Time to Redefine our Lives in Oregon

Posts tagged ‘Chickens’

Move That Hen House

Some days the task is huge….and heavy…..and awkward.  Enter the need for the relocation of the hen house.

Benedict's Bungalow 2015

Tony built the house on skids for just this occasion, but once again, this is not your average chicken coop.  It is large for a chicken enclosure …. 8 ft by 10 ft by 12 ft tall — it is heavy ….. built with full, heavy lumber, fully insulated, tar shingles, and a porch — awkward….something this large does not move without a lot of ingenuity.

Benedict's Bungalow 2015

Why move a large, stationary, unyielding object such as this?  The flock seemed “just okay” with their house.  It was consistently shady, and dark.  Many of the hens sought out alternate places to lay their eggs.  They seemed to tolerate their home, but they didn’t love their home…hahah….as I write this, I do realize how ….quirky that sounds, but it’s true!!

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Other than that, we really want to control the chicken poop in the people living areas.  They are all over the place, and I want them off of my porch, in front of my car doors, and where my dogs run.  They are going to live in the pasture with the goats.

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The real story here, though, is in the process of moving this small, but large out-building.  The video below is just that.  It took a few hours, but it did eventually get to it’s intended spot.

Thankfully, the move was successful, and no one got injured. This project actually took place a couple of weeks ago, and I am happy to report that the hens are happy again!!  They are speaking loud and clear with an abundance of eggs….inside the nesting boxes….and now two broody hens!!  What more can you ask of a Saturday!!

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Thank you for visiting the farm today.  I hope your day is filled with the beauty, and warmth of spring

Your friend from Oregon,

Tami

#howdoyoumoveanoutbuilding

And the Sun Emerges

Has it truly been almost a month since I have written on this blog?   Just about every day I think, “I’ve got to write about that,” and then I get distracted with life.  That being said,  you can catch up with us a bit on http://haveadanehilldanes.com as we walk through our days analyzing every droopy face, every burp, every ….. well, go check it out …. there may be new additions to the family soon.

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Okay, so where do I begin?  Winter is quickly fading into spring out here in the Pacific Northwest….really quickly.  The goats are getting “itchy”, literally, to loose their fluffy, winter coats.  They are rubbing on trees, scratching their backs and sides with their horns,  and enjoying laying down under the mid-winter sun breaks.

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The hens went into an egg shut-down this year, and virtually stopped laying.  Since late October, we have only gotten 1 – 2 eggs every couple of days….within the past two weeks….production has increased, and we are now up to 3 – 4 eggs per day!  Thank you increased daylight…with morning and evening combined, I think we are up to almost two more hours of light in the day than we were in the deep dark of late fall-early winter.

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My two young hens have even started their egg laying careers……

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…..these tiny eggs are perfect when you want to make a 1/3 of a cookie recipe or something.  Who would want to only make a 1/3 of a cookie recipe, you may ask….well it’s kind of like buying already made refrigerator cookie dough, and only cooking part of the package….but I wouldn’t know about that, because I have these little eggs and I just make 1/3 of  the recipe. HA!

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One of my young layers…her name is, Summer….she is very friendly thanks to my niece, Justine, who spent a lot of time holding her, as a young hatchling, this summer…and quite fittingly, she named her, Summer!  🙂

Speaking of recipes, I’m on a mission to “lighten” our lives a bit.  At this point, I’m not overzealous, but just making changes where I can.  I’d like to share with you this recipe I made for the Super Bowl….it is a lightened up version of Spinach-Artichoke Dip…

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….it was full of flavor.  It did feel lighter in texture, not as creamy, but totally okay because the flavor was there…..honestly, I did miss the creaminess a little, but I can live with that.  Here is the link to the recipe…. http://www.skinnytaste.com/2011/09/hot-spinach-and-artichoke-dip.html

Thank you for visiting the farm today after our long absence.  We hope you have a most wonderful day.

