Thursday, September 13, 2018

Pile of sticks, pretty weeds, crazy cats

Husband had some fun with the chainsaw over the weekend and cut down a lot of dead branches. Wifey had great fun breaking/cutting/sawing up the big branches into woodstove-size pieces for the chilly weather that will be here all too soon. Sparrows for some reason are loving my big pile of sticks (on the right) so I will leave it there awhile for them to play with. On the left is my hydrangea bush that has been eaten up/beaten up by the deer since I planted it about 5 years ago. The fencing around it has been no help at all in protecting it. At least we got a decent number of blooms this year.

Speaking of blooms... I think this is chicory. I love blue flowers even if they are weeds.

And this is probably Orange Hawkweed. Also an attractive weedy flower, but tiny.

Finally, I don't know why, but every cat we have ever had is a pain when I am trying to change the sheets. Willie staked out his spot on the corner of the bed while I undid the old and put on the new sheets everywhere but on his corner.

So I chatted with Evie on the phone for a half hour and he finally gave up. Then of course they had to play with the old sheets on the floor for the rest of the day.

I will have to catch some photos of the 8 chicks soon. The first 4 are almost as big as their adopted mama, but are still sleeping under her wings at night. That's the pic I should get, but hard to capture in a dark coop.

And the last 4 are getting bigger and braver. Congrats to the 2 good mamas for keeping all 8 alive for this long!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Sunsets and a dry rainbow?

The wicked humid heat has returned, along with the gorgeous sunsets. Sometimes they are just too nice not to photograph! This from Monday night.

And the second pic I took today while out walking Cyrus. If you look just above the fence post, there is a hint of a rainbow over the mountains. No rain at all today, just sun and clouds. Not even rain yesterday or last night. I think the rainbow is from all the humidity in the air. I never saw this happen before!

Monday, September 3, 2018

Teenagers and toddlers

These 4 teenagers were born on July 21, making them about 6 weeks old in this pic I just took today. They were imprisoned with their adopted mom until August 5, for about about 2 weeks. I thought I could introduce them to a bigger crate on the floor of the coop and close them up in there at night, but they were not interested. Mom had them out and about in the yard the very next morning. 

It is hard to catch a photo of all 4 plus the mom, as they are feeling all grown up and wandering the property, but she does still do her best to still keep them all together. I am pretty sure that 3 of them are roosters. The smaller one with the black head could be a hen, but with our luck, a roo too.

This mama was found sitting on 11 of her own eggs tucked under a wooden pallet next to the garage (far from the coop). I managed to coax her and her eggs into a small crate so I could lock them up at night and keep them safe from critters. She hatched these 4 on August 19. Unlike the others that were contained in a larger crate all day and night for 2 weeks, these guys (I HOPE they aren't all guys) had some freedom during the day in a larger enclosed space by the garage. I carried them out to the coop on Wednesday night. Mama kept them inside the coop for a couple of days, and then just yesterday she brought them all the way back here to the house. (This photo is from today, back at the house again.)

I was a little worried she wouldn't be able to get all 4 tucked in the coop last night while we were out playing and singing with Tom and Roberta, but we got home around 10 pm and there they were, all safe and sound.

As Maryellen would say "Yay for that!"

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Happy September 1!

So I say it feels like Fall, and we get more hot and humid weather, the very next day. My punishment, I suppose, for commenting on the beautiful autumnal cool air. Hx2 for a few days, then it cooled off again, and now more hot stuff coming this week.

Also from my previous post: the goldfinches are still loving the yellow daisies. These are not really daisies, but a wilder form of rudbeckia that we bought at least a dozen years ago as a seed packet at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello. Somehow they made the trip north with some other plants I dug up and brought here. They come back every year, bigger and stronger. This is the first year they really took over the side of the house, just outside the living room windows, and started coming around the front by the hostas.

Monkey just recently discovered the goldfinches. It's true they get lost in with all the yellow flowers. There's one next to his right ear in the photo. He has been too busy watching the sparrows eating the grass and weed seeds, and even an occasional hummingbird. Great cat TV!

