cock-a-doodle-doo

Reno Raines

Bobby Sixkiller

Little Sister

Nope, no roosters yet thankfully! I got a little surprise this morning as I was doing my morning chicken chores of feeding and watering the girls. When I open up the hatch/floor of the coop in the mornings to let the girls out, we have gotten into a bit of a routine lately. Immediately as the door opens, Reno Raines is sitting there on the edge and hops out onto the ground, followed a few seconds later by Bobby Sixkiller who bombs out of there like her life depended on it and likes to land on top of Reno Raines for a bit of fun. Then several minutes later Little Sister makes her way down in her own sweet time.

Well I’ve noticed the last few days Reno Raines seems to be having a change of voice- she is making more clucking noises than the ‘peeping’ noises that baby chicks make (which they have all pretty much still been doing). Well this morning, as Bobby Sixkiller barreled out of the hen house and landed on top of her, she made a very loud ‘buck-BUUCCCK’ sound. The kind of sound you’d imagine chickens would make, it just caught me off gaurd. Hoping that this is a sign she is growing to be a lovely young lady-layer and not going through some sort of male puberty voice-changing phase.. hmmm..

It’s occurred to me that I’ve never properly introduced my lovely ladies. If you were wondering about their strange names, we chose them as a theme and it all has to do with an awesomely bad (so bad, it’s hilarious!) TV show from the 90s that my brother and I randomly came across while road tripping across the US a few years back. (any show who’s opening credits include a topless man pouring a gallon of water over his hair while leaning up against his motorcycle is bound to be a classic – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0103524/) LJ has been the only person I’ve met who actually remembers this show being on the air. In any case, I’m not sure why they were the inspiration for our chicken names, but there you go..

First up we’ve got Reno Raines (aka Renegade), our Golden Laced Wyandotte, who was very bold as a chick and even though she’s chilled out a lot, will still be the first one to timidly try out some new food or toy I give to them. Bobby Sixkiller, our Rhode Island Red, will hopefully be a great layer one day. Her comb may be a little crocked and she shakes her head a lot, but she’s a feisty young thing who was always timid but I think is finally coming into her own. And last (but certainly not least) is Little Sister (aka Cheyenne), our Dark Brahma, who is the biggest of the bunch. She’s got lovely feathery feet and loves nothing more than to sit in your arms and have a good cuddle. She also ducks her body and runs back and forth along the run (out of excitement?) to greet you when you come out. A real sweetie, but a sweetie that can hold her own with the others. Well, there you have it- those are our girls!

big plans

I had big plans for this weekend! Having chosen to ignore my father’s (good) advice when initially installing the electric fence in the bee yard, and put landscaping cloth down below so the hives weren’t covered in weeds (‘oh, it’ll be fine…’), predictably the bee yard is now covered in weeds and shorting out the electric fence I have protecting my bees.

So I had big plans to cut strips of landscaping cloth under the fence to deter weeds from shorting out the electric charge (fingers crossed this will work!), check in on the ladies and hopefully add a second level to their home and of course mow the lawn (as I wasn’t able to last weekend and with all this rain it’s become a bit of a jungle). And I was going to accomplish all of this before noon when I had to take off to head down to my aunt’s house for a surprise 25th wedding anniversary party.

Well (predictably), that didn’t all happen. But I did my best, got about 2/3rds of the ground cloth laid (fingers crossed the bears keep out just one more week!), added the bees new level (might have been a bit soon…) and got the lawn finished… and I was only 2 hours late for the party! I’ve come to realize that everything takes longer than you expect it to. But that’s just life and there will always be a growing to do list in the background. You just gotta keep plugging away at your goals, but at the same time you also have to know when it’s time to call it a day and just enjoy the party!

king kong

Holy crap… I swear these chickens must be on steroids. I can’t get over how they seem to get bigger every day. Granted they are all large breeds, but I have a feeling I might end up with giganto-chickens!

knitting

A few months ago, when I found out my good friend Shilpa was pregnant (okay, more than a few- last fall perhaps), I immediately began to think what could I make for her little one and I decided on a beautiful baby blanket pattern that my mom had shared with me with some delicate baby-type yarn. Last year, as a thank you and birthday gift to some friends, I went cowl crazy with my knitting from a lovely seed-stitch pattern. When my mother’s birthday came up last year, I made her a pair of ballet flat slipper shoes.

