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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, November 15, 2013

Bits & Pieces Part 4

 
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.
 

 
Monk 2013
 
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!
 
Michele'
 

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