Monday, January 31, 2011

Ground Hog Catastrophy Ahead?

Here it is January 31st and the weather forecast is 4" tonight and then another 12" or more snow Tuesday night thru Wednesday night! So, that being and the excess of snow in PA, is Punxsutawney Phil even going to be able to find his way out of his burrow?

(You are welcome to click on the photo above to get a copy of a computer wallpaper if you'd like! I got it from a wallpaper sharing group. Obviously SHE isn't Phil being she's gathering nesting materials and looks to be quite round.)

His (PPhil) prediction for 2010 was, "...As the sky shines bright above me, my shadow I see beside me. So six more weeks of winter it will be."

For this year, 2011, does he need to even try to find his way up or do we need to get up at daybreak to get the prediction?

You can visit here to see how you can earn a badge which is only possible on Feb. 2nd! One of the requirements will be to go outside and scream "GROUNDHOG" during the appropriate time. You don't even need to go to Gobbler's Knob to do it. You can now earn your badge using the net and a moment outside!

You can also visit to read some Punxsutawney Phil lore and past predictions for several past years.

In ending, MY prediction is he won't see his shadow so Spring will get here early. Now I need to know when we will get a few days warm enough to start melting the snow that is about to be dumped upon us! Spring might come early, but the melting days won't come fast enough IMHO! I'm also glad tomorrow is February 1st! Another step closer to Spring (and mud season)!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Those Darned Hens....

...just didn't want to be where I want them AGAIN. Tonight all but 1 are back into the outside pen AGAIN. Now I need to round them all up all over AGAIN. They aren't making this easy. I do believe they are just begging to get a wing clipped so they can't fly up on the top of the chain link panels to find their way back into the pen. The urge to lay in their customary place is stronger than the opportunity to nest in any number of places they could choose inside.

What would induce them to stay inside? Rooster pin up pics on the walls? Move a couple roos back inside for a couple days with them? (Might be what is needed!) Some roo porn in the nest boxes so they have some reading material while laying an egg?

Maybe I just need to decide how important it is that the black sex links, mixed breed pullets and Americaunas go inside for a henacation and purification. They are the laying flock for table eggs and not the purebreds I want to hatch eggs from. I was hoping that I could split them up amongst the purebred roos to give the boys more girls to watch over and "adore" so their backs don't get "over used" and feathers lost.

I guess I'm lucky that the Cochin, Favorelle and Brahma hens are happy to oblige and stay where I want them being they are my focus for hatching eggs.

Why is it there are always some who just don't see it my way though? Is a bit of cooperation out there too much to hope for?

Seems so I guess!

That, or.... those crazy hens REALLY enjoy have all those young, hormone-crazy roos squabbling over them while they strut around and act cool, egging them on!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Foto Friday

This is Clifford. He moved to his new home last Fall. Cute is an understatement when describing him! He was very personable and very easy to have around. He was really laid back and reminded me of Clifford the Big Red Dog. The only bad part of the name is he will lose the red look as he's a roan and will lighten up tremendously. Clifford is 88% Boer/12% Alpine. Don't you LOVE those long ears that give the "Eeyore look"?

Yes, I still miss him. I miss several of them. I also have lots more coming starting in about 6 weeks.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Chicken Herding

Well, kinda! Maybe wrangling?

I'm moving the roosters as the weather has warmed up some but still staying well below 0. The young boys from the barn are now in the outside pen and the addition of 9 boys out there was interesting, to say the least! I'm moving the hen and pullets from out there inside so I can do a 30
"cleanse", "purification" or just a roo-free quarantine so that I can pen hens with the appropriate roos and have purebred chicks hatched. I don't know what this 30 period is technically called, but the roos aren't going to be happy at all! The hens should be though! No more roo gangs grabbing hens for an orgy.

I know! It's a hen vacation... or a henacation! Gotta be! I'll go with that!

I'm looking forward to starting up the incubators! I'm getting a new, better quality one with Christmas money and what was left from selling the 17 goats last Fall. I've decided to sell the Little Giant. It is a cheaper incuabator and was great for getting me started to see if I wanted to continue incuabing or if it was going to be a one Spring/Summer project. I'll start setting some eggs the first week of March. Maybe I might even be able to sell a few dozen eggs too!

So the roos are all outside now and I'm herding chickens around and catching hens as I can to send them to the barn for their henacation.

I'm making sure I have lots of well bedded spots for the hens moving inside to have for laying. The gals in the barn already have their spots staked out and their order arranged. I found another doggy shipping crate at Good Will and it's out there with hopes the turkey hens will make use of it. The chickens can share it if the turkey hens approve.

I had gotten a couple bags of shavings for extra bedding outside and to fill inside nesting areas. I had a couple escapes from the inside goat pens who just had to be destructive and rip open the 2 last bales of shavingsand make a huge mess too. But, I think everything is again well-bedded to the satisfaction of the "inmates", in side and out. Hopefully today's new hay will keep the goats "entertained" and out of the destruction business... at least for a couple days.

