About Me

My photo

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.

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'