Time to Redefine our Lives in Oregon

Posts tagged ‘Buff Orphington / Rhode Island Red Mix’

The Great Egg Hunt

I have some devastating news…….

A Symphony in Eggs

A Symphony in Eggs

 

Last Sunday, I used the last of the eggs…..we are egg-less!!   This is traaaaaaagiccccc!!  We have not been without eggs from our hens since they started laying four years ago.  How did this happen??

November 2015

There are a number of factors working here that could possibly be affecting our lack of eggs….

  • most of my hens are over three years old
  • the hours of daylight has decreased by about six hours from the height of our lighted hours.  Conservatively, during the summer, we have light in the Pacific NW from 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.  This time of year, light shines upon us from about 7:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m (and that will shorten.)  Light drastically affects egg production.
  • the hen house and free range acres are in a different location this year….more rustic, less domestic…maybe they have more of a wild-hen mindset this year??  LOL
  • they are laying somewhere other than their nesting boxes (highly likely, for some, but I don’t think it would be 100% across the flock)
  • the predator that attacked the hen house this summer, knows that the eggs are there and takes the opportunity to grab them when the hen’s door is open for the day??
  • they miss me!!!  Hahahaha!!  Since the puppy was born, I haven’t spent much time with them….Tony has taken over the hen house duties for a couple of months.
Those are some beautiful girls!!

Those are some beautiful girls!!

The fact is, I have about 4 birds that are 2 yrs or younger.  Even with the lack of light, I should be getting at least 1 or 2 eggs every other day….so, we have an egg mystery….

November 2016

What dug this hole?? Is this a den??

I removed the shading, and then sharpened this photo to try and get the interior of the hole to show.

I removed the shading, and then sharpened this photo to try and get the interior of the hole to show.

….coupled with the mystery of this dug out hole!!  What dug up this hornet’s nest??  Did they make a den out of this hole?  We set up our field camera to see if something comes and goes from this hole….unfortunately, the camera is apparently malfunctioning because it took no pictures over the three days it was set up…it would have taken something, even movement from the wind, if it were working properly.

imag0319

 

Oh well….everyone needs a good mystery, but when you mess with my eggs….you’ve gone too far!!!  So I think step one will be to add a few hours of artificial light to the hen house to stimulate egg laying and see if that helps.  The Holidays are upon us…..I have no eggs….it is baking season!!  UGGGHHH…..that light is going in today…..I just cannot bring myself to buy a carton of eggs.  Oh no…..I think I’ve become an “egg-snob!!”

Ohhhhh.....the good old days!! October 2014

Ohhhhh…..the good old days!! October 2014

Thank you for visiting the homestead today.  I hope you have an amazing Sunday!!

Your friend from Oregon,

Tami

Animal Management

 

October 2015

In the stark darkness of the early morning hours, on a day in which the shine from the moon is blotted by the thickness of the clouds passing between the dirt and the heavens, without a moments notice, two young, rogue roosters are suddenly plucked from their warm roosts.  Their world is literally upside down as they are carried in that manner to their interim home.  Confused, they sit quietly in the darkness of their enclosure, waiting to see what the light of day holds.  At least they are together, as they have been from their day of hatching.

Movable for sunny days.

Movable for sunny days.

These, young brothers, so to speak, hatched underneath the hen, Kermit, who led them through tall grasses, and kept them safe from harm.

May 2015

They grew in to very handsome birds, but alas, there can only be one master for the hens, and these roo’s do not understand that.  Driven by intoxicating hormones, the hens were constantly on edge, frantically running to escape the unwanted pursuit to claim the flock.  To say that the hen house has been in upheaval would be to playcate the true sense of the drama infused into their recent days.

October 2015

Hens running to and fro, cackling, loudly cackling and calling out to their protector, Benedict.  As master of the hen house, Benedict is driven to protect the flock from threats such as these types of internal coup attempts.

October 2015

At this stage of the game, they are relentless.  In squabble after squabble, Benedict engages the young warriors in battle.  At this point, they back off…Benedict has the maturity of his adult talons, size, and experience on his side.  The time has come for intervention.

October 2015

In a swift, stealth like moment, the whisking away of the young roosters was part of the necessary evil that comes with animal management on the farm.  It is imperative that peace return to the flock.  What will come of the insurgent duo, you may ask?

October 2015

They will be confined for a period of time, given shelter, dirt to scratch around in, and plenty of corn and scraps to……shall we say, fatten up a bit.  They have had a good life, free ranging in the best possible way…

October 2015

…they will have plenty of good food….and then they will have one bad day….just one, in a life full of excellent days.  In the meantime, peace will reign once again in the life of the flock.  Those hens that were stressed to the point of hiding in the small, dark spaces of the hen house….that would only eat or drink if I stood beside them, with food and water, will emerge from their safe places into the open spaces that they so greatly love.

**UPDATE on how the day went…. The flock was on edge in the first morning hours.  They could hear the young roo’s, and this continued to raise the stress in the hens.  By noon, I think they realized that the dynamic duo were separate from them, except one hen…

September 2015

…the most stressed hen, Chablis.  She has been waiting for me in the hen house everyday until I can walk with her to her food and water…she continued to do that today because she did not leave the hen house, and did not see that she was safe.  As she ran to my feet, I picked her up and took her outside to the rooster’s new digs.  It seems she understood, as I was able to walk away from her without her running back to me or back to the hen house.  She stayed outside for the rest of the afternoon, and a calm was over the flock.

