Of Chickens and Children

I bought the chicks for myself.  Pure and simple.  I wanted the experience of caring for the babies and then getting to collect the eggs.  What caught me by surprise was the joy I experienced as each of the grandchildren came to visit and meet the chickens.

Noah with Sammie (named after Uncle Sam)

Grace with Mia who soon became Milo after he crowed.

Cody and Morgan came when the original chicks were older, luckily,  I had just brought home six chicks about two months younger that still needed named.   I really wish I could have raised them from the start because I really feel it makes a  huge difference in how friendly they are.  I ended up with two Coco Morans, two black or grey silkies, one rare Egyptian Fayoumis and one I just not sure about.  It’s supposed to be an Egyptian Fayoumis, but it’s not looking like Cleo, who looks like the pictures in the chicken book.

Cody and Morgan feeding Princess Celestia.

The three older granddaughters came to visit in August.  Kelsi, Kylie and Hallie are city girls just like Noah and Grace.  Well, Noah is a city boy.  The chickens just endeared themselves to the girls and after a week they left hoping to go home and get chickens.  Alas, laws prevent backyard chickens in Erie, Colorado.  While they were here we were able to name the rest so all of the kids had a hand in naming the chickens which is so special because I think of each grandchild as I’m calling the chicken they named.

Hallie with new eggs, Kelsi with Celest, and Kylie with Cutie Pie

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Moving day for the chicks

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Noah moving the chicks

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Grace with her load of chicks

The chicks grew so fast it seemed like I could see changes every day.  We had already moved them out of the box in the warm office and into a large trough to give them more space in the shop.  Rod was busy, busy on the coop and finally the day came to move them outside to their new home.  Luckily, Grace and Noah came to visit on moving day which added to the excitement.

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The coop will never be this clean again.

I’m not sure who was more excited, Grace or me.  I do know who fit in the coop better, but Grace insisted on taking a picture of me.

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note to self…..start wearing make-up again!

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They look pretty happy in the new digs. That’s the banty on the top.

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The chicken thing….I get it

I’ve read that pet chickens are the greatest thing since sliced bread, and their eggs are even better.   This spring I decided to find out for myself.  I went to the local ranch store just to look, and before I knew it I’d picked out four Americanas because the ranch dude said they would be all sold out before the end of the day.  I had done a bit of research and knew these birds laid blue and green eggs ( Easter eggers) and were ones I wanted to try.  The next week, because I wanted more variety, I bought one Rhode Island Red, a Black Laced Wyandotte, a Buff Orpington and a random bantam because it was just so darn cute.

The little button top bantam

Rod came home from Colorado, looked at the box of chicks and started building the coop.      Who could resist those cute balls of fluff?  I love that man.

First home

Princess Celestia named by Grace

Sammy, named by Noah

You may have noticed that I started writing this post in the Spring and I am just now posting it this August.  That’s how busy my summer was!  Nuff said.

 

 

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Skull Valley Irish Soda Bread

We’re going to a St. Patty’s dinner tonight at friends here in Skull Valley.  I’m in charge of the Irish Soda bread which is no problem because I’ve made it several times before.  No problem except I’ve never made it here in Skull Valley, Az., in the middle of no where.

Thank God and Hugh’s Net I can get on the computer to research the recipe. I’ve already decided not to make the drive to the grocery store in Prescott.  It’s a good hour round trip and I’m not up for it, which means I’ll have to use what I have at home and what the Skull Valley grocery store has in stock.  I’ve already learned not to ask the S.V. store for buttermilk because  I’m always given the recipe one tablespoon white vinegar to one cup milk. Digging under the cupboard I found American but not Irish whiskey.  How different could they be?  I needed dark raisins, but I’d make do with golden as the store has not replaced the last ones to dry out sitting on the shelf too long.  Humm…. must not be many raisin eaters here in Skull Valley.   One last ingredient to round up, caraway seeds.  I called my dear eighty year old neighbors because I knew Bill did some bread baking.  He found a jar,  but couldn’t tell me how old they are cause  he couldn’t remember the last time he used them.  Well let’s see, they’ve been in the house since 1980, but I figure caraway seeds have a long shelf life.

Mix in a tablespoon vinegar to one cup milk and I’ve got buttermilk, soak golden raisins in American whiskey and throw in some ancient caraway seeds.  Add a few more ingredients flour, baking soda, and baking powder and you have Irish Soda bread…..  Delicious!!!!  Life in Skull Valley…..Priceless!!!

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One of these cows is not like the others……..

If you don’t watch children’s television with a preschooler, you probably wouldn’t know the rest of the words to  the title of this post.  Here, I’ll sing it for you…..

One of these things (in my case cows) is not like the others,

one of these cows just doesn’t belong,

One of these cows is not like the others,

can you tell me which one before I finish my song?

At this point the preschooler is jumping up and down pointing to the item that does not look the same.  The song is what I thought of when Tex went for a walk about and I saw him standing with a bunch of Black Angus cows and their babies.

That Tex took off from home doesn’t surprise me.  He lives with a couple of grouchy heifers who jab him with their very sharp horns when he gets near any food they might want.  You might say, “Tex is at the bottom of the food chain in our small herd”.  So when the opportunity presented itself, off he went in search of better pastures, or at least better pasture mates……

which he found.  They not only let him hang out with them, they invited him right in to the family fold.  Uncle Tex.

When I started calling Tex to come home, he completely ignored me and in fact tried to hide from me.

The herd tried to help….

It’s not me…just a bush…..

When I got serious about calling him home, they all took off.  I wasn’t going to take their Tex.

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Amazing

Last week I awoke to the most beautiful scene outside my window.  A spring storm blew through covering our ranch with a blanket of snow.

view out my back door

It was actually pretty deep.  The hummer needed a snow shovel!

The view out my front door was amazing.  I wish my photos did the scenery justice.  These pictures are SOOC and I used my little point and shoot camera for all the pictures

view out the front door

Our electricity went out which was no surprise because of the amount of moisture.  We have a fragile electrical system,  hence the generator which I love, along with the husband who had it installed.  Even on this magical morning I needed my Java.

A couple more images from probably the most beautiful morning I’ve ever witnessed.

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Humdinger of a freeze

While our weather is nothing like what the rest of the country is dealing with, it did get cold.

Nothing but ice for my poor little Hummer.  Mind you, all the other hummers flew to warmer country, but this little guy stayed with me last winter and again this winter.  I feel so responsible for his care since he choose to stay in my yard.  Naturally I went into emergency response when I saw the frozen feeder.  I first ran to get the camera a take his picture, documenting his little life is important, next I put out the spare feeder with some left over instant sugar water.

Meanwhile, Papa went to work defrosting the frozen feeder.  I started up a new batch of sugar water all the while keeping an eye on the emergency feeder.  This was no time for little hummer to be picky.  He didn’t come back until we had his regular feeder back outside.

decisions, decisions

so nice of mom to provide two

The store bought syrup was good for only two sips,  Mom’s homemade did the trick and our little hummer ate his fill.

he drank,

and drank and drank.

Now if Mom can just remember to bring the feeder in at night.

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