In the process of all of this, one of the 3 young, blue Cochin roosters who just moved outside managed to grab an Americauna hen with his hormonal intentions coursing through his being. He thought he was something.... BRIEFLY. He grabbed "henny" and before he could swing his big body around her, she "said" NO WAY! She was willing to either kick him in the feather duster or go down trying. What a chicken fight that was! The hen is only half the size of the big fella but she's always been a "force" around here. She was also much more agile than he was too. The next thing I knew, standing there watching and getting a good giggle out of it, the HEN was on top and had him by the back of the head. She was plucking feathers out of him and still working on kicking his feather duster rear best she could. The silly young fella all of a sudden had decided he didn't need a hen at the moment and he couldn't get away from her as she was off for the ride of a life time, still holding the back of his head! As the young roo tried running under the pony cart the hen had to bail as it was too short. Bail she did, then she gave a good feather shake, rock and roll and off she went, head held high and looking around to see if anyone noticed her success in putting another roo in his place.

What a hoot! I didn't have my camera and sure should have! I'm glad I got to observe the "show" though. Young roos can sure be funny with thier antics and trying to acquire a harem!

Some of these boys need to move out real soon too. I'm having trouble deciding who I want to keep out of the Cochin roos. I've got too many nice boys. I think I may just keep 2 of the blue boys and then sell the rest. I have a couple mix breed boys who will go too.

Hopefully I can get everyone all organized. I should have some new chickens coming real soon which will make it a bit harder to organize everyone. I'm tickled to be getting the opportunity to add these new birds to my flocks. Then I have a lead on a beautiful Brahma roo for the 3 Brahma girls. He's got some of the same bloodlines as my best Brahma hen and has a nice "clean" (white) back too. He'll be an asset to the girls! Bringing them in will make pairing hens off with the right roos. The new ones will start in the horse trailer though and that will help.

I can see I really need to get some more pens made! I think I can make a couple that are just for breeding trios/groups that don't have to be huge as they'd be temporary.

Guess I better get that on a project list too and near the top! How many days til Spring or at least working-outdoors weather?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I have been extremely active in horse activities for YEARS and grew up as one of those horse crazy girls. My parents use to say I could smell a horse on the tv as I inately showed up every time a horse appeared on the tv, over and over and over. I grew up KNOWING that I would own horses as an adult and that was it. It was like knowing I'd grow up breathing. They are truly something "in my blood". It's more than an addiction, it's a matter of being and who I am deep down.

All animals are important to me, but horses have always been at the top of the list. I grew up when model horses just came into being and I had a huge "stable full". It was the only thing I ever wanted for Christmas, birthdays, etc.

Library books in the school and city had my name in them over and over and over. Sometimes consecutively. I've ALWAYS been hooked and it's my number 1 earliest memory. I remember the guy who was coming down our street leading a pony and getting paid to let us sit on the pony and get a pic taken in the old black and white photos. I was THERE! That little girl on the pony was ME.

I'm not as active now as the horse industry took a horrible blow at the beginning of the economic crisis we are all experiencing. Also, the influx of rescue horses from Canada due to the PMU program has hurt, as have the removal of horses from the Western states, and the "excess" of horses from the racing industry. They all need homes. I quit breeding at the beginning of the crisis, at the exact right time so I didn't find myself with numerous horses I couldn't sell, afford and "give away". It's still bad... REALLY bad.

I have given up years and years ago on "getting over" my horse "thing". I can no more give up horses than I can to give up breathing, eating, etc. I can no more give up critters than I can breathing, eating, etc.

Things have changed though so I no longer own the ones I did and I no longer breed so couldn't afford to keep them. That being, I thought it time I introduced you to the last few that were and are part of my life.

First up (because that's the blogger added the pics to this page) is Derby. Derby was the last stud here and was just a gem. I did an excellent job with him as to breeding him, bringing him into the world, and handling him. He never learned to be a brat, be rude, etc. He knew he was all male, but he also grew up with me being the purveyor of everything he needed in life - food, companionship, boss of the herd. He rarely ever questioned anything as he was secure in his world and knew the rules and routine. As he matured, he learned there was a beam in his stall that he could be tied too so he could rethink how to walk like a 30 year old mare with no where to go. He just plain behaved, kept his mouth and feet to himself and did as he was told and expected to do. Derby was also breath-takingly, drop-dead gorgeous and athletic - poetry in motion. Visitors, farriers, etc never knew he was a stud and he never "told them".

He's was looker, wasn't he?

The bad news is I lost him and his pg dam (Dunit) in a thunder storm at the time hubby had his stroke.

Above is my "heart horse", Summer. Someday I'll write a post telling you about her. She's still here and I adore this mare. We have a relationship that is so often sought after and I cherish.