Animal management isn’t always easy, but it is necessary to prevent diseases and injuries.  It’s important to keep ahead of the curve!

Thank you for visiting the flock today.  Please have a wonderful day!

Your friend from Oregon,

Tami

The Littlest Hen

The morning was filled with the warmth of summer in late July. Anticipating the freshness of the day, the flock was noisy, calling for their freedom. I pulled opened their door, and quickly, hens rambled outside. Opening the “people” door, I heard that familiar little sound. Although, somewhat muffled, it was undeniable. Peering into the brooder, my eyes landed on the source of the high pitched “peep peep peeep”……

July 2014

…she would have been easy to miss, as she quickly hid in the warmth of Mama Chardonnay’s wings. Out of seven eggs, she was the only one to hatch.

August 2014

The baby chick quickly grew, and became her mama hen’s little shadow. Chardonnay shared all of her food with the chick, always allowing her to eat first. She has always been such a good Mama Hen.

Mama and Chick catching some rays.

Mama and Chick catching some rays.

She grew, and grew.

She grew, and grew.


Corn has always been one of her most favorite things.

Free ranging everyday, she diligently followed Chardonnay, listening, watching, imitating, and learning. She became well integrated into the flock, and was rarely chased or pecked at by the older hens.

September 2014

As is the danger of growing up in the middle of a farm – forest, predators are a real threat when feathers cover your body. The flock works hard to safeguard themselves against these threats, and they do very well. Sometimes their efforts, and our efforts are not enough. Something attacked our littlest hen.

The undeniable evidence.

The undeniable evidence.

I found the evidence yesterday morning…I’m not sure if it happened Saturday evening, or Sunday morning. Usually, I count the flock to make sure everyone made it into their house for the night…I didn’t do that Saturday night. I don’t remember specifically seeing her come out of their house on Sunday morning, but nothing alerted my conscious thoughts to her absence. In any case, she is gone…I wish I knew what got her!

It’s that circle of life thing. The flock knew it and were on high alert all day, hiding underneath things..running from cover to cover to change locations. They felt the loss, and the danger. This is the life of a free ranging chicken. There are real dangers, and in spite of that, there is real freedom….and sometimes, if I catch it just right, I think I can see them smiling!

Sorry little girl!!

Sorry little girl!!

There are definite life lessons that occur in nature, look for them, they’re there.

Thanks for walking through nature with me today.

Your friend from Oregon,
Tami

29 Hours on the Farm

I’ve come to realize that my life is all about the chickens…and of course Sir Benedict.

October 2014

They tell me, under no uncertain terms, when to wake up. On those rare mornings that I have not gotten out of bed before sunrise, Benedict loudly calls from his high roost, and the hens squawk and complain….and poop…everywhere. Since I clean their roosts, nesting boxes, and platforms in front of their nesting boxes every morning…it’s a good idea to get them out just as the sunlight crests the darkness. I fudge this timing, just a little on the weekends, but still need to get out there before the hens have need for their time of privacy.

No more rooms at the Inn!!

This flock dictates how late I can stay out at night…somebody has to close the door to the hen house after dark!! Predators in the forest = a definite need for security.

Moonlit Night Oct. 2014

The flock and I have a symbiotic relationship…..they poop…I pick it up. They eat…I buy more food. They get blown by the wind….I cover up the drafts…. (this will be the last time I do this….more on that in my next post.)

The UPS guy told me that that was the most "Red Neck" chicken coop he's ever seen...hahahaha!

The UPS guy told me that that was the most “Red Neck” chicken coop he’s ever seen…hahahaha!

…..they poop…I pick it up (yes, I said that twice…I spend a lot of time picking up chicken poop!) My flock free range. They follow their natural food sources, and always end up back in their house at night. Sometimes that means this……

Hey, get off the porch...that water is for the dogs!!

Hey, get off the porch…that water is for the dogs!!

….and this…..

Seriously...that is chicken poop...That's ridiculous!!!

Seriously…that is chicken poop…That’s ridiculous!!!

….so, I follow them around picking up their…not so golden surprises. In the end, I believe the flock is healthier (I know we are!) and happier.

If you have 41 seconds….take a look at our little video, 29 Hours on the Farm , …. this is the reason I let this flock run my life ….

….next stop….well, we’re looking at goats (any ideas?), but I think I need a trip to Disneyland first!!! I’ve definitely got the bug!!

Thank you, for visiting the farm this morning!! Have a wonderful Sunday!!

Your friend from Oregon,
Tami

Nope, Not Moulting

You may remember this guy…..

Benedict....our Big Daddy Rooster!! Patriarch to the Middles, and the Littles (aka the Muppets.)

Benedict….our Big Daddy Rooster!! Patriarch to the Middles, and the Littles (aka the Muppets.)

….big daddy, Benedict….our gentleman rooster. Always polite, never asking of his hens without the traditional dance. He doesn’t eat of the discarded kitchen goodies until his family has had the chance to partake. This boy keeps his eye on the sky and warns the flock of any impending dangers…Yes, he is the stud of the farm.

