Random Observations…

I’ve discovered that life goes on in the aftermath of a hurricane.  Now that everyone in the community has had their power restored, life is pretty much back to normal.  I believe the last of our community had their power restored by last Wednesday. The students have all returned to school, and clean up is in progress almost everywhere I look.  Life goes on.

After being able to actually tour the area we live in, and see much of the damage caused by hurricane Matthew, I now realize, more than ever, how blessed most of us really are!  There are many, many trees down, with a lot of them within just a few feet of people’s homes.  Fortunately, most of the trees fell away from most people’s houses–or in between them.  But for the Grace of God, all those homes could have been damaged, including the former home of Ed’s parents.

I’m observing that our little flock of chickens hasn’t been quite the same since hurricane Matthew.  Their chicken coop is located at the edge of our yard, where several tall pines surround it.  The noise from the storm was LOUD from inside our house, so I can only imagine how it must have sounded to the chickens from their coop outside!  Whenever I let the hens out of their pen, the following morning, the poor things pretty much stayed hidden for the first day after the storm.  The fact that some of our hens are in the middle of molting season hasn’t helped matters, either.  Some of the poor things look like they’ve been plucked, so they’re still looking naked and afraid:)  Egg production is now at a standstill.

Have you ever noticed how one project always seems to lead to another one?  During the hurricane, we were forced to move two freezers from the former home of Ed’s parents.  One freezer we put inside of our storage house, the other we placed under our carport, temporarily.  Because there are no windows for ventilation in our storage house, we had to purchase a screened door for the house.  Ed’s in the process of installing the screened door as I write.

Yesterday, I observed, again, how God will help us triumph over whatever stumbling blocks Satan throws in our path.  Yesterday morning, I woke up with a headache, that persisted all day, and threatened to keep me from attending worship.  I determinedly  made it to the first service, but by the end of the day, I came close to giving in to the headache, which had worsened. I was really struggling because our son was guest speaking at a little church, in town, and I really wanted to hear him preach again.  Finally, at the last minute, I got off the couch, put on my clothes and went to church–headache and all.  And do you know what?  Once I got into church and began the worship service my headache almost went away!  Praise the Lord!

You know, good worship services can take place anytime, anywhere.  What could be sweeter than gathering with four elderly Alzheimer patients, in an assisted living home, singing Jesus Loves Me, and hearing their sweet voices all chiming in?  That experience was priceless, and one I’ll always treasure.

There’s nothing quite like decorating for autumn…twice!  I’d just finished putting up the last of our fall decor, when the weatherman began warning us about hurricane Matthew.  Finally, on the day before the storm, I decided I should bring the outside decorations inside.  I’m so glad I did!  Last Friday, Ed and I  finished decorating–for the second time.  Unfortunately, my blow up jack-o-lantern decided to stop working last night.  What’s a girl to do?

My back is feeling much better, these days.  Although I’m still cautious, I can bend without discomfort, once again.  I still feel some minor nerve involvement in my left leg, but I can live with it, and hope, in time, that will continue to improve, as well.  The surgical site on my ‘backside’ is also doing well.  One of these days I might actually get rid of my padded toilet seat 🙂

I don’t know why, but I’ve really been struggling with this ‘blogging thing’, lately.  What once came so easily, is now so difficult.  I’m lacking in both motivation and energy.  I hope the situation will improve, with time, and that my blogging friends will not forsake me during this difficult time.  Thank you to those who still come by and comment!  I love and appreciate you.  Thank goodness for The Wednesday Hodgepodge, which guarantees I’ll blog and visit at least once a week, but I’m going to try and to better.  With that thought in mind, I’m outta’ here…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements
Published in: on October 17, 2016 at 11:20 am  Comments (4)  
Tags: , , , ,

Joyful Days…

Last week was a busy one.  Ed and I spent much of the week getting our garden planted.  It’s tedious work, especially at our age.  The older we get, the slower we move!  Well, at least I do.  Ed still gets around quicker than me, and can hold out to do a lot more than I can, even though he’s had a heart attack.  Praise the Lord for good recoveries!  We’re coming up on the sixth month anniversary of his attack.

P1010456

tomatoes, green beans, squash,cucumbers, lettuce, cabbage, garden peas, carrots, radishes, potatoes, onions

We only have three more rows to plant [in the garden], then we’ll be finished–for a total of sixteen rows…and we said we were cutting back, this year. Ha!  Actually, we did make the rows shorter, so technically, we did cut back a little.

