New chickens

Tomorrow we are going to get 6 new six week old chicks.  They are Barred Rock breed, and will lay brown eggs.  We should be getting only females, but we’ll see about that.  We thought that last time, but we ended up getting all males (maybe one female, but time will tell).  They are really pretty black and white striped, hence the “barred” in the name.  They are supposed to really friendly, so we’ll see.  We’ll keep a couple for eggs, and the rest will be butchered for meat.  I wonder what my current chickens will think about them?  lol  They will look like this when they grown up:

Barred Rock Hen

Today it was dry and warm outside, with clear blue skies.  The chickens decided that it was prime weather for a nice dust bath.  They don’t spread out to take their baths, they always huddle together, most of the time half on top of each other, and writhe around in the dirt, creating quite the stir.  One of them always stays out of the fun to keep watch.  Today it was the little black chicken that was voted as guard chicken.

I wasn’t able to grab my camera in time, so here are some pictures from their last bath.  Their bathing spot of choice lately has been at the base of one of the trees at the side of the house, but in these pictures they were bathing in the the front yard.

Group bathing

Feels so good!

Quick cuddle

Kicking up dirt and grass

The first chick to start crowing (orange one)

My favorite chicken "Mama"

Yesterday, my husband cut a door in the side of their brooder so we can use it as a temporary coop since they only sleep in it at night because they free range during the day.  They don’t go in it otherwise.  It took a bit for them to figure it out. I had to take them out of it the first morning, and put them in that night, but they are smart chickens and caught on right away after that.  Now they get themselves out in the morning when I roll their brooder onto the front porch, and put themselves to bed at around 8-8:30pm.  That is MUCH easier than having to wrangle them all, catch them, and put them each into the brooder by hand.  They do all the work now!

The ramp (the brooder sits on my husband's two wheeler so I can move it easily)

Ready for bed!

Goodnight Foghorn!

One last picture before I go to bed.  I love my chickens!

Say what? Chicken butt!

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CockadoodleBOO!

This morning I went over to get the chickens out of the shop.  They sleep in the shop, with the lights off and a sleeping bag thrown over their pen to keep them warm because one side and the top are only chicken wire, and also to make it even more dark.  Don’t worry, there are gaps in both sides for air flow.  As soon as I pull the sleeping bag off this morning, I am greeted with my first crow!  I was so excited!  Then I realized which bird was crowing.

This was supposed to be one of my pullets (female chicken under a year old, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the lingo)!!!  I’m excited that I finally got a crow (I’m sure I’ll be eating my words soon) but I’m disappointed in who it came from.

I know at the age we got them it can be difficult to tell which are females and which are males, but the lady we got them from said that all but one were females.  I took her word for it, since I had no clue what I was doing.  Now, it ends up that I most likely have at least 5, maybe 6 roosters, depending on if my little black one turns out to be a male or female.  I’m fairly certain that my light chicken, “Mama”, is a pullet.  Hopefully I’m correct.  I’m doubly disappointed since I lost one of my pullets yesterday.  She pulled a Fringe maneuver and just disappeared…most likely snagged by a hawk.

It was a cute, although pathetic attempt at a crow, though.  Since he’s just starting out, it was quiet and scratchy.  I’m sure in a couple months time I’ll be begging them to shut up.  haha!

Well, I lost my first chicken.

My chickens free range, which means that they aren’t penned up or confined in a small run during the day.  They sleep in a coop every night, but each morning they are let out and they have free run of our 5 acre property.  They get their fill of whatever bugs and plants they can find, and they tend to stay fairly close to our house.  They love it!  I also keep water and feed up on our patio for them to have whenever they want to.  I know there are risks to letting my chickens free range, though.

This morning I noticed that they were at their feeder, so I went over to the window to watch them.  Whenever I see them I always do a head count, just a habit I’ve picked up.  Today I came up one short.  My smallest chicken was missing.  We went out to look for her but we didn’t find any sign of her.  Occasionally one of them will get separated, but they will usually put up a holler if they do.  The missing chick was one of the loudest ones, especially when it comes to that.  Today, though…no one was hollering.

