The chicks that were hatched at my school last spring have grown into full sized birds now. The hens are even laying eggs so we are finally getting a return for all our investment.
One of the boys at my school was telling me that their hen was also laying eggs. He was very excited. He said they saved the first egg that was laid. That is a sweet thought but not very practical.
I didn’t tell him this.
I remember the first egg laid by our hens. It was a green egg and appeared shortly after a chemical fire near our house that required us to evacuate for the evening. At first I wasn’t sure if the green egg was a result of the fumes from the fire. Then I remembered that some breeds of hens lay green eggs. I was very relieved.
Anyway, the birds from the school are quite adventurous. Beekeeper Brian looked out the kitchen window to see them on top of the coop.
This is would not be a big problem except that several times I have found one of them in the yard next door. Fortunately they always manage to find their way back.
During the past five months of living in our house with only Beekeeper Brian, I have noticed several things.
Two adults cannot finish a gallon of milk before it goes bad. In fact, some weeks we barely finish a half gallon.
Cooking dinner every night creates too many leftovers for two people.
Some nights we just want to eat cold cereal. And we do.
It is no longer necessary to do laundry on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I can do laundry twice a week and still do small loads.
The large grocery cart is really too big. I can use the smaller one for my weekly shopping.
I have considered only shopping once a week. I’m not sure I’m ready for that change.
I recently found an old pacifier in my lingerie drawer. It belonged to our oldest daughter who is now 26 years old and married. It reminded me of times past when the house was filled with noise and messes. It is quieter now and a little neater.
I’m not sure I’d say it was better – just different. A kind of different I can get used to.
I recently attended an adoption fundraising event for some good friends from church. It was a jewelry and accessory show by an organization called Noonday .
The mission of this group is to partner with Artisan Businesses in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities. They develop these businesses through fair trade, empowering them to grow sustainably, and to create dignified jobs for people who need them.
There were some wonderful bracelets and necklaces. I decided to look at earrings. As I looked through the catalogue, I found the perfect pair.
They are called Calypso Earrings and are made of Water Buffalo horn.
Naturally I chose those because they remind me of a song. Believe it or not there is a song about Water Buffalo.
Now every time I wear the earrings I walk around singing “Everybody’s got a water buffalo…” Life with a music teacher is so much fun. 🙂
There are certain boundaries here on Miller Farm that all animals must observe.
The fence between the chicken yard and the dog yard is one of those boundaries. I regularly tell the chickens to stay on their side of the fence or they may be eaten by Bella, the dachshund. Usually they listen.
This new flock of chicks apparently didn’t read the memo.Once they got used to the chicken yard, they decided to venture out into the dog yard. The rooster tried to warn them.
Fortunately I was able to catch them all and throw them over the fence before the dachshunds got them.
Later that day, during my weekly