Monkey has also discovered that it is great fun to lay down across my keyboard and mouse while I am working at the computer. So I think we will end this post here.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Feeling like Fall

We had Florida and NJ visitors just 2 and 3 weeks ago, and they must have brought that hot, humid southern weather with them. Now it's gone back south, and so have they. Low humidity, some rain, some clouds, some sun, and down in the 50°s at night. I was almost tempted to fire up the woodstove when I got up this morning and it was 62° in the house.

I got over it.

It is beautiful up here this time of year. No complaints, although that seems to be what we all do. Too hot, too cold, too wet, not wet enough...

The first 4 baby chicks are looking like teenagers, and at least 3 of them are looking like roosters. The second batch of chicks (still only 4 and that's probably all we will get) are still tiny and less than a week old. Hard to get pics of any of the young ones because they don't stand still long enough.

The goldfinch in the top pic was right outside the living room window in our weedy daisies. He stayed still just long enough for me to take this shaky photo.

The Woody on the porch is always cooperative for his photo shoots. Doesn't even care that the cushion has fallen over him.

And the 3 mommy horses seem unconcerned that their 3 babies are napping on the ground, looking like they are dead. People have actually stopped their cars in a panic when they see horses playing dead like this. I walk the dogs over there just about every day, and we are all used to it by now.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Another birth day!

Quick post because we are headed out...

This hen disappeared, and was found sitting on 11 eggs. I wasn't sure the eggs were even fertile, so I snuck another hen's egg under her just to be sure she got one chick.

This afternoon, there were 2 chicks. And 20 minutes later, there were 4! Keep 'em coming mom!

Friday, August 17, 2018

Peters family photos

Thanks to B&E, who should be happily back in Florida in a few short hours, we are the recipients of some great old photos of the Peters family. The Husband's father, Jim, was the brother of the NY cousins' dad, Bud, and both are featured in this photo. Left to right: Dad Jim, Grandpa Martie, Uncle Bud, Great Grandpa JT Barber, and Aunt Cay.

Apparently Mr. JT Barber was an interesting character, as I am pretty sure this is him in the second photo, panning for gold in Grass Valley, CA in 1915 or 16 as written on the back. Hard to read the handwriting, but I think they label him as Hard Pan Jim.

I love old photos!

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Twin bucks and digging chicks

For several months now I have been seeing 2 young bucks near the house. They must be twins because they appear to be the same age, probably about 3 years old, and they are still hanging out together. For the past few weeks, I have only been seeing one of them. These are the best pics I could get at 6:30 a.m. while Woody and Cyrus were out there barking at him. I thought maybe the twins had separated, but then later this morning I saw them together again (with Woody and Cyrus barking at both of them). Watch out buckies, the hunting neighbors have seen you too.

The 4 remaining chicks are getting big, but still sleeping under mom at night. At least now they are easier to count because they don't fit under her very well anymore. Last week I closed up the coop one night without counting them, and the dark one with the light head was left out all night. Luckily it only rained a bit in the morning. Husband found the soggy little one at the door trying to get in when he went out to open up the coop.

The 2 hens wandering by in the background of the video are the BFFs who were sitting on eggs crammed in the same nest box together. And for a week or so when it was really hot and humid, sitting on no eggs in the same box, because I removed the eggs which were too old to hatch. The box is really only big enough for one, but for some reason they had to share. They are still sleeping in the 1 box together, and hanging out together during the day. At least they finally decided to come back outside and join the others. Chicken relationships are always fascinating.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Now just 4

First day of freedom with all 5 chicks: 3 dark ones, 1 sort of dark with light head, and 1 blondie behind the water jar.
Mom is hiding too, behind the feeder.

The 4 remaining chicks out for a stroll with mom. 2 crazy girlfriends in the background. They still spend most of the day in the same nest box sitting on eggs that aren't there any more. The stripey B&W one is the one I tried in with the chicks before black mom. She didn't work out too well in her new job...

We freed the mom hen and 5 chicks from the crate on Sunday. She had broken the last 2 eggs she was sitting on, and now she is able to keep an eye on the babies. I should have waited another day because we went to a concert Sunday night (John Pizzarelli) and were not here to check on them. I had them still barricaded inside the coop on the floor where I had set up a new crate, but when we got home around 10 p.m., they had all escaped the barricade and mom had them huddled in the corner. All 5 survived.