The past couple of months, Benedict has become somewhat of a bully to a few select hens. Oddly enough, these are hens of his roo-hood…the full Rhode Island Reds, all of them…except mama hen, Chardonnay. He will literally chase them down, not necessarily to mate, but often times just to, well…stand on them. Really, at this point, I know the difference..hahaha! Their backs are bare, or in various stages of feather regrowth.

Poor little Reisling's bare back...FYI she had just gotten up from a dust bath, her back looks dirty.

Poor little Reisling’s bare back…FYI she had just gotten up from a dust bath, her back looks dirty.

I’ve read about this. Their feather loss is not due to molting, there are even thick wing feathers that have been broken off, not pulled out. And I’ve witnessed it…I’ve seen the intentional chase..mount..stand, just standing, no rooster duties going on. Sometimes, Claudio, our Buff Orphington hen, gets in the act with Benedict, and will run over and start some weird kind of hen attack…plucking at the other hen’s feathers while Benedict stands on them. Is this common behavior??

Benedict and his harem...including the 4 bare backs.

Benedict and his harem…including the 4 bare backs.

As the colder weather approaches, I’m a bit worried about these girls. At the advice of our local feed store, the flock is now getting supplemented with Purina Flock Raiser which is higher in protein and fat than regular chicken feed (Purina Layena.) It seems to be helping with feather regrowth, and since the cold weather is currently knocking on the door, I’ve made this their primary food. As the feathers attempt to grow back, those thick shafts stick out, and it seems much more painful for them when Benedict does…whatever it is he is doing. I’ve become, Alpha Rooster, and chase him away from these girls when he pursues them…he does seem to be listening. I’ve read about hen jackets that are made for this reason, however, you run a greater risk of a mite infestation with the jackets….I don’t think I want that…but I also don’t want my girls to be cold. The only thing I know is….there’s a lot I don’t know!!!

HEY!!! Get off the porch!!!

HEY!!! Get off the porch!!!

Thanks for checking in on the farm today. When I tell the flock that you’ve been here…they get very excited!!!

Your friend from Oregon,
Tami

An Incredible Find

Have you ever seen the artistry in the routine? Birds nest….an incredible, yet routine event in their lives…

The Muppets hatching.

The Muppets hatching.

Chickens do not really build a nest, they find a cozy, quiet spot. Many of the flock will then lay their eggs in that same location, resulting in this…

Six nesting boxes....this one was the hot spot today!!

Six nesting boxes….this one was the hot spot today!!

….that was all from one morning. Where is the artistry in a nesting box full of eggs? If you look closely, each egg is very different…size, shape, color, decorative “freckles”…they are each very unique….

July 2014

That's one big egg!!!

That’s one big egg!!!

That being said, I think the true artists reveal themselves every spring with the creation of an incredible piece of workmanship. The structure is amazing, and the question that usually arises in me every time I, happily, encounter one of these delicate yet strong, masterpieces of construction is …. “How did the bird build this without the use of hands?” You will not believe the incredibly gorgeous piece of true art that I am so blessed to have come upon while hiking with my Great Dane, Penni.
September 2014

It must have blown out from the trees this past week…. are you ready…..

Look at this closely...

Look at this closely…

So completely incredible...

So completely incredible…

Look at this closely…imagine the time it took to build. The supplies used were ingenious…feathers from the chickens supply softness, hair from the mane or tail of our neighbor’s horses provide structure, and a little peacock feather for a splash of color….completely, insanely gorgeous!!!

September 2014

By the size of it, my guess is a hummingbird nest. Truly amazing…

September 2014

I feel like it is truly a privilege to have found this little beauty, and I’m so happy to be able to share it with you!!

Thank you for taking a walk with me this morning, I hope this little gem of the forest will help to make your day just a bit more special.

Your friend from Oregon,
Tami

Tule (Tooley) Fog

I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.” ― Henry David Thoreau

Okay, that’s pretty much true…unless I have a chance to sit on the couch and cuddle with this sweetheart…
Penni Sept. 2014

…..uuuhhhmmmmm, I mean this sweetie…
My Sweet Guy - April 2014

As if scripted by a professional screenwriter, Autumn rolled in, in the form of the very familiar covering of ground level fog…in the SF Bay Area, it’s called Tule (Tooley) Fog.
Oregon "Tule Fog" Sept. 2014

I called the valley fog here in Oregon, Tule Fog once…..I got blank stares accompanied by a smile or two…hahaha…nobody seemed to know what I was talking about..hahaha! So, I don’t really know what to call it…I guess just fog..haha. I had no idea that that particular weather terminology was specific to California.

Rain is in the forecast, in fact, it drizzled much of the day, and has now rained throughout the night. So at the great advice of two of my friends from work (thank you Sabrina and Angie) I picked the rest of my tomatoes. Many were immensely green, but off the vine they came.
Green Tomatoes Sept. 2014

These will, hopefully, ripen in a paper bag, and be no less than the quality of a tomato bought in a grocery store. At least I will know that these were grown without pesticides, and unnatural fertilizers.

Corn Stalks Sept 2014

The corn stalks came down today, as well, to keep them from molding. I like to use them for outdoor decorating…they don’t usually last very long…the chickens like them too!

