What Came First?

I was looking through the new Country Living magazine this morning and came across this sculpture by UK artist Kyle Bean.

093d8fd34241f3dddfb998c9f74d7024.560.0.0.0.90Sculpture made from egg shells by Kyle Bean

How clever is that?  I just had to share it with all of you chicken lovers out there…

Speaking of chickens mine are doing fine now. No more drama… I still have one Marans rooster, Darcy, and 6 Marans hens and 2 easter eggers, and I get about 3-4 Marans eggs a day.

The easter eggers have not laid an egg for 6 months. They look nice and healthy, but I wonder if they are finished laying? I don’t think they are that old.

Anyway, I need to buy some more hens…just haven’t found the right ones yet.

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Glimpses of My Garden in July

We live in a little valley where two creeks meet. According to the old timers there is an Indian saying that tornadoes will not pass through an area where two creeks meet. So far we have not had a tornado here, so the trees are big and tall shading much of the garden.

our place

In the photo above are the trees that run along the creek, which is dry now. That is usual for the end of July and August. What is not usual is the cooler temperatures we’ve been having that are keeping everything so lush and green this time of year. Today we are expecting a high of 72 degrees and lots of rain, even flash flooding. The rain will fill up the creek.

This year the surprise lilies have burst into bloom in abundance dancing around the wisteria in the midst of the grass I’ve neglected to pull out…

surprise lilies

Here they are reflected in the bird bath…

 

reflected 2

I added them to my most recent bouquet along with gladiolas, phlox, cosmos, hydrangea, sage, purple cone flowers and salvia all from my garden…

bouquet pink

bouquet pink2

I love my blue birdbath. When it broke I replaced it, and my cheffingitwithsarah daughter decided to use the old stand in her kitchen herb garden. So when I walk out the back door this is what I see…

 

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The leaves all about the little bird that look like nasturtium, which is what we thought they were at first, have turned out to be a pesty weed that is taking over this bed called Dollar Weed , but they are edible and supposedly are great in salads, so maybe they are not so pesty after all. In fact, Sarah might use them for pesto… 😉

plant

The cucumbers are planted like a river along side the gladiolas this year…

cukes

We are just beginning to harvest these cukes, as I always plant them late. According to a pumpkin farmer I met years ago, if you wait to plant them after June 1st, the cucumber beetles will already have migrated through, and they will leave your plants alone. So I plant late, and I plant in a different place each year. So far this has been working for me.

My perennial bed with the pergola and strawberry bed in the background…

pergola

Hostas are almost finished blooming now. They have looked beautiful all summer with the cooler temperatures…

hosta

I love hiding little bird sculptures here and there in the yard. Here is my favorite…

bird

And of course there are my real birds…

rooster

We are having a very abundant tomato harvest. I’ll have some pics of those next time…

 

 

The Run…

My wonderful husband built a run of sorts for our growing flock of chickens. Did I say growing?  It seems that the number count gets less, but the chicks are growing bigger every day.  And do you see a Mr. Knightly Jr. here?

Junior

I’m afraid so…going to be hard to let him go…

Anyway back to the run…

run

It is totally covered to keep hawks out during the day. It runs  between the little chick coop on the right and the Tack Room coop on the left where the hens live. You can see the new  little door that opens out into the run on the left. So that’s it.

I put a branch in today to see if they would like something to sit on… Roo and pullet, can you tell how much they have grown?

branch

This still makes me sad. I know the chickens are much better off getting all that good food in the wild when they free range, but for now they have to be enclosed.

I noticed that I now have 99 followers. I’m doing another painting giveaway when it hits 100, so stay tuned…

No More Free Range

My neighbor called me the other day and asked me if I had seen the little yapper dog again, because two more of his chickens were missing…just gone…no feathers…no sign. I told him it could be hawks…

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Last night before dark I went down as usual to close up the chickens and Mara was missing. She is an old hen and wasn’t laying anymore, but she always was in the coop at night. I looked around and saw these strange markings in the snow…

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I had no idea what this could be, so I looked it up and sure enough they are the wing tips of a bird of prey.   This morning when I went down to the coops I found more evidence…

2

These tracks went on for about 20 feet…

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Really amazing when you think about it.  I can picture the hawk flying close to the ground chasing the chicken and then finally capturing it and carrying it off… no sign of the chicken…

4

You can see my boot track in the last picture compared to the wing span. Needless to say I have decided very reluctantly to stop free ranging. My last four laying hens are going to be cooped up until I can get a very good run built.  I have 6 roosters and 4 pullets in the other coop that I was beginning to let out for an hour a day. No more…it’s just not worth it.

That’s my take on it anyway after really desiring to have chickens free range. I’m so thankful that the last hen that was taken was the one that was old and not laying.

So, I think these are hawk wings, anyone have any experience in this? Could they be an owl?  I’m thinking hawk because it probably happened in the day time.

Joy Comes in the Morning

I am so glad I have chickens!!!  My morning is just overflowing with joy…It is 19 degrees outside with an inch of snow covering the landscape. Who would venture out into this??? Me…little old me…because I have to take care of the chickens. And I got to see the sun coming up over the horizon lighting up the snow in millions of  glistening diamonds. And then I saw it…diamonds falling from the sky, brilliant tiny crystals swept by the wind and lit up by the rising sun. Absolutely glorious and all I could think of was a resounding Hallelujah…

Joy … my almost 3 year old grandson spent the night with us a week ago. He slept upstairs in my daughter’s room, and of course they were the first ones up in the morning. She brought him downstairs and stoked up the fire in the woodstove and cuddled with him on the couch watching the fire, and he said with childlike joy, ” It’s a beautiful day! Look at the blue sky! I am your friend!”