Speaking of “short”, last week, we put the scarecrow back in the garden because of numerous deer tracks we kept seeing near the end of our garden.  We gave our old scarecrow a little makeover, and Ed nicknamed him “Shorty”.  I hope we can fool the deer again this year.  We seem to have accumulated quite a herd of deer, and they seem to be getting braver. I’m afraid “Shorty” will have his work cut out for him!  Have I mentioned how much deer love to eat peas???

P1010454

“Shorty”

I’m happy to report that our sick hen has recovered, and has rejoined the flock.  Yay!  I’m unhappy to report we now have a “setting hen” on our hands!  This is only the second time, in four years, we’ve had to deal with this.  We’ll try the “cold bath” treatment, today, and hopefully, that will snap her out of her broodiness. We don’t have a rooster, so there’s no way she could hatch baby chicks while sitting on unfertilized eggs.  If I wanted more chickens, I’d search for some fertilized eggs, but eight hens are enough to deal with!  Have I mentioned that I caught a hen sitting in our cat’s bed on our front porch, the other day? Our two oldest “red sisters” think they should be part of the family–and that includes roosting on our front porch!

Ed and I really enjoyed the services at our oldest son’s church, last Sunday, so we went back to church there, yesterday.  Would you believe the pastor of the church was away due to of the death of a loved one, so our son was asked to bring the message again?  We couldn’t believe it!  We went to both services, and really enjoyed his messages, again.  We really like this little church, and watching our son grow in service, there, is just an added bonus.

A couple of other nice things happened, yesterday, in addition to going to church and hearing our son deliver the sermons.  On the way home, I told Ed, “I wish we’d get home, and find a plate of fried chicken with all the trimmings sitting on our kitchen table.”  We’d been home only a few minutes, when the front door [of our home] opened, and in stepped our daughter, carrying two plates of food!  It wasn’t fried chicken, but it was the next best thing, beef stew, with all the trimmings!  God bless her, it was so delicious! Then, later, our granddaughter, Madison, asked to accompany us to church on Sunday night, and she did.  What a joy filled day it was!  I hated to see it end.

Another weekend has passed, and it’s Monday, again.  It’s shaping up to be another busy week.  I often find myself wondering, how in the world Ed found the time to do all of this stuff at home, and hold down a full time job…  Fortunately, he doesn’t have to worry about that anymore!

Have a great Monday!

 

 

 

 

Published in: on April 11, 2016 at 9:25 am  Comments (4)  
Tags: , , ,

This Week…

Lately, life has been sort of mundane around here, but I’m not complaining!  Give me mundane any day, compared to what we were going through this time, last year!  Last Saturday made one year since Ed got laid off from his job, and the year went downhill from there…

Ed’s been dealing with a cold all week, while I’ve been dealing with stomach issues for the past three weeks.  At first, I thought I’d eaten something that didn’t agree with me, but the problem has been persistent, even though it comes and goes .  When one takes prescription medications, a certain amount of stomach upset is to be expected, but I’m beginning to get a little concerned about this one.

The first part of this week, our weather was brutal.  Brutal for us, here in southeastern GA is 24 degrees!  Since my greenhouse is falling apart, most of my exposed summer plants didn’t survive.  A few tough ones, on the front porch, are still hanging in there, but looking rough.   I have one spider plant[hanging on the west side of our house] that I’ve had for over two years, so I brought it inside during the two coldest days.  Now it looks so bad,  I think it would’ve done just as well outside!  I’m not sure what happened to the poor plant, but we put it back outside as soon as we could.

Now that Christmas is over, and the weather is less than perfect, Ed and I have found a new hobby–jigsaw puzzles!  It’s been years since I’ve attempted a puzzle of more than a few pieces, so the first 300 piece puzzle presented quite a challenge!  Ed, who’s always been the better of the two of us, when it comes to putting puzzles together, even struggled with it.  Finally, after several days, we conquered the beast.

P1010353

We’re now on our second puzzle, which is only 250 pieces, but seems even harder than the first one!

I did manage to get in two walks, this week, for a total of about two miles.  I was happy about that!  Ed joined me on both walks, but opted out mid-way through the first one, because he wasn’t feeling good.  Yesterday, he accompanied me for the entire walk, though.

One day, this week, our two oldest grandsons came and stayed with us for a few hours.  They were sad because their cousin, Madison, was sick and couldn’t come over and play, too.  They said they were bored, but, the oldest of the two, Caden, who’s seven, helped us work on our puzzle a bit. (He’s good with puzzles.) They watched some television, I baked some cookies, and they finally played with a few toys before going home.