Corn Stalks Sept 2014

While we wait for the rain, Penni promises to keep watch over the tomatoes.

The Guardian Sept. 2014

Thankfully, they don’t taste like blackberries…that bucket would be emptied by now!!

Looking forward to sharing this wonderful season with you….thanks for visiting the farm today! 🙂

Your friend from Oregon,
Tami

Autumn is Fall-ing

I had help writing this morning…

Penni Sept. 2014

We’ve been seeing the tell-tale signs of the wilting and turning of leaves…some are starting to drop. The season is beginning, yet summer is giving its best effort to hang on. Yesterday, the last day of summer, Se˜or Verano, decided to flex his muscles for one more day here in the Pacific Northwest. Take a quick look at this comparison to areas that are typically on the hotter side this time of year……

1:40 p.m. PST (time that I looked at it )... 3:40 p.m. EST (actual time of temp.)

1:40 p.m. PST (time that I looked at it )… 3:40 p.m. EST (actual time of temp.)


September 2014
Sept. 2014

……What….doesn’t everyone have Disney World and Disneyland programmed into their phones?? Typically, the Bay Area gets hit with a late Indian Summer in Sept…uhhmmm, hmmmmm. In contrast….

Take a look....this was at 6:00 P.M.

Take a look….this was at 6:00 P.M.

it seems since we moved up to Oregon the sustaining heat followed us….don’t laugh too loudly!!! It’s been a hot, very dry summer. We, on this little farm including our fine feathered friends…

Ready for Fall 2014

…have had a collective, sigh, as the forecast shows dropping temperatures and RAIN in the forecast. For the flock this means the emergence of bugs, worms, and a bit of fresh, greens growing up out of the dry soil….for the humans it means sweaters, warm coffee, an eventual lift in the burn restrictions equaling in the ability to mow down those darn weeds, and the chance to build outdoor / indoor fires…yes, we are ready!!

Tomatoes 2014

While we wait, there are tomatoes to harvest, watermelon and pumpkin yet to ripen, a new hen house to build (that’s a different story), and hopefully one more blackberry harvest. I do hope the watermelon ripens!!

Watermelon 2014

Thank you for visiting the farm today!

Your friend from Oregon,
Tami

My Least Favorite Time of Year

Do you like summertime? I do! I like harvesting, sharing, and eating the beauties from my garden….

Summer Corn 2014

I like the long days that stretch into the later hours…

July 2014

……and the hot summer night sounds from my neighbors Peacocks

I like the warmth of early summer….

June 2014

…..when the ground is still green…

Happy chickens in the warmth of early summer.

Happy chickens in the warmth of early summer.

THEN…..August thinks it can just come along and spoil the goodness of my green summer days……my least favorite time of the year!!

What's that???  Hey who invited, August, to our summer party??

What’s that??? Hey who invited, August, to our summer party??

August brings the heat, and the dryness to the land. It is the time for getting poked from stickers that get stuck in your socks as you walk through the dry grasses.

August 2014

August 2014

Unfortunately, a bolt on the mowing implement attached to the tractor was broken for awhile at the end of June. Burn restrictions went up on July 3rd…since we have rocks, and metal blades against rocks can create sparks…sparks against dry grasses can create fires…mowing season ended earlier than usual. I didn’t have a chance to do the final cutting…so, unfortunately, the weeds are larger, and uglier than I am happy with…

YUCK!!

YUCK!!

The chickens get hot, and scrounge the dry grasses for bugs and seeds. I hooked up a fan in the chicken house for relief of the hens while they conduct their “business”…then I turn the fan in the afternoon toward the roosting boards so they can find some relief as they need it.

August 2014

The pond has receded….thankfully it has never gone dry! But this summer…actually, the past two summers, have really tested our little pond….

The pond is way down...this "green" area is usually not as large.

The pond is way down…this “green” area is usually not as large.

See the green ridge above the water line? This is where the pond usually recedes too…the ridge above it is where the pond sits when it full…I call that the NORMAL part of the year!!

August 2014

Saturday, August 30th, did bring some relief…

Fall can’t come too soon!!

Thank you for sharing the first day of September with me. I hope your Labor Day is spectacular….put one on the barbie for me, and I’ll add a burger on my BBQ for you!!

Your friend from the NW,
Tami

Oh, Did I Tell You…

It seems like forever since I have sat down to write. It is that time of year. Mid-August usually demands a certain amount of sweat-equity…not only from the summer heat,

Oregon's best kept secret....

Oregon’s best kept secret….

but also from the demands of the oh-so-soft-spoken ripening garden. It has been dry, really dry.

The ground is so dry.

The ground is so dry.

Everything, is feeling thirsty from the lack of those wet, drippy things that fall from the sky. It takes a bit of an extra effort to keep the flock in fresh water (they get overheated very easily), to maximize the benefit of the water given to the garden, to water young fruit, nut, and Sequoia trees one by one by the bucketful, while keeping a balance with the water level in our holding tank. That tank holds water from our well…which in turn, waters this family.

"Yeah, I'm guarding the water!"

“Yeah, I’m guarding the water!”

