Feeding the birds this morning was interesting. They always rush to get their food as if they had not eaten in days.
Some of the chickens are convinced what the ducks are eating is better. It is a case of “the feed is better in the other pen” when actually it is the same. Nevertheless, every morning at least one chicken flies over the fence to get a closer look at the duck feed.
This morning, the chicken got stuck.
It remained remarkably calm while I took a picture. Then I carefully untangled its foot from the chicken wire and tossed it back where it belongs.
There doesn’t seem to be any damage from the acrobatic endeavor, and I am hoping it will be cured of its curiosity and stay on the chicken side of the pen.
I was stopped on my way to work last week by one of my coworkers from the district office. She asked if I had chickens.
Being accustomed to totally random questions, I said yes, what do you need? She had seen the chickens in the coop in the courtyard and was quite concerned for their safety. She had them moved temporarily to her sister’s house and was wondering if there was a long-term plan.
I explained the goal of having them live on campus so the students could interact with them regularly. I also acknowledged that this was a little more complicated than the principal first realized and assured her I would provide a long-term home if necessary. They had already spent a weekend on Miller Farm and had a standing reservation.
She called me Friday as I was driving home from Beekeeper Brian’s retirement celebration. It seems her sister was hosting a graduation party that evening and the chickens were not invited. She asked if I could move them.
I had taken the whole day off work and was hoping to get a nap, but I agreed to unload my car, grab the chicken travel cage, and go to her sister’s house.
When I arrived, I discovered they were free-ranging in the backyard. Fortunately, it was a fairly small area, and I was able to catch them all within a short time. I loaded them into my car and headed back to Miller Farm.
Last week the 7th grade students discovered a chicken on the playground at school. It was much larger than the chicks we had hatched so they knew it was not one of ours. One of the girls brought it to the front office. I wish I could have been there to see their reaction!
Since there was already a coop put together for the chicks, the principal moved it into the courtyard and put the visiting chicken in it.
Eventually, they moved all the chicks in with the bigger hen and everyone seemed happy.
Until feeding time, that is.
Apparently, the larger hen had not been eating well out in the wild and was quite insistent on getting more than her share of the food. Once she realized she would be fed on a regular basis, she calmed down.
No one knows where she belongs. Maybe she heard that our school was a safe place for chickens and decided to join us. We don’t mind.
The little flock has been temporarily moved to a home in the country. The kids are gone for the summer and one of the teachers was concerned the chicks would not be safe without a hundred little eyes watching them.
I assured her that chickens are quite accustomed to being on their own. Nevertheless, there was not a place for them to live all summer at school and no one is sure when the secure chicken pen will be finished.
Being a chicken wrangler, I volunteered to keep the chickens on Miller Farm if they wore out their welcome in their current home.
After all, we will hardly notice 6 more chickens on our farm.
The chicks at my school are growing quite nicely. In fact, several of them have gone to their forever homes. There were ten, however, who needed a place to stay last weekend. I checked the schedule and Miller Farm and booked them into the brooder outside in the chicken yard. It is plenty big enough and it is out of the way of any curious chickens or dogs or ducks.
I was a little concerned because their previous lodging had been indoors. They did fine outside and will make the transition to their new outside coop very well.
Monday morning I put them back in the travel cage and set them on the ground while I gathered their bowl and feed. The big chickens came to say goodbye.
I returned them to the grass outside the classroom. Someone else is on chick duty during the week.
I believe one of the students is taking several home. The rest will move into the chicken coop at the school – as soon as we build a raccoon-proof fence. That may take some time. I understand raccoons are pretty smart.
Maybe I should make another reservation for the chicks at Miller Farm.
My mother recently gave us a turkey she had in her freezer. They had gotten it for free at Thanksgiving last year and thought we would be more likely to be feeding a crowd sooner than they would.
I cooked it yesterday and we took it to our Community Group for dinner last night. Other people brought sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, dressing, rolls, cranberry sauce, and we had Thanksgiving in May. It was a huge success! The weather was even unseasonably cool.
We all decided we should have Thanksgiving dinner more frequently. As a teacher, I am even more thankful in May at the close of the year.
The school where I teach has several classes that are hatching chicks this spring. This includes the 4th grade class where I eat lunch every day. The students have been counting the days and eagerly awaiting the arrival of the first chick.
This happened yesterday.
They were all very excited to share this news with me and I must confess I was just as excited to see the new chick. We’ve hatched many chicks but it is still amazing to see them just out of their shell.
The students were served chicken sandwiches for lunch. They were very careful to keep their food away from the chick so as not to upset it.
I found that very thoughtful.
I got a message from a friend last night who had taken some of our duck eggs to hatch. This also happened yesterday.
I collect recipes to help with my stress-relief baking. I tear them out of magazines, cut them out of newspapers and picked them up at grocery stores, back when they handed out recipe cards. I even have some that I picked up at the State Fair of Texas including my famous sweet potato biscuit recipe and the kids’ favorite skillet burritos.
I’ve tried to type them all into a data base so I have digital copies, but my memories of these recipes are attached to where I got them. If they are all in the same format in a digital file, I will never recognize them. I look for the recipe I need based on where I originally found the recipe.
Not a particularly effective way for anyone else to find my recipes, but I know where they all are.
For example, I wanted to make forgotten cookies recently. This recipe came from my mother. Shortly after Beekeeper Brian and I got married, she gave me a notebook with note cards of all our family recipes. It has the forgotten cookie recipe in it along with my Aunt Nita’s mashed potato roll recipe, my Grandmother Hixson’s chocolate and butterscotch pie recipes, and my Mother’s Blueberry Delight. (Notice the lack of vegetable recipes mentioned. =) The notebook is falling apart and so I must gently take it off the shelf and gently put it back.
I suppose I could replace it – but I won’t. Eventually there may be no need for paper recipes at all but that won’t be until after I’m gone. I will always use my various scraps of magazines and newspapers, and especially my notebook with my mother’s hand written recipe cards.
Baking is my stress relief and the past year has had plenty of stress to relieve. I particularly enjoy making biscuits and scones – really any breakfast food.
With only Beekeeper Brian and myself at home, I have had to find ways to bake and not weigh 300 pounds. So each Sunday, I take breakfast to the praise team at church. We meet at 7:00 to practice and stay through the service until almost noon so the gesture is much appreciated and there are seldom leftovers.
Both biscuits and scones require the use of a pastry blender. I’ve seen a picture on Facebook of one asking if anyone knew what it was. I was somewhat offended at the suggestion that only old people use pastry blenders.
I have actually been through several pastry blenders in the past few years. I tried one that had a slightly different design and broke two of them before I gave up and went back to the original crescent shape. It has held up to my stress relieving routine but sometimes looks a little worse for the wear.
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