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Friday, December 31, 2010

December's Digits

2 
Chickens
0  
Traumatic Events
24 
Days of frozen water
61 
Eggs for the month

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Cracked Corn

I was asked if my chickens were going to get stockings for Christmas. "Of course," I said. "Except they are shaped like talons."


I never did get around to make those stockings, so I bought a bag of cracked corn instead. The Queens were ok with that. See how happy they are?

I don't know if it is the weather or if they are growing more fond of me, but they don't squawk and run/fly away from me like they used to. Now they just stand around clucking while I refill their food and water, thank them for their eggs and collect their days' work.

Debatable Inflatables

I am not a huge fan of inflatable "decorations". I tolerate them because they seem to make other people happy. I do, however, like them better than molded plastic Santas and snowmen.


 

In all of their glory (read: while they are inflated), inflatables -though seldom pertinent- are kind of fun to look at. I have to admit that this 8' penguin and his little buddy Snoopy livened up our neighborhood.    

Wait. What? Whatever do you mean, "seldom pertinent"?

I'm glad you asked...

My mom and I were at a large chain pharmacy a couple of weeks ago, perusing the aisles of stuff when I spotted an inflatable cow. I don't know about you, but a cow doesn't even make me think winter, never mind Christmas. I started to rant. "That is one of the most ridiculous things I've seen. A cow? What does a cow have to do with anything?" A stranger beside me agreed with a nod. Then my mom said, "It must be the Holy Cow!" The stranger laughed and left the aisle.


This is the part I really don't like. I don't like to see wads of fabric out in the yard like someone just got kicked out of their house. My husband, in an attempt to keep me linear, will set the timer so that I don't have to witness such carnage in our own yard when I get home from work. 'Tis the season after all.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Window Shopping

Aaron and I did a little window shopping at the petting zoo Tuesday night. Here are a few of the potential future inhabitants of Myers Mini Farm...

I think I'll call him Bunny.

Loving the 'do.

Check out that smile!

Sad pony. I just wanted to give it a hug.

Watch this kid's face.
 

There were also emus, more camels, a very sweet donkey, goats, goats and goats, some short animals resembling bulls, and goats. Aaron found a pair of reindeer that were just right though...
 
Ok. So we weren't actually window shopping. We were celebrating Christmas Part I - Myers Edition.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Winter Solstice

Happy First Day of Winter!
Do you realize what this means?
It is time to balance our eggs just because we can.
Solstice, Equinox... close enough. It doesn't really matter anyway - just jogs my memory.

The sun, nearing winter solstice, travels low across the sky, from sunrise, at left, to sunset, in this multiple-exposure made at the Marshall Point Light, Wednesday, Dec.  18, 2002, in St. George, Maine.
Thanks, National Geographic.

Cleanting

Yes, Cleanting.

Have you ever seen Diary of a Mad Black Woman?


This is one of my favorite parts. I highly recommend viewing this movie.

Anyway, when my chickens started laying eggs I was unsure how to clean the eggs. I had read about the bloom (a film that protects the inside of the egg from bacteria etc...) and how easily it can be compromised in the cleaning process. Some sites recommended cold water, some warm, soapy water, and even others a dry cloth or sponge to buff the egg clean.

One night when my mom was over for dinner, she decided we needed to get to the bottom of this and  call Uncle Allen (my uncle, her brother). Uncle Allen is a dairy goat farmer and also has chickens, calves etc... He even held the office of President of the American Dairy Goat Association. I am related to agricultural royalty.

Back to the issue at hand...  Uncle Allen imparted this wisdom on me:
"It doesn't matter what you do to clean the eggs, the bloom will probably be compromised. The best thing you can do is keep the nesting box clean." *           

So I do. And thankfully the ladies tend to keep their egg laying spot pretty tidy.




*(That was a lot of paraphrasing, I have a terrible memory as far as verbatim, but that was the gist.)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Snowman Plate

Last year, around this time of the season, we acquired a plate full of edible goodies.
The plate is just the right size to reside in a stack of our everyday dishes.
It is hardly noticeable...


 until there are no more clean plates of that size...
and the snowman rears his jolly face and taunts my housekeeping abilities.

"It isn't winter yet," he says. "Look outside, the grass is growing and the trees are green. You should really do the dishes more often."
or
"Still not time! Can't you see the leaves have just started to change colors and fall? What are you so busy doing that you have run out of clean plates?"

Finally, it is cold and has snowed.

"Yes, now it is time. Allow me to be seasonably cute and hold your waffles."



So we are friends again, the snowman and me.

At least until the first signs of Spring.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Real v. Fake

They both start out wide at the base and end up pointed at the tip.
The fake ones probably require less maintenance.
I can't imagine they are as nice to touch as real ones though.
And real ones just smell better...

... Oh, come on. I'm talking about Christmas Trees! 

Aaron and I have a twice handed down fake tree. As far as twice handed down fake trees go, I'd say it is pretty good. It is taller than I am, so that is a plus.