I knew that a hawk probably got her because there was no sign of her anywhere (no feathers, blood, etc), but my son spent all day looking for her.  I knew we weren’t going to find her when the other six came up for bed and she wasn’t with them.  I’m sad, but mostly disappointed because she was my only female Black Copper Maran.  She was a very sweet bird, I was looking forward to seeing her as an adult.  She was so soft and her feathers were getting such a pretty blue/purple sheen to them, and the feathers on her feet were oh so adorable.

I just hope she didn’t suffer much.

So sorry Itty Bitty!

Sweet little bird

Hanging out in the yard

Helping in the garden

With "Mama"

1,200

That is the average heart rate for hummingbirds.  They also flap their wings at an average of 53 wing beats per second!  Crazy, huh??

Shortly after we moved in we noticed a couple hummingbirds flying around, so we went out the next day and bought a hummingbird feeder and some of the sugar water solution that goes in it.  I put it up, and within a few minutes it was already being used!  Those babies catch on quick.

We now have two feeders up b/c they were fighting over the first one so much.  We have one little bird, which I think is an Anna’s Hummingbird, which we call the Sentinel.  He likes to sit on the end of a flagpole that is right next to the first feeder, and if anyone else tries to feed from it he rushes over and chases them off, then goes back to sit on the end of the flagpole.  He’ll do this for hours.  Hummingbirds are very territorial, so they fight a lot.

We have around 8-10 (maybe more, they are hard to count b/c they are so small and move so fast) of them around here, and they are always fighting, especially about the use of the feeders.  The Anna’s Hummingbird is one of the few species that can make noise, and they are so cute when they yell at each other as they fly around.  haha!  Our Sentinel is always yelling at the other birds to stay away from his feeder.  lol  Since we got the second feeder, the fighting hasn’t been as bad.

I’ve tried feeding hummingbirds before at our last house, but never had success.  I’m so happy that we have them here, they are so pretty and fun to watch.  🙂

Flying in for a drink

Tasty! You can see the morning dew.

Taco Pie

Yum!!

A couple weeks ago I was invited to a Celebrating Home catalog party by my new neighbor.  I had a bunch of fun, and learned a couple new recipes.  One of the recipes that I learned was something that my husband has named “Taco Pie”.  It is a croissant shell with layers of taco meat, refried beans, and lots of cheese.  It is SUPER quick and easy to make, and my family loves it!

Taco Pie

1lb Hamburger

1 can Refried Beans

8oz bag Shredded Cheese of your choice

Packet of Taco Seasoning

Two 8oz tubes of Croissant Dough

Brown hamburger and season to taste.  Add taco seasoning and cook according to package directions.

In a bread pan, line the croissant pieces around the edge of the pan.  The wide end goes down inside the pan, about an inch or so into the bottom of the pan.  Drape the pointed ends of the dough over the edge of the pan for later.  You need quite a few, I usually use 12.  They will overlap. Save the remaining dough for later.

Put the taco meat into the bottom of the pan inside the croissant dough.

Next layer with a can of refried beans.

On top, put the entire package of cheese.

Lay the tops of the croissant pieces across the cheese, making a braid pattern.  If you have any bare spots, use the remaining croissant dough to patch them.

Cook at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.  (I cook mine for 30 min and it turns out golden brown and delicious!!)

Let cool for 10-15 minutes.  Cut into pieces.  Enjoy!!

My family likes to eat this with sour cream and taco sauce on top.  At the party it was served plain, and that was good too!

Mrs. Turtle

Today my husband was mowing the yard, and he came across a rock.  At least he thought it was a rock, until it started to move. It was a box turtle, moving as quick as a turtle can to get away from the mower.  He picked it up and brought it inside so we could show it to our son.

We stuck it in a plastic tub and gave it a carrot and a piece of celery in case it got hungry.  (I tried giving it a bug, but it wasn’t interested. lol)  I went on with my business, and after a while I looked over and our cat Nora was staring at it very intently.  She was enthralled. Ignore my boxes of fabric, I was sewing this weekend and haven’t put them back yet.  😉  She was very sweet and never tried to bite us.  She liked to hide under the towel in the tub.