In spite of water rationing for the garden, there is plentiful ripening. Harvesting of more than just a couple of tomatoes here…a pepper there…has begun! We are starting to enjoy the “fruits of our labor”, especially in the berry department. Wild blackberries are ripening at break-neck speed, and my little strawberries are right behind them. When you pick them at that juicy, sweet ripened stage from the vine, they don’t last long. The upshot of that is turning this…..

IMG_6460

….into this!!!

Making jam...

Making jam…

Strawberry jam

Strawberry jam

And this….

Bucketful of Blackberries

Bucketful of Blackberries

…into this…

Blackberry Cobbler!!!

Blackberry Cobbler!!!

Oh boy!!!

Oh boy!!!

A little time consuming, but totally worth it!!

Oh, did I tell you….

The newest addition.

The newest addition.

….welcome to the farm little Roni Jr. ….. hatched on my daughter’s half-birthday. Out of six eggs, this is the only one that hatched. After several days, Mama Hen abandoned the nest, and the eggs went bad. The baby is out and about free ranging with the rest of the flock, watching every move Mama makes.

Thank you for sharing the long days of summer on the farm with me!! Hope you are having a wonderful August!

Your friend,
Tami

Dinner Last Night

There is artistry in the food we eat. I realized this with last night’s dinner. I don’t mean in the way of how it is displayed on the plate, or the unique style in the craftsmanship of the porcelain it sits upon. More and more, thanks to the numerous cooking shows on T.V., I’m experiencing the depth of flavors one can create when the main seasonings go beyond garlic salt and pepper (that’s where I’ve been stuck for many years.) Even this, however, is not really what I’m talking about right now. Although spices add to the complexity and success of the dish, the main ingredients, the stars of the show, are what my thoughts have been focusing on.

OOOOPPSSS...how did those Little's get into the garden??

OOOOPPSSS…how did those Little’s get into the garden??

Dinner last night, the sustenance of nutrition, was completely grown, or raised, on this little beginnings of a farm…right here on Haveadane Hill. Okay, so the spices I used and the local honey were not…but….does that count??? Something to think about…can I grow my own cumin, how about ginger?? Something to definitely investigate!!

Baking chicken on the grill.

Baking chicken on the grill.

This beautiful bird (one of the roosters of the Littles, aka The Muppets hatching) was hatched, raised free ranging from day one, culled by Tony, cleaned and processed by my own hands, chilled in the fridge for a few days, and became the star of the show!!

Isn't that gorgeous??!!

Isn’t that gorgeous??!!


Rooster Aug. 2014

I made a rub of powdered garlic, cumin, ginger, thyme, parsley, salt, pepper, and olive oil. This little bird was well coated and cooked up beautifully!!

Then I chopped up onion, crookneck squash, young yellow bell peppers, and zucchini…all from my garden…sauteed them in olive oil (well..no, I didn’t squish the olives hahaha)…cooking the onions first, sprinkled with cajun spices until well caramelized, then added the two squash.

August 2014 Saute

As the veggies started to release their juices, I added the wonderfully delicious local honey I discovered a couple of weekends ago (I was not at all fond of honey until I discovered REAL honey…not the junk sold in the grocery store.)

The end of the honey drizzle....who wants to lick the spoon??

The end of the honey drizzle….who wants to lick the spoon??

I thought that I had possibly cooked the veggies too much…I didn’t want mushy, but I wanted them to be cooked through. Much to my delight, they still had a nice crunch from their skin due to the just, picked, garden freshness. Next time for color, I may add some spinach at the end of the veggie saute. I think that would be good!!

My completely home grown dinner...delicious!!

My completely home grown dinner…delicious!!

The little rooster was really, really flavorful…and a bit tough. He was a very fit bird, with very little fat. Butterflying the bird and roasting it on the grill breast side up (thank you FoodNetwork – The Kitchen) allowed the spices and the small bit of fat from the skin to permeate the meat making it very moist. The veggies were outstanding, and the sweet honey added to the brightness of the cajun spices really complimented each other. The flavor that stood out to me the most, however, was how absolutely fresh everything tasted…really, it was amazing.

Making chicken stock.

Making chicken stock.

THEN….not wanting to waste one bit of this amazing little rooster, I added water (we’re on a well so again…straight from the farm), carrots and onion (from the garden) and made a wonderful stock.

Stock after sitting in fridge overnight.

Stock after sitting in fridge overnight.

There was so little fat that rose to the surface, that this is all I could skim off….

Rooster Stock Aug. 2014

I’m proud of my little rooster…he was one healthy bird!! He provided my family dinner last night, and will provide us broth for a great soup once the weather turns cooler.

Cooled, skimmed, and ready for the freezer...to enjoy as soup in the cool of a fall evening!

Cooled, skimmed, and ready for the freezer…to enjoy as soup in the cool of a fall evening!

Who would have ever thought that this city kid from the San Francisco Bay Area, who ate in restaurants more than she cooked, could move to the country and raise the meat and veggies entirely on the farm for dinner last night?? I’m so excited to explore what is next for the farm…I keep talking to Tony about a couple of cows…he keeps talking about a couple of pigs….bee keeping for honey is totally on the list…stay tuned, there’s more to come!!!!!

Thanks for sharing my dinner last night!! Have a wonderful, wonderful Sunday!!