Our hens are finally beginning to lay eggs again.  We went for several days without getting any eggs at all, then, finally, one hen began to lay an egg, every other day.  Eventually, we began to find an egg every day, and, yesterday, we found two!  I don’t suppose it matters anymore, since Ed and I both eat “egg beaters” for breakfast, now, but I still enjoy finding eggs in the nests.  We will give most of our eggs to family and friends, now that we’re not supposed to eat many of them.

Our best winter layer has turned out to be “Dixie Chick”, our only white hen. You may recall, “Dixie” originally had a sister named “Della”, who was sick as a young chick, and eventually died.  (What an ordeal that was!) “Dixie” has become our flock favorite because she has more personality than the others.  She’ll come up to us for treats, and always wants us to scratch her back!  “Dixie Chick” lives up to her name, too, because she has a beautiful singing voice.  Ha!  She’s the only soprano of the flock, and her voice can always be heard high above the others.

100_5190

Dixie Chick, who’s apparently camera-shy

It’s supposed to rain all day, today, so I guess it’ll be another good day to stay inside and try to find something interesting to do.  Who knows, we might even get lucky and finish that second puzzle! It’s almost lunchtime, so I suppose I’d better get myself up out of this chair, and get busy.

Have a great weekend!

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published in: on January 22, 2016 at 11:33 am  Comments (5)  
Tags: ,

A Chilly Wednesday Hodgepodge…

I hope everyone is staying warm and cozy, now that winter seems to have hit most of the country!  Winter for us is lows in the 30’s and high’s in the 50’s, but, for us, that seems rather chilly!  One great way to spend a warm and cozy Wednesday, is by curling up with the computer and participating in The Hodgepodge, so let’s do that!  Thanks to our hostess, Joyce, we have a very appropriate set of questions today.

1. When did someone last suggest you ‘chill out’? Or, when did you last tell someone (or want to tell someone) to ‘chill out’? Or, when did you last tell yourself to ‘chill out’?

I don’t know if we’ve actually spoken the words “chill out” to each other, but I’m sure both Ed and I have been thinking them for the past ten days or so, every since he became unemployed.  Every now and then,  little doubts about the future creep in, and, when they do, I try to ‘chill out’ and have faith that everything is gonna’ be just fine.

2. What most recently caused your heart to melt?

My heart recently melted when I read a very sweet, heart-felt, letter that Ed received, last week.  It was written by one of the young men who had worked under Ed’s supervision, for the past seven years.  The letter said a lot of very nice things to Ed, but one line that stuck in my mind was “If I could, or had to chose another father figure, I’d choose you.”

3.  “An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.” G.K. Chesterton  

Your thoughts? When did you last experience either an adventure or an inconvenience? How did you see it at first, as an adventure or an inconvenience?  Does it feel the same in hindsight?

I’m going to say “An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.”  Inconveniences are always annoying, to me, but when all is said and done, there’s usually an adventurous tale to tell about the whole situation, when things don’t go smoothly.

Ed and I are currently in the midst of a huge inconvenience, since he recently lost his job.  However, I think, once we finish with all of the frustrating paperwork and transitioning involved, we’ll happily settle into our new adventure known as “retirement”.  I’m looking forward to the day when we can look back and laugh about this whole “inconvenience”!

The truth is, we’ve already started laughing about the whole ridiculous situation, just a little bit.  How ironic is it that, after putting off clothes shopping for well over a year (due to the uncertainty of the hospital’s future), I finally bought some new work clothes for Ed, at Christmas?!  He didn’t even get a chance to wear all of them!  How ironic is it that Ed went through an extremely difficult ordeal, just to get his hair freshly cut before the new “bosses” took over, just so he would make a good impression?!  Last of all, how ironic is it that when Ed first met with the new bosses, they went out of their way to tell him  ” we’ve heard wonderful things about you, from your former employer and co-workers”…then they proceeded to fire him just two weeks later?!  Gotta’ laugh at that!

4.  A Wendy’s Frosty, root beer in a frosty mug, or a frosted chocolate cupcake…of these three, which one is your favorite ‘frosty’ treat?

I’m going to say ‘ a frosted chocolate cupcake’ ( along with a glass of cold milk), but a ‘Wendy’s Frosty’ is a pretty close second favorite, especially on a hot summer’s day.

5. Would you say your life so far this year has been more like a circus or a symphony? Explain why.

If you’ve read what I’ve written here, down to this point, you already know the answer to this question.  The month of January has been like a three-ring circus!

6. Since it’s a ‘snow day’ here, what’s your favorite song containing the word ‘white‘?

White Christmas, of course, something we never have, here in the south.

7. If you had to leave the city you currently live in, what would you find the hardest to leave behind?

That’s an easy one to answer!  I’d find it nearly impossible to leave our children and grandchildren behind, especially since most of them are our close neighbors!

