Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bloody Hell!

Wait, I changed my mind. Let's go back to September for a couple more weeks.

I could see my breath this morning.

I took my trusty coffee cup (handwarmer - I have NO idea where my box of winter gloves etc are) outside to "do the morning chores" The hens glared at me from their roost. Like it was MY idea that it is 45 degrees in their coop. The leaves on the birch in back and the maple in front are still as green as can be - I don't think they got the memo. But then again neither did I.

I'm still rooting for an Indian Summer.

To placate the girls I threw down some cracked corn on their morning zucchini, leftover oatmeal with hot chocolate and mash. I've had the jar for near a year "Earth Tones" dent corn we got from our CSA last growing season. I wasn't sure what to do with it. The kernels are beautiful in, as the name implies, earthy colours. But if I ground them altogether - well, muddy brown cornbread doesn't seem to appetizing. So the hens graciously forgave me for the weather and attacked their breakfast like it would run away at any minute.

By the afternoon they were back to normal. But roosted by 7pm. It gets dark so fast now.

Seriously, "REDO!"
(fairly odd parents reference there)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Chick Fight!

It's hard to tell, but Shelly and Jane Doe are circling each other. Shelly seems to pick fights with all the hens except Tweety. Well - it is more of a choreo- graphed dance ala West Side Story. All puffed up posturing and rebel yells (squawks?). At some point Shelly will turn her back - like she forgot the other girl is there - and suddenly puff herself up and hop/fly at her current adversary stopping just before contact is made. Then it is Jane's (or Mina, or Daffodil) turn. This can go on for 10 minutes - with reruns throughout the day.

I will post more pictures as I can get them. But my camera argues the point. With the standard 3x zoom, by the time I get close enough to get a good shot they stop what they are doing and look at me heads cocked "What? We weren't doing anything!" before running off giggling (cackling?) Come to think of it - kind of like my children. Then there is the shutter lag time - oh you wanted that picture? My camera mocks me. But it is too funny to miss. Maybe I need video with music (the Jets song comes to mind).

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Fall Cleanup

The garden season is done. The hens are now taking care of the last green left in the pots. On the left was Mesha's pumpkin plant - it's lone orange fruit harvested in early August. There is a small green one hanging off the side where I had THOUGHT it was protected.

It now looks like the tomatoes posted previously.

Jane Doe stands where once there was a Costoluto Genovese Tomato. They are a funny Italian Paste tomato - my fruits were all strangely shaped - one even grew around itself. They had a pronounced tomatoey flavor and meaty flesh with few seeds. I didn't get enough for sauce - but they sliced up nicely for a hamburger or BLT.

The plant never really came back from the sudden mid summer temperature drop. But continued to look tall and full for the rest of the growing season. I just moved its purpose from edible fruit to privacy screening.

I figure the soil will be even better when the girls finish with it.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Duck eggs

No I did not get any ducks. A friend of mine gets a dozen a week and gives them to anyone who will take them.

I didn't even know there were black eggs!

We made quiche for dinner. The girls could barely break the shells. I will try pumpkin cake (with ginger cream cheese frosting) this weekend - they are supposed to make superior baked goods.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

it was a massacre

I guess all those books that said keep the chickens out of the garden were serious.

Monday, September 21, 2009

dear diary

Remember when you were a teenager and your Aunt Mabel would give you a journal with lock and key, you swore that you would write everyday? And you would, for a couple weeks and then nothing for months. I kinda feel like that. The following is a bunch of unrelated commentary. Sorry. But this is like my journal - but with pictures.

It tastes like fall. The potted begonias and alpine strawberries have been replaced by garden mums. I don't particularly like mums, but they are better than bare dirt. This is my favorite time for the fire pit. The slight chill in the nighttime air makes the crackling sound more enticing. The neighbor's tree has starting dropping yellow leaves. It is the first to turn - all others are still bright green. But it is prolific and we rake at least 3 times a week - well hubby rakes.

Logan brought me 6 bales of straw - he has a truck. I greatly appreciated it - I have yet to clean the straw off my leather seats from the last haul. I have stacked it on one side of the coop in puncture resistant garbage bags. 2 birds 1 stone ya know.

The girls still refuse to roost themselves, preferring to crowd into the nesting boxes - there is always one left standing. So every night hubby or I move them to the roosts and there they will stay until morning.

Every day the girls find feathers around the yard. (These are Mina or Daffodil's) They put them in the nest boxes so the hens will have a "pretty house". Are they molting? Growing winter down? I have no idea. I've said it before, but I do wish I had paid more attention to what my parents were trying to show me as a child. I think we should be getting pullet eggs in October. We'll see.

Monday, September 14, 2009

appropriate naming

So her name is Jane Doe. And I have no idea what kind of chicken she is. Weird sideburn feathers - reminds me of the mutton chop style of early presidents. Her name fits so well

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Instant stress relief

I love my chickens

Well, I suppose that is obvious since I avoid Facebook like the plague yet I have this blog!

But knowing they are at home is very calming to me. I cannot take customer's anger personally when I know Tweety is going to beg for food like a small dog as soon as I walk in the gate.

They are only chickens, but I feel the importance of our symbiosis way more than I do with the cats or the hamster. If I care for them they will help feed me. What an amazing relationship! It is now that I realize, for all of my cooking from scratch and growing a few tomatoes, how little connection I have to that which sustains me.

It makes me question whether I really need that brownie mix whose label I cannot read.

Well yes, I do.

But maybe I don't need the whole pan.

It's a start.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


My darling knight fought the digital dragon and found my photos.

Posts I have been drafting over the last week or so will be coming up randomly

Fall is coming I can feel it.

The cucumbers and tomatoes are yellowing (although lack of water is helping the cooler nights accomplish that I am sure)

It was cool enough that I was able to can stock on my days off.

School Started.

The hens are now in bed by 8pm of their own accord.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

What a difference the hay makes

Before: re-purposed dog run.


It smells so good now - and the hens are happy with new things to scratch and peck. You can see the compost bin turned protective feeder (bonus - keeps all the wild birds from eating all the mash!) What a great makeover for under $4!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

but my computer ate my photos!

I can't find them anywhere!

New posts are in limbo until the Vaio fesses up.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Now for something completely different

Yesterday was Hubby and my 13th anniversary.

We celebrated it with our traditional picnic with the girls at the Sculpture Garden (next to Walker Art Museum)

This is probably the most famous "art" in the Twin Cities
Spoonbridge and Cherry (although it does have a sign that says not to climb on it)

It is a perfect picnic place and the sculptures can be touched - unlike the art inside the museum (yes I know this from experience)

It was a splendid day