So needless to say, a lot of my knitting to this point has been trying to come up with creative gifts for friends and family. With each new pattern comes new challenges I haven’t faced before, frustrations with my own mistakes, and pride when I’ve (hopefully) figured things out and it all turns out okay. I’m also very lucky that I have my mother, my knitting guru, to give me advice and help me through trouble spots, as well as the wonderful tutorials and videos available on youtube!

After my fast and frantic knitting over the last week, and a few hours of lost sleep, I was able to finish the baby elephant for Betsy’s baby shower just in the nick of time! (Right ear looks a little wonky in this photo for some reason, but in person looked more normal. I think. Makes it unique in any case, eh?! 😉 Am very pleased with the outcome and hope her soon-to-be-little-bambino or bambina will enjoy it!

Had grand plans of bring a couple of my friend up to my house in NH after the baby shower but unfortunately landed in a bit of car trouble so ended up having to spend the weekend at my parents house while the car is in the shop. Was nice to catch up on a bit of sleep though, work out in the garden, keep the chickens company and pay a visit my friend Shilpa who was in town visiting her parents with her brand new baby girl. Cutie pie!

thank you to the troops!

Hope that everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend! It was a wonderful weekend here, full of a bit of everything. LJ came into town for a flying visit (literally just a few days) so it was great to spend time with him and my parents threw an engagement party for us at their house. It was a lovely, laid back, BBQ style event and just so great to celebrate this exciting moment of our lives with family and friends!

Oh and the excitement doesn’t end there, we’ve had a fox visit the house two days in a row (no doubt checking out our chickens) and he’s run away pretty quickly when we go out after him but I just worry about when no one is around at home to chase him off. The coop/run is very sturdy, so I’m not worried about that, but it does have an open floor (so the chickens can scratch and eat the grass) so I’m just hoping he doesn’t manage to dig his way underneath. Will have to think up some new defenses…

Aside from that LJ and I kept very busy this weekend taking care of little projects around the house. Well lots of little projects and one large one I guess- we painted the entire backside of the house, which took a good 2 days to accomplish. But it wasn’t all work, we also took time to enjoy our new space that we will call home together shortly. We took a dunk in the river behind our house, sat out back and drank some champagne to celebrate and plot future dreams, and explored the nearby town center that we will come to know well in the coming years. It was a truly a whirlwind, but wonderful, weekend!

unannounced visitor

So the girls have been doing very well! I’ve gradually been keeping them outside during the day and last night they had their first night outdoors (well, in their henhouse that is) and were doing splendidly when I checked in on them this morning. I lowered down their floor to give them access to their run, and ran inside myself to get ready for work. I glanced out the window at one point to see if they had made it down okay (some days they make it down quickly, and others not so much. They still haven’t worked out how to go back up to their ‘house’ at night. They’ll get there though) and I saw a little movement in the corner so figured they’d made it down no problem.

Just before leaving for work, I went out back to look at them. And found no chickens below… and at the same instant saw a chipmunk dart away. Upon further investigation all 3 girls were huddling together in the nesting box (no doubt hiding from the intruder) and the chipmunk has slipped under the wood at an uneven spot in the ground and had gone to town on their food (can you blame him though? I should have thought of that before). So I gave my ladies (still hoping!) a little help down into the run and they were off and enjoying themselves after that. I think it’s time to move the chicken tractor to a some more level ground…

chicken tractor update

It’s coming along! I’ve been working at it quite a lot this past week and my dad has been a huge help to me helping me decipher directions, lending me tools, shopping for materials and working on the project right there with me! I am a lucky daughter indeed. I’m very much hoping to have the chicken tractor finished up before the end of the week so that the girls (hoping girls… still not completely convinced my golden laced Wyandotte isn’t a roo…) can start enjoying the great outdoors since the weather has been so nice! I can tell you one thing, I’ve become much more comfortable over these last couple months using power tools than I ever thought I would be!