Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Lazy Chicks Method of Gardening

Its been a lazy Saturday. Its been in the high 40's but for some reason feels cooler than that. Not quite gardening weather just yet. My chickens begged to differ.

I woke up this morning to a horrible screeching/crowing sound coming from Elsie (the lighter colored blond in the video below). I had never heard her make that particular "screech" before and was somewhat concerned. It sounded as if she was attempting to crow, but was not quite up to Rooster quality. While she performed her own little opera, she paced the run. It was odd behavior.

In the past, she has paced the run when she wanted to be out of the enclosure. As in, pooping and pecking in the middle of the yard or fully ripe garden. Pace only though, not shout at the top of her lungs demanding to be let out. M'Kayla was good enough to slip on her shoes and go open the Coop and run door to see if this was the problem. Orabelle jumped up and out of the run as soon as M'Kayla opened the door. Poor Elsie, not being hatched with the escape artist ingenuity of Orabelle began to grow frantic until she realized the Coop door was open as well. In through the little chicken door, through the Coop and OUT! Once out, she flapped her wings and ran to the garden box.She hasn't made so much as a peep all day.

I am pretending that Elsie is concerned that my garden looks hardly ready for spring. The real reason is that said garden is filled with all manner of worms and goodies beneath the lovely leaf mulch that covered it last fall. Newly thawed, moist and delicious...its every chickens dream.

This video was taken at 5 in the evening and as you can see, Elsie and Goldie are still hard at work tilling the garden for their lazy mama. Adding heaping helpings of fertilizer as they toil. Sigh, a chickens work is never done.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Spring Chickens

I am having so much fun with my new chicks. There have been updates in the chicken world of late though and I thought I would post.
After talking with one of the ladies in charge of chickens at Murdoch's, she said I would have no trouble selling my Bantam Roo and several of his ladies. So I did the thing that comes natural to any chicken mama in a feed store filled with troughs of peeping beaks.... I bought three more! To be more accurate, I bought 2 more. Mike bought 1. He bought a White Crested Polish pullet with an adoreable little top knot of fluff. (crazy looking hair do when she grows up though). I bought another Buff Orpington like Elsie. She is pictured above on the right. I also purchased a Speckled Hamburg, which lays porcelain white eggs. She is pictured on the left.
The top photo is of the fab brooder box my husband set up. We went to Sears and picked up a couple of range and freezer boxes. Mike flipped one on its side, cut the side (which is now the top) out, and cut ends from the other box. Some packaging tape and wala! Insta brooder!
You will also notice the window. He had a sheet of plexiglass so he cut a window on one side of the box and duct taped the plexi in. Perfect viewing window for Lulu who pleads with me daily to please please just let her kiss one of the babies. Right.
I also bought vegetable seeds at Murdochs! They were running a sale for 9 packages of seeds for .96 cents! Now I just need a grow light and somewhere to put the baby plants.
You know, when I was younger, I didn't care much for spring. Infact I could easily have said (and probably have said on many occasions) that it was my least favorite season. I would generally complain of mud, and that half in half out of winter bit that brings on a never ending restlessness. Part of it could be that I was in my first few months of pregnancy in the spring with my kids, and had morning sickness 24 hours a day. To this day if I hear Sinead O'Connor sing "Since you been gone I can do whatever I waaaaant"... I could literally almost throw up, that being the artist I was "in to" at the time!
But now? Now I realize how much I need spring. I realize how much I long for the promise of respite from the dark cold place of winter. Here in Montana, the line between winter and spring is much more vivid than it was in Florida. There was Spring in Florida, but you had to pay close attention to the natural world around you not to miss it. This winter, with my illness and, has been especially dark. I long to feel the steady heat of the summer sun on my skin. To close my eyes and let the sunlight fill my body with seretonin and vitamin D. Spring promises summer, bless her heart.
Spring holds more than just the promises of Summer. I am a Christian now. It is in springtime that we set aside a day in remembrance of what our Lord did for us on the cross. Giving my life to Christ has been its very own Spring. In Christ, the bible says, I am a new creation.
Wow, this post was just supposed to be about chickens! : )The snow blows crazily outside, winter doesn't want to let go. The days are longer though, and warmer and I am so grateful for all this season brings.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Finally :) We have baby chick arrival!!

