Thursday, December 29, 2011

Baby it's cold outside!

With daytime temperatures in the teens and twenties (it is 16° right now, at 11 am) chores at the Flat have increased. Water needs to be changed several times throughout the day, and warm food treats are appreciated by chickens and pigs alike. The piggies' fave seems to be spaghetti, although they also appreciated the string bean casserole that we received from friends Jane and Mac. (They know we gave it to the pigs, they didn't want it either!)

So far, the chickens' favorite winter treat is warm oatmeal with milk and honey. I read about it on one of my chicken forums where I went to seek advice about my injured black hen. Backyard Chickens and Community Chickens have both been very helpful to the "Just Hatched" newbie chicken owners.

Update: The black hen is improving, but she won't be completely improved until her feathers grow back and she can fly up to the roost again at night. At least the other hens do not seem to be picking on her, and she has maintained her authority over the new girls...a good sign.

Now that we have a bit of snow on the ground, there is a map of the day- and night-time activity around the Chicken Shack. It is easier to see how many critters are out there wandering around (or should I say stalking?) the girls. These poor chickens are going to be "cooped up" for the rest of the winter, if not longer. They do have a fenced area behind the shack, but they don't even go outside when it is this cold. Yesterday I left the doors on the coop closed all day and they seemed fine with that.

The Husband is headed back to NJ tomorrow to visit with some family members including Josh, Lisa, and their new baby Colin, who are up from Florida. I will try to get some pics of Colin up on the blog, but for now, here is one of Josh and Lisa from their wedding. This is the time of year when we envy your warm weather and your suntans! Don't look at that nasty picture above your heads!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Holidays and hens

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas holiday, or whichever holiday you celebrate. We had a nice quiet Christmas Eve and Christmas day dinner, home alone. It was a very nice change from the usual running around, but still strange to not be spending it with family and friends. We did manage to visit friends Jane and Mac on Christmas Eve, and Don on the Hill just yesterday. What a spectacular view Don has from up on that hill! Some day I'll sneak up there and take some photos.

Hen update: Last week, I wandered out with the dogs to close up the chickens, our usual routine. The chickens magically all go back into the coop just as it is beginning to get dark, so I tuck in the girls and Roo while the dogs are outside getting into trouble wherever they can.

As I was coming down the driveway, I saw a black pile in the grass. I had to divert the dogs from investigating, and went over myself to find one of my black hens, on her back, feathers all around. She lifted her head up to look at me, but didn't move otherwise.

I closed up the rest of them, got the dogs back to the house, and came back to see her. She looked pretty awful, but when I put her in the crate in the coop, she at least was able to stand up and walk around. I couldn't really see how badly she was hurt because it was getting dark, but by the next day she was still wandering around and eating and drinking, so I am just going to have to assume she will be OK.

You can see in the photo that she is missing almost all of her tailfeathers, and is somehow injured on her back where her wings attach. Her wings are hanging down almost to the ground. Compare this the the photo of her healthy sister on the tree stump. The black hens have never allowed me to pick them up, much less inspect, and I'm really not sure how to look for wounds when there are feathers covering them up. I tried, but she was too stressed out to let me see anything up close. The best I can do is to keep an eye on her to see if she starts to get worse.

The large photo is of the 3 new girls, with their unusual blue-grey and coppery red feathers. The one closest to the wall is the one who has her own bad hairdo. It is tough being a chicken mom, and trying not to worry about all the little wars they have when they are working out a pecking order. I have read too many things about chickens being cannibals if one of them is suffering or bleeding, and now that we are keeping them all closed up to be safe from the mystery predator, they have to work things out in a tight space.

Not exactly what I want to be worrying about for the holidays!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A bow for Lester for Christmas

I changed the masthead to a more seasonal photo for the first day of winter, and I added a bow for the big Lester for the holidays. Sophie was kind enough to allow me to change her photo on the side as well, although she is not quite as fond of the white stuff.