Then I wandered sleepily out of  my room ready for my morning coffee, and he ran up to me arms outstretched, so excited, “Moka*, come see the fire!!!” Joy in the morning…we need more joy in the morning. We need more joy all the time! Childlike joy!

*He calls me Moka… a great name for me Mom/Karin  and it doesn’t confuse me with the other grandmas. 🙂

So, who doesn’t love seed catalogs?  I received one in the mail the other day I had never seen before, and they are doing a unique thing that I thought I would share…

The Natural Gardening Company

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They are doing a test of one of their tomatoes, the Oxheart tomato, to discover which part of the country has the best tomato growing climate. Whoever has the first ripe Oxheart tomato will receive a $100 gift certificate. I might just try this… You’ll love the catalog and you can get one online here.

 

I also want to share, in case anyone is not following her, Down To Earth Digs is featured in Country Garden magazine this month, and her beautiful garden is on the cover! I’m so excited for Stacey!!!

 

 

Befuddled

Aren’t these spider lilies beautiful?

spider liliesLike  their relation the  Surprise Lilies, they just come up out of the ground when you least expect them. What a blessing! Thought I would start this post on a positive note… 🙂

Especially on a day like this when I am overwhelmed and befuddled. I can’t even speak here of all the situations, but two of them happen to be the garden and the chickens and that is what this blog is all about.

October is right around the corner and October last year was when I got my first chickens. 14 Marans chicks and 4 Welsummer hens, 1 cuckoo Marans hen and 1 Barred Rock.

Today I have from the chicks 1 rooster and 4 hens, 1 of the  4 Welsummers, and the 1 cuckoo Marans.  I also have 2 Ameraucanas. I sure have lost a lot of chickens… 😦

I know that the 2 Ameraucanas are laying 5 to 6 eggs a week and occasionally I get a brown egg from the Welsummer and one dark brown one from one of the Marans.  This morning I penned them all up in what  Sleepinghorse terms the naughty room. And the reason for this is to find out if any of them are making nests like Emma did. I want to know who is laying and who is not, and how many eggs I should be getting a day.

Emma is the other dilemma!

I thought it best to move her and her 14 eggs and then I began to think about the fact that the embryos in those eggs are probably pretty well formed by now and wondered if it would be detrimental to move them at this stage. They should be beginning to hatch in about a week. I looked again on line and found many who had moved the eggs and the mama hen abandoned them. I would just hate this. So we decided to take the chance and let them hatch out and then move them. They are right under our bedroom window, so we should be able to easily hear any ruckus that goes on.

While I was writing this, I heard a strange noise outside and I ran to see as I am totally on alert now until the chicks hatch… It was Emma coming out for a quick bite to eat. I ran to the kitchen and got some oats and leftover tuna…

Emma 3

She gobbled this up and then fluffed her feathers…

Emma 4

And while she was stretching and sunning I took a peek at her eggs…

marans eggs

Still 14…

Then there is my pathetic fall garden. Every leaf of every plant that I planted from seed has been eaten up, and I don’t even know what the culprit is. So no fall garden this year, or do I go out and buy some plants?…Like I said, I am befuddled.

I guess I’ll just take one thing at a time…

spider

Back Home and I Need Some Advice :)

I’m back from the Land of the Ancient Ones and while I was gone, we dealt with another predator, a large white German Shepherd looking dog.  My husband and my sons worked hard that week I was gone, and no one was here during the day, but we never know when one of these predators is going to show up…

This particular day was a really wet rainy day. After the guys had worked hard and had eaten dinner, one of my sons spotted the big white dog down at the chicken coop with a hen in his mouth. He couldn’t get to him fast enough to take care of the situation, but he did scare the dog and he did drop the hen he had in his mouth. It was the Welsummer Sis, yes, the one I painted the portrait of for the giveaway. My husband picked her up and put her in a clean warm place, but she didn’t make it. Then he counted the hens that were left and there were only 7 out of the 9. The other hen that was missing was Emma. My two prettiest hens were gone…

Or so I thought… This morning my daughter knocked on my door and exclaimed, “Mom, I think Emma is under the porch!” We grabbed a flashlight and peeked under the porch and sure enough there was a hen sitting there surrounded by leaves.

under porch

She’s not in the above picture, because I took it after she left and went to have a drink with her friends…

Emma

That’s Emma drinking out of a ceramic bird bath I have in my front yard. While she was busy drinking I took my flashlight and looked through a knot hole in the porch floor and this is what I found…

14 eggs

14 eggs!  So Emma is broody again. I’ve managed to break her of her broodiness twice, but I’m not doing it again.

So my question to all of you out there is do I just leave this nest under the porch and see what happens? It is pretty protected right under my bedroom window… Our dog used to have her puppies there. 🙂

porch

Or should I transfer the eggs over to our little chick coop that used to be a dog house and hope that she will be happy there?

We have differing opinions in our house. I just want to do what is best and I want Emma to be a happy hen.

What do you think?