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Archive for January, 2012|Monthly archive page

Operation Chicken Relocation

In Chicken husbandry on January 31, 2012 at 3:20 pm

Jan. 31st, 2012

Edwin arrived right on time.  Daisy welcomed him warmly.

He seems nice. I wonder if he has grapes.

The two of us wrangled the girls into their old brooder cage for the trip.  Most factory farm layers have about this much space their whole lives.

It turns out, Edwin’s truck bed was too small, so I called two heroes to help this damsel in distress.  G.T. and Gary are master builders in our neighborhood and they both dropped what they were doing to transport the coop to Hampstead.

I love these guys!!!

We convoyed down Hwy 85 with three vehicles, 4 humans, a chicken coop and 3 chickens.  We arrived safely and I snapped a photo of the girls’ new neighborhood as we drove in.

Beautiful!

After two hugs and heartfelt “thanks” to my two new boyfriends, Edwin and I settled the coop and put everything back together.

They are building a fence all along the field which will be a huge chicken run when completed.  There are garden beds filled with vegetation and clover between the coop and the barn.

Notice the similarity between the coop and barn. Sweet!

We got the girls settled inside and gave them some water and food.  I showed Edwin how I remove the roof and clean the coop.  Also how the little doors fit in the windows and where to place the water, food and dustbath.  He indulged me kindly even though the man has raised chickens for years and I was acting like he was a newbie.  I think he sensed how sad and nervous I was about their first night in a new place.

Proud Papa!

It was about an hour before sundown, and Mr. Marty left me alone with my babies to blubber like an idiot.  If anyone had driven by they would have seen a near 50-year-old woman sitting on the ground next to a funny red house talking to three chickens.

We like it here so far!

As the sun was going down I figured no one would arrest me for pulling up a few handfuls of lettuce and clover to give to the girls before bed.  There’s probably an HOA regulation against it, but I was feeling brave.

Thanks Mom! Can we have this every night?

The ladies went through their nightly routine of taking a short dust bath & getting a drink before bed.

Then…one by one…they climbed up to bed…

Good night Violet.

Good night Rosie.

Good...

...night, my sweet Daisy.

Thank you for going on this adventure with me.  Please join me tomorrow for the final post.

Not anymore.

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The New ‘Hood…Drumroll Please

In Chicken husbandry on January 30, 2012 at 7:30 pm

Jan. 31st, 2012

The girls are going to live at Hampstead Farm in East Montgomery about 10 miles from my house.  Hampstead is a neighborhood that promotes a “green” and sustainable lifestyle.

http://hampsteadinstitute.org/

This cool neighborhood is also the home of the Montessori School at Hampstead.  Rosie, Daisy & Violet will provide the students with their first experience of caring for farm animals.  The children will get some entrepreneurial experience by “selling” the girls’ eggs to the Hampstead CSA.  Eventually the school will add more chickens to the flock, but until then, Rosie, Daisy & Violet will “rule the roost”.

You got that right!

After tomorrow you can now go to the school’s farm blog to keep up with Rosie, Daisy & Violet:  http://montessorifarmers.blogspot.com/  It may take a few days for the ladies to show up on the site, but keep checking if you want to see how they are adjusting.  Although we are very sad to lose them, we will be able to visit whenever we wish.  They will continue to be spoiled rotten and I’ll make sure they get a few grapes once in a while.  Later today, Mr. Edwin Marty, the executive director of the Hampstead institute will arrive with a truck to transport the coop to the farm.  They ladies will ride in Old Blue (my 13-year-old car) enclosed in the bunny cage they lived in for the first 6 weeks of life.  I think it will be a bit more crowded now, but they’ll only have a short journey.  I shall document the relocation project and return to the chicken diary this evening for a full report.

Wine and Chicken With Our “Peeps”

In Chicken husbandry on January 30, 2012 at 6:26 pm

Jan. 30th, 21012

Some of my chicken posse gathered in the backyard for the last night of “Chicken Time”.  I can’t thank these lovely people enough for all their encouragement and support.  I love you guys!

Mike brought grapes! He's their favorite.

Dennis & Tama, my excellent friends and chicken sitters.

Mike, Hannah & Cuppie

Hannah & Sue

Jill and Susan, trying to look cool. Keep tryin' ladies!