Random:

  We’re enjoying farm fresh eggs again!

100_4846

Our newest chickens are just 4 1/2 months old, but some have begun laying eggs!  Their eggs are small, but at least the chickens have begun to earn their keep!  In one week’s time, the egg count is already up to ten!  It’s been quite an adventure raising this flock, because… well, because I think they’re crazy, especially the white one, known as “Dixie Chick”!  More details coming soon…

Published in: on January 28, 2015 at 7:27 am  Comments (12)  
Tags: , ,

Now There Are Four…

100_3703

For ten long days, I have spent a great bit of my time tending to one of our hens who became very ill.  I know, to some, it might seem ridiculous to put so much time and effort into saving a mere chicken, but I hand raised this chick since she was just two or three days old.  My hens are more than mere chickens to me.  They’re ‘my girls’!

‘Little Sister’ was the runt of my original flock of six, and had issues from day one.  Chickens set the pecking order early, and she was always a bit of an outcast–even as a baby chick.  Often, I’d see her sleeping, a little off to the side of the box, while the others usually piled together and slept.

Of course, I always root for the ‘underdog’, so I’ve always tried to take make sure ‘Little Sister’ got her fair share of the treats, each day.  This wasn’t always easy, as her sisters larger and quicker than she was.  I’d feel bad for her, when the other hens made her sleep on the back roost, alone.  Occasionally, another sister would join her on the back roost, but most often, she slept alone. I rarely got six eggs, and I suspected that ‘Little Sister’ wasn’t laying like her sister hens were, but I didn’t care.  I knew it wasn’t her fault.

After all of my hens got sick, last summer  (and one died), ‘Little Sister’ never seemed to fully recover from the bout of diarrhea.  She continued to have problems, and, eventually became much smaller than her sisters.  That’s how she came to earn the nickname, ‘Little Sister’.   Her appetite wasn’t good, and she often stood listless while her sisters scratched and pecked.

After ‘Little Sister’ started throwing up, Thursday was a week ago, Ed and I tried everything we knew to do, but ‘Little Sister’ continued to grow worse all last week.  She eventually stopped throwing up, but didn’t have much of an appetite.  She survived by eating small treats from my kitchen.   Each day the hen seemed to grow weaker than the day before, with the exception of Tuesday, when she seemed to rally just a bit.  Tuesday was a good day for her, and I thought she might actually be doing a turn around.

All week, I’d let the hen out of her cage in the afternoons, while I cleaned it.  At first, she’d roam about the yard a bit, but by the end of the week, she was so weak she could barely stand, much less walk.  There were times when she’d just sit and actually hang her head.  It broke my heart.

By Friday afternoon, she had stopped eating and drinking altogether.  She refused everything.  It became painfully clear to me that ‘the end’ was in sight, and there was no better for ‘Little Sister’.  I prayed for her to go ahead and die–but she continued to hang on.

I’d been keeping the hen in a cage on the front porch, so I could easily offer her small bits of food every hour, but after she stopped eating and drinking, I decided it was time to move her.  I rolled the garden wagon, with the cage and hen on it, to a shady spot in the back yard.  From there, I could keep an eye on her through the window, and she could keep an eye on her sisters in the nearby coop.  I continued to offer food/water, with no success.  On Friday night, when I covered the cage,  I told ‘Little Sister’ goodbye, and hoped she’d be gone by Saturday morning.  It was a sleepless night for me.

Unfortunately, ‘Little Sister’ was still with us, as Saturday came and went.  I checked on her throughout the day, and continued to offer food, without success.  She became visibly weaker as the day progressed.  Once again, I told her goodbye on Saturday night, and was sure she’d be gone by morning.

On Sunday morning, when I went out to uncover the cage, I  found that ‘Little Sister’  had wedged herself in a corner, on top of her food bowl, with her beak resting between the bars of the cage (as if propping up her head).  Her eyes were closed.  I touched her head, she felt cold and didn’t move when I touched her.  I assumed she was dead, but I kept thinking, I didn’t know chickens could die in a sitting position…

I went inside and told Ed she was gone, and that he could finally get the shovel.  We both sighed a sigh of relief for ‘Little Sister’…  However, imagine our surprise, when Ed reached in the cage, to pick up the hen, and saw her tail feathers move–ever so slightly–but they moved!    We both thought Noooo, this can’t be!

Apparently, ‘Little Sister’ was in some kind of deep coma–closer to being dead than living–but she was still alive!  It would be another five hours before she finally died, (still sitting, but with one leg stretched out a little bit) and it would be another four hours before Ed was able to bury her, because we had company.  ‘Little Sister’ finally joined her other sister, out in the garden, buried where Ed said he knew she’d love to be.