Your friend from Oregon,

Tami

#lighterversionofspinachartichokedip  #spinachartichokedipwithgreekyogurt

Claudio / Goats & Christmas Trees

A bit of sad news on the farm (but keep reading, it gets better)…..

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Claudio, the Buff Orphington on the right.

……Our little hen, Claudio, went to the big farm in Heaven.  She had been ailing a bit for a couple of months.  We came really, really close to ending her rein as the Matriarch of the hen house a little over a month ago, but I brought her into the little “resting” enclosure we have in the garage, let her warm up and rest for a few days away from the flock, cleaned her up and she was better….slower than normal, but she liked to eat, walk around, and hung with the flock….but she was slow.

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Claudio, the one and only true Buff Orphington hen on the farm.

We kept a close eye on her….and apparently so did our resident hawk.  Seeing the vulnerability of our little Claudio, the hawk saw an opportunity.  I’m sorry, little Claudio…you and I had some great conversations….she was the talker of the hen house.

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“Are you listening to me?”  “Always, Claudio, always.  RIP my little friend.”

On a lighter note…..

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The other day, my brother, Steve, text’d me and asked if I knew that goats like to eat Christmas trees.   There were news reports down in the Bay Area about goats eating Christmas trees…..I think it is hysterical that this would be a news worthy item…HAHAHAHA!!  I’m not laughing at my brother….maybe a little…..I love you, brother!!!

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Anyway….it was ironic that he contacted me about this  because, litereally, I was forming my thoughts for this post, and just a couple of days before I video’d my goats……chomping down on our Christmas tree!!

It didn’t surprise me that they would like the Christmas trees….they had already attacked the wreath on our door.   Even as young little sprouts, they showed their affinity for fir trees by seeking out the low limbs of our Douglas Fir trees.  It was weird though….put in the context of chomping on our CHRISTMAS TREE….the revelation seemed new, and magical.

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I love my little herd.  They are so cute, and fluffy, and chunky!!

Happy Sunday!!  Thank you so much for spending part of your day with me.

Your friend from Oregon,

Tami

Please visit my other site….  http://www.haveadanehilldanes.com

 

 

Poop Happens

Some days….my life seems like it’s all about the poop.  Seriously….when you have multiple animals, you’ve got to stay on top of it…hahaha!

March 2014

I recently discovered an amazing way to stay on top of the incredible nightly chicken house poop accumulation.  No joke….they sleep and poop, poop and sleep….at the same time….in huge amounts.  I try not to capture the results of their evening….activities…..when I post pictures because…welll….who really wants to see that??!!  (Sorry about the picture above.)

June 2014

I’ve tried to manage it all with pine shavings, works pretty well….straw (never again will I use straw) Creepy Crawlies….YUCK! …. and dusting the floor with DE (livestock food grade diatomaceous earth.)  Shavings, and straw are very labor intensive when it’s time to clean, and there is a point where the production of ammonia  is just inevitable….so whether it was on your schedule that day to muck out the hen house….if you start detecting ammonia….cleaning day moves to the top of the chore list.  DE floor dusting (very thin layer) actually worked pretty well….it dried out the droppings pretty well.  The most difficult things with this method were the “splat” factor, resulting in the need scrape the floor a bit.  Other than that, things generally cleaned up with a shovel and a broom.

June 2014

Then….I found this……

Amazing idea!!!  So, Tony decided to build it!!

July 2015

It didn’t take too much convincing……

July 2015

Although our local farm store did not carry the Sweet PDZ granules that the Pintrest poster spoke of….this product…

July 2014

…has very similar ingredients, and works amazingly!!  Seriously…I feel like my life has been liberated from the drudge of the frequent mucking out of the chicken house!!!  I’m a happy, Tami!!!

July 2015

Literally, I take a cat litter box scooper, and scoop the poop right out of the poop tray!!  The effort is so minimal its amazing (ok…I know I’ve used that word several times this post, but it actually is AMAZING!!)  The beauty of this product is that it has the benefit of DE which will eliminate any fly that lands in the poop box (DE dries out their exoskeleton, and dun, dun, dun, no more fly) yet, it is not as lightly powered so there is not near as much dust.  I’m so excited!!

