Sunday, December 26, 2010

Chickens off the grid!

My camera isn't the best, but you may be barely able to make out the string of Christmas lights over our hen house. My husband is especially proud, as he has them hooked up to the solar panel on top (which runs the light bulb inside for winter light).
So our girls not only have Christmas Spirit, but are off the grid as well!

I hope you had the Merriest Christmas ! My house was filled with grandchildren, son and daughters and parents, and friends, a blessing to share the day with them!

Saturday, October 02, 2010

A summer recap: Our summer has flown away, and now Fall is coming soon. Here in our little valley we have had morning fog and sunny afternoons this week, but the rain is coming. I have been trying to get the last of the green beans canned, did put up a dozen pints of spaghetti sauce, canned 20qts of peaches earlier. We didn't get as much blackberries picked this year, our hot weather was fleeting and they did not ripen as quickly, but the chickens have been busy hopping up to get what they could reach! I would really like to get some apples to make apple sauce. My in-laws no longer have the property with the apple orchard, and we miss getting the boxes of apples! I have been busy stocking the pantry, trying to have a well rounded supply of food and sundries for the winter and for uncertain times ahead. We were able to get honey from our bees, enough to fill a couple of Rubbermaid tubs, and I am going to get them strained and put in jars, eventually.
I also need to clean out my flower beds and plant some lily bulbs which were delivered this week, too. The weekend is too short!

Saturday, July 03, 2010

I love raspberries! They are like ruby jewels hanging in a green canopy. Our berries are coming on fairly well right now,too. Usually by the 4th of July, we are picking raspberries every third day, and strawberries almost every day. We have always had raspberries every where we have lived in Oregon. David's family let us have starts when we moved back to Oregon with our first baby, now we are on our third home with a raspberry patch. We love to eat them fresh, have them on ice cream and in salads, make freezer jam, sometimes cooked jam. the chickens like them as well, bouncing up to peck one off of the bush. Berries are the essence of summer to me!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

One of our favorite things about living in the country is the bees! David's Dad is an old Bee Man and had hives for years, so David is comfortable with the hives. Our first year here, we found a swarm in the old apple tree, and David got out the old hive for them. So we started bee keeping! However last winter, we lost both hives, so had to purchase 2 new ones. Now we have three hives, after a swarm occured. We are determined to take better care of them this year, making sure they have plenty of sugar water, and honey to see them thru the winter , and getting established. the honey is wonderful and knowing that we are helping local agriculture stay healthy is great.

Finally the end of June has brought days in the 70's and even 80 degrees! We had to wait until the official start of summer, June 21 to get any sun and warm weather.
So my flower baskets are a tad behind, since I didn't plant them until April and then we didn't get any sun until this week!
The good news is our little chickens aren't so little and have graduated to free range instead of just the chicken yard. There are ongoing dramas of whether the big girls are eating the little girls food or vice versa. And even tho there are 2 roosts in the little girls hen house, we find 11 chickens on one and 1 lonely chicken on the other! Too funny.
We finally have the garden planted, lettuce, beans, tomatoes, squash. The established strawberries and raspberries are doing well. We may get a few cherries from the new cherry tree, and ou new little peach and apple trees are doing well, if the deer don't notice them!
David has now 3 bee hives, after losing both last winter. Two he bought from Glory Bee, our local bee supply store, and one is a swarm he captured. We learned from last winter and are determined to watch them more closely this year to protect them. We love the honey!
Happy Fourth of July!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

It's cold in May here is Oregon! 47 degrees just now at 7:30 pm as I went out to take some pictures of the chickens. Our big girls were busy scratching in a pile of composting leaves, and the "little" babies were safely enclosed in the new chicken yard. The back of the addition to the chickn house shows that David has not yet painted the back section, altho the front is painted white. Last night we only had to catch 4 little ones to put them back in before closing them up for the night. Much better than the night before when it was full scale chaos, scooping with the net and 22 chickens screaming and running away from the giants. Sigh. Today was a 5 egg day, so I am happy, as I have been selling them at work. By August, we should be getting almost a dozen a day! I am ready for warmer weather, Altho my baskets are planted, they are not doing much as yet. the rhodies are almost ready to bloom, and the perennials are coming up, with iris, peonies, snowball bush just on the verge of blooming.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Happy Birthday, Nathan! We had such a great time with the Grandbabies last weekend. Violet especially loves waffles with "cream",( whipped topping).
Then after they went home, we had quite a windstorm, which blew down limbs all over and split a bigger limb on our big fir. Of course, this does not stop the big chickens from laying their eggs up in the tree!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Things are silly here in the country! We have had the chickens almost a year now. They have been an entertainment and a delight. We started out with 6 Aracauna hens, lost one to a cruising neighbor dog, and have maintained 5 free ranging chickens over the fall and winter.
Of course, our daughter had to name them: Sophie, Audrey, Gwendlyn, Danielle de Barbaraqe... I'm forgetting one, hmmm.

So the other day I came home from work and was standing on the driveway talking to David. I noticed the dog was laying on the grass , licking something round and light colored..... an egg! with a crack! I snatched it up, looking around to see where he could have found this egg. The girls were supposed to be laying in the hen house, in their nice nesting boxes. No more running off to the woods to lay. No more climbing over the fence to the woods to collect the egg, no sir.
"well, I saw the Dumb Chicken up in the tree" says the husband. ( sometimes we call the chickens by their characteristics as we can't remember their names) So I look up, and there in a crook of our dark old fir tree shines another egg. She was laying in the tree, and apparently one fell out, bounced down where the dog was sitting, and he thought " I am a good dog , aren't I!"
So David being the awesome chicken owner that he is, put the extra nesting box up in the tree, so she wouldn't just lay on a branch. And put a ladder there so he could climb up and get the eggs. So now we have at least 4 chickens going up into the tree, using the ladder as well, to lay their eggs up where the view is fantastic.