It doesn’t matter how many pets I’ll have or how many I’ll lose–saying good-bye never gets any easier.  And now there are four…

 

 

Published in: on May 5, 2014 at 8:35 am  Comments (8)  
Tags: ,

Thursday’s Thoughts ~ Five Feathered ‘Rays Of Sunshine’…

It’s been a tough week, here in my neck of the woods.  After such a beautiful weekend, the clouds and cold weather rolled back in, on Monday, and haven’t left since!  I’ve been marooned inside of the house all week, with nothing to keep me amused, except my trusty little laptop and five feathered hens– who are always lurking just outside of my kitchen window!  I’m grateful to those five ‘not-so-little’ red hens for the laughter and amusement they bring into my days.

100_3527

Watching me through the window, and waiting for a treat!

Each morning, all five hens are crowded against the door, waiting to be fed.  They always greet me with excitement, and it never grows old.  Each one will be ‘singing’ a different ‘song’, and at least one of the impatient ‘girls’ will tug at the hem of my house coat, while I’m getting the feed out of the chicken house.  I always greet them by saying “Good morning, girls.”

I’m grateful for my ‘rays of sunshine’ for giving me a reason to walk out to the garden each day–to bring them some garden-fresh ‘goodies’ to enjoy. Because of ‘the girls’, I get a daily dose of morning exercise–come rain or come shine!  The greens and vegetables are always appreciated, and by the end of the day, they are always looking for more!

Because of ‘the girls’, I’m able to have my own egg hunt each and every day!  Oh, most of the time, they all lay in the same nest, but I never know how many eggs I’ll find there.  It will always be a number between zero and five, though!  Once in a blue moon, one ‘girl’ will surprise me by laying in a different nest, or, occasionally, on the ground!  I’ve found over 2000 ‘surprises’  over the past twenty months!

100_3530

Still enjoying their chair…

Ed and I have discovered that our hens have keen eyesight.  We often watch our hens through the kitchen window, and, the moment we step up to the window to look out, all five hens come running to the door of their pen to watch us, too!  The chicken’s pen is several yards away from our house, so it amazes us how they can ‘spot’ us, in the window, so quickly!  Once they’ve seen us, they crowd at the door, in anticipation, hoping we’ll bring them a treat!

Recently, I’ve discovered that our hens love bird seed!  They especially enjoy the tiny seeds that I feed to my parakeet.  I can throw a few of the tiny seeds inside of their pen, and they’ll scratch for hours, looking for every last one of those seeds!  Their other favorite treat is bread, but I haven’t found many things they won’t eat!

Chickens make great garbage disposals, but I have discovered that, while they do love them, table scraps tend to upset their stomachs.  I, also, discovered they don’t care for brussel sprouts very much!   I usually stick to feeding them  a little bread, salad left-overs, scratch feed, dried meal worms, and fresh veggies from the garden, as treats.

One hen, in particular, thinks she’s special, and always comes up into the chicken house while I’m getting the bowl of scratch feed out.  She hops up on the perch, and gets right in my face, because she’s learned that I’ll give her a couple of free pecks out of the bowl!  She’s a bit like the child who gets to lick the frosting bowl 🙂

The girls continue to enjoy sitting in their chair, and most of them will still sit on my lap, if I let them.  All of them weigh at least five pounds, now, so I don’t hold them much because they are heavy!  It’s sort of like trying to hold your children, once they’ve gotten big.

Of course, raising chickens isn’t all sunshine and roses.  Sometimes they get sick, and we have to give them medications to help them get better.  Fortunately, we’ve only lost one hen, so far, and she died before we even realized there was a problem.  Most of our problems have been due to having too much rain.  It’s not a good thing when the chicken run can’t dry out properly!

Our girls will be celebrating their second birthdays in about a week.  I can’t help but think back to the days when they were so tiny.  I used to get up and check on them several times a night, to make sure they were warm enough.  I always played country music radio for them, too, so they wouldn’t be lonely when I wasn’t around!  We’ve all come a long way since those days, but not a day goes by that those girls don’t continue to put a smile on my face!

Published in: on March 6, 2014 at 9:26 am  Comments (6)  
Tags:

Ed & Kathy’s Late-Night Chicken Adventures…

185

It’s coming up on two years since Ed and I became chicken owners, for the second time in our marriage.  While our experience raising poultry has gone much smoother, this time around, it hasn’t been without a few adventures.  We’re still learning as we go!