I was finally able to get the tree decorated, only to discover that the usually well-behaved Will has returned to his mischievous kitten days of wreaking havoc on the tree. Dave, the usual misbehaved one, looks like an angel in this photo, that's why he gets top billing today.

The 3 new hens were easily introduced, and act as though they have been part of the group forever. I am waiting for a sunny day to get a better photo of them. That, and one of them was apparently abused by a rooster, and she is looking a little shaggy. When her feathers grow back she will be much more photogenic.

The only bad thing about the new hens is that they have slowed egg production even more. I guess the stress of 3 new girlfriends, plus the 2 girls gone broody (sitting on their eggs even though we steal them every day) has put everyone in a tizzy. In their first few days we got only 1 or 2 eggs, today we are back up to 5. Let's hope they keep increasing the numbers, or I'll have to take down the sign in the window at Anna's store. So far, folks have been loving those "local free-range brown eggs"—they're buying them as fast as I can cart them up there.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Been busy and been to the Boro

Took a quick jaunt to the South Country on Saturday for a Christmas/birthday party for my little friend Maddie. Happy Birthday Maddie! I had an excellent turkey dinner with lots of goodies, and lots of good friends. The Husband had to stay home to care for the critters.

I also made a stop in the Boro to visit with Little Sis. Put the lights up on her tree, delivered some gifts, sat and chatted the day away, and then high-tailed it out of there to make my way back home on Monday. I did manage a stop in Lansdale to visit with The Boys (2 of my O'Brien uncles) and then jumped right back on the turnpike.

My missing Red Sweetie is still gone. There is a very slim chance that she went off to hatch her eggs somewhere, but I do not expect to see her again. She may be only a chicken, but I do miss her!

And, speaking of hatching eggs, now one of the black hens, I think it's Big Mama, is living up to her name and trying to hatch some of her eggs. Not good timing, Mama! We just started selling our eggs at Anna's store in Richfield Springs, and then we lose a hen, and a nesting box. With only one nest box remaining for the remaining 5 laying girls, egg production has slowed dramatically.

Mama is sitting on 4 eggs, but I don't know that she has figured out that she has to sit on them all day, every day, or they won't hatch. I would hate to see her sit on them for weeks and have no chicks to show for it. With cold weather getting colder, we will have to make arrangements to keep the chicks in the basement once they do hatch. Our coop is unheated, which is fine for the big girls and boy, but not healthy for the babies.

To solve the egg production issues, and to help me get over the loss of my Sweetie, we are picking up 3 more already-laying hens on Saturday. They are a New Hampshire/Blue Copper Maran cross. Two of them are in the photo above, one on the left, other on the right. The Husband haunts Craig's List and found these pretty girls on there last night.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Silly girls!

The nieces who visited with us in August, have made a little movie. I am sure (not!) that they wanted me to post it on the blog so that they could be famous. I have at least a dozen readers, I think that counts as going viral.

Since I am all caught up in Christmas shopping, Christmas shipping, and Christmas card writing, here is some silliness to keep you entertained until I get back to taking pictures of my own.

BTW, LOVE that shirt, Ella! Do you wear that every day?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Sophie on the sunny sofa, still no Sweetie

Sophie had a nice sunny morning nap on the sofa today, but now the weather has turned nasty, somewhere between rain and snow, not that cold but it feels like winter.

Every day I go out and search for my Sweetie, but there are no places left that I can think of searching. The Husband still thinks she will come back, and I have read about hens that "go broody" and go off to hatch their chicks, but I don't think there are any safe places for her to hide herself or her chicks, so that would be a stretch of the imagination. I hope she died quickly if she is indeed gone.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My Red Sweetie has gone missing

She didn't show up for lock-down in the Chicken Shack last night. I searched everywhere I could before it got too dark. Then I went out again this morning and searched again. Why do all the bad things happen to my favorite girl?