July 2015

So now, besides cleaning out the nesting boxes, and adding clean bedding….my mucking days are over!!!  YES!!!

July 2015

Oh, wait…. <sigh> ….. I forgot about the kids’ house!!!

June 2015

Hahaha…well once the barn gets built….the tractor will help with that chore…I hope!!

Thank you for visiting the hen house today!!

Your friend from Oregon,

Tami

Our 2014 in Review

WOW…I can’t believe that today is the last day of 2014!!  To say that this year has flown by would be quite the understatement.  In summary, here are my top five posts of 2014 that, the stats tell me, you all have enjoyed the most….

1  That Certain Age   Purple Aug. 2014

2  Morning Sunrise

3  Alien Invasion

4 Premature Chick Hatch

5  My Coyote Theory….

…followed closely by…..

Harvesting Walnuts

 

The top referring sites linked to this blog were:  Facebook, and http://www.adairhomes.com … our awesome builders.  The very beginnings of my writings here were all about the house-build in 2011, and it is amazing to me that I still get so many clicks from those early posts.

This morning, very early, people from….

Country Views
United States FlagUnited States  14
Brazil FlagBrazil 4
Japan FlagJapan 2
Argentina FlagArgentina 1
Malaysia FlagMalaysia                          1

….and throughout the year, readers from 94 different countries had clicked on my humble attempts to write, and somewhat, entertain those who would happen here.  It amazes me!!  A heart felt, “Thank you,” to all of you!!

I was thinking that we could take a walk through the forest today, through the year that has been 2014.  I have greatly enjoyed your company, and hope to see you back on the farm in the coming year.  There is much work to do in 2015…and hopefully, a few warm surprises along the way.   Please enjoy this journey in pictures…..

Just ’cause your legs don’t work very well doesn’t mean you don’t deserve a shot at life!! Little Austin Healey got stronger and had a good life as a free range rooster.

I so hope this works!

Whooooaaa, I'm not going out ther!!! Whooooaaa, I’m not going out ther!!!

Hey what's that?? A little spinach hung from the ceiling helps break the cabin fever!

Hey what’s that?? A little spinach hung from the ceiling helps break the cabin fever!

Claudio wondering, "What the heck is all that cold, white, icy stuff!"

Claudio wondering, “What the heck is all that cold, white, icy stuff!”

Our neighbors horses...so gorgeous!!!

Our neighbors horses…so gorgeous!!

We had a lot of snow in the winter of 2014.

IT'S A HUGE NEWT, OR SALAMANDER OR SOMETHING!!! And what's that thing next to it??

IT’S A HUGE NEWT, OR SALAMANDER OR SOMETHING!!! And what’s that thing next to it??

We had our own alien invasion in the spring of 2014…..

Benedict checking out his progeny!

Benedict checking out his progeny!

Beautiful Pear Trees

Beautiful Pear Trees

Penni watching over the youngest flock.

Penni watching over the youngest flock.

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!

In late February the Elk returned for the first time in 2014.

Elk 2013

Whoops!!!

Whoops!!!

We cut down trees to rebuild our wood pile…had this one little “Whooops” moment.

Sizing logs for splitting1

Sizing logs for splitting1

We need to build this stack as high as the highest log, and forward to the front of the pallets!

We need to build this stack as high as the highest log, and forward to the front of the pallets!

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

The Captain of this ship….the mighty Benedict!

Who laid the egg on the right???

Who laid the egg on the right???

We marveled at the difference in size of our hens’ eggs from day-to-day, and hen-to-hen.

Tito and Lilly

Tito and Lilly

The two surviving  Bernices.

The two surviving Bernices.

May 2014

Of the two orphaned wild turkey poults, one survived and escaped back into the wild….a little earlier than I had planned, but he could fly and was ready to go.  There was a group of wild turkeys in the neighborhood that I am confident he joined.