Below in the front yard and left to right, are Grace, Summer, Dunit and Derby on the far side "hiding" behind his momma. I lost Dunit and her unborn foal in the storm too. She was sooooo much like Summer and just a peach.

Yes, it's sad to loose them in a storm. It is something that can't be relayed and you don't want to experience. That being, I was very blessed to own them and to have been the one to breed them and foal them out! I got to enjoy the extreme blessing in raising them up and showing Dunit and Summer. I had sold Grace as a newborn but later had the opportunity to buy her back.

I have Grace out on a life-time lease due to our job loses and health issues. Dunit and Derby are buried out in the pasture with a few others I lost, including Dunit an Summer's dam, Grace's filly, etc. Grace has a wonderful home and if anything happens she's always welcome back here without reservation.

Summer is still here and I hope to have her for the rest of her life. She's a beautiful mare and I'm still in awe that I bred her and have her. There have been many others, including her dam, Izzy, now deceased, and a few who have touched my heart the most. Summer is at the top of that short list, along with Izzy, Dunit and Grace.

I hope you enjoy meeting them. You'd love to meet Summer in person. She's sweet and just a pleasure to have around. She's given me everything she can and asks little in turn. We talk and we really do understand each other in spite of the differences in language. It works because body language is EVERYTHING to a horse and we got it! Lift a hand, move an ear or nose, we get it and we get each other!

Ok, she's a "piggy" and loves to be given treats and fed. Who wouldn't???

Sunday, January 23, 2011


I was going to share a Silent Sunday photo but thought maybe you'd enjoy seeing this uTube vid of bunnies! You can enjoy it yourself, share it with your kids or grand kids, etc.

Watch and enjoy! I wish I could get the full effects of utube but have dial and it just isn't good this way, IF I can even get it to load!

Have a good Sunday and be sure and tell them how much you appreciate them!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Baaad Boy Got Reformed

There was a comment on a yahoo group about chickens, and a poster had remarked, "I've never had a single rooster fly at me or get aggressive but... I have seen them get this way when a neighbor went into their territory to feed them for me. "

I started to post about Pinata and decided the story would better fit for my blog. So grab a coffee, tea, soda/pop, or such, and pull up a chair to read about my baaaaad @$$ roo from last year. Maybe you might get a chuckle out of reforming Pinata, and especially if you tried to help me with some ideas for him when my past practices weren't getting the job done.

I answered an ad asking for a very gentle rooster for an elderly couple. It became a trade for a trio of a rare, heritage breed chickens known for kindness and being calm. Favorelles are a breed that originated in France. They are beautiful and uncommon to see. After negioations with the daughte, off we went to meet up with the folks some distance away by splitting the drive with them! We met, NICE couple, and the chickens were transfered to our respective vehicles. They were very pleased with my mostly Americauna roo who was VERY mellow.

Then I found out that their roo's baaad antics were the reason they were wanting to be rid of him; and his 2 Favorelle hens could go too as they already had some new hens. Of course at that point, my roo was in their vehicle, their trio in my vehicle, I'd paid for the hens, and we were about to drive off. THEN she says she hopes I have better luck with "roo" (I can't remember his name now) than she had, as he wouldn't allow her to step out the back door without attacking her nastily. She sheepishly admitted she was scared to death of him. I was good and didn't roll my eyes, but I did say IF he goes with me, he will quit it or be a pot of roo stew. She had NO problem, as she just wanted to be rid of him ASAP.

Home we came. A ferret cage is a great transporter for chickens! I'd seen it at a garage sale and was going to resell it for more than I paid for it! Now I wouldn't part with it unless I got enough to buy another! And doesn't he just look like a nice fella? I've had a few roos over the years that wanted to test their position and a firm flip-toss with the top of my foot, a swipe-toss with a broom under their backside, or a bit of a fake chase and they were back in their place. It's not a kick or to be mean, just a lift and a toss type motion. It rarely took more than a time or two to give them a airborne boost so they lost their footing and landed unceremoniously. They didn't get hurt at all but they were embarrassed in front of thier hens, and a roo doesn't like to lose face.

This roo WAS a TERROR on his BEST days! I didn't take long to rename him a couple fowl, errr foul names which soon changed to "Roo Stew" for a bit. He was quite territorial at best and EXTREMELY protective of his hens.

My "idle threats" in his opinion were a joke. I had to treat him as I would/did a bull, untrustworthy pic or a stallion. I didn't turn my back to him at all without him noticing as he'd be pulling something! I had to have an eye on him every single moment! My stud (horse) never acted at all like that! And here I'm not turning my back on a 8# feather duster, albeit a beautiful feather duster. I really liked the 2 hens of course! Figures, huh?