I'll keep looking, but I think she is gone. Not a trace, not even a feather!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Piggies are happy we're talking turkey

I am pretty sure our visiting family members enjoyed themselves. We went back to the Otesaga Hotel for our new tradition: a Thanksgiving dinner cooked by professionals. It was a beautiful day here in the North Country, and we were treated to a table by the windows with a great view of Otsego Lake.

On Friday, The Husband's Mom Rita, Bro Brian, and SIL Evie and I went to the Fenimore Art Museum, and then to Danny's Market for lunch. Poor husband had to work! We were out for most of the day, so the fresh turkey I had purchased never got cooked. But the homemade pizza, salad, apple pie and gingerbread still qualified (IMHO) as an official home-cooked holiday meal.

I am just getting around to cooking that more traditional turkey and stuffing today. The Husband is out there playing farmer, doing the farm chores, enjoying another beautiful day in the neighborhood. The piggies are sunning themselves and giving thanks for not being turkeys, or deer for that matter, since hunting season began last weekend. Look at the blissful smiles on their faces!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Not much to say, new photo

I am preparing for a visit from some of The Husband's family for Thanksgiving. Here's a photo to hold you over until the festivities have ended.

We have had a mild November compared to last year. People were out to look at Charlie's barn (in the background) this past weekend. They spent a lot of time there, including ringing the bell on the top of the brown barn (who knew there was one?). The barn, "house", cabin, and 4 acres are for sale for $75,000 last I checked. We are saying a little prayer that no one buys it, or at least that they make no major "improvements" that would ruin my favorite view (check out the horses WAY in the background, with my tiny lake view just behind them).

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Weather is still not winter

We have B&E and Rita coming back for Thanksgiving again on Wednesday, so I hope to get some more recent family photos up on the blog. Hope that you all have a wonderful and filling Thanksgiving with all of your friends and family! We are continuing our tradition (for the past several years) of Thanksgiving dinner at the Otesaga. I am either making a traditional turkey dinner on Friday, or taking everyone antiquey shopping and making a humble pizza for dinner.

In the meantime, I have gotten a lot of positive reaction to the living room photo posted earlier. I need to update the interior photos since we got all of our furniture moved up here at the end of June. It is finally starting to look like our home again.

For the moment, here is a B&W of Sophie and Willie, hanging out on the sofa in the late fall light coming through the "5-gang" windows. The light is almost too strong at certain times of day, but not yet enough that I feel the need for curtains. There's always a pet or 2 to block the sun...if you need them...

Monday, November 14, 2011

Don's breakfast and the 2011 wreath

I pick up our mail at the Schuyler Lake Post Office every day at around 11:45. I go then because my good buddy Don on the Hill usually goes at that time. He is my closest neighbor, but so far up the hill that I have never even been to see his home. We both enjoy our daily chats with Sherry the Postmistress. Mostly poor Don takes daily verbal abuse from the 2 catty females!

I often pick up our eggs from the Chicken Shack on my way to the Post Office, hoping to pawn them off on anybody who will take them. Don had been teasing me about our pigeon-size eggs, telling me they were too tiny for his breakfast, so when I picked up our hugest egg ever, I gave it to him. I didn't even know it had 2 yolks, although I hear that is fairly common with young hens.

So now we have had our first two-toned egg, double-yolker, speckled egg, and shell-less egg. I am waiting to see what other surprises the girls have in store for us.

The other photo is from Friday's wreath-making class. There isn't any actual instruction, they just set you loose in a room filled with boxes of festive goodies and let you create whatever you like. This is my second year, and according to The Husband, my second Carmen Miranda wreath. Believe it or not, compared to some of the other fantastic, wild creations, full of huge pinecones and bizarro seed pods, mine is fairly boring.

My first wreath was easy—I just did it and brought it home and hung it up. This year, for whatever reason, I brought it home and fussed with it for about 3 hours after I got home, and then again the next day. I am tempted to make further adjustments today, but have sworn to let it be. Don't know why I am so critical this year...

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Bacon and eggs in January?

