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Our First Egg!

This morning, I stopped in to say hello to the chickens and found one of my Cuckoo Marans

making herself a nest!

This evening, while I was making dinner, there was a ruckus in the coop and my boy said,”Sounds like someone’s laying an egg!”  We rushed down to find this beautiful thing

Our first egg from one of the 35 chicks we got back in March! Yay.

Her reward (and that of any one of the chicks that would eat them, one by one out of my hand)  was the last of the peas on the vine (except for what I’m saving for seed next time)

Even the ever suspicious, Sir, my French Blue Maran rooster tried one!

It’s a good day to be a farmer…

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This week in pictures

Just a few of the sights on the farm from the past week…

Baby Hales Best Cantaloupe

One lonely Fig on the tiny tree that wasn’t supposed to fruit for 2.5 more years!

There are loads of frogs in the greenhouse. I made them a little pond hoping that they will stay.

One of the Woodpeckers nesting outside

Adventures in canning, part I

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This week in pictures

Just a few of the sights on the farm from the past week…

Baby Hales Best Cantaloupe

One lonely Fig on the tiny tree that wasn’t supposed to fruit for 2.5 more years!

There are loads of frogs in the greenhouse. I made them a little pond hoping that they will stay.

One of the Woodpeckers nesting outside

Adventures in canning, part I

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The joy of Dirt Bathing

When my kids were babies, I used to love to watch them sleep. I could easily hold them through an entire nap, tracing the outlines of their little noses, kissing their perfect lips and loving them to depths previously unknown… Now my first born is 18 and stands 6’5″. My last born is still sweet and cuddly, but at 11 years old, she no longer qualifies for naps.

Fortunately, I now have several small, fluffy baby chicks to amuse and endear me.  They are about 12 weeks old and just discovered the joy of dirt bathing on a Summer’s afternoon.   Although it seems contrary, chickens use dirt or dust baths to clean their plumage. It is vital to their health, and especially fun to watch as they roll, wiggle and flap around in the loose dirt, collecting the dirt under their feathers.

.

When they are done, they puff up, shake it all out and take a nap.  It is an event that I never get tired of because it reminds me of so many simple afternoons, so many years ago, spent watching my babies snooze.

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The joy of Dirt Bathing

When my kids were babies, I used to love to watch them sleep. I could easily hold them through an entire nap, tracing the outlines of their little noses, kissing their perfect lips and loving them to depths previously unknown… Now my first born is 18 and stands 6’5″. My last born is still sweet and cuddly, but at 11 years old, she no longer qualifies for naps.

Fortunately, I now have several small, fluffy baby chicks to amuse and endear me.  They are about 12 weeks old and just discovered the joy of dirt bathing on a Summer’s afternoon.   Although it seems contrary, chickens use dirt or dust baths to clean their plumage. It is vital to their health, and especially fun to watch as they roll, wiggle and flap around in the loose dirt, collecting the dirt under their feathers.

.

When they are done, they puff up, shake it all out and take a nap.  It is an event that I never get tired of because it reminds me of so many simple afternoons, so many years ago, spent watching my babies snooze.

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First try at canning…

Yesterday I got an obscene amount of Cucumbers and Wax Beans from Santa Cruz Local Foods so that I could try my hand at pickling. I have to admit that I was nervous (mostly because my mom kept warning me that “botulism doesn’t give second chances…”) that I would blow something up, put my eyes out, or kill my family and/or friends with the dreaded botulism, but I forged on.   I remembered Barbara Kingsolver writing about the joy of hearing the “ping” when the jars sealed…I figured that if I could just hear that, my loved ones would be saved from a horrible death at my inexperienced hands. 

It took all day, but in the end my girls and I were pretty proud of the results!

We’re sure to do it again soon!

Oh, yeah, and I heard the pings…2 dozen of them!