Once our son got home and had a chance to look at the turtle, we put her back where she was found so she could go home.  She stood there for a few seconds, then she took off, obviously heading for a specific place.  She knew where she was going, and she was in a hurry to get there.

It was nice to meet you Mrs. Turtle!  Have a great life!!

Walter

I swear that our cat Walter was a dog in a previous life and was reincarnated as a cat.  He LOVES dog bones and dog chewies.  It’s so funny!  Tonight I was getting ready to take a shower so I got out some new dog bones to give them because I put them in their kennel if I can’t watch them.  I cut the packages open and was getting ready to put the dogs away, when Walter jumped up and started licking on one of the bones.  HAHA!

He also loves their granulated rawhide chewies.  He chews on these all the time.  My husband gave him his own chewie tonight.  😉

Isn’t he handsome??  ❤

I don’t want to leave Nora and Thomas out, now do I?  Here are a couple pictures of them.

Nora the princess

Not happy with having her picture taken

Thomas the Fatty

Can you tell he likes to hog the food?  lol

Nice to meet you, now give me one hundred dollars.

Why do doctors charge so much? I think it is ridiculous. Today I went to get set up with a primary care doctor. She was very nice and I liked her a lot. Even my husband did. I’m glad I chose her. All they did, though, was put some information into the computer and then the doctor came in and asked me a couple questions and listened to my chest. I was in the room for a whole 20 minutes, maybe.

I went to check out, and the cost for that “appointment” was $112!!!  Are you kidding me??  Of course we get to go back again on Friday b/c Greyson needs to be established with her so he can get his ADHD meds, and they wouldn’t let us go at the same time.  Just another ploy to get more money, if you ask me.

On our way home we stopped at the feed store to get dog food.  You’ll never believe what we saw when we were there.  A gentleman, looked like “grandpa”, pulled into the parking lot with what looked like a 4 year old in a carseat next to him…

and………..

a MAYBE TWO YEAR OLD riding loose in the bed of his pickup!!!!!  No carseat, nothing, she was just sitting in the bed.  It was hard for me not to say something to him.  I just couldn’t believe it.  Would you have said something??  I used to be a carseat technician, so seeing stuff like that is difficult for me.  I don’t want to see a baby get hurt, but at the same time I don’t like to butt in and possibly cause a scene.  I usually just mind my own business unless they ask for my opinion.  This type of thing is a very sensitive subject for most people and they tend to get angry if you say something.

I just hope that baby doesn’t get hurt.

Kara-1, Dogs-0

When I feed my chickens, I just scatter their food on the ground so they can peck and scratch at it like chickens naturally would. I scoop the food out of the big container with a small blue bowl, and the chickens know what that bowl means.  When they see me carrying it, they chase after me.

Well, the dogs like to eat the chicken food.  When they think we aren’t looking, they go over and eat it off of the ground.  We have tried scolding them over and over again, and they just keep eating it.  I finally got fed up b/c the dogs were eating all of the chickens’ food.  Today I put cayenne pepper in the food.  Chickens can’t taste pepper, so they don’t mind it at all.  The dogs were a different story.  LOL

Simon was the first to have a snack.  He took one lick, stood there for a second, and then he started to smack his mouth.  A couple minutes later he was laying on the ground, scratching his tongue with his foot.  haha!  Olive tried it also, stood there for a sec, then just turned around and walked away.  They each came back a second time but just sniffed and walked on.  So far, they haven’t come back or tried to eat it again.  Maybe this will finally keep them from eating the chickens’ food so the chickens can actually eat it.

Sorry pups, that isn’t for you!!

Sweet Boy

My son is such a sweet young man.  Last night he presented me with a tiny bouquet of flowers that he picked himself.  I think he did a great job, each of the flowers look great together.  He even put it in the tiny little vase (film container).  He does sweet things like this for me all the time.  He even opens the car door for me all the time.  I think he will make a good husband some day.  Whoever catches him will be a lucky gal…or guy, whatever floats his boat.  Thanks Greyson, I love you!!  I’m a lucky mom.