The beginning of our most recent adventure was a couple of months ago, when we began to notice large amounts of feathers inside of the chicken house each morning.  It wasn’t long before we spotted a couple of ‘nearly naked’ hens wandering around the coop!  My first thought was, Oh, no!  They’ve got mites again, but soon it became apparent that ‘the girls’ were molting–in winter!  Spring would seem to have been a more appropriate time, but, no, all five of our girls chose to shed their feathers during winter.

I got very tired of looking at ‘nearly naked’ hens before the last of them regrew their feathers!  In fact, the last of the five, is still growing her tail feathers.  (I was especially grateful they regrew their feathers before the Polar Vortex hit us!)  By the way, I could have stuffed a large pillow with all of the feathers I’ve raked up over the past six weeks or so!  Another down-side of the molting process–not many eggs are produced!  The girls have only been averaging one egg per day, since mid-November.

About half-way through the molting process, I began to notice something appearing to be ‘scales’, in the bottom of the chicken house each morning.  I had no idea where these scales were coming from, but assumed they might be coming from the feet of the chickens.  On a recent trip to the Tractor Supply Store, I discovered something called ‘Scaly Leg Protector’!  Who knew there was such a thing?!  Finding ‘Scaly Leg Protector’ could only mean one thing–another late night treatment!

Now, the most interesting thing about treating ‘the girls’ for any kind of malady is having to do it at night–in the dark!  It takes two people, one willing to catch and hold the hen, the other willing to apply the treatment.  Guess who gets to catch and hold the hens?  Well, it isn’t me!  You have no idea how mean and ornery a hen can be whenever her sleep has been disturbed!

Ed’s a real trooper, and always holds the hens.  Some of them put up a real fight, but Ed hasn’t lost his grip yet!  My job is always to try to hold a flashlight and administer the treatment, whether it be powder or spray.  Sunday night’s treatment consisted of both.

Let me begin by saying, ‘the girls’ have been eating very well, lately, and they’ve regained any weight they lost during their last illness.  Ed really had his hands full, holding onto those feisty hens, and turning them every which way, but loose!  First, I’d powder their backs, then he’d turn them over and I’d powder their chests, and under their wings.  Finally, I had to spray their feet and legs with ‘Scaly Leg Protector’ spray.  You’ve never heard such fussing and chattering out of five hens!  By the end of the treatment process, it was difficult to tell who had more spray on them–the chickens or Ed, but our mission was accomplished–until the next time!  I don’t know who will be more excited–us or ‘the girls’.

P.S.  We’re planning to add to our flock in spring…  Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

Published in: on January 14, 2014 at 10:57 am  Comments (8)  
Tags:

On A Cold And Frosty Morning…

I guess cold weather has officially come to our neck of the woods, since we had our first official frost last night!  When I flung open the front door, this morning, I saw a thick blanket of frost covering everything in sight.  The frost will officially end our grass mowing season for 2013, thank goodness!

Unfortunately, the frost will also end the crop of ‘volunteer’ watermelons, peanuts, and corn, too.  Ed covered the huge ‘volunteer’ cherry tomato plant, growing next to the chicken house, with a tarp.  I’ll uncover and check it in about an hour, to see how the plant survived the night.  As I mentioned, it’s huge, and was still covered with blossoms and little tomatoes.

Our little sweet potato patch looks pitiful, this morning, so I suppose we can officially dig our sweet potatoes, now.  Those potatoes have been growing since late spring when I started growing sweet potato ‘draws’ in my kitchen window!  (For those who may be wondering what a ‘draw’ is, it’s the vine that sprouts from the eye of the potato.)

100_2354

potato draws growing in the window

Anyway, Ed planted the ‘draws’ back in early June, right before our excessive rainy season began.  It’s a wonder the vines didn’t drown, since they were underwater for quite sometime!  Somehow they survived and have been growing in a patch of very dry dirt, lately, since we’re now in the middle of a drought!  (Our precipitation can’t seem to get regulated!)  I can’t wait to see if we actually grew any potatoes, after all that!  Ed dug around the vines last week, and found four very small potatoes, which I baked for supper!  They were small, but delicious.100_2140 (2)

my little ‘green’ house

We’re using my little green house to keep two strawberry plants warm, (which bloomed and had berries all summer), as well as to house a squash plant (with a squash on it!) and an aging tomato plant that has a few tomatoes left on the vine.  This will be our first full winter using the green house, so we’ll see how it goes.  I wonder how much electricity we’ll use keeping four plants warm???

We have mustard, turnips, collards, cabbage, lettuce, and carrots still growing in the garden.  We’ve been running the sprinkler in the garden because, as I mentioned, we’re in the middle of a very dry spell.  Frost and ice covered all of these plants, this morning, too, so it will be interesting to see how everything looks later in the day.  It should be fine, since all of these crops are cold-weather tolerant.