Your friend,
Tami

The Cool of the Morning

In the cool of the morning life again starts,
In the cool of the morning nature becomes art,
In the cool of the morning something departs,
The cool of this morning has broken my heart.
by Tami

It started as a normal summer day. By 6:30 a.m. the first of my morning chores were completed…the chicken house was opened and cleaned for the morning’s egg-laying activities…

No more rooms at the Inn!!

No more rooms at the Inn!!

….Benedict and the hens were out to free range for the day, as the patriarch of the flock danced and strutted to remind the ladies of his presence…chicken feed was scattered about to supplement their free ranging…the dogs were fed…and so on, and so on. Finally, it was time to sit with a cup of coffee before starting out for the rest of the morning chores.

As I was pouring my cup, WHAM!!! A loud, familiar, yet more striking, noise came from the windows facing northwest. The man who really tames this forest, looked out and confirmed a bird had flown into the solid illusion of open space. It was laying on a cushion from our patio swing. Any bird that flies into the window is an urgent concern to me. Given time, and the safety of a secluded environment, most get over the confusion of what is probably a massive headache, and are able to be released back to their avian lives. Unfortunately, this beauty was laying on its back, feet curled….lifeless.

As suspected, it was a big bird. Normally the beauties hitting the windows are more like finch size…this one was dramatically larger…and so beautiful!!

A beautiful, beautiful tragedy!

A beautiful, beautiful tragedy!

How gorgeous is this!

How gorgeous is this!

God is quite an AMAZING artist!!!

God is quite an AMAZING artist!!!

She was called a Flicker. She was an ant eating woodpecker. She was a welcomed friend that I would frequently see, and hear on our trees. I marveled at her beauty from afar, and am totally amazed at her stunning beauty at close examination. I will miss seeing my friend in the mornings, and the early evenings. I will miss the familiar knocking that causes me to look up and seek a glimpse of her. I hope she doesn’t have young ones in a nest somewhere waiting on her return, it is later in the season so hopefully her young have left the nest.

Photo by Dennis Paulsen, posted on Slater Museum of Natural History website.

Photo by Dennis Paulsen, posted on Slater Museum of Natural History website.

If you want to read more about her, check out this website… http://slatermuseum.blogspot.com/2012/11/the-ant-eating-woodpecker.html

Goodbye my friend!!

Thank you for sharing my morning!

Your friend from Oregon,
Tami
****UPDATE***** I realize I left you all with the sadness of the morning…let me add a little encouragement with some light-heartedness…how about the newness of life beginning with this cute little critter….

Of Summer and Chickens

A little chicken humor to start your day…

A Pig and a Chicken are walking down the road.
The Chicken says: “Hey Pig, I was thinking we should open a restaurant!”
Pig replies: “Hm, maybe, what would we call it?”
The Chicken responds: “How about ‘ham-n-eggs’?”
The Pig thinks for a moment and says: “No thanks. I’d be committed, but you’d only be involved!”

Here’s something else that I find very humorous….

YES!!!  That's our Benedict!

YES!!! That’s our Benedict!

…Benedict!! Our gentleman rooster kicking back and spending time with mama hen, Chardonnay. She’s been broody lately, but non-committal. She’ll sit for a couple of days, then I find that she has switched nests. I’m fine with that as I really don’t want more chicks right now. I think Benedict misses her!!

With mama hen broody, I don’t think she is laying right now which is totally fine. Out of nine laying hens, eight are very active. I have more eggs than I know what to do with. Here’s a peek into my fridge….

Eggs galore!!!

Eggs galore!!!

…..EGGS, so many EGGS…..they are taking over!! I’m averaging six eggs a day. Once in awhile they all get on the same page, and all eight will give us a beautifully formed gem…

Beautiful golden gems.

Beautiful golden gems.

….with four more hens coming of age (remember the Littles), I’m going to have to open an egg stand at end of the driveway! I’ve read of those farms that will have an “on you honor” system wherein they have a cooler with their eggs, and people just stop and pay for what they take. I may try something like that. I figure, if someone needs to steal a dozen eggs, then they must be really hungry and they can have them for free!!

Speaking of the Littles (aka the Muppets)…..

The Littles

The Littles

…they’re not so little anymore! Can you see the three young roo’s in this bunch? Their plumage is really becoming apparent, yet, at this point, I haven’t heard that tell-tale croaky call that shouts they have come of age. Benedict does do a good bit of chasing them around, so the day of reckoning is close at hand.

Other than that, the flock is basking in the joy of summer. They lay in the sunshine and spread their wings wide, then shuffle, shuffle, shuffle in the dirt allowing themselves a good old fashioned dust bath. In the heat of the afternoon, they find a well developed shade tree, or hang out wherever shade is cast.
June 2014
The flock freely moves about, picking the seeds off the mature grasses, and wait for me to come out with discarded fruit, or leftover corn that may be hanging onto a half way eaten cob. They stay up way past their bedtime, since the sun set after 9:00 pm, and wake up demanding to be let out of the house at 5:15 am every morning. They thoroughly enjoy their remodeled house, and complain loudly when something disrupts their solace. Life is good!

Oh, by the way, they have a new friend who greets them as they enter their house…the first of what will become a collection to garnish the outside perimeter of their home….

