Monday, April 30, 2012
By now these girls are just becoming a regular part of our daily routine around here. They go through a little bit of their own newborn stage, needing constant care for a few days to quickly falling into an easy go with the flow of the rest of the family by just a couple weeks old. These gals have brought plenty of laughter to our family as we watch them run around curious and sleepy all at once most times. The boys have done well keeping up with their needs and Jaxon has written out his "business" plan to stay on tract for selling some good ole' grass fed fresh eggs eventually. Check out below for a follow-up from the first week of the girls arriving!
Saturday, April 21, 2012
These girls are some fast growing chicks! Well, everyone but little Joanie. By day 3 Joanie was finally eating and drinking on her own, but she is clearly still hobbling around and about a 1/3 of the size of her box buddies. I hate to write it, but I think the inevitable is upon us.
By day 3 I could surely smell and see the box already needed a thorough cleaning. It's a different smell, not so unpleasant like a kitty litter box, but definitely a smell you don't want blowing into your family room from the garage door! Luckily, day 3 I had four little friends coming to play in the morning and they were pretty excited about all the chirping coming from the garage. After setting some ground rules with the little hand people, I put them to work! The girls got placed in a holding box and one boy and one girl were put on "heating" duty, aka hold the heat lamp over the box while the rest of us quickly clean out and haul them back. The kids moved fast and it was clean in about 7 minutes. Like any woman who likes to walk into a clean home when she returns from a trip, these gals were very pleased to explore the new arrangements made for them. See below for what day 3 and 4 have brought us here at this homestead!
Boys cleaning fast. Austin took the job seriously, as you can see.
The holding box...their vacation :)
Doing a great job keeping the girls warm while in transition.
To sit and watch... these chicks are really amusing at times. They are developing little personalities and act quite quirky. Even more so then the 2 legged people that live here. The girls will run ramped in circles and in 0.5 seconds fall flat on their face and fall asleep. Jaxon has asked me more then once..."did she just die"? It's very funny to witness and some days I feel a little like them myself, running in circles and able to fall asleep in that short amount of time when my face hits the pillow!
Ah, fresh water and food. We be sure to offer them fresh condiments twice a day and every time they know it's coming. Once we set the fresh items down they scurry over to get the first bites! (and how about that fancy $3 feeder. :)
Joanie, Henny Penny, Rhonda
Casper and Darla
A room full of little people loving on the girls. Makes my heart smile :)
Friday, April 20, 2012
We made it through the night and still had 7 chicks the first morning. I was proud. Proud because we had managed to keep 7 living things alive and proud that I didn't have to give my boys the "one didn't make it" speech yet. Usually when I crawl out of bed after a broken up night of sleep with Carson, I find Austin either in bed sleeping still or snuggled under his green blankie on the couch. This morning, he was no where to be found. Where did I find him? Green blankie in hand and sitting with the girls. He ate breakfast with them and I had a lot of pursuing to get him to come in to get dressed and not show-off his scooby-doo jammies all day.
Day two I quickly went to "vent cleaning" duty. I had read in more than one book that "pasting up" could be a real issue for new chicks. For those of you not familiar with "pasting" and "vent" terms... just use your imagination. Yup, that's right. Their vent can quickly become pasted up with poo. And that is no enjoyable experience for any chic, feathered or not. As I reached down into the box to grab a chic and examine her vent, I would clean any necessary bums with a wet wipe and then hand the chic to a boy to hold until all had been examined. For the most, vent areas were clean.
One of our black silkie gals was still hobbling pretty bad on her right foot, so I attempted to correct the leg sticking out by using a band-aid to make a little splint and hold it in place. Susan from My Pet Chicken was super helpful when I called and asked what to do about old hop along. I separated little Joanie (quickly given a strong gals name, after Joan of Arc) from the others with an old baking dish and her own bed of shavings. Day 2 was spent monitoring her, hand watering her, and making sure she didn't get pecked at by the healthy gals.
By day 2 these awesome chicks also had some awesome visitors. We've had a handful here and there of little and big friends coming to meet the girls. My boys love showing off their flock and I think the chicks don't mind being the center of attention a little too. What chic doesn't like a little praising? By the end of day 2 we had mastered the heat lamp height to give the gals a good 90 degree feel to their oasis (chicks need to stay under a heat lamp source first couple weeks at about 90 degrees) and all went to bed that night with the sweet little chirps of day old chicks still ringing in our ears. Check back to see what day 3 brings us!