We’ve been enjoying eating mustard greens for just over a week.  Since we’re southern, we love our greens and cornbread!  We’re looking  forward to trying some of the other stuff soon, but most of these veggies were planted for “the girls”, aka our hens.

185

“the girls”

Speaking of “the girls”, they’ve finally recovered from the illness that plagued them back in early summer, when we lost one of them.  They’re fat and very sassy, these days!  In fact, one of the ‘sisters’ reached up and pecked me on the butt cheek, the other day!  I quickly swatted her away, and told her that was a great way to end up in the stew pot! (I’m sure she’s not worried much about that!)  Egg production has slowed, due to the shorter days, but we’re only three eggs away from 1850!   That’s a lot of eggs for five hens to lay!  The girls have kept more than three families supplied with eggs, for over a year!

Published in: on November 14, 2013 at 10:03 am  Comments (3)  
Tags: ,

The Saga Of Six Sick Hens…

185

back when there were six…

The saga began on the Saturday before Father’s Day.  Every morning I clean out the chicken house with my trusty little broom and dustpan, but that morning I ran into a bit of a problem–some very runny chicken poop!  I swept it out the best I could, and wondered what in the world “the girls” had eaten to upset their stomachs.

Father’s Day morning, when I rounded the corner to feed the girls, I was met with a horrible sight.  One of my largest hens was stretched out in front of the feeder, dead!  I was shocked, since everything seemed normal the day before, with the exception of some runny poop.  Little did I know, things were about to take a turn for the worse!

Brad's 27th b'day 042

Ed buried the hen, while I went to clean out the chicken house.  When I opened up the door, I was greeted with a disaster!  Apparently, all six chickens had been sick with a super-duper case of diarrhea during the night.  Watery poop (mostly water) covered the entire floor of the house.  It took nearly half of a roll of paper towels to clean it up.  Clearly we had a problem!

As Sunday progressed, it became apparent that our remaining five hens were very sick.  They weren’t eating, and they weren’t moving around much at all.  They looked like five hens with a very bad case of the stomach flu–and I didn’t have a clue what might be wrong with them.  I did a little on-line research looking for answers, and discovered that giving chickens probiotic sometimes helps with diarrhea.  Who knew?

It was Sunday, and our local feed/seed stores were closed, but Father’s Day Sunday was the day Ed and I took our Excellent Shopping Trip, so I looked for some chicken medicine while we were looking at tillers and weed eaters. I found a concoction of probiotics, electrolytes, and vitamins, otherwise known as Rooster Booster.  I laughed at the name, but I bought some for “the girls”.

By Monday, “the girls” were looking and feeling even worse.  There wasn’t any chicken activity going on in the coop.  No singing, no scratching, no eating, and very little drinking.  I’d lined the bottom of their house with newspaper, the night before, and on Monday morning, the paper was dripping wet!  I knew my girls were in  desperate trouble if they didn’t get some help fast!

Ed happened to be on vacation that week, so I sent him to the feed/seed store in search of a different brand of feed, some additional medication, and a watermelon!  He returned, thirty-six dollars poorer, with all three items in his possession.

Brad's 27th b'day 039

watermelon~ a favorite treat (this isn’t the $6 melon)

We added the new medication to the drinking water, along with the Rooster Booster we’d added the day before.  It quickly became obvious that”the girls” hated the way their water tasted, but somehow they drank enough to survive.

Our hens have always loved watermelon, and we found it to be one of the few things they would eat while they were sick.  The melon helped keep them hydrated, so it was worth every one of the six dollars Ed paid for it!  The only other thing “the girls” found desirable to eat was saltine crackers.  I fed them two sleeves of crackers, over the course of the next week.

The man at the feed store claimed that the chickens probably got sick from the chicken feed I was giving them.  I don’t know why he thought this, and I’m not sure I agree, but I didn’t give them any more of their old feed, just in case. I’d fed them nothing unusual prior to the onset of their illness, and their feed is always kept cool and dry.

After seven long days, “the girls” finally began to feel better.  Their diarrhea gradually stopped, and I was so happy when I could finally stop using newspaper in their chicken house! The bottom of their house is always covered with a plastic mat, and I normally just sweep it off every morning.
chickens 008

my chair~still one of their favorite roosting spots!

It’s been two weeks and two days since illness struck “the girls”, and I still miss the one who didn’t make it.  A second hen came pretty close to joining her sister, but somehow managed to pull through.  All of the hens lost about one half of their body weight during their illness, so at the moment they are known as “my skinny girls”.  Every day their appetite continues to get better, so this will probably change soon.

