who would be?  Everyone I talk to says they would have just put the chickie down as soon as it got crippled & not think anything of it.  but in my heart I know I can give them a good life until its time for them to go & they give me a good life how can I say no to an injured chicken when they need someone like me to care for them?

Even though I hate to cry & feel sad the end pain was so worth the 10 months I had with her.  Plus the memories are wonderful for me to carry along with me.

Now I need to go on to another chickie, Pearl who was born a bit ago to Mother somehow decided she wanted to be on the outside of the chicken wire fencing this last week.  I still haven't figured out how she got herself trapped but she was able to work her way through & up between 2 layers of chicken wire & was just hanging out in mid air so to speak.  I had checked the coop before I closed it up & noticed she wasn't in so went out in the run & there she was....she looked like a tamale all wrapped up, but  not hurt & very very glad to see me.  It took a bit to untangle her as I had to pull, unwrap & bend chicken wire to get to her, but finally she was free.  A bit shaky so I put her in my shirt til she calmed down a bit, then put her on the ground so I could watch her walk.  that little girl high tailed it quite quickly to the coop so I knew she was alright.  In the morning when I let them out she was out & running like nothing had happened so I am thankful for that.

I am still sewing at the moment since the rain has not left the area most days...right now I am doing a 1910 night gown with the original pattern for Debbie in Colorado as a gift. I knew there was a reason I liked working in cotton!  This slippery fabric would drive any sane person crazy, one minute its sliding sideways, the next its sliding backwards through the sewing machine...thank goodness its a very simple pattern so not many parts to it, but boy will I be glad to work on the 1920's robe that is in cotton next.  the material is like a silk in feel & it sure has a mind of its own.  but it has been fun to work on a pattern that is really that old...101 years old & I am the 1st person to ever use it...pretty cool.

Well I had best close for now, I could write more but I need to save some for another day.
have a great chicken day....M'

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Rain & mud a great mix for the chickens....Mud fights daily!

 Good Afternoon all my chicken friends...

As you can see I have changed from chickies to something new as the picture...I have been sewing a lot with all the rains we have had the last month or so...And since I tend to go stir crazy when I want to be outside playing in the dirt my sewing room has been visited often.  this is actually taken from a turn of the 20th century night gown jacket that i suded the basic layout then did some major changes with the back length...I wanted something pretty but usable & it will be great for the heavy bloomers I made awhile back.....Anyway thought I would share it with you.

As I said with all the rains I haven't gotten out as much as I would like but we did have some nice days so I got the herb garden in, planted the softball size cantaloupe seeds & got a bit of weeding & raking of the yard done. 

A month or so ago the hot water heater went out & just this last week the frig decided to quit...the freezer part still works so I think its just a temporary problem that can be fixed if I can pull it out of its cubby hole & dust/vacuum the coils & underside.....its not that big of a deal because I do have a frig in the shop if I need to use one but with Thomas gone I really only keep cheese, apples & eggs in it...the eggs I have been giving to my neighbors since I get too many right now to eat & I have a bunch scrambled & frozen for later use. 

I have lived in my lifetime rougher than this so I am dealing with it just fine, just find it funny it happens when Thomas is away & I don't have the good labor of his back to do these things for with out hot water I have noticed how much I am conserving because I heat up a spagetti pot of hot water on the stove for baths & doing dishes....the waste level has gone down so much & made me remember that I do tend to run more water than I need...specially for baths! 

I have a sicky hen today, yesterday she was fine but this morning is moving slow & not really eatting...she is Bess the one who had the babies I posted in my last blog.  I force fed her some baby food with a drop of baby vits in it & got her to drink a bit of water on her own...Right now she is up & about but moving very slow.....thank goodness its not egg bound but I am unsure why she is this way since she hasn't gotten into anything bad that I know of...Will be watching her through out the day thats for sure because I think her babies still need her around & would do poorly if she dies. 

The 2 other babies in the big coop are getting big & am 99% sure they are both females which is nice.....3 roosters is more than enough for me.....Today my neighbor girl came over seems Opal, one of the babies has gotten out of the run somehow & was running around crying trying to get back in & I didn't hear her....poor thing was all wet & shaking so I wrapped her in my dress while I tried to find out how she got out.  No luck but they are all in the coop right now so am not too worried about her getting out again today....hopefully tomorrow will be nice enough I can do a better look at the fencing & re-enforce it.  sneaking little thing!

Thomas finally made it to Afghanistan last week from whatever Middle Eastern country he was in before....Just in time for the Ben Laden death...I know that will put them all on high alert as I am sure some will want revenge over this.  It is now actually more dangerous there than before his death so I am a tad worried for all of them.

I just hate to see who comes out of the woodwork over this & what they will do....& the sad thing is they will kill anyone..woman, child, the elderly to make their statement....that just breaks my heart to know that someones life is not worth anything to them.

Ok enough of that before I get all sad & moppy....

I did get a 6 foot by 8 foot tarped green house for the big coop, its set up next to the run & fenced but they now have a dry area to be in when the weather is like today if they was my Mother's Day gift...Every year I pick out something I would like that goes year it was a wooden picnic table, another year it was a big plastic wheel barrel/cart this year I decided the chickens needed more shelter & not always be stuck in the 6 foot by 10 foot coop...which I might add is getting extended this year by another 6 foot or so & with a indoor run area.....yes its like a resort for the little sister calls the greenhouse the chicken condo as it has 2 nesting boxes in it & 2 nice long wood purchs for them as well as netted windows I can open up for them when its really hot.....

soon they will be expecting a small pool with some one bringing them very tiny drinks with fancy straws.....or a towel boy to wipe the sweat off their combs....thank goodness they can't snap any fingers!...I draw the line at that with them...they start snapping their feet nails at me to get my attention I think I will be pulling tail feathers.

Well I know I usually ramble on but am in need of the coffee I just put on & should be done by now so I will close...& I do apologize for not writing sooner...

hve a happy chicken day...M'