I recently finished reading Richard Russo's Bridge of Sighs (on the floor, center). As you can see, these "kids" are bored by this whole reading thing, but the Lester is never bored. Even at his advanced age, he still lives up to his nickname—Lester Pester. Not sure exactly where he was when I took this, but he is usually very near and whining for attention, or even better, for food.

The Chicken Girls have been doing more wandering than ever, even out close to the road yesterday (BAD girls!) and on the same day that I saw one of the chickens from down the road, dead in the road. This is a state highway, not some little-traveled country road, so keep your distance, ladies! They are still producing 6 or 7 eggs a day (GOOD girls!) even though they are supposed to slow down with fewer hours of daylight and cooler temperatures. Maybe it's because the temps aren't all that cool for these past few weeks. It is supposed to hit 70° today.

The piggies are out there sunning themselves and turning over their water bucket to make more mudholes. Earlier today I looked up one of the local slaughterhouses online—Larry's Custom Meats. I made an appointment for the big transport on January 5 (but you know I could always cancel it if I had to). I was beginning to think that I might not be able to part with these cuties, but the bigger they get, I think the easier it will be. My visit today had them pushing me around and trying to eat my shirt, pants, and shoelaces even though I had just filled up their feed bowls. It is no longer easy to stop them from whatever they want to do, and they almost knock me over every time I climb in the pen. I am pretty sure it is affectionate play, but I have no interest in sharing your mudholes...sorry guys!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Sun worship and learning to drive the car

Trying to make up for those missing weeks of posting...

Dave and Willie spend a lot of time on the back of the sofa. Here they look like a couple of bookends, or maybe they are pretending to be Patience and Fortitude, the lion statues in front of the New York Public Library. Lester's Flat may not have as many books as the NYPL, but we're working on it. It's convenient to have these 2 regal guardians since we had to lay off the security team.

You can see out the windows that we are beyond the pretty part of autumn—no leaves left on the trees, goldenrod turned to brown—but there were still enough unfrozen apples to bake a pie, and the temperatures this week are supposed to reach the high 60s.

Today when I went to visit with the girls and Roo, the red girls stormed the CR-V. Red Sweetie, who is back to being her normal healthy self, jumped up on my lap and insisted she was capable of driving. Her peeps were down below, ready to take over the brake and gas pedals. What I want to know is: do they use their feet or their beaks to drive?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The old homestead, both of them, and the new one

I made a short trip back to NJ last weekend, and stayed in the house I grew up in (thanks, Little Sister!). Many changes have been made since she took the house off the market. New siding, new windows, not to mention the new roof, bathrooms, and new carpeting throughout before she went to market. (photo right)

Nobody is buying houses. Both the old homestead and my old NJ house languished for over a year on the market with no interest in either one. We are now renting—Little Sister is holding out, waiting to see if things turn around. Neither of us is happy with the state of affairs, both of us have very little respect for our former realtors.

I thought it would be strange to stay in the old homestead, but it was very comfortable. The only problem was having the dogs with me. They were constantly trying to figure out why we weren't heading back to their old homestead in Palmyra. They just wouldn't settle down. When we did go "home" to pick up some things I left in the basement, they weren't allowed to go inside. WHAT? I had to leave them in their old backyard while I packed up some stuff, and they barked at the back door the whole time.

To make up for it, we took a nice walk through the old neighborhood. Lester's first girlfriend Brandy is still hanging in there and greeted us as if we never left, but the barky Alfie is no longer of this world. At least the Cookie House still has the container of dog treats out on the street (Thanks, Jack and Emma!). After leaving their scent on every grass blade in Palmyra, L&S had a very peaceful trip back to NY.

The large photo (above) is the finally updated Google Maps aerial view of our new house. How cool is that? It was taken in June or somewhere thereabouts...