How I found Austin first thing Wednesday morning...
They made it through the night!
These Rhode Island reds seem to be about a day or two ahead of the silkies. See their little "real" feathers starting to poke out on their wings already!?
His camping post...ready and waiting.
Thursday, April 19, 2012
This will not be your typical recipe sharing today! :) Where do I start? Well, for starters, it has been a few years of this "recipe" brewing on my mind.
A few things you should know as you follow this journey with us... one- I was raised a farm girl. 100% mid-west full-time farm family in the heartland of the good ole' USA. Animal life-cycles and harvest time were the patterns that my life revolved around as I went about being a typical little girl, adolescent, and teen gal in the 80's and 90's. Being a farm chic wasn't all that cool for me at times, but I sure did learn lots from my farmhouse mama and my hard-workin sunrise to sunset dad. For many years I couldn't wait to get off that farm, but as I grow, I find I yearn for those quiet and simple farm ways of life. Second- I loved animals as a kid, but as I found town life to suit me well in college, I decided I didn't even want a dog in my house. Well, married and 3 kids later...I have two lap dogs :) Third- I have always been fairly health conscious about what I eat and as I started having kids paid even more attention to what I was buying and from where. Fourth- My middle son came out loving cars and animals. He actually is what convinced me we needed a dog. Then he got me with two. Dang kid. However, through his eyes I have come to see how animals can really have a very positive effect on people. Especially pets. And I remembered how much I enjoy animals too, most the time. Fifth- I love to cook or bake for people. I love breakfast food. I love farm fresh eggs. I love things made with farm fresh eggs. There truly is a huge difference, research to prove it. And last- I really have wanted some sort of "chore" or "thing" my kids could do. Something where they could do the work to care for something, learn about basic animal care and responsibility, and then use their efforts to understand the concept of working and getting paid at this young age. Okay- that is a lot of background, but it will be helpful to know those things as you follow this crazy chick loving journey!
So back to the beginning. I have been following some backyard chicken farmers for a couple years and love what their journey has brought to their kitchen table. Last spring I was ready to jump on board, but the crazy looks from my husband and the baby about to be born at this house convinced me to wait. Winter time this year I started seeing chickens in my head again. Crazy lady laying in bed dreaming about chickens, I know! I do not want to even tell you how many hours I have read about and researched on chickens. Pretty sure I could be a chicken judge at this year's county fair in the poultry department, but that is a number I will keep to myself to save a little embarrassment (and my husband's!). All the reading and researching had me pretty excited and convinced that THIS was our spring to dip into the backyard chicken business. I narrowed down my choices as to where to find such lovely girls and found the perfect place on-line, MyPet Chickens. After saving some money (not much, chicks are low costly!!) and a couple wonderful informative phone conversations with Les at My Pet Chicken, I had hand selected our flock with just the right mix of breeds I wanted and put an order in for our girls to arrive mid-April! The kids and I were pretty excited! I knew they would be arriving (7 total) via post-office sometime the week of April 16th. Tuesday we got the call. The girls were here! Check out the pics below to catch you up to where we are now...
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Okay, I started this post with "my favorite time of year for cooking...", but then I remembered I love fall food and winter food and I just can't decide which season I love cooking in best! I do love grilling season too though and I believe it is here to stay! Ya-hoo for early grilling on the back deck! I love to marinade a meat of some sort all day and throw it on the grill quick once we settle in from the outdoors for the day. Some nights though, I just don't have time to cut up veggies to get on the grill in time to be done with the meat. A quick fix to add to any grilled meat are these yummy and easy potatoes. If you have a cooking stone, even better!
3-6 red potatoes (I usually slice up as many potatoes as people I am feeding, 4 mouths to feed means 4-5 potatoes cut up)
fresh grated Parmesan cheese
fresh ground pepper
Simply slice potatoes the long way and place on a cooking stone. Sprinkle olive oil over potatoes, shake some garlic salt and fresh ground pepper over each potato, and then sprinkle with fresh grated parm cheese. (This really makes it!) Bake in your oven at 400 for 20-35 min.
Serve hot! And like always, enjoy with your loved ones!