Believe it or not, my poor girls continued to produce eggs, even while they were so ill!  I felt so sorry for them!  (Can you imagine giving birth while being sick with the stomach flu?)  Worse yet, I had to throw their eggs away while they were taking their medication!  That made me feel even worse for them.  Fortunately, I had six dozen eggs in my refrigerator when illness struck, so I haven’t had to purchase any eggs during all of this!

*Speaking of eggs, in one year’s time, their current egg count stands at…1354!!!

*An interesting note here: as the chickens have gotten smaller in size, so have their eggs!

*Another interesting note: our bank account has gotten smaller, too, since adding “the girls” to our family!  Taking into consideration the cost to build our chicken coop, the cost of the all of the feed they’ve eaten, plus the treats I’ve purchased for them, each one of those 1354 eggs probably cost us well over a dollar each 🙂

Hopefully the saga of six sick hens will rapidly become a thing of the past.  I have no idea what happened to them, but I hope it never happens again!  I’m very thankful that only one hen died during the whole ordeal.  Ed buried “our girl” in a spot, over-looking our vegetable garden.  He thought she’d like that 🙂

We plan to add to our existing flock next spring.

 

Published in: on July 2, 2013 at 9:32 am  Comments (5)  
Tags:

Monday, Monday…

Acting Balanced

1. June 17th is Eat Your Vegetables Day… do you need a special day to celebrate veggies? Your favorite veg?

No, I certainly don’t need a day to celebrate veggies!  I’m living in ‘veggie paradise’ at the moment (or ‘veggie hell’, depending on how I’m feeling) because, at the moment, we have a huge garden filled with all kinds of fresh veggies.

I like almost any kind of vegetable, but fresh corn on the cob is among my favorites!  In about two more weeks our corn will be ready for eating, and I’m excited!

2. How did you spend your Father’s Day? Or for those who don’t have Father’s Day on June 16th, what did you do this weekend?

On Saturday, those of us who live on the family farm (Ed and me, our oldest son & family, our daughter & family), went to the city to spend the day with our youngest son, Brad and his wife, Jennifer.  Brad grilled hamburgers/hot dogs for us, then we ate lunch and visited for a while.  Eventually, everyone (except for Ed and me) went swimming in the pool where Brad and Jennifer live.  While the others swam, Ed and I went to Lowes and Home Depot looking for Ed a Father’s Day gift (from me).  We were unsuccessful in finding one..

On Father’s Day, we had a little ‘mishap’ concerning one of “the girls” aka, the chickens.  That morning, when I went to the coop to feed them and clean out the bottom of their  chicken house I found an unpleasant surprise.  One of my hens was stretched out in the dirt–dead!  Without warning, she just died.  Poor Ed had to bury one of “our girls” on Father’s Day.  It wasn’t the most pleasant day to begin Father’s Day.

Later, Ed and I went out for a Father’s Day lunch together, then went shopping (again) for his Father’s Day gift (from me).  This shopping trip was such an interesting adventure, it deserves its own post later in the week.  The good news is we were successful in finding what we were looking for!  The interesting part is what happened during the course of the purchase!  More details later.

Ed received several Father’s Day gifts and sweet cards from our children later in the afternoon.  I think he had a nice Father’s Day weekend.

3. June 18th is National Splurge Day… if you were (are) going to participate what would/will you splurge on?

June 18th is our 41st wedding anniversary, so if I was going to participate, I’d take Ed on a romantic, exotic cruise somewhere!  Instead, I’ll probably settle for a day at the beach and be perfectly content.

4. What is the farthest you’ve ever traveled from home?

Memphis, Tennessee to see Elvis’ former home, Graceland.

Weekend Wrap Up:

Before leaving for the trip to visit our son, I blanched and froze several packs of tomatoes, okra and squash early Saturday morning!  While I was canning, Ed visited our neighbor, Farmer Danny, and picked a bucket of tomatoes so we’d have enough ripe ones (at one time) to can in the pressure cooker.  Ed also sprayed the garden and mowed the grass.  Needless to say, we were tired before we ever left home!

Then Ed decided to take an alternate route to our son’s house.  We missed our exit and got a bit lost–not once, but twice!  We finally made it there–about 30 minutes later than planned.  Then, being the ‘old farts’ that we are, we had to leave our son’s house earlier than everyone else, so we could arrive back home before dark, because neither of us can see how to drive at night!  We made it home with almost an hour to spare.

My question for you:

Do you like to drive at night?

Published in: on June 16, 2013 at 10:50 pm  Comments (8)  
Tags: , ,