About 12 years ago (that makes me feel really old) I pointed out to my mom that I was taller than our fake tree and that it made me feel uncomfortable about my height. The next year she bought a real tree. It was great. So tall and full. It smelled great. Our cat really liked it. (Although, as it turned out, he used it as a more natural alternative to the litter box.)

I'm not sure why we haven't ventured into fresh cut Christmas Tree-dom yet. Maybe next year...

What do you have? Real? Fake? Pre-lit? Anyone have a tree that isn't green in color?


The late, great, Charles Schulz, of course.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Ice Ice Baby

video
At least once a day I have been making a trip to the coop to give the ladies some hot water. Their water has been freezing every day for the past week or so. They have been pretty thirsty.

Here is a video I made - a very rough draft. Aaron and I talked about cleaning it up a bit, but that was last week. So, until we get to that... Enjoy the unedited voyage to the coop.

If you listen closely you can hear a couple of things:

1. How out of breath I get from walking up a small incline steep hill.
2. Telling a hen she is a "good chicken."



All right... I just watched that again, but this time it wasn't from the back of the camera. Needs more work than I thought it did. I'll try again soon.

These Boots

 
These boots:
  • are an investment in Chicken Farming
  • rinse off easily
  • are actually quite comfortable
  • are reminiscent of a previous wardrobe (I was big into neon)
There is one outfit in particular... I have checked my albums and have only been able to find photographic evidence of a partial pant leg. I know it exists. When I come across it you can see for yourself.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Still Here

Cluck...





...B'caw...





Herrrrrrrrrrr...




I'm still here and I have things to type about... I just have to do it later. Thanks, my 9 readers, for your patience understanding.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas Spirit

Another semi-related post brought to you by appearing busy at work...


Both of our (Aaron 's and my) immediate families have decided to do a group activity* for Christmas in lieu of gift giving to everyone or drawing names. Before these decisions were made, it had crossed my mind that I might receive gifts related to my new hobby of chicken rearing. I'm curious to see if anybody not in the immediate fam has that idea. I'm not going to say either way if I have a preference. We'll just wait and see what happens.

How are you spending Christmas or other winter holidays?
Will you be staying in your town or going away?
What is the gift giving scenario in your family this year?
Any dirty Santas out there?

*here  
or here
and maybe



Monday, December 6, 2010

Thinking Ahead

The Myers Mini Farm is currently home to 1 dog, 2 hens, and a variety of passers-through (turkeys, stray cats, rabbits).

Now that I feel reasonably confident in keeping laying hens, I have been toying with the idea of another addition. Goats come up in conversation more than anything else but I have briefly considered
 alpacas,
sheep,
cows.

We aren't zoned for agriculture so these considerations are mostly wouldn't-it-be-neat-if...
but, I think goats have the best possibility.

Of course, maybe I should see how I do with the queens through the winter.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Give it Away!

"What I got you got to give it to your Mamma
What I got you got to give it to your Pappa
What I got you got to give it to your Daughter...

Give it away Give it away Give it away now
Give it away Give it away Give it away now
Give it away Give it away Give it away now"




The Cinnamon Queens (the names just didn't stick) are averaging 2 eggs a day. In a week's time that is about 6 to 8 eggs more than we consume. I'll probably bring some in for work friends, give some to my mom, maybe even go door to door in the neighborhood. (Not all in the same week, of course.)

If you are reading and you want some - let me know. Eggs last a long time. And currently, I have a pretty constant supply.




I apologize if there is a misunderstanding in the title. There are no prizes to win for commenting. Well, nothing tangible - I'll be stoked!  Giveaways would be pretty sweet though. Definitely something to think about for the future of my blog.

(If you couldn't comment  before without a special account... that should be fixed now. It wasn't really broken, I just didn't notice that particular option before.)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

November's Numbers

Chickens


Traumatic Experiences



Eggs!


Also, it has been a week since I tried out my first poll. I'll try a different plugin next time, but for now...
The results:

  
 


Thanks for the feedback.


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Cranberry Jelly

When I was a little kid I used to think the cranberry jelly from a can was so fancy. When I was a little kid I never saw it slide out of the ribbed can. I was probably in middle school before I realized that bouncy sculpture was a canned good. I thought it was neat too, that it already had marks on it to let you know where to cut a slice.

jelly












Now that I am an adult, I have been exposed to homemade cranberry jelly. I appreciate the work that goes into it, but if I am faced with making the decision between natural lumps and homogenous jiggle... I choose the jiggle.

Sauce

















I still tend to think of it as fancy and a special side reserved for holidays. It is probably one of my favorite parts of a holiday meal.

Monday, November 29, 2010

(Parts of) Thanksgiving Weekend (mostly) in Photos

This is the clock in my car Thursday a.m.




Aaron and I were heading to Fleet Feet. Aaron to run in the Hot to Trot and myself to volunteer. This is what runners look like volunteering at 5:30 in the a.m.

This was an accidental shot of the post race snacks. Came out better than any of my intentional shots.

Here is Eric finishing 6 miles before breakfast on Thanksgiving a.m...

And Emily, she finished her 3 miles...

and Aaron, finishing his 6...
And this guy... I really hope that isn't his pink jacket.