Yesterday, they were free to run around outside in the grass (weeds). Last night, mom got them back in the coop, but still wasn't interested in the crate. Only 4 survived. I am not sure what happened, but one of the dark chicks was dead, partially underneath the crate when Husband went out there. :(

Now that I can see them in these photos close up, I think the remaining 2 dark ones are from Golden Laced hens, the one with the white head is probably from a Barred Rock, and the golden one could be from a red hen, but really not sure. I think he is going to be a rooster as he is bigger and feistier than the rest.

We will just have to wait and see. Stay alive little chickies! Your mom is doing her best to protect you. And so are we.

Enjoying our freedom!

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Food for thought

We have some visitors from NJ (soon to be from Venice FL) up for the week. And our favorite visiting photographer Sarah, her husband Jason and daughter Ella were here too. They just left this morning.

Sarah's iPhone magically takes much better pictures than mine. Maybe the iPhone is not the problem. Hmmm...

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Can you stand another one?

Can you take another sunset? I'm hooked. Can't stop taking these. We'll call it practice in Photoshop since I still have not mastered the panoramic feature.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Another sunset

Not a better sunset, just a better stitch job in Photoshop of another pretty sky from the back porch. The big black corner is the roof getting in the way. Dead apple tree on the left, dying willow tree on the right.

The best sunsets are the ones that include clouds, and it has been cloudy for the past week or so. Almost every night we have been treated to a beautiful sky. I am wasting precious moments trying to capture them in a photo. I think I will go back to enjoying rather than capturing...

I went with my good friend Kathy to Key West about 21 years (!!!) ago. We went to the one spot that supposedly had the most beautiful sunset views over the ocean. There was not a cloud in the sky the whole week we were there, and frankly I thought the sunsets were pretty boring. Big blinding disc becomes less blinding and drops into the water. I did however get the best suntan I have ever had. For about a month after our trip I was no longer a white girl. You've heard of the black Irish?

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Bits and pieces

You will just have to believe that the sunset was beautiful because I still haven't figured out how to make the panoramic feature work on my iPhone. This was quickly stitched together in Photoshop.

The others are just some recent and unrelated photos.

Cyrus is bored by whatever Woody is barking about.

The darkest yolk I have ever seen in an egg! Can you say anti-oxidants? :)

And finally, a pair of goldfinches feasting on the weeds outside the living room window. Hard to get a good photo on a windy day.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Was 4, now 5 chickies!

The Black Australorp hen was the charm. She right away was convinced these were her chicks, and the same day that I put her in there, she hatched one of the eggs that I moved over with her. (One of the eggs that I was sure would not hatch.) So now we have 5 little ones in with a momma who cares for them.

Update Thursday, July 26:

With the sun shining, I got some better photos today. Mom has been very patient stuck in the crate with the 5 little ones crawling on her back and flitting around while she is still trying to hatch the last 3 eggs in with her.

After all the confusion of moving hens and eggs, I have no idea how old the eggs are or if any more will hatch. Maybe by the weekend I can move the crate on the floor and leave the door open. It's just a bit difficult for her to hatch eggs and watch the little monsters at the same time. Better that they are contained for now.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Happy birthday little chicks!

It started with one German hen sitting on eggs about a month ago. Then she was moving from box to box and not being careful about sitting on them, so after a week or so, I stole some and took them to Elmer to incubate. I brought him 10 eggs, and yesterday 4 of them hatched. (Yay Elmer!)

Since I stole the eggs, one of the Australorp hens has joined German in the same nesting box. This is one big metal box that has 10 holes meant for egg-laying, not chick-sitting, so I am not real happy they are in there. And why in there together? A Barred Rock decided to join them 2 doors down. Sometimes the other hens go in there and lay eggs in with the sitting hens. And the sitting hens don't seem to know how to hatch them because they have not hatched a single chick on their own!

Now I just have to find a way to get the hens to accept these little ones as theirs. I tried to introduce them this morning, but German was pecking at them. I will try sometime later tonight. Rumor has it that you can sneak them under the hen late at night and she won't bother with them until morning when she will think she hatched them.

We'll see... For now, 4 little chickies are in a crate across the room, waiting for a mommy to love them!