Monday, December 29, 2008

Enjoy your new life Raven!

Raven went off to a new home this weekend. I'd been searching for a place for her for awhile and thanks to my Backyard Chicken forum friends, a connection was made and the search has ended successfully. She will be a Christmas gift for a 5-year-old girl who loves chickens. She already has a white cochin hen and rooster, so Raven should fit right in (unless they notice she's a different color...are chickens that perceptive?). Raven just never felt welcome here and the other hens continually picked on her. She never fought back, and as a result ended up getting her feathers pulled out frequently as she cowered in the corner and let them peck and pluck away.

In the few months she lived with us she was a great surrogate mom to Wynonna, laid exactly two eggs, and was broody once. Hopefully she will have an opportunity to be a mom to her own chicks in her new home.

Raven's 1st egg


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Hens venture out

Merry Christmas eve! It's still snowing... Day 11!!! Another two inches has accumulated onto the two feet we already had.

I was so surprised to see Raven outside in the chicken run yesterday morning that I grabbed my camera while still in my p.j's, shoved my bare feet into gardening boots sitting by the back door and trudged out through two feet of snow to snap a few pictures. No one else was very interested in venturing out of the coop, so I lured them with cracked corn... one of their favorite treats. Wynonna was the only one who came completely out of the run to gobble up the goodies.

Hens in snow

Hen in snow

Hens in snow

Monday, December 22, 2008

Portland gets blasted!

It's been snowing here for over a week. First we had snow, then more snow, then ice and now more snow. There's an accumulation of over a foot and even more is expected. It may not begin to melt until Christmas day. The cookies are baked, gifts have been purchased and wrapped... now we see what this weather does. With many family members snowbound and some without power or water, we may be having a very quiet holiday. Many businesses and retail stores are closed. Chains are required in the Portland metropolitan area. My husband unburied the Suburban today to rescue some friends who are without power at their house. Bus service in our area was canceled. As a panic reflex, I cooked. I made a few extra meals and we delivered dinner to my parents who are housebound nearby. So far our power has stayed on, and we're warm and cozy and very grateful.

This is the view from our front porch yesterday before any foot traffic made tracks...
Where did the stairs go?

Disappearing stairs

Isabel is all bundled up and ready to take the trek up the hill to where we parked the car...

Isabel in the snow

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Special treats on a cold morning...

Wynonna, our golden-laced wyandotte, was the first brave hen to chow down on the warm oatmeal with raisins I served them in the coop this morning. Still only 18 degrees here last night.

"I should receive such treatment!" was my husband's response.

chicken treats

Monday, December 15, 2008

BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!'s cold!!! 17 degrees here last night, with high temps hovering around freezing expected for the next week.

The chickens have been fine so far. Everyone's been hanging out inside the coop since Saturday night. So far I've been able to keep their water thawed by placing it directly under the red light. The best part is they all seem to be getting along. Our black cochin Raven, who the other hens were picking on, walks freely among them now--yeah!

No school today! Plenty of hot chocolate and I Love Lucy...

hot cocoa

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Winter arrived!

Just as predicted...a rare thing in P-town...SNOW! Everyone in our house was very excited...everyone outside not so thrilled!

One of our excited inside animals... with the chickens all cooped up, Bailey has a day off from her chicken tending duties

border collie in the snow

coop in the snow

My husband came up with this great solution to keeping the chicken's water thawed, but they won't venture out of the coop to drink it. He says they'll come out when they have to and won't let themselves dehydrate. I put their food inside the coop.

keeping water thawed

and one of our not so thrilled animals... Nelly, our sweet little sebright

Nellie stays in the coop

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Winter is headed our way... least that's what we've heard for the last several days. After much discussion and contemplation, I decided I would NOT heat the coop this year. After all, I've heard from people in Alaska with temperatures well below zero, who never heat their coops. Our hens seem to be doing just fine huddling together if necessary. We did have fresh eggs last winter when we heated the coop, but our hens stopped laying way back in August, so it seems unlikely they'll lay again until spring.

But the temperatures are expected to dip into the teens for several days with snow predicted for tomorrow. So just before dark, after cleaning out the coop and providing my hens with fresh food and water, I ran an extension cord out to the coop and clamped a light fixture with a red light bulb onto their perch. I find the red glow coming from their window very comforting.

The girls were all cozy and snug when I closed them in tonight...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Daughter's first animated video...

...the fascination with all things hamster continues.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Isabel's famous egg drop project

My daughter's science project was to create an egg carrier that would protect a raw egg when dropped from up high. She carefully wrapped an egg in cotton and placed it inside a zip lock. Then she placed that package inside another zip lock that was filled with crumpled paper.

egg drop project

As a preliminary test, she threw the package out the upstairs bedroom window so it would land on the lawn...

egg drop project

egg drop project

So far so good!
Now it's time for the real test... onto concrete (just below the window is a concrete patio)...

egg drop project

egg drop project

It survived!!!

egg drop project

Here's Gidget, our EE who generously donated the egg for this project...

egg drop project

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Thanksgiving dinner...yum yum!

finally ready for the table...


mmmmmmmmm..... sliced and ready to eat...


fresh free-range turkey from our local coop, homemade portabella mushroom stuffing, homemade buttermilk yeast rolls, homemade sweet potatoes with roasted pecans, fresh green beans sauteed in butter and garlic, homemade yukon gold mashed potatoes and homemade gravy ... it tasted as good as it looks... are you salivating yet?


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy turkey and pie Day!

Pumpkin pie with a crisco crust, apple pie with a butter crust... both were a big hit


Monday, July 14, 2008

Then came the chicks!

The chicks arrived. Only 2 days old--so little and sweet. We set up a plastic brooder in the main floor bathroom and clamped a 40 watt light bulb onto the shower head. This brooder worked great. I used a tupperware storage bin, and cut out a rectangle on the lid and replaced it with screen. These tiny little creatures sure poop a lot. Their digs have to be cleaned every day (2 times a day when they're a little older). I lined the bottom of the plastic bin with paper towels so their little feet wouldn't slide around so much. This makes it easier to clean too. We got right in there and performed our designated chick chores-- I became brooder cleaner and my daughter, chick cuddler. hmmmm... I think I got the short end of this deal.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

super nice chicken

This is the chicken that started it all.
While farm sitting for a friend on Zumwalt Prairie, my daughter fell in love with this chicken who she named Super Nice Chicken. Super Nice Chicken had no issues with someone reaching under her to pluck an egg. There was also Big Fat Mean Chicken who did mind, and showed her by pecking her hand when it came near. From this experience we made the decision to raise our own chicks so they would grow to love and respect the hands that feed them (and the ones that pluck eggs from under them).

Rhode Island Red Hen

Saturday, May 24, 2008

the egg did come first!

chicken egg

This is the egg that started it all.
Once we tasted these farm fresh eggs, I knew we had to have chickens in our own backyard. "But our yard is so small," I thought. I then consumed every web site and piece of published material I could get my hands on to learn how others had kept small flocks of hens in their tiny spaces.