(Sorry, you'll have to use your imagination for a while...)
After the race we returned home.
Around noon we went to visit my mom, Grandma Bitter, Aunt Paula and cousin Russell.
We ate brown bread.
After a little while we headed to the newly weds house to have Thanksgiving dinner with:
-Brace yourself, this is going to be a doozie.-
Grandma Phyl
Papaw Jake
Sharon
Glenn
Amanda
Will
Pat
Emily
Nick
Eric
Olivia
Allyson
Allison
Spencer
Spencer's Girlfriend
Caitlin
Caitlin's Boyfriend
Uncle Mark
Diana
Aunt T
Jo

While we were at dinner my aunt sent a picture to me. It was a picture of 2 eggs in a nest. The caption read, "Guess where I am?"


Friday's breakfast.
(Look, Melis! I finally get to use the cartons you decorated for me!)




 The scrambled picture didn't look so good, but the eggs sure tasted good.

After breakfast Emily and Nick came over with their two chihuahuas to house/dog/mini farm sit for us.
I had already given the ladies fresh water and more food so Emmie and Nick didn't have to worry about them too much or at all if they weren't comfortable doing it. Who could blame 'em? They have heard every chicken chasing story we have.

Then Aaron and I headed across the mountains to North Carolina to spend the weekend with my dad. His birthday was Sunday.

This is the view I had while my dad was hauling me in "Little Bertha" from next door.
I had one of those -Not much has changed- moments. It was good.
We returned home Sunday afternoon to 1 Emily, 1 Nick,  2 little dogs, 1 big dog, 2 hens and 4 eggs.

Who wants to guess if the laundry is put away yet?


If at first you don't succeed...

Apparently there were some issues with the polls.
I'll try and see what I can do.
Then I will try and figure out how to post the results.

Photo from here.




















For now though, I am happy to report both Cinnamon Queens are producing an egg a day. It only took a week to get my first dozen.  Ok a week and 2 months. (That isn't as long as I thought it was! I feel much better.)

Look forward to long-Thanksgiving-weekend-ness pictures and words by tomorrow. (Probably this evening. We'll see how far I get with putting away laundry...)






Wednesday, November 24, 2010

3 Eggs, 5 Questions

Since the remodel the Cinnamon Queens have been producing 1 egg (between the two of them) a day. I am happy to have eggs, but more than that, I am relieved that the ladies feel safe. Actually, I feel a little bad that I wasn't able to make them more comfortable sooner.

Apparently, I am still getting to know and understand my chickens. With that said, here is an opportunity for me to get to know the viewers of this blog.

















Thanks!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Associated Humor

Sunday night, Aaron, Suzie (my mom) and I went to join (in-laws) Sharon, Glenn, Amanda and Emily at Amanda's church.

Yep, she has her own. What can I say? Some people have coops, some people have churches.

The Cokesbury-ans, put on a lovely Thanksgiving special with a lot of very good music and a good message. After the service we all went to dinner.

While we were sitting at the table, in a rare moment of quietness, Aaron says, "Does everyone know, Lauren?"

The other 5 faces turn my direction and I draw a blank. I am kind of nervous. The internal monologue starts, "What are they supposed to know? Oh geez, they think I'm pregnant. I'm not pregnant. Am I? No. No I'm not pregnant. What am I supposed to tell them?"

A: "About the chickens..."

Me: "Oh! Right. Yes. My chickens. I got my first egg!"

I don't know how much the humor conveys if you weren't there. But we laughed and laughed.

And "b.t.dub" as Amanda says - I got a second egg yesterday.

~~~*~~~*~~~*~~~*~~~*~~~*~~~*~~~

In case you aren't familiar with instant or text message lingo; BTW is shorthand for By The Way. I suppose since the name of the letter W is some what cumbersome to pronounce, it gets nicknamed Dub.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sunday Morning Surprise

I cleaned out all of the spent hay from the coop Saturday during the remodel but didn't have a chance to put any back in before the ladies put themselves to bed, so first thing Sunday I headed up to the coop with a fresh bail of hay.

This is what I found.
(The white egg is from the grocery store. Its what we farmers call a "nest egg". I'm kidding about the we farmers part. I just read that in my book, The Joy of Keeping Chickens.)

I am immediately wearing a big grin and am super excited. But then I think - Would he? He might... He wasn't outside this morning though. I unlocked the door... So I held my breath for a second, calmed down - a little and ran down to the house.  There is no evidence, like a sweatshirt or shoes by the door, that Aaron went outside before me.

Me: Aaron, did you go outside this a.m.? {It is pretty cold out this morning, and Aaron is still in pajamas and bare feet.}
A: No, why?
Me: How many eggs did you make our breakfast with this morning?
A: I used 4.
Me: Did you finish all of the eggs from Dwight?
A: No, there was one left and its in with the grocery store eggs.
Me: {at the fridge with the egg carton and a big grin}
A: Why?
Me: We have an Egg! Come look! Come on!

 
This is how the first egg from my Cinnamon Queen's stacks up. The white one on the left is from the store. The small tan one on the right is from Dwight. And the one in the middle, the one that is as big as the Grade A Large White - that is my first egg!