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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.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The sneakiness of a brood hen & spring dreams






                                                 Sundance with momma Ginger July 2010

Well, we are starting to get warmer days now, yesterday was in the high 20's & today we may see it in the 40 degree range.  I have never had a house that had ice dams on the roof edges so this has been a new experience for me, nor have I had flat roofs that need to be shoveled off.  So I was a bit dumb about it all until my neighbors brother came over one morning & shoveled off the roofs for me.  I had no idea he was out there until I went to check my mail. My husband had gotten that ice melt that is safe for the ground & animals & Leno told me to throw that up on the flat roofs to help melt the very large ice dams I had or I would get leaks in the house.  Thank goodness for such a sweet man cause with Thomas off & about with the military I would have been frustrated if I got leaks & not known why.  Leno won't take money from me, but I was able to get him to take 2 dozen eggs for his thoughtfulness.

Its amazing how ones kindness can have such a wonderful affect on a person. Leno is the same person who I helped with his sick dog this last summer & in trade he put a chimney cap in for me.   I grew up part of my life on a huge farm & trading/bartering was a given because at times the farmers just didn't have the extra money for work but could trade/barter what they had on the farm.  I sure missed that when i went to the city where I found trading/bartering to been looked at with mistrust.  Thankful that is now once again slowly changing.

My neighbor girl Kelley is waiting for her hens to get old enough to lay so since she has 4 kids I try to take over at least 2-3 dozen eggs when I can, in trade I ask if when she makes bread to make me a loaf since her bread is wonderful.  She mills her own wheat berries, uses coconut oil & honey so her breads are very hearty plus she uses cast iron bread pans that seem to make the bread even better.  They come out perfect every time, well that I know of anyway.

Kelley last year injured her back very bad & had to give up her goats & chickens, I took 5 of the hens but decided against the goats.  Well she is much healthier now & has decided to give the goats a try again.  I am excited because they are such fun to be around & she will be milking them.  Up here in Massachusetts goats milk goes for $6 to $10 a gallon.  Now I am not a milk drinker but she has 2 small children who have problems with store bought milk.  she gives them fresh cows milk, which I do drink & feels the goats milk will be a added bonus in the health of the children.  She is the one that got me into a lot of the healthier way of eating.  Not that I eat bad but I never knew about using coconut oil or how to make fresh yogurt in a crock pot.  Plus I now eat at least a few times a week stone cut oats that I cook in the crock pot as well.

It has been so much fun having her 2 doors down from me.  She is putting in a huge garden this year & I am putting in a huge herb garden which I will share with her.  We also try to do some of our canning together in the fall.

I have been looking at green grape vines that will grow up here.  I have all the set-up to put them in & have been wanting to do it since last year.  The block I live on at one time was all Italian families who had concord grape vines that they made wine out of.  Just before we bought our house the old owner tore out the grapevines he had that were planted in the 1920's.  My neighbor right next door still has the grape vines that were also planted in the 1920's & I used to go over there & pick the grapes but now that we no longer speak I have decided i would like my own.  I am not a wine drinker so I thought the green grapes would be nice for eating & making juice.  Its funny but under my art shop is a room that at one time had a copper still in it, its long gone :(....but someday I will pull up the area floor to check it out.....thank goodness they covered where the old stairs were with just a sheet of heavy plywood & screws so it won't be a problem doing it...its just having the time to move stuff to get to it.

On a sadder note, today I have to take my 14 1/2 year old blind Chow Chow to be put to sleep. I have been delaying this since December hoping the medicine would help her.  it did for a long time but now she is dropping a lot of weight, has no control over her bowels & hurts when she moves.  It will be hard as I have had her since she was 8 weeks old & she has seemed to always be here. But it seems cruel to keep her going just because I am not ready for her to leave yet.  Hard decision to have to make.

The chickens are doing great!  I had thought they had all quit laying but 2 days ago I noticed that 'Mother' hadn't moved from one of the nesting boxes in a few days so I checked her.  That girl had 17 eggs hidden under her!  In about 2 weeks or so I will wait until night time & set up a new box for her on the ground, since now she is about 4 foot off the floor & when the babies hatch I am worried they will fall out & get attacked.  I did this with Ginger when she  was half way through her laying/hatching time so I am hoping it will work for Mother as well & not spook her into leaving them.

I had thought about grabbing all the eggs but I really did enjoy seeing the babies this last July with Ginger so thought why not let Mother have her babies this one time.  I am giving CeeCee away soon as having 1 large rooster & 2 small roosters is more than my space can really handle once the spring comes.  Right now with 2 coops & the in-house medical care area it is working out fine but CeeCee goes after Bess & Porgie goes after CeeCee to protect Bess & then if I have Pippi La'Roo out there I am sure it will be a feather flying mess & all the hens will be upset.  Plus if you have ever had to try & stop a comb from bleeding its not a good time for you or the injured rooster.  Last year it took about 2 hours to get Cashmires comb to stop bleeding after he & Chatty got into it.  One small cut bled like it was never going to quit & I was amazed at the amount of blood that rooster lost before it quit.

With the spring just right around the door I will have to get a Vet date set up to have Macy Gray (kitten) fixed & all her shots done.  Right now she is not allowed out, like she would go out in this snow.  But once its nice & the other 2 cats want to wonder the yard I am sure Macy will be out there with them.  All 3 cats were outdoor cats before I got them so its very hard to keep them in when the weather is nice.  They always figure a way out no matter what I do, so I make sure they are up to date on everything.  Normally I get an animal fixed ect as soon as I get them but with Thomas being unemployed most of 2010 I didn't have the extra money for Macy so I have been very careful with her until I do get her tended to.

I got involved with the Maryjane magazine & joined their group so I could become one of the 'Hens'  this last month.  Its been fun to see what other farm girls or want to be farm girls are doing. There is all kinds of sections dealing with all farm animals, cooking,sewing, bartering, swaps & so on.  I check it every day to see what is going on.  Its been nice since during the winter I stay at home a lot so having something interesting to read & check out has been enjoyable.  Plus there is badges you can earn by doing certain things....the badges are cotton so you can decorate them & sew them onto a apron or jean jacket.  I have decided to put mine on a patchwork skirt I am going to make just for the badges.  This will be skirt I wear when I am feeling like a farm girl & want to feel pretty.

Well I am nearly out of coffee so best close this for now...I am cranky when I don't get enough coffee!
Have a wonderful chicken day...M'

3 comments:

  1. If you put a big box over your hen with a weight on top til the next evening, it will help her stick on the nest when you move her and her eggs.

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  2. The names of your chickens are a delight to me. Your neighbors brother sounds incredible. I have always had a great relationship with my neighbors, til this move. We are in a suburb, where most our neighbors want to *believe* we are "city". Maybe its because it the highest end neighborhood in town, but I don't think these women get me, at all. Further down the st, where the families are retired and have been here for 30+ years, they are great. I'm gardening in our raised beds this year out front because the rear and side yards aren't ready. The neighbors are literally stareing at me, like I have a watermelon growing from my head. This is one of the reasons I love mjf so much. Isnt it wonderful! The sisters there help me be less homesick for our farm. As does your blog.(((hugs)))

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  3. Thank you Mary for the good advice for the hen....i love the fact you too have those neighbors that think you are nuts for the things you do...just tell them during WWll the government encouraged what they called Victory gardens & people grew them in their front yards....You can always say its your 'victory' garden!

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