Some days I was able to sneakly grab him when he was being brazen. I picked him up by the legs and carried him around a bit. He was nasty to hold and even visciously bit when held and tucked under my arm to kindly carry him around a bit. Telling him I was boss was just flinging words to the wind and I suspected he was laughing at me or threatening me under his breath! Biting earned him a firm rap on the head and then my holding his neck firmly in my hand while carrying him around and telling him about roo stew and the cooking pot. Some times I carried him around in one hand with him hanging down because I needed a hand or to just inspect hy legs that were raked. That fool could swing up onto my hand from a foot-held dangling! He was really strong and very agile. He was also very proud, as you can see in the pic below, and was humiliated in front of the other chickens. And that didn't work AT ALL either.

Eventually came the day I had shorts on and Mr. Baaad @SS Roo saw my winter-white,bare legs. I do NOT have tatto targets on my legs, however he "growled" "GAME ON". I have never seen a roo commit an attack like that and actually spin HIMSELF in somersaults as part of it. He was a feather duster mid-air, fit for an air show! NO JOKE! I did think at one point he missed out on a chance to be a fighting cock and then realized he was! I was his opponent! He was one determined and gymnastic bird. One swift motion on my part, using the top of my foot to his undercarriage and he was "punted" a few feet out of my way. And then MY "GAME ON" was a challenge thrown back in his face! I chased him around the double stall and was snatching at his tail feathers and swinging my foot at him until he tried to hide. I was sure that was the end of attacking ME! I'm not agile either, but pulled that off!

That had to of been his last attack! It was "insane"! He had to understand that I was allowed in that pen and could be left alone to do my thing. Ya, right! Again, another attack but not quite as bad.

I decided he'd not get food or water unless I hand delivered it, as suggested on a poultry group and guaranteed to work with the worst of them. So out to the buck pen, with him dangling around my knee, and I caged him up.

That didn't work either! With no hens around, when I went to open the cage door to feed and water him, he nailed me BAD! He actually shredded my hand with his spurs and had nabbed me with his beak. In that move though I had grabbed a leg with my other hand in self-defense. He landed on the ground outside of the cage (his action) and then the bachelor rooster attack was on. The buck pen houses solitary roosters along with the bucks (goats). Those roos were ready to put him in his place, giving me a chance to grab him, inspite of a searing and bloody hand. I just held his feet with him on the ground and let them beat a few feathers on him. I let him go and hoped the roos would keep him in his place.

Of course, I thought we were done for sure then. My hand swelled badly and got infected! It took months to get healed up. Those are some nasty and painful cuts with those dirty feet!

Then, I needed his hens to have a conjugal visit so put him back in the stall with his 2 hens and added a few others to keep him even more busy on his last chance at a fling with a flock of "hungry" hens ready for a group orgy. At that point I just wanted some fertile eggs to hatch to get a replacement roo and then my BAAAAD @$$ boy was done for. There's NO reason to keep a confirmed rogue or nasty attitude critter. And I sure told him so!

He was sure estatic to be back with the girls and was really nice about feeding them, gently breeding them, and scratching for juicy tidbits for them. What a gentleman he was - for his hens! Yuppers, I thought we were done competing for top bird award! He was keeping some distance from me in the stall and it was peaceful on the farm and going well. HA! His new hens I added to his harem were use to coming around me! A few days later he slunk around in wait and I had the feed bucket (3 1/2 gallon size and short and same diameter as the 5 gallons) in hand. I took my eye off him for a brief second! This time, Pinata, the now renamed roo, decided to scale it down and just go for my foot with a hit and run attack. But, true to form, and a bad move on his part as the feed was strewn all over as I was ready to go to "battle" AGAIN! I got him cornered and slapped the bucket down over him! He managed to have his head tucked so he survived. Then, out of breath, I sat on the bucket to give him something to think on. I informed him that I only needed some fertile eggs and I'd hatch me a replacement. I was DONE tangling with a feather duster with a nasty attitude who didn't appreciate my giving him extra hens and a home where he had a chance to live.

Then, I think he DID get the message - FINALLY! I've not had a bit of trouble with him since. I guess it was just a LOT to cram into one tiny little bird brain!

Disclaimer: Please don't get extreme with a roo unless there's no other chance. Once he really hurt me, then it was time to step it up or put him down. I didn't hurt him, but I did use some "tuff love" without removing any feathers. The best method is teach them from the time they are chicks that they are not to challenge humans - it's totally unacceptable. Then you can get them "trained" quickly, easily and without having to use "tuff love" on them. This boy was a rogue for a while because he got away with it. I'm sure if Dr. Phil asked him how things are working for him he'd say he's one happy roo and working it the right way!

It's been close to a year now and he's been good as gold. He generally kept way out of my reach and just looked at me alertly to see which way he should run. When I needed to catch him (he's an escape artist with a clipped wing), it's got to be in the evening when he's on his roost or I don't have a chance. He still takes excellent care of his hens. But he's one reformed rooster!

In fact, the other day when I walked into the pen, he was by the gate. He stayed put and my leg even brushed his tail feathers without a problem. He followed me closely to the feeders like the gentleman roo he should be.