Friday, October 21, 2011

Ripley and the 3 yellow birches

I added a link up above so that you can take Ripley for a virtual walk. Pedigree dog food will donate money to shelters in the UK for every walk he takes. I suppose Ripley himself is not really in need of a good home, but so many dogs in shelters everywhere are being put to sleep for no reason other than that no one loves them. This reminds me to give a shout out to the Burlington County Animal Alliance in NJ, the people who rescued Sophie from the streets of Pemberton. She was a skinny wreck when we adopted her, but in her photo to the left you can see how some good lovin' has turned her around (literally!).

The 3 little birch trees in the photo show the best color we've had this fall. The photo also shows the cloudy skies that have been the norm for most of September and October. Last year the sugar maples and red maples put on a great show, but this year the birches are as good as it gets. We planted them a couple of years ago to delineate our property where it meets Charlie's. Now that Charlie has passed and his property is for sale, we are hoping that the buyer is as good to us as he was, as this part of his land comes almost right up to the side of our house.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Back in the pack

The 2 adversaries (or is that lovebirds?) seem to have resolved their differences for the moment. In the photos, Red Sweetie is the one with the white tail feathers, standing with Red Meanie at the back door to the coop. Roo, up on the roost, is saying "What...? What did I do?"

Sweetie insisted yesterday that she did not want to be separated anymore, even though she is still a bit gimpy. So she is out and about now with the girls and Roo, with both feet on the floor (yay!). I have some concerns that he will injure her again, but so far she seems happy to be free.

The interesting thing to me is that the other girls seem to be protecting her. After her first full day of post-injury freedom, she was able to make it back up to the roost at night, but I could barely see her as she was packed in underneath the other hens all the way in the corner, and very far from Roo. Last night I had to bring the flashlight out to make sure she was in there...she was.

Poor Roo is still literally henpecked by all of them, and now Sweetie has a renewed vengeance in her reasons for abusing him. We will keep him as long as he doesn't do any further harm. I really don't think he means to hurt any of them, but he truly is just a big, young, hormonal klutz.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Sad Sweetie and more pretty pics

My favorite hen, Red Sweetie, seems down in the dumps today. She let me hold her and pet her for a good 15 minutes, but she didn't manage to reveal her problem. I couldn't find any wounds, but her feathers are out of position, and staying there, on one wing, and on her back end. I am thinking Mr. Roo may have been a bit too rough for my sweet girl (if ya know what I mean) so I separated her by putting her in a crate in the garage. I will probably allow her to rejoin the troops tonight, because I feel bad leaving her by herself in the garage...

These are the latest pretty creek photos. With all the rain this summer, it seems the water will never go back to its normal slow, babbling-brook speed. This is the one spot that appears in many of my photos, and since the hurricane, there are at least 3 little waterfalls that have appeared. Makes a pretty spot even prettier, but I'm wondering if this is the new normal.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood!

The Husband and I took a nice walk today to see some of the fall color, and to visit with two other New Jersey transplants that The Hub had met in the Post Office. They invited us to stop by anytime, so we did. We had a nice long chat with Steve and Elaine, and then made our way back to Lester's Flat.

I am not sure why, but the fall colors are disappointing this year. In previous years the large percentage of maples put on a great show, but this year they lost their leaves too soon. The large photo is from the beginning of our walk. I guess the girls thought they were coming along to see the colors and meet the neighbors. The second photo is from further up on Taylor Road, where Steve and Elaine have a great view of Canadarago Lake. The last photo is Lester's Flat taken from the road. You can even see the Pig Shed, the little red building on the left.

The piggies were out there enjoying the day as well—rolling in the mud hole that they created by knocking over their water bucket. Chickens were hanging out in Charlie's barn, which is where they usually go as soon as we let them loose. Let's hope they don't sell that barn to anyone who doesn't love chickens as much as we do. The girls (and Roo) simply won't understand if we tell them they can't play there anymore.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Seeing the light, fleeing the coop

Still waiting for those fall colors—brown and gold seem to be the only obvious changes. It is supposed to be a glorious Columbus Day weekend, so maybe that will brighten up our landscape.