And our garden did pretty well, although, was in need of more actual sun-time throughout the day. We’re thinking where to move it for next year.

Sugar snap peas...TODAY!

Sugar snap peas…TODAY!

Beautiful Broccoli TODAY!

Beautiful Broccoli TODAY!

Strawberries...TODAY!

Strawberries…TODAY

YES!!!  That's our Benedict!

YES!!! That’s our Benedict

Beautiful golden gems.

Beautiful golden gems.

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A beautiful sunset!

A beautiful sunset!

Tucker in the summer of 2012

Tucker in the summer of 2012

In late July, we said goodbye to our dear, dear friend, Tucker.  We miss him a ton!!

A truly sad, heartbreaking day.

A truly sad, heartbreaking day.

Making jam...

Making jam…

Strawberry jam

Strawberry jam

We grew one successful artichoke!!

The mighty artichoke

The mighty artichoke

That’s either a BIG apple, or those are pretty tiny cantaloupe….you decide!!

Tiny Cantaloupe

Tiny Cantaloupe

July 2014

Salsa 2014

CHEVY'S ... Yummmm!!

September 2014

HEY!!! Get off the porch!!!

HEY!!! Get off the porch!!!

Tito August 2011

What a beauty!!

What a beauty!!

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We had one, beautiful, summer hatchling….she was Mama Chardonnay’s shadow…

Sorry little girl!!

Sorry little girl!!

….sadly she was lost to a hawk, or possibly, a racoon or coyote.

The undeniable evidence.

The undeniable evidence.

UUUhhhhhmmmmm….Go Giants!!!! What an awesome season!!

Mickey and the Giants

Black Walnut Tree 2014

October 2014

October 2014

Walnuts 2014

The elk returned for a 2nd appearance this year in late November….

The Elk are early this season!

The Elk are early this season!

….and our forest turned into a beautiful ice castle…

So beautifully encased in ice.

So beautifully encased in ice.

It was a good year!!  Thank you all for sharing it with us.

Happy New Year to you all.   Here’s to an amazing 2015!!!

Your friend from Oregon,

Tami

Frozen in Ice

November 2014

As much of the country continues to protect themselves from the recent polar vortex of November’s Arctic Cold…

http://www.weather.com/news/weather-winter/arctic-cold-outbreak-november-locked-20141110

….we are thawing out! Temps in the warmest areas in our neck-of-the-woods, should be around 40 degrees today, dropping into the low 20’s this evening. With no real rain in the forecast for the next few days, the icy conditions will be greatly improved. Now is the time to look for those areas of black ice that hide in the shadows on roadways.

November 2014

The beauty in this icy storm has been incredible!! Please enjoy this little video of our forested ice castle…it was purely gorgeous!!

For those of you in the areas of the continuing, strong, deep freeze…we’re praying for your safety!!

Thanks for visiting our frosty forest today!!

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

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

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!

The Great Adventure part 2

The underside of a felled Douglas Fir tree.

The underside of a felled Douglas Fir tree.

(cont.) I gathered up these little babies, and out of the corner of my eye…I saw mama turkey carefully approaching……

….so did Penni, just fractions of a second before I did..but that was enough time for her brain to excite her body into “chase mode” and off she went. Mama turkey immediately took flight. I looked around the area, checking carefully before each step. Wild turkey poults instinctively hide, low and silent in tall grass. They are very difficult to see. Knowing that there were hidden babies right around me, I had to be careful not to step without caution.

A hidden poult!  With her head slightly raised, this one was actually a little easier to see.

A hidden poult! With her head slightly raised, this one was actually a little easier to see.

Penni’s distraction away from the hiding poults gave me a chance to assess the condition of the little ones I had been holding. If you will remember, Penni is a wanna-be-mama-dog. She has helped raise up all 4 broods of chicks, protecting them from hawks, and if Tucker or Karli got too close (she let them know in no uncertain terms that they shouldn’t get any closer to her chicks.)