June 2014
June 2014

Thanks for taking a walk with me today. Have a great, and wonderful Sunday!!

Tami

“HEY…WHAT WAS THAT CROAKY SOUND COMING FROM THE LITTLES?” Seriously, just right now…..oh boy!!

A Major Remodel

My hens have been talking to me, very clearly. I can hear them, and their requests have not fallen on deaf ears. Okay, before you call a crisis worker, let me explain….

Hey Ma...Can we talk??

Hey Ma…Can we talk??

…chickens have a way of looking at you, an impassioned blinking of their eyes, and a subtle, sweet, higher pitched cooing of sorts that lets you know they have something to say. If you listen, really listen with your eyes, ears, and your heart you can start to understand what they are saying. My chickens were telling me that their home was no longer inviting. Given the addition of the, now-laying four Middles, to the, already six laying Originals,…and four near-future-laying-hens better known as the Littles, three nesting boxes were no longer adequate. The ladies were complaining.

Nesting Boxes

Nesting Boxes

First of all…can you imagine having to wait your turn while needing to lay an egg? I don’t think it’s too comfortable…and neither did they. We had A LOT of complaining going on and rightly so! I drew up the plans, and the remodeling began!

Tony removed the inner wall, which included the nesting boxes, that separated the people area from the chicken area, opening up the entire house…

All opened up...

All opened up…

My idea was to create a tiered nesting box area on the left side, back wall. The bottom level would jut out creating a ladder of sorts for easier access. The top level boxes would sit flush against the wall. My hope in this also was to create a poop protected area underneath the nesting box area for those who might want to snuggle into clean(er) shavings to take a dust bath or just take a nap. I have found that not everyone wants to roost at night, some prefer to nestle in. So, Tony and I…Tony…built three more nesting boxes, and in they went!

Stamp of approval...that's Mama hen, Chardonnay, nestling in.

Stamp of approval…that’s Mama hen, Chardonnay, nestling in.

We had a constant companion helping with the process….

….she supervised the entire project. Even though she didn’t like the sound of the drill, and complained her way through it…she wouldn’t leave..hahahaha!

After the nesting box area was finished, we started on the rousts. We decided to change out the Douglas Fir limbs to wooden planks. I believe they are happier not having to balance all night, and are resting better. I don’t hear the early morning (like 3:00 in the morning) carrying on anymore…now it starts about 5:30. I think we are all happier!!

New nesting boxes + new roosting boards = happy campers.

New nesting boxes + new roosting boards = happy campers.

And here’s the result…..

The first night after the remodel.

The first night after the remodel.

…yes, those are the Littles, now totally integrated within the flock. They are finding their place in the pecking order, and are starting to roost on the boards with the older birds. Harmony in the merge?? Not quite yet achieved…but they are working it out! As for the success of the additional nesting boxes…A LOT less loud complaining from the hens…and MAMA CHARDONNAY IS BACK ON THE NEST!!!!!

Nooooooo!!!! Really NO!!! I replaced the eggs she accumulated…. TEN!!! ….with wooden eggs. She is still nesting and protecting her false clutch as she normally would, and I’m supporting her efforts with extra food, goodies, and water. I’m hoping she will abandon the nest at the point where they should hatch but don’t. She is so adamant on the nest, I didn’t have the heart to take her eggs away and push her off the nest…I hope this will be easier for her. She looks at me, and blinks slowly as she tells me she loves her little brood beneath her. She’s a great Mama…thanks to this big guy…

Benedict....our Big Daddy Rooster!! Patriarch to the Middles, and the Littles (aka the Muppets.)

Benedict….our Big Daddy Rooster!! Patriarch to the Middles, and the Littles (aka the Muppets.)

In that vain……our family would like to say…HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!!…to any dads who may be visiting the farm today!! We hope you have an awesome day, week, month, and year!! Take care all!!

Tami

Rude Awakening

It was like any other morning. The air was cool and filled with the melodic symphony of the many different song birds that make their home in the forest. The resident bullfrogs croaked their low drone-like percussion, and the neighboring peacock rang out like the clash of a cymbal, carefully placed within the orchestra. Benedict, our resident rooster, added the occasional trumpet-like excitement as the song continued. There is just no better performance to be heard than this early morning ensemble.

Benedict...the mighty trumpet boy!

Benedict…the mighty trumpet boy!

The flock was happy that morning, the air was cool, but the sun was shining. The hope for the day was warmth to bask in…add a comfortable dust bath, and their day would be awesome! I opened the door, and the flock filed out in line. After cleaning up around around the nesting boxes, and taking a quick look, I left my feathered friends to do their early morning dance as the symphony played on.

The flock during a calmer day.

The flock during a calmer day.

About 20 minutes later, the melody changed. Rather than the calm, continuous song, the tension had risen. Benedict’s trumpet had become urgent, and the hens were now chiming in loudly. The dogs, who were inside the house, ran to the windows barking excitedly. Opening the door, the sound was deafening. I ran out to see what was going on.

As I approached…there it was!! It had already turned to start its retreat. It was close to the house…right up on the chicken house. It was a coyote!! It casually trotted away. I ran out to the flock…yelling and raising my arms towards the retreating coyote…it picked up its pace and ran down the hill toward the creek, and out of site. Everyone was accounted for…and I didn’t see any sign of pulled feathers. Thankfully, I hadn’t let the “Littles” out of their area at that point,

The Littles!!

