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?