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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.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Loving the mild winter but am missing all my snow

                                     Me & my little sis Tamara....July 2011

Ok, I am not one who really ever likes having her picture taken but I do love this picture of my sweet little sister so thought since you all have been reading me for a bit now I should bit the bullet & put in a picture of me that shows my face....Now do not think this will happen often..lol....

I am so sorry not to have been  keeping up on this Blog, seems everything & nothing has been happening since Thomas got home from Afghanistan.  We made it through all the holidays quite nice, no big hoopla, just quiet & peaceful.  January Thomas had to deal with all the out processing from being in Afghanistan, get papers together for a new security clearance for the Military...which means I had to go through boxes of paperwork since I am the keeper of all the bills, ect.

Since he has been back I have been dealing with one cold after another.  I think since this has been such a mild winter up here with very little snow it has sent my system into a weird cycle. Some days its sunny, bitter cold with heavy winds, other days its sunny, no winds & warmer then we get a light dusting of snow like this morning, cloudy but not really that cold...so one day is a sweater next is a tee shirt.  I have also noticed that we normally go through a 200 gallon tank of oil in 6 months time, not this year since October I have been using the heat more so soon I will have to call the company to bring more oil.

I hate that this year I never got to show you all how I make old fashioned lye soap, but the pigs butchered were either low on fat of the people were keeping the fat so I didn't get to make any like I wanted.  But I did get a hold of some beef fat & made some special chicken suet.  I have decided with all the research I have done on my 'kids' (chickens) that I would develop a suet cake just for chickens that will be of a benefit to them.  I am even thinking of marketing them through my local feed store & through my Co-op if possible.

Each season the suet cakes would have different things in them for the needs of that season.  With the colder winter months I know the chickens don't get all the fresh bugs & greens they need so that's what I worked on. Plus I will also add powdered calcium to each batch as a extra little boost.  I so worry about whether my 'kids' are getting all that they need so its been a good cold day thing for me to work on.

Cagney & Lacey, the 2 hens I got from a guy this fall are doing very well & have started to lay.  Both create a small light green egg that is so cute.  I think they are quite happy to be with other hens & to have a nice safe place to hang out.  I have noticed they do not leave the coop/shop area to go outside as often as the others do.  they are quite content to hang out on the porches near the food.

Lauria, the crooked neck broiler is also doing wonderful, we gave her a bath to deal with the mites/lice, trimmed all the tail feathers plus wing feathers, dusted her & have been keeping her in the bathroom where she seems the happiest.  Right now she is out running between the living room & into the office to talk to me.  Everyone said she would not live past 4-5 months but here she is & still going strong.

Monk kitty is growing like a weed & has so much energy he wears me out just watching him.
He has definitely grown since this picture but my little sis took these while she was here in July & I think they are too cute not to put up.  He sure is a jealous little boy when the chickens or other cats get near me...I was holding Lauria the other day to my chest & he was trying to climb over her to push her down so he could be where she was... thank goodness Lauria didn't mind his paws all over her but it sure made it uncomfortable for me...lol

I am sending Thomas out to Vegas to see his folks for 2 weeks this month, then in March I get to go see Tamara in Prescott, Arizona for a week.  then in May I am taking my best friend to Hawaii for 10 days.  It has taken me 12 years to be able to save the money to do this for her but I have always wanted to be able to  fulfill this dream of hers.  So that should be a lot of fun...two old gray haired ladies hanging out on the beach!

So it will be a busy few months but should be enjoyable for me...but i will sure miss my kids while I am away...thank goodness Thomas will be here to tend to them...they will get overfed since he is always afraid they will be hungry so I have to stock up on feed for when I am gone.  I have to put them on a diet each time I come back from a trip...lol.....

I may be getting another, not so right chicken from a monastery soon...its not growing like it should but its a small one so not sure if its a Roo or hen but I don't care it needs my help so I will gladly take it.  Hopefully someday I will have more land so I can take in all 'not quite right' chickens.  I still do that now but the Roo'ssince I have too many of them for the small amount of hens...but it sure would be nice to have a separate area just for all the Roo's so they can have nice long spoiled lives.


well I best be closing for now....have a wonderful chicken day...M'

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Chickens sun bathing in January?