He HAS reformed! Hallelujah! Being of a rare breed, I've not been able to find more hens. The shipped chicks are $5+ each! Finding a replacement wouldn't be easy at all, if at all! Unfortunately, I didn't end up with any hatched chicks from the hens. I have a few young roos who are crossbreeds of his and the pullet I posted the other day with the naked legs who is laying a green egg instead of a pale tan egg. He was just a very "spoiled brat" after all! Now he's a pleasure to have around - FINALLY!

His name of Pinata has stuck though. Handsome bird, isn't he?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Little Soomething to Ponder

This year we will experience 4 unusual dates:

Post edited to add:
Well, I fell for this one! It works for me so I didn't try other ages! I'll leave it here so you can see what it was and you can try it and see if it works for you too. How can I skip my birthday this year? I can't believe how old I'll be in a couple weeks. Bahhhh hummmbug!

Figure this out:

Take the last two digits of the year you were born PLUS the age you will be this year and add them together.

They will equal 111.

For children turning eleven and under the total will equal 11.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I Miss It!

I miss my milk! I LOVE my fresh goatie milk! The store milk is so blah and watery. It doesn't have the flavor of whole, fresh milk, which is rich and creamy. I like to drink a quart of milk in the morning and it keeps me full. The store milk is like drinking water and I find I'm soon hungry.

When the does are dry, I tend to drink a lot of coffee. During milking season, I rarely drink coffee because I have MILK!

So far I just seem to play with my eggs, but I have been known to make some fancy, decorative pancakes.

If I don't have some good milk soon, I may be inclined to start playing in more of my food. I might have to start decorating my coffee!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sadly Another Loss

Some days there are losses of critters, and especially chickens. Today was one of those days and a very disappointing one at that.

Today I found my silver laced Cochin roo dead. It had just happened as he was still pretty limp. He was a BEAUTIFUL roo and a very good natured one too. He wasn't all flighty and didn't have to run off when I was walking amongst them. I could pick him up if needed even though he didn't care for it. When putting him back down he shake his feathers back into position and puff himself up but didn't feel a need to get away from me.

This roo didn't take any guff off any other roosters, but he didn't look for a reason to fight either. He was kind to his hens and took really good care of them too. He didn't rip their back feathers off them either. He was just a NICE, gentle, easy-going and stately kind of roo. He was my fav of all the roos I have.

I suspect, because of where he was laying, and because there weren't any marks or anything on him that he may have been in the wrong place at the wrong time and got stepped on by a goat. He was in the pen with the 4 Nigerian Dwarf does are.

I'm glad I had just taken these 2 pics of him with his "wife". He really looks like he was listening and they had a conversation going on. (Look at all those lovely foot feathers!)

I had him, the hen with him and a pullet from them from last Summer's hatch. I'll have to keep an eye on this hen so the other roos don't all gang up on her. She stuck right with her roo and none of the others bothered her at all.

I was going to put my 3 Brahma pullets with him until I find them a roo so he'd have a nicer sized harem. I had thought that his and the hen's neck feathers matched the Brahma neck feathers pretty closely and thought I'd be able to tell their eggs apart easily as the silver hen lays a lighter colored egg than the Brahma hens are laying. (It makes it easier to know for sure who's eggs are the purebreds for hatching.)

I'm really going to miss him; and he's going to be really hard to find a replacement for. Bummer.

Monday, January 17, 2011

What Is It's Purpose?

I found this neat tiered basket at Good Will. I got it for $1.98! It's heavy and stable. I love the chicken wire design.

What is it's purpose though? Is it a fruit basket?

It might get used for all the gadget pieces to a couple of kitchen slicers and such. Or maybe it might be handy for all the lids and such for my milk jars.
I'm not sure what it will end up doing!

Maybe it will become a kitty bunk bed. I think she settled on the bottom bunk.

What would you do with it? Do you know it's original intent?

Hurry before Bobbi won't give it back!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Where's the Bread?

I just bought a few cook books at Good Will and ended up with a surprise. They are 4/$1 so I shouldn't complain, right? I was disappointed though as one of the tw0 I was most interested in was a bummer even though it was a compilation of TNT recipes.

It's the one with the beautiful pie on it!

I didn't notice it when flipping through it, and yet, would probably still have bought it at that price. Upon sitting down at home to enjoy it, I find no index. THAT is odd. Then the first section was all types of recipes mixed together without a "leader" page. But! Then when looking after the appetizer section, for the bread section, low and behold, NO BREAD RECIPES! Someone had torn the whole section out! Other pages had been torn out too, but what a bummer to have a whole section removed.

Now I know why the plastic "binder" was a tad large for the book! What a bummer though because I so was looking forward to the quick breads and that whole bread chapter!