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First try at canning…

Yesterday I got an obscene amount of Cucumbers and Wax Beans from Santa Cruz Local Foods so that I could try my hand at pickling. I have to admit that I was nervous (mostly because my mom kept warning me that “botulism doesn’t give second chances…”) that I would blow something up, put my eyes out, or kill my family and/or friends with the dreaded botulism, but I forged on.   I remembered Barbara Kingsolver writing about the joy of hearing the “ping” when the jars sealed…I figured that if I could just hear that, my loved ones would be saved from a horrible death at my inexperienced hands. 

It took all day, but in the end my girls and I were pretty proud of the results!

We’re sure to do it again soon!

Oh, yeah, and I heard the pings…2 dozen of them!

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Chicken Mahal

The post office called at 7AM, March 30th to let me know that our mail-order chicks had arrived…
I had ordered 31, they gave me one free “exotic” chick (with a B for Bonus on her head..guess what we have named her??) and 5 roosters (with blue dots on their heads) for warmth! Thanks Mc Murray Hatchery!

They were so tiny! I felt like they needed a Mommy, so I donated Annie’s Gecko to the cause. They took right to it, snuggling up under it in a very “Are You My Mother?” sort of a way…

On Easter weekend, the eggs that I bought on eBay started to hatch. It was beyond exciting, as they popped open over a 3 day period. The Annies and Cash were here with me, again, to cheer them on with words of encouragement.

We added 12 chicks to our brood, the Goose eggs were a bust. 🙁

Now, the race was on to get the coop done, luckily John was up for the job, with some extra time on his hands…
Here’s the horse stall that we started with, rotted and falling down

In progress

And, finally, what John calls “Chicken Mahal”

Jade came over to visit and said that, if she was a chicken, she would love to live in there. We like Jade!

Annie and I had a fun Chick Photo Shoot with some of the hatchlings

And now, all of the chicks are living like Queens (and/or Kings) in Chicken Mahal, enjoying fresh clover, warm sun and dirt baths…

Garden updates soon…

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Chicks and eggs and kids, oh my…

So, 2 weeks ago today the mailman brought us a pile of fertile eggs to hatch…


It was a rainy Friday afternoon, so the Annies and Cash were happy to help with unpacking (and popping the miles of bubble wrap)

Now we have been incubating and the chicks should start hatching over Easter Weekend. The Geese (hopefully) will follow a week later.

Meanwhile, in our bedroom (I know…) the 5 Aracuanas that I bought 2 weeks ago are out of control! The need to move to bigger quarters ASAP!

They used to be all small and fluffy

Now they are master escape artists.

And curious…

John was going to spend the whole weekend getting the coop finished (because, after all, I also have 31 chicks arriving next week) but I have convinced him that we NEED to go to the San Francisco Garden Show instead…just for a little while tomorrow… Gotta love him!

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Goodbye city life, Green Acres we are here….


We are finally moved in, so we spent the past weekend nesting in the yard… We started demolition of the falling apart horse stall, chopped up lots of overgrown and dead trees and shrubs…so much so that we had a burn pile going for 2 full days. John went to pick up a long ago abandoned piece of wood siding to throw it in the pile and found this little nest of moles hiding under it. I threatened to kill them, but I know they only eat bugs, so I was able to spare them and they are So cute! I also found a fat little toad and started thinking about Thumbelina…I’ve had the story stuck in my head ever since…was the Field Mouse pimping her out to Mr Mole?? I say yes. Ewwwww.

Today I ordered 30 chickens from Mc Murray Hatcherynow I have chicken fever…I couldn’t find the more rare varieties that I wanted, so I ordered fertile eggs for them. Now I have to rush to get an incubator, as they’ll be here in a couple of days and, I think, I will be up to about 50 chickens. Oh, and 2 Sebastopol Goose eggs…. I may have lost control…a tiny bit… maybe…anyone want to buy chickens???

Oh, and I also requested 2 feral cats from these people, to keep the gopher population down.