Making sure all is right with her little puppy-chicks.

Making sure all is right with her little puppy-chicks.


I was confident that these beauties were perfectly fine. They were very young, and were still sporting that fashionable egg-tooth.

Still sporting a prominent egg tooth.

Still sporting a prominent egg tooth.


They were playing "possum" hoping I wouldn't see them.

They were playing “possum” hoping I wouldn’t see them.

My shirt was doing double duty, acting as, well, a shirt…and also a catch for the poults. They lay quietly in their cocoon, huddled together looking at me with their big eyes…I was surprised at how much larger their eyes are than chicken chicks eyes.

Wild Turkey poult #1.  The first little one found by Penni.

Wild Turkey poult #1. The first little one found by Penni.


Kermit!!!  See how much small her eyes are compared to the wild turkey poult.

Kermit!!! See how much small her eyes are compared to the wild turkey poult.

Following her nose, Penni came bounding back directly to me and the poults. She nudged the buldge in my slinged shirt, indicating that she needed to check on the babies. I let her take a quick look, and big sniff into the pile of young poults…and as is Penni’s style…she gave them a lick (No, not to taste them!!)

May 2014

Hoping that mama turkey would not be afraid to come back another time, I walked towards the house. My plan…as long as I had the poults, Penni would follow…she did! Securing her inside the garage, I headed back. In the background, Penni shouted her protests…loudly! By this time, my daughter had gotten home and joined me in the quest to reunite the family. She held a couple of the poults in her sweater, while we sat behind a tree….and we waited……

May 2014

(To be continued)….please come back tomorrow to read the rest of the story.

Hoping you have a wonderful weekend
Tami

Free Ranging Littles

Remember these beauties??!!

Chardonnay (Mama Hen), Kermit, Miss Piggy, Statler, and Waldorf!!

Chardonnay (Mama Hen), Kermit, Miss Piggy, Statler, and Waldorf!!

Here they are now!

Free Ranging and feeling great!!

Free Ranging and feeling great!!

The Littles (AKA the Muppets) are two months old today!! Honestly, I did not plan the writing of this post with the date…and I’m pretty sure we’re not celebrating with Twinkies…pretty sure!! 😉

So, as they’ve entered their awkward stage….

Definitely the awkward stage!

Definitely the awkward stage!


Sporting a wind-blown do!

Sporting a wind-blown do!

…..they have also found freedom to traverse around the farm as they see fit. The Littles are very integrated within the older flock and move around and within freely, although, they are the Littles…the newbies on the block…if an older hen wants to stand where they are, or eat what they have found, they do get “run out of dodge” for that moment. The word “hen” doesn’t really reflect the true nature of a female chicken’s attitude sometimes…they can be pretty…uhhmmm…what’s that “B” word??? Yeah…that one!

This Little flock within the flock are a pretty close knit group…..

They love to huddle together.

They love to huddle together.

Now that's a nice pile of Littles!!

Now that’s a nice pile of Littles!!

….and they love piling up next to each other to soak in the warmth of the sun. The older groups do this also…but usually in groups of 3 maybe 4 max.

These Littles…they’re fun…they’re adventurous…and they are very curious…

Penni and a Muppet (not sure which one) ...

Penni and a Muppet (not sure which one) …

…”Hey you, big dog…that’s my bug, go find your own!!”

The good news with this bunch…I have yet to completely identify a rooster (No, I’m not looking under their feathers!!) I have one that I suspect, possibly another, but none are standing out like in the other broods we’ve raised. A couple of the Littles have a bit of a larger comb, but I have had that with hens as well as roos. There is not the usual amount dominance posturing going on…a little, but young hens do that too. I’m just not seeing the difference in tail feathers…they’re mostly appearing like hens. Wouldn’t that be AWESOME!!!

Hoping you will have a wonderful day today! Thanks for taking this hike through the forest!
Tami

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

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