On the bright side, there are still a LOT of TNT recipes in it and, like I said, I'd have still bought it. Twenty-five cents is pretty cheap for "half" a cook book! Oh, "TNT" stands for "Tried N True" or "Tried N Trusted".

Now, I am left wondering what else was missing on all the other absent pages! Maybe some day I'll see another copy of it..... After all, I do have a thing for cook books!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Photo of the Day

I made these pies the same day/time and they baked on the same rack in the oven for the same time. Half way through I switched their sides of the oven. They were both made with frozen fruit, cranberries and blueberries, with the fruit put in the crust at the same time and then the tops put on at practically the same time, no interruptions.
They sure were good!
So why does the cranberry come out darker brown over all and the blueberry darker around the rim and lighter in the center? I guess some things just aren't to be understood!

Friday, January 14, 2011

What's New Pussycat?

Bobbi has grown up. She's in heat. I'm so glad she's not a high-pitched screamer! She has a very soft voice for a cat. The poor girl is driving herself nuts and the other cats just stare at her like she's totally insane.

I found ways to help deal with the "challenge" of a cat in heat! An EHow article says I can calm a cat in heat and needed are: cat toys, extra time spent grooming and giving attention and money for vet services! Number 3 is definitely a MUST! In the meantime, I've found that I only need to try to do something and I can distract her. So I try to take a couple of photos for later posts, and, waalaa, she's got to help me!

For some reason, I thought a cat was in rolling, cat-wallering heat for 3 days. But, we're on day 5 and I was beginning to wonder. Off on a google surf to refresh my memory of kitty's in heat. One article said they can be in the breeding stage for 1-14 days! Plus they come in heat every 2-3 weeks.
As much as I love kittens, past history is that homes can't always be found as there are sooooo many cats needing homes and we now have 5 house cats with outdoor benefits and Barney, who is the barn cat who was dropped off here and adopted us. It's time for Bobbi to have her girly giblets dealt with.

In the meantime, I can't believe my luck in having come home from Good Will with a molded plastic cat carrier ($4.98!!) - just in the nick of time. Bobbi's food is now in it and she gets to use it when I'm doing dog's in and out and bringing in fire wood. She says she's NOT impressed that I would have the AUDACITY to crate her just to get the dogs in or out! After all, it's her job to usher them out the door and after seeing they are outside she immediately climbs the door clambering to be back in. She's not impressed with all that snow!

I also read that "upon reaching reproductive age" that a kitty is a queen. Hubby's little princess has become royalty, a queen! Of course she already knew that!
Now, to bite the bullet and pay the vet..... It's TIME!!!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Photo Day

Here are pics of the 4 Alpine does. I've got a few things to learn about this camera to get better pics.

This is Spirit and her daughter, Becca. They are hopefully both bred and they are looking heavier and more round in the belly. Spirit will have her 3rd kidding and Becca will have her 1st.

This is Kendra, who should have her 4th kidding. She's a very pretty doe and I love her color and pattern.

Here is Claire who isn't cooperating with my photo moment. She'd rather tell young Becca that she's not sharing her hay. Obviously it was Claire's turn to be standing under the hay I was tossing in. Being this wide now, can you imagine what she's going to look like when she's due? She has 2 months to go and it will be her 3rd kidding.

This is a better pic of Claire. She really is a pretty doe. She's also VERY personable. She also has the right to tell Becca to go browse with Spirit, her dam.

Another day I'll post pics of the ND does and the bucks.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Give-Away!

To to texan.blogspot and join as a follower and post a comment in the thread and you'll be entered for the drawing of a kid or dog coat! She has some ADORABLE coats that she makes and monograms to sell. She's putting one in this give-away with the winner announced January 31st.

I really like the design of these fleece coats as they have a cuffed neck and sleeves for the front legs. They will stay on and stay in place with this design. The colors are also vibrant and attractive.

Check it out!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Fresh Eggs or Old Eggs

Welcome to the egg spa where we will observe some fresh eggs and some old eggs taking a dip! Yes, I'm still playing with my eggs! How did you guess? How could I NOT?

Most of you reading this may already know how to tell if eggs are fresh or not by floating them; but maybe I can help someone out who hasn't heard of this yet.

I grabbed a 2 quart freezer container (from the dirty dishes) and filled it half full of tepid water with a dribble of bleach so I could test my eggs and take some pics to share. I use the bleach as I'm going to put this dish back in the sink to be washed and I've hopefully cleaned any bacteria from the eggs. I didn't wash them for this test but they get a bit of cleaning in the testing. I handle them gently so I don't crack them by dropping them on each other.
Here you can see they all sunk right to the bottom, indicating they are all fresh! They have passed their test! So I clean them off a bit more and into the refrigerator they go except the one green one which was cracked when I found them.

Part 2 of our spa experience is floating some old eggs. Old eggs float and that is exactly what 3 of these eggs do! There is one that sunk so it's fresh.