The Littles!!

so they were still safe in the house. The flock had dodged another bullet!

A Merging of the Minds

Great News!!…the “Middles” (formerly known as the “Littles”) have had a merging of the minds with the adult flock (the Untouchables) … they are now one cohesive flock with our gentleman Buff Orpington rooster, Benedict, leading the way!!!

The Captain of this ship....the mighty Benedict!

The Captain of this ship….the mighty Benedict!

After much confusion and chaos within the flock …. 4 of the 8 “Middles” were…uuhhuumm…of age roosters,

Two of the young adult roosters of the Middles.  They were really handsome boys!

Two of the young adult roosters of the Middles. They were really handsome boys!


Buff Orpington / Rhode Island Red cross ... a really handsome roo.

Buff Orpington / Rhode Island Red cross … a really handsome roo.

…it became necessary to calm the flock. During the past few weeks, hens were on constant alert and flight from the rogue, young roo’s, and Benedict was extremely busy defending his fleeing hens from the pursuing marauders. Egg production fell off drastically…not one of our feathered friends were happy. I had grown a little too attached to the “Middles” …. they were our first chicks to hatch on the farm … neither Tony nor I relished the idea of culling the four young roo’s. Our neighbors, on the other hand, were happy to fill their freezer with some additional poultry…so off they went. Even my little, Austin (the spraddle legged chick at hatching) couldn’t stay … I actually kept him for a little while longer than the others … but he was just not having a happy life with Benedict at the helm. Benedict is, and will continue to be, our flock’s leader. The four younger roosters had a good life, a great life really, free ranging as soon as their age and weather allowed … fruits, vegetables, and once even leftover salmon … then they provided for a large family … I feel good about that!

The flock chllin' during an afternoon rain...EVERYTHING becomes a chicken roost.

The flock chllin’ during an afternoon rain…EVERYTHING becomes a chicken roost.

Egg production has risen once again … and the middle hens are now laying!! They are cohesive with Benedict and the other hens…their minds have merged into one flock!! And the “Middles” are now doing this…….

A combo catch from the Untouchables, and the Middles!

A combo catch from the Untouchables, and the Middles!


Who laid the egg on the right???

Who laid the egg on the right???


Newbie eggs are a bit smaller than the more.... sophisticated egg layers!

Newbie eggs are a bit smaller than the more…. sophisticated egg layers!

With all the winged gallinas feeling more relaxed, and the “Middles” now producing… we are now getting 6 to 8 eggs everyday….anybody want a dozen???

Hoping you all have a moment in the sun! Thank you for hiking through the forest with me today!

Tami

Catching Up…

I really dislike it when “life” gets in the way. There is a lot to update on the farm…I will let the pictures do the talking.

Five of the six Originals

Five of the six Originals


Riesling and her man Benedict!

Riesling and her man Benedict!


Jag....one of our Buff Orphington / Rhode Island Red mixed roosters...very handsome!

Jag….one of our Buff Orphington / Rhode Island Red mixed roosters…very handsome!


The Muppets and Chardonnay!

The Muppets and Chardonnay!


Benedict checking out his progeny!

Benedict checking out his progeny!

As the sun came out, so did those who inhabit this hilly forest…..

The Muppets, testing their feet on the green grass.

The Muppets, testing their feet on the green grass.


Not too sure about this...

Not too sure about this…


Hey Ma!!!  It's still a little cold out here!!!

Hey Ma!!! It’s still a little cold out here!!!


Penni watching over the youngest flock.

Penni watching over the youngest flock.


The Muppets following mama with no boarders!!

The Muppets following mama with no boarders!!

…and the trees decided it was time to make their long awaited appearance….

The first Cherry Blossoms!

The first Cherry Blossoms!


Apple trees

Apple trees


Beautiful Pear Trees

Beautiful Pear Trees

…but the Chestnut trees are still in that “groggy” state right before they wake up! The first pasture’s grass needing to be mowed down is completed (only 8 more hilly acres to go…uuggh..but also 🙂 …..

The back hillside is mowed....to be repeated at least 4 more times this season....

The back hillside is mowed….to be repeated at least 4 more times this season….

….producing this lovely, lovely product….

All these cuttings and not a single goat, cow, horse, or rabbit to feed it too...

All these cuttings and not a single goat, cow, horse, or rabbit to feed it too…

…hhhmmmmm maybe we need to rethink this……

Our neighbor's horse!

Our neighbor’s horse!

…but I don’t think we are quite ready yet…the good extra work of spring has worn us all out…

Tired old Tucker

Tired old Tucker


Karli catching some rays in the warmth of a beautiful spring day.

Karli catching some rays in the warmth of a beautiful spring day.


Hank, the cat, kicking back on Easter.

Hank, the cat, kicking back on Easter.


Tito and Lilly

Tito and Lilly

…but the epitome of being worn out due to excessive spring-like-I-can’t-believe-the-sun-is-out behavior goes to….Penni!!!

What a day!!!

What a day!!!

I hope you all had a wonderful and blessed Easter!! Enjoy the burgeoning springtime!!!

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