Sophie saw the light down by the creek today. I tried to get Lester down there to his own personal Fountain of Youth, but a swim in the creek is just not as much fun as stealing tomatoes. He poked his nose in the water just to appease me, then headed straight back to the vegetable garden.

After the dogs were safely back home, I went out front to lock up the girls and Roo in their pen, but they weren't having any of it. Instead, they insisted on following me back to the house to make their own tomato raid in the garden. After their first 2 freezing nights in the unheated Chicken Shack, I suspect they were planning on staying out in the sun for as long as possible today. Can't really blame them, can we?

An apple for Steve

I have always been in "the cult of Mac". So sad to hear of the passing of Steve Jobs.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The architect(s) and the egg count

Susan, our architect, and her husband, also an architect, joined us for dinner and a tour of Lester's Flat on Saturday night. Both she and her husband seemed to be as pleased as we are with the execution of her plans for our dream house. (They thought the piggies were pretty cute too!)

I promised them some of our fall harvest, but then forgot to deliver the goods. The Husband's big garden produced an overabundance of corn, squash, and tomatoes. Neither of us can take the credit, but we also had a bumper crop of apples this year—more than we could ever possibly use even though we are only picking them from the few trees closest to the house. The temperatures are really starting to drop at night so we've got to pick as much as we can. It is truly fall, no more summer here.

And, just as I was complaining about the lower numbers of eggs, the girls upped their production. For almost a week now, we have been getting 6 eggs a day! So, get ready Susan and Ralph, the goodies are coming your way later this afternoon.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Polls are closed, names are chosen

Here's a red, white and blue photo (sort of) for all who voted.

It was a tie between Lucy and Ricky, and Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry with 4 votes for each. The Husband always wanted MB and RP, so we are going ahead with those as the pig names. I will probably use a shorter version, like Shelly and Rick, or Mickey and Ricky, or even Piggies! but The Husband prefers their full names and I think they do too.

Whoever they are, they are happy in their new home. We tightened up the fence and finished up the shed today, with 2 little piggies following at our feet, chewing on my shoelaces. Several folks who have had pigs tell us the more time you spend with them, the more dog-like they become. I can see that already as they come running whenever they hear us nearby. We found out today how much they like belly rubs and laying in their water tub, also reminiscent of the dogs.

The chickens are acting like dogs as well, all 8 of them trailing along behind the Pied Piper (my whistling husband) wherever he goes. They seem to like Charlie's barn and yard better than their own, but so far they are pretty easy to call back. Egg production has slowed down—not sure if that's because the days are getting shorter, or they are too far from the nest boxes, or if they are still eating their eggs. Most likely a combination.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Freedom for all, or is that free-for-all?

The Husband is on vacation this week, and he has declared that all our animals must be free. We let the Chicken Girls and Roo out of their little fenced yard for the first time. Other than Roo spending most of the day in the driveway (watch out for the UPS man, Roo!) it went well. The girls stayed close enough to the Chicken Shack that they were safe enough, and Roo seemed a bit less hen-pecked than normal since he was free to escape their constant harassment. He definitely stayed a good distance from the girls, but then he was used to roaming at his former home, so I think he was a bit more brave.

We went to Cooperstown yesterday with Jessica from Shanghai (she works with The Hub). We took her for a stroll around Cooperstown, a visit to the Farmers' Museum, and a late lunch at the Doubleday CafĂ©. We were gone for several hours, and when we came back, Red Piggie had somehow managed to escape the Pig Shed. I had to chase him around the fence in circles, trying to guide him to the openings. Comical perhaps, but not easy to chase a pig on a mission. He cut his cute little piggie nose bashing against the wire fence—at least he was trying to get back in. Little Mama gave him quite the scolding when he did make it back to the shed.