Skeeter & Hudson

Right before Violet spilled wine all over Jill's pants...

...and right after!

The handsome Norris family--Will, Michelle, Catherine & Nathan

Ron, Renay and their new baby "Lexie"

More people trying hard to look cool--Allen, Mark & Cindy

Kim and her Krew

It was a great evening and I only cried a tiny bit.

Goodnight girls. You will be missed.

The Girls Get Their “15 Minutes”

In Backyard chickens, Chicken husbandry, urban chickens on January 30, 2012 at 3:22 pm

Jan. 30th, 2012

Yesterday our neighbor Josh visited the ladies for the first time.  Josh is a professional photographer and he shot the girls for a story in a RSVP, a bi-monthly magazine that highlights entertainment and activities in the River Region.  Look for it in the next issue of RSVP.  Go here to see it online:

http://www.rsvp-montgomery.com/

The girls were cooperative models with the help of a few grapes.

Be sure and get my good side!

Daisy hogged the camera for her moment in the sun…

Check me out!

Who's a dumb blonde now, Violet?

Thanks Josh!  We can’t wait to see the girl’s magazine debut.  We hope this is just the beginning of their meteoric rise to fame!

Loose Ends

In Chicken husbandry on January 29, 2012 at 5:34 pm

Jan. 29th, 2012

Cleaning the coop is never a fun job, but it is even less so in January after a week of rain.  It will go with the girls as a temporary home until a proper coop can be built at their new address.  Of course I wanted to make a good impression on their new chicken wranglers, so I spiffed up the avian domicile to the best of my ability.  I washed it inside and out with a bleach mixture and then dried it with an old towel and let it sit in the sun with the roof off for a while.

I hosed off all the plastic liners is use to keep the upstairs clean and I put new pine straw in the nest boxes.  It looks as good as the day Jim built it. (The House that Jim Built, May 31st)  While I was cleaning, Rosie was acting upset because she REALLY wanted to lay an egg, so I rigged up a temporary nest box with an old cardboard box and some straw.

At first she fussed when I put her in it, but then she settled down and VOILA!

I realized that I won’t have the girl’s eggs for much longer and I had wanted to repay Brenda’s kindness with an eggy treat.  She is the friend who made the beautiful decoupaged box for me. (A Meaningful Gift, Jan. 24th)  I made a small spinach Quiche and an egg custard pie with the fruits of my girls’ labor.

These are personal pan-sized and they fit into a pretty box I use to store Christmas ornaments.

I thought giving the Brenda this nice box as well as the food added a bit of symmetry to the gift-giving.

Skeeter is bringing the present to her mom today.  Brenda lives in the country and I still haven’t travelled to her farm to meet her.  Thanks Skeeter, please don’t eat them on the way!

Tomorrow I will disclose the girl’s new home.  Today they are enjoying a gorgeous day in their spotless coop under the Alabama sunshine.

Neighbor-Palooza!

In Backyard chickens, Chicken husbandry, eggs, urban chickens on January 28, 2012 at 9:00 pm

Jan. 28th, 2012

Word has gotten around that the Chickens’ days are numbered, so many neighbors have “flocked” to our back yard to say their final farewell.  Many of these are first-timers!  Morgan & Miss Kitty brought their grandson Difley.

He was fortunate to find a Daisy egg in the nest box!

This morning we had three lovely ladies and a handsome young gentleman visit our girls.

Jennifer

Kim

Aubrey & Ever

Good pals and chicken champions extraordinaire, Ron & Renay dropped in for a final visit.

Daisy is almost too much for little Renay!

And from up the hill, Donna and Jeff stopped in.

Finally, our neighbor Tommy visited our girls for the first time and picked a Violet from my yard.

My Aunt Carol remarked that I’m “savoring every last moment” I have with my pets and she’s right.  This morning we even “savored” our last three-egg omelette.

I cooked one from each girl and served it with some cheese grits.  (I did share with Jim!)

They leave their home of nine months Monday afternoon.  Tomorrow night will be the final evening we have “chicken time”.  I invite my chicken posse to drop by around 5:00 Sunday night for a glass of wine, and to watch the ladies ascend the stairs for the last time in the B’game back yard.  I shall endeavor to maintain my composure, but I ain’t makin’ any promises.