                                      Tabatha, CeeCee & Sabrina Dec 2011

OK , first let me say the 'kids' as you can see from the picture are enjoying this mild winter but Really sunbathing in Dec/Jan in Northern Massachusetts???  Two days ago it was 56 degrees here, sunny & no chilly winds.  It still gets fairly cold at night but nothing like I have every seen in the 14 years I have lived up here.

yes I am still dealing with freezing chicken water-ers but overall I would say the kids are having a blast with all this extra freedom they are getting.  Normally the eggs are rare & far between but now I am getting enough to still share with the neighbors.  Who I might add are not complaining about the 3 new baby Roo's that have decided to let themselves be known in the last few weeks.  I had hoped that out of the 6 born in June/July I would be blessed with all 6 hens but of coarse that rarely happens since I tend to attract Roos for some odd reason.

But they will have to go needless to say as they are trying to mate with all the hens & poor CeeCee is running ragged to protect the hens from these wild young boys.  I am amazed that there are no fights what so ever since Indora who is now Indie is at times a bit mean.

So I have decided to soon take all 3 to a friend & have him kill them, keep 2 & give 1 back to me.  I would have Thomas do it but since I have had problems with the neighbor girl over this I prefer to do it off sight so I don't have to listen to any more of her crap over my horrible ways.

One of the baby hens got broody & refused to get off the eggs even after a month, not that I minded so much but she was wasting away to skin & bones so 2 days ago blocked the 2 nesting boxes to force her out of it.  She is not a happy camper with me & takes it out on any small hen that gets near her but since the egg I let her sit on was never going to hatch I felt she needed to get back to her old self & get some meat on her bones.  Even though it is still somewhat warmer than normal on the really chilly mornings I have been doing the warm oatmeal with soy yogurts a friend gave me that I don't like but she got cases of it free so gave me about 12 cases that I have in the one frig & as long as I don't open them they should be fine.  Anyway they are mixed with fruit so the kids sure enjoy this nice warm treat.  I so do enjoy giving my kids these good healthy warm foods & I have noticed over the years that I have not had to deal with frost bite on their combs like one neighbor did.  I also give them cracked corn mid-day to help cut the chill for them.

I decided this year to break down & get one of those heater you put under the water-er & within 3 weeks it quit working, though the wiring ect was just fine but the top of it started to rust from moisture being trapped between it & the water container.  Now normally I wouldn't fret over things like this but at $56 I was a tad upset.  Well since I am always at that small feed store & they replaced it with no problems.  But they too were surprised to see rust in such a short time.

They were out of that brand but let me have a different brand for about the same cost that I will see if it holds up any better.  I tried to stay away from things like this but since the blizzard in October & many more chickens I had to do something so none were without water.  I have a light timer that comes on at 7 a.m. so they can see inside the shop area I opened up for them when they are done roosting/resting in their 2 coops.  I try never to let them out before 8 a.m. to be kind to the neighbors, but once they are up they want to eat & drink so I had to have a better system for them til I got out there.

In the winter I don't change the water daily but every 2 days since they drink less but check it off & on all day for them.  When I shut them in for the night I like to know that the food & water is ready for them when they rise & shine.  this doesn't not prevent them from gobbling up the warm breakfast I give them but I no longer have to worry about the babies ever being without.

Porgie, my little Surama Roo is now in the house most of the time, he is not set up for the cold weather up here & the poor thing gets so cold he shakes so hard he will fall down so thought that was not something I wanted for him to deal with.  Piper & Gertie enjoy him being in the house but since Laura is deformed with her crooked neck he tends to chase her off so I have to watch him for that..

My poor sweet Laura will run to me & get behind my legs, peek out to see if she is safe, all the while talking to me about his unmanly behavior towards her.  I have to have her feed & water in a different area since she has a hard time eating food & having Porgie abuse her.



Update on the shoulder: got through therapy faster than they thought I would, still have lots of pain because I am constantly hurting it doing the small 'farm' things I do or falling.  Did a big nose dive 3 days ago in the backyard.....so its back to sleeping in the recliner but I still do the exercises & try to do things smart.

Its the type of injury that will cause problems for a long time so I am dealing with it & going on with what I do, but I am thankful for the therapy because it has helped me see that some of the movements I just normally do aren't working & I have to re-train myself to prevent more damage.  Plus it helps slow me down which at times is needed.

Today even though its not cold I decided to start a fire in the antique wood cooking stove, even taught Thomas what to do...the 'kids' are already on their beds next to it so I guess they were missing it.

Well my dear chicken friends I am in need for some coffee so will close for now....Until next time have a great chicken day!....M'