Aging eggs are suspended in the spa experience. In the picture below, 4 eggs are floating and are OLD. Two brown eggs are sunk showing freshness. In the lower left part of the pic, is an egg that is suspended. It's under water but not sitting on the bottom of the dish. Pitch it! It's not worth chancing opening it in the house in case it stinks and it's surely not something you want to eat.

As fun as the experiment was, it's over. The lesson learned is if they float or are suspended, pitch them. If they sink and lay in the bottom of the dish they are good. By floating eggs for freshness, you don't have to crack an egg and find it is stinky or nasty looking. If you find an old nest of eggs, you can check them safely.

I wash my eggs off prior to using them or prior to selling/giving them away. I use a little bleach in the water for this because I'm not germing up the sink and my hands so badly. ;) It's just an extra caution in protecting my food and my family's health. After all, it's only smart to have some clean handling methods with our food. Everyone has their own and their own reasons for what they do, but having a method that works for us is smart. As you can see from the dirty eggs I used, it's necessary!
Fortunately most of my eggs come in clean looking. I try to keep extra shavings on hand so I can replace it as it's mashed down or kicked out of the nests. I also have a kitty litter scoop to clean out hen droppings which also keeps the nest and eggs cleaner.
I hope I've helped in showing how to float eggs for freshness and added a bit of handling info too!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Fresh Egg Info

An excerpt from Mother Earth News:

Eggs from hens allowed to peck on pasture are a heck of a lot better than those from chickens raised in cages! Most of the eggs currently sold in supermarkets are nutritionally inferior to eggs produced by hens raised on pasture. That’s the conclusion we have reached following completion of the 2007 Mother Earth News egg testing project.

Our testing has found that, compared to official U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrient data for commercial eggs, eggs from hens raised on pasture may contain:

• 1⁄3 less cholesterol
• 1⁄4 less saturated fat
• 2⁄3 more vitamin A
• 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
• 3 times more vitamin E
• 7 times more beta carotene

I find that info believable. I'm one who frequently questions the validity of info but over the years this is one thing I no longer "debate". Mother Earth News ( ) has been around longer than my adult life and has continued to be a very good source of info and they are cautious to have accuracy in what they print. It's one magazine and website that I high recommend.

The egg photo above is my eggs, nesting on a "bed" of goatie granola that has shell corn mixed in. (That feed is coming up to the house for my bird feeder.) My poultry get to clean up the goatie granola that the goats waste and they seem to LOVE it! They also get hay and alfalfa pellets right now and fresh grass and dirt to explore and scratch around in for juicy bits in the Spring, Summer and Fall. They love the fresh grass clippings, weeds pulled from the garden with the root and dirt ball attached, etc. They get kitchen scraps and left overs which seem to be the highlight of their day. This coming year I want to try a "bait bucket" for them. Eggs are only as good as what we feed our hens. If they are lacking in a nutrient area, it only stands to reason their eggs will be lacking in that same nutrient area.

One other thing that makes me support that the nice deep color of egg yolks has to be somewhat like the fact that we are now told at every turn that we need to eat more fruit and vegetables. We need to eat from all the different colors of fruits and vegetables as they all have varying nutritional componets and we need them all. That being, should our eggs have the richest color possible to be the healthiest for us? I believe so!

If we feed them well, we will eat well. It only stands to reason! So, eat more eggs - the fresh ones, of course!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Thursday's Connundrum

Remember the 4 green eggs from Thursday? If not, read the post below of my playing with my food and finding a nest with 4 green eggs in the barn. The connundrum has deepened! That nest was not in a pen with hens. That nest was right next to my milk stand and where I walk and move around. At the current time I also throw hay over the stall wall to the Alpine does, right there where the nest was.

I ask "What's going on girls?"
Goldie looks away and refuses to discuss the secret business of egg laying! She also knows that I know that she lays a lovely brown egg.

So I ask JuneBug who is always the center of everything and my velcro buddy! "What gives out here, JuneBug?" She only indicates that she wants out of the stall and I'm not doing things her way or fast enough. I know she knows! She misses NOTHING! Her mouth is closed and her eyes are focused outside the barn - on the hay!
Thursday I found all these eggs! Something gives as they have no extra light or heat in the barn or outside pen. They have shelter, food and room to move around. Warm water is delivered daily to help them with the cold. These pullets are determined to lay all right. GO GIRLS GO!

Someone laid those pretty green eggs and I guess I'm the detective. I decide to bring them to the house and do a freshness check.

Here they are in their little warmish spa and with some of the brown eggs that came in with them! The science report says they are fresh! Now the connundrum is even deeper! I decide to post about how to tell if eggs are fresh. I have that post in draft status and haven't hit publish as I am wrangling with the dratted spacing which plagues my posts often. (More on that tomorrow.)

So Friday I go do chores and in finishing up I collect the beautiful eggs the girls have so generously provided me while living in the cold out-of-doors. Look see!