Inspired by Red's escape yesterday, The Hub closed up the fence more securely, and let them roam inside. You will see in the video that they are very happy in their new home, especially now that their home is so much more interesting. You might also notice that The Hub is already calling them Michele and Rick. We're still taking votes though, so keep 'em comin'.

The e-mailed suggestions so far are: Lola and Rojo, Bacon and Sausage, and Oreo and Caramel.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Pigs are here and the shed is red

Piglets arrived today. Both conveniently and cozily fit in the same dog crate that the chickens rode home in, in the back of the CR-V. We spent the rest of the day working on fixing up the shed and putting up the fencing. They don't seem to like the pellet food that we bought for them, but they were scarfing up the apples and tomatoes that we threw in there.

Since the barn red and white shed was winning in the poll, I already committed to painting it those colors. So, we are starting a new poll today: name the pigs. The black and white Oreo cookie one is the girl, red one is the boy. Our first choice is Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry (Mickey and Rick) but there are other options. You can vote on the left, just like in the Pig Shed debate, or if you have another suggestion, leave it in a comment or e-mail us.

Anyone notice the red plus black and white theme going on here? Almost red Sophie with a black and white Lester, red chickens with black and white chickens—need I go on? OK, the cats are non-conforming, but at least Willie is black and white.

More stories later. Right now I am exhausted.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Dave and Hey Willie and the 2-toned egg

<<<    <<<  We are taking votes to the left for what color to paint the shed. Get your votes in now, and maybe I can paint before Saturday!

The chances are slim that the shed will be completely finished before the piggies arrive on Saturday is raining and supposed to continue through the day. If tomorrow is nice enough, I can at least paint the front of it, so that I don't have to move these little monsters out of my way while painting. It is also quite chilly out there for early September, and making me wonder how the pigs and chickens are going to do this winter. We had a few days last year that were -15°. With no heat in either building, will the deep bedding be enough to keep them from freezing? Hoping that I don't have to make a temporary critter shelter in our nice finished basement. What would the dogs and cats think of that if I did?

Big pic is Dave and Willie having a moment of sweetness together—that almost never happens—but they usually do get along pretty well. Willie looks like he's saying "Hey, get out of my face with that camera! I'm trying to be nice here!" He was licking Dave's ear when I took the photo.

The second photo is of my first 2-toned egg. Never seen one of these before. I am curious to know if this is rare, or something that every chicken lover has seen before...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

More flooded creek, and the purge goes on.

The large photo above was taken on September 10, two days after all the rain. The bottom photo is for comparison, the swimming hole (and my favorite spot) on a sunnier day. You can see the water was shallow enough that even the Diva (Sophie) could "swim" in it.

I've got plenty of projects to get to this week—probably the most important one is getting the pig shed ready for the piggies. We are picking them up on Saturday. The pig shed still needs to be painted, or at least primed before they get here and mess it all up.

<<<    <<<  We are taking votes to the left for what color to paint the shed. Get your votes in now, and maybe I can paint before Saturday!

Other fun projects to choose from this week: unpacking, purging, cleaning. The basement has become the home for about 30 boxes that are either holding potential yard sale goodies, or waiting for the next round of purging. The basement is also the home for all the beds, chairs, bookcases and books that simply don't fit upstairs. And the tools, extra food, dog food, cat boxes, etc. Oh, and don't forget the art supplies and leftover paint.

I really wanted to sort through everything back in NJ. I really DIDN'T want to just fill up the basement with what will probably end up in the trash, but life doesn't always work out the way you planned. The purge goes on.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Color choices for the Pig Shed

Jim in VA asked to see the color choices for painting the Pig Shed.

It is situated much closer to the house than the Chicken Shack, so it kinda makes sense to paint it the barn red color like the front door, with white trim. Plus it is, in some sense, a barn.

Or else we could just make all of our "outbuildings" the cool yellow-and-turquoise color scheme in honor of the gone-but-not-forgotten 1959 Detroiter mobile home, otherwise fondly known as The Dump.

Taking votes, folks! Look in the sidebar (left) to place your vote.