Things didn't go quite as planned as 22 days ago I ended up in the ER with a gallbladder attack. 4 days later I was in the OR having my gallbladder removed, and recovery has not been fun.
For many people who develop gallstones requiring surgery, recovery is a quick thing. 3-4 days and back to work. I was hopeful!
But, beings that I have an auto-immune disorder (Sjogrens/Lupus type) and Fibromyalgia, I am STILL recovering, and having some post surgical problems that are really trying my patience. I had actually had symptoms that mimicked gallbladder problems LONG before my gallbladder ever went to the dark side. This indicates that something else is going on, and only time is going to get me down this path.
I have been depressed, in pain, angry and generally miserable...yaaaa! I am working on the attitude. I seem to just have no patience for illness. It scares me, I hate being out of control, I hate pain and I would really rather just be back to normal...nnnnnnnnoooow! My mind has turned from its fairy tale world of chickens and knitting, to a deep thirst and longing for more of God's Word, which brings comfort everytime I open it. I have also relied upon the love and prayers of my friends who really keep me going when I feel like all is darkness. I cannot express the gratitude I feel toward those who have held my hand, in thought or in person. And never can I express gratitude enough for the comfort my Lord has blessed me with. In particular having our church services live at has been an incredible blessing, and I find I live for Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings.

But.. back to the topic at hand. My husband in all his wisdom decided that my surly "I'm just not going to get chicks this year....grumble... whine.. grumble..." was not healthy.
Armed with absolutely no knowledge except that I had been going to pick them up from Murdoch's Farm Store, he went chicken shopping.

I had been going to get 5 large chickens, to enable me to sell eggs this fall when they would all start laying. That would be a total of 9 chickens when you factor in the girls I already have.

You must know my husband to appreciate this, or perhaps its men in general? If 5 was gonna be good, 10 would be even better.....

So when I opened up the box he brought home from Murdoch's, inside were 10 peeping little fluff balls. The ensuing conversation went something like this:

Me: ohh!! (with happiness) you brought me chickens, what breeds are they? (peering in the box)
Hubby: Not sure.. (while setting up the brooder cage)

Me: Well, they didn't tell you what kind?

Hubby: Nope, it might be on the receipt.

Me: Well how did you choose them?

Hubby: Just said.. two of these, three of these, two of those and three of those...

Me: Ohhh...

Me: This is so sweet of you! I was only going to get 5 though.

Hubby: These are small.

Me: Small?

Hubby: Yeah, Bantams.

Me: Ohhhhh (wearing slight concern) they lay little eggs. (bantams are mini chickens, sorta like toy poodles : )

Hubby: shrugs (adding chicks to brooder)

Me: I love them! (feeling blessed he thought of me and looking frantically for the receipt)

Me: Mike!!!

Hubby: (looking up) huh?

Me: You got two Guinea Hens!! I don't even know what those are, but I think they are really loud and stupid!

Hubby: (shrugs)

Me: We can't have Guinea Hens in town!

well you get the idea : ) I had 2 guinea hens, 3 Partridge Cochin bantams, 2 Birchen Cochin Bantams, and 2 Barred Rock Bantams.

A quick call to Murdoch's allowed us to take the Guinea Hens back. Thank God.

I love them all, and am so happy that he chose them. I am so blessed with my husband and his concern for my deranged insanity. It is going to be a precious little flock. Sadly, one of the little Barred Rock Bantams is looking like she is a he : ( and I won't be able to keep him either. I am still trying to figure out what we'll do with him. He is so unbelievably cute, thats him in the photo above.

Oh and not to worry that I didn't get any full sized hens... because my dear husband came home today with two Plymouth Barred Rock chicks, which will grow into FULL sized clucking ladies.

Life keeps moving!!
Next is names!!