There were 2 green eggs IN THE PEN, IN THE BARN!!! Someone is commiting fraud. There is an imposter in the "hen house"! The Americauna girls, mix breed girls, extra roos except Pinata, and a couple goats are in the outside pen. IN the barn pen are the turkeys, the Nigerian Dwarf goatie girls who are quite small, and the purebred hens - SUPPOSEDLY! Someone is putting something over on me and I start asking questions. (Silly me, standing amongst turkeys, goats and chickens, in the barn, not another human around, and I'm asking questions! I'm also expecting answers!) As you can see from above, I'm not getting any cooperation or help, not even from the goatie girls.

Low and behold, there are no mysterious red feathers on the Cochins. The Brahma girls and Goldie, the Orpington girl are as they should be. The 3 silver Laced Cochins are as they should be.

THEN, the Favorelle girl is over getting a snack and the young Favorelle girl is getting a drink. They are within a few feet of each other for a change! The young girl is friendly and she loves to sneak out of the pen and wander the barn. I look at her closer and the older Favorelle girl gets closer. That is unusual as she usually avoids getting near me and avoids the high traffic movements.

Surprise! The young girl is still considerably lighter colored than the old girl. Something isn't quite right. She's lighter alright. And look at her legs....

They are BARE, clean shaven! Where are her feathers? Favorelles have feathery legs and feet, as do the Cochins and Brahmas. Americaunas have bare legs!

Mystery solved! The imposter has been found! This gal has an Americauna momma! Being a nice little pullet, she does get to stay. She can hang out with Pinata, the Favorelle roo, and the Favorelle hen. I'll know which eggs are hers being she has green jeans, or is that green genes? And I do enjoy the extra color in the eggs I'm collecting.

Onward and upward! Who knows what today will bring!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Playing With My Food

Momma said not to play with my food when I was a kid growing up! Back then I listened and did as I was told. But now that I'm too old to heed that dire rule, I find it's fun! So now I sometimes play with my food while examining it and revelling in the miracle of it all.

So, I play. I can line them up from the pink to the darkest brown if I want. Or I can line them up from the darkest brown to the pink.

It amazes me that they are shaped so differently too. After all the hens are the same size and yet the eggs are all different. The dark brown one is much more round than the others. The next egg from the bottom is much more narrow and yet just as long. It never ceases to amaze me at what nature has to offer me for my food. Do you ever really study your eggs and wonder?

OOPPSIE! I found a nest with 4 green eggs. Now there is a connundrum! The Americauna girls are not in the barn, but rather in the outside pen and not escaping. So why are there 4 green eggs where I've been walking and putting hay in a stall, etc. It really should be a nest from last year but I really can't believe that I didn't step on them. I sure had no trouble seeing them today! One is cracked from freezing and all 4 are quite dirty. Hummmm....

So, I play in my food. I think I'll blame it on my hens.... because I can!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Modem Again!

This was the modem. This time I'll save the rascally packaging and all! It has a year's warranty. Unfortunately, I threw the other out and it was probably still under warranty!

I'm down $82+ but back on line, which sure makes me happier. I have a computer addiction! I'm not afraid to admit it. Yes, it has some who think it's a terrible thing, but I don't drink, I don't spend much time running the streets and doing things that cost, I'm here in the living room and available for family time, etc. I don't spend much money at all on line and don't have a need for the bad habits and/or bad behavior. I do learn alot and I read a lot. It's not all bad.

The black area on the end of this is where the phone cable is plugged in on the outside of the computer. I so wanted to try to fix this myself and yet was afraid I'd cause extra expense from trying to do it. I sure wish growing up, that I'd been encouraged to "tinker" with things and not be so afraid of trying to fix things. Now I have the "fear of trying" and it's coupled with the dread of mistakes being so expensive to correct, that I don't try and want to so badly....

Anyway, being I'd taken time to go through the usual steps of running spybot and AVG an extra time, cleaned my disc/files, run the defrag, etc and spent a few hours on phone with the US AOL tech (so nice to be able to understand the per and communicate well) that the puter repair place fixed it while I was doing some errands. So I didn't have to leave it and didn't have to make another long trip to pick it back up. We've had sleet and snow so the roads are bad again making me more thankful.

I did save the cost of having a computer check up done because I'd done all the work even though it's all scheduled and done weekly or more often (except that phone time with the tech of course). I really hate the short life expectancy of computers and the expectations of the companies and all that they are disposable and should be replaced every couple of years. I love the technology, but think a lot of it is frivilous and a money waste.

$82.... I could have done something better with that money I'm sure!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Sick Computer

I'll be back but it may be the end of the week!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

January 1st!

Have you typed 01012011? It's not the easiest series of numbers to type! It's time to use the numerical keyboard area on the right side of my keyboard!
I hope you have wonderful New Year's Day and year!
(You're welcome to a copy of the graphic. )