Good morning everyone!
Things have settled down a bit here & I am slowing adjusting to not hearing the cows each morning but I will tell you I sure miss them. funny how I never really interacted with them but just to see them each day was such a blessing. Its like my mind is still there & everything makes me think of things on the farm.
With the weather getting cooler my kids aren't clucking much now & tend to stay in the coop than come out where I can see them. I am still dealing with a lot of them molting so have started giving them the winter mix of feed I made up for them so they get the extra things they need. I worry they will get too cold with it down into the 20's a night but so far so good.
Lauria my crooked neck girl is molting for the second time & losing all the new feathers she just got in, I never knew they could molt twice within such a short period of time. with her in the house at least she doesn't have to worry about the frost or cold....but lots of feathers I have to sweep up everyday.
Little Peeps & Lauria
I went to the farm with 23 kids & came home with just 9. CeeCee & Moonlite went to a lady my age who had 20 hens & needed calm gentle roos. I knew that though it killed me to give them up, they would be much happier having 10 hens each instead of just the few they had with me. I did lose a few to sudden deaths/illnesses but the most were killed by raccoons who figured out how to get into the old enclosed stall in the barn next to me.
Within a 3 night period I lost 7 hens to 3 different raccoons that I shoot with the crossbow when I went into the coop. the stupid things were still there & one even after shoot twice refused to leave. I won't tell you what I did to it in my anger but it wasn't pretty by the time I drug it out of the coop.
By this time I had had it with the raccoons & even spent a night in the coop with the kids to see if a raccoon would try to get in. I heard one all night long up in the loft above the coop room but it never did come down. I am sure it could smell me so decided it was not a good idea to check out the coop that night. For the next 5 nights I stayed up until around 3 a.m. & hunted raccoons. I didn't realize that it was in the middle of kit season so many babies were running around as well. Them being smaller they were able to get into the smaller areas & I ended up thinning out the kit population just a bit.
One I got the new heavy duty coop built I quit hunting raccoons because they could no longer get to the kids & I was not going to kill them for sport or anger. I hated having to kill any of them but I love my chickens & hated that they were not killed for food by the raccoons but just killed & left. I could have understood it if it had been for food. I would have still be upset but not like I was.
We had red foxes & coyotes there, but they never came near the trailer or coops. I did hear the pack of 3 ever so often out in the road near the barn but they never got any closer that I knew of. The red foxes tended to stay out in the large pastures way behind the trailer but I did watch for them during the day.
Here in Athol, I have to be on the look out for skunks, hawks, dogs, cats & the occasional bear or fisher cat but at the farm I had to be aware of things like bald eagles, hawks, foxes, coyotes, wild cats, raccoons, skunks, minks, fisher cats, snakes & opossums. Most I never saw or heard while there but it made me quite aware of my surrounds. Westport has beautiful balded Eagles & I had hoped to see one but I never did, though I did see lots of hawks when the spring came this year. Since we were a mile of so of the Champlain lake I did get to see some wonderful cranes who would hang out near the streams on the farm, but never got close to where I or the kids lived.
I worried about Monk & Macy who had to be out at night to hunt mice & rats that the coyotes might get one of them but only Monk kitty ever got into a fight & that was with a wild gray & white cat that hung around. I miss Monk who refused to come home with me. I have never left an animal so it was hard to let him stay on the farm. Just so you know we did take a second trip up there to try & get him but he refused to even answer me when I called him. At least I know he has plenty of food & water there plus 5 wonderful big barns to sleep in so I am hoping he will have a long life & be content but I sure miss my little boy.
With the holidays near by I am trying to deal with the no money bit....its not like I really care for Christmas but I always like to be able to give the ones I love something & this year we will not be able to do that. I had planned not to do anything for Thanksgiving but Thomas after a year of not having me cook for him wants a turkey & all the stuff I make for that holiday, so I will do it for him. One thing nice is with a turkey he can have lots of sandwiches to take to school for lunch & I will be able to make a wonderful turkey soup once its down to the bones.
I try never to waste anything if possible & while at the farm learned to make a wonderful creamy soup with boiling the chicken bones & adding noodles & veggies. that was a nice meal during the winter when it was so cold & really very easy to do on the wood stove.
Since I now can use my antique wood cooking stove again here I will be doing a lot of soups for us this winter. I still have a lot of the dried veggies some of my Maryjane hens sent me to take to the farm so I want to make sure we use them this winter. Plus what they went is really good & will make a nice veggie soup for us to enjoy.
One of the last things I did before I left was make farmers cheddar cheese that is still aging but I plan to cut it open this weekend & see how it turned out. so the next blog will have pictures of the cheese making event while at the farm plus what it looks like now & if it turned out. I think I will also include some of the crafts I did while there with pictures for you to see. I think you will find the electrical fence webbing wreaths I created interesting.
until next time have a wonderful Chicken day!