And the Rains Ceased

In Chicken husbandry on January 27, 2012 at 1:29 pm

Jan. 27th, 2012

It has stopped raining for a while and the weekend is supposed to be sunny.  I’m glad the girls will get to dry off and prance around the yard on their last weekend home.  Their winter garden will be in full bloom just about the time they have to vacate the premises.  I guess the humans will have to eat the kale, spinach and collards.

The wire is just big enough for their heads so they can peck through the fence and snag some roughage.

I think on the day they depart, I’ll just tear down the fence and let them go to town on it.  I’m keeping the lid on their new home because I don’t want to jinx it.  It’s a great situation and one that will allow us to visit them every day if we wish.  We’re still ironing out the details.

I couldn’t close this chickendiary without including a picture of Rowdy and Sammy enjoying their unique new kitty bed.

I dragged my guitar out of the mothballs after 20 years to learn a request for a friend.  The kittens enjoyed lounging in the case for most of the day.  Silly kittens!

Moist and Juicy Chicken Recipe

In Backyard chickens, Chicken husbandry, urban chickens on January 25, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Jan. 25, 2012

Take three free range, organic chickens…

Towel please!

Mix well with 5 days of pouring rain…

Make it stop Mommy!

Sprinkle liberally with grapes…

Can we please sleep inside?

Enjoy!

A Meaningful Gift

In Backyard chickens, changing urban chicken laws, Chicken husbandry, urban chickens on January 24, 2012 at 4:11 pm

Jan. 24, 2012

My friend Skeeter brought a gift to my house last night that made me blubber like a baby.  Skeeter’s mom & dad have a farm.  They have a garden and animals and Brenda has regularly blessed our house with gifts of food from her home.  In return she’s sampled some eggs from my little stamp of earth and not much else.  We’ve swapped stories about our animals, families and the current movement in some circles to find wholesome, humanely raised food for our table.  The woman is smart, funny and incredibly generous.  Skeeter has kept her abreast of my battle to keep the girls and the unfortunate result we got on Friday.  The timing of my friend’s present did much to lift my spirits at a time when they needed lifting.  Get a load of this…

Click on it to get a closer look.  This is an old timey cheese-wheel box.  Brenda lifted photos from the chickendiary to make a decoupage masterpiece.  You can plainly see enlarged photos of Violet, Rosie and Daisy and other images from my posts.  Look carefully at the broken pieces of egg scattered throughout the scene.  These are actually fragments of the eggs I sent her in weeks past.  The background is green grass and chicken wire.  But this is just the outside….

Inside she lined the box with chicken fabric which is also decoupaged to a lovely sheen.  She included a sweet note as well.  I would show you the back, but it has a little return address sticker on it with her home address as well as a photo of a jaunty rooster.  She painted a pink breast cancer ribbon (I had no idea she knew about that), and the date of the gift.  There are even little felt feet on the bottom of the box.  Needless to say, when Skeeter and her daughter Hudson brought the gift, the dam broke and I boo-hooed.  It’s not the first time I’ve had a bit of a pity party over this whole thing, but the kindness of this one person edged out (for a moment) the whole frustrating, painful experience of giving up my pets.  And here’s the kicker folks…I’ve never even met her.  Thanks Brenda, and thanks Skeeter for introducing me to your very cool mom.  We’ll meet in person after the weather clears when we can make the journey to your little slice of heaven.  “Thank you” doesn’t quite cover it.  I’ll find some way.  🙂

And The Rains Came

In Backyard chickens, Chicken husbandry, urban chickens on January 21, 2012 at 11:29 pm

Jan. 21st

It has been raining for 40 days and 40 nights.  OK, it just feels like it.  The girls are enjoying all the bugs that are coming up for air from our saturated yard and they are absolutely filthy!  The “wet” shows up especially on Daisy’s gold feathers so I subjected her to a photo shoot when she was not looking her best.  Click on the pictures to really see this messy little girl.

Wet is not a good look for me.

I could really use a blow dryer.

Can Daddy build an ark?

Since my sad post yesterday I have received a few interesting offers from some great folks who want to give my chickens a good home.  You really find out how wonderful people can be when you have an experience like this.  I shall keep you posted regarding the girl’s fate.  I can assure you, they will be placed where they can continue to be spoiled, happy chickens.  Stay tuned and try to stay dry.

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