A Long Time Coming….

A Long Time Coming….

I haven’t made a journal entry in almost a year. I’d been nearing it the past month or so, but was still pushing it off a little. Then I happened upon Darcy at Life With My 3 Boybarians, who I feel like I know really well, without even knowing her at all in real life. (Rambunctious boys. Lego overabundance. Over-commiter. Don’t mean to be creepy, but we may have been separated at birth.)

And then my friend-who-I-know-in-real-life-and-would-really-like-time-to-get-to-know-better, Holly, posted a funny new entry over at MooBee Farm. Perhaps we’ll have some bonding time next week, when we’re sweating and worrying over our pigs and kids at the county fair.

Their posts were light taps on the shoulder to get me moving again. Thanks, ladies.

It’s been a wild and crazy year. I had to take a little time for some cancer stuff (more later) and a lot of job stuff (more later) and some family stuff (more later). So, had I even wanted to write, I don’t know that I would have had time. And, if I had time, I don’t know that I would have wanted to write. A paradox, eh? Writing would have meant facing some of the truths of life in black and white. Truths like…how odd my face looked when I didn’t have my dark eyebrows and eyelashes that I took for granted for most of my life. (Remind me to show you my bald passport photo sometime and tell you about the looks at customs.)

I scribbled random thoughts in my worn paper journal, but pen and ink are somehow softer than type on a computer screen. So. Here I am again. I’m ready to write. This post has been a long time coming….

In the past year, the pullets have grown into beautiful hens. They provide us great eggs and greater enjoyment. I can now say I totally get the phrase, “Don’t lay an egg.” I’ll try to catch it on video. Chicken freak-outs make me laugh.

Chickens in the Yard

The boys are darn near grown. They don’t lay eggs, but are otherwise just as funny as the chickens.

Boys in the Meadow

And I’m looking forward to growing (just not anymore around the hips, please), getting my groove back, and enjoying the beauty all around.

Lily in the Woods

The Daughters of Shakespeare

The Daughters of Shakespeare

backyard hensThe chicks first grew from fluff balls to poop machines and now have become beautiful young pullets. Most of the chicks were delivered to friends; of the original twenty-six, we kept six. Their individual personalities are beginning to emerge, so it’s time to give them names.

We decided to look to Shakespeare for this first round of names. Cordelia (above) is the single Barred Rock. She’s beautiful and strong, just like King Lear’s loyal daughter.

As You Like ItWe have three Buff Orpingtons. They’ll be the heros of As You Like It:┬áRosalind, Celia, and Touchstone. Touchstone is fitting for the third of the Buffs, as we believe she may be a he and can fill the role of court jester quite well either way, as evidenced below. (We’ll probably continue to call her/him Big Bird anyway, as we have since week two when she doubled in size compared to her sisters.)

TouchstoneThe two Black Australorps are a good fit for Hero and Beatrice of Much Ado About Nothing. One sweet and one sassy.

Hero and RosalindThey seem to be adjusting to their new coop and yard. They don’t seem to be too bothered by the cool nights or the various neighborhood animals. In fact, it won’t be long before they’re torturing their ardent protector and ultimate pushover, Ellie.

Ellie guarding chicks

 

Poop Machines

Poop Machines

baby chickI thought we ordered cute, little chicks. Whoa boy, either I was wrong or the hatchery messed up our order. We have one-week old poop machines! I dutifully replace the brooder’s paper towel liner twice a day. Within minutes, it looks like a Jackson Pollock piece…. They’re cute, little poopers, I guess.

We’ll build the tractor this weekend and move the chicks to it soon. A chicken tractor is like a brooder, but the bottom is open. You place it around the yard; the chicks scratch, peck, and poop all they want. Instead of messy paper towels or litter to change, you end up with tilled, fertilized soil.

 

Good Homes

Good Homes

The chicks are growing. They’re almost a week old and have already started to feather out their wings and tails. We’ll only be keeping six for our flock of layers. (We started this adventure with a desire to use the backyard coop and get the bonus of fresh eggs.)

Chicks at nightLuckily, we have two sets of friends who are going to take the rest of the chicks. The Breeses and Fahlgrens are building their coops as I write (sorry Jere and Ken, more work!). It’s nice to know the little cottonballs will be close by and well cared for.

Chicks are Here

Chicks are Here

baby chicksThe post office called at a little after six this morning.

“Chicks are here.”

Connor was awake already, so he and I threw on jeans and headed into town. I had been telling myself for days not to get too excited. There was a good chance that we would have a box full of dead or overheated birds. As we walked through the post office doors, all those admonitions and cautions fell away. I really wanted live, healthy birds.

I’m happy to say we received a perfect delivery. It’s a little too early to tell if everyone’s healthy, but the chicks were all alive and alert, ready to drink water and peck around in the brooder. Thanks are due to Welp Hatchery and the US Postal Service for this success.

By the time we were ready to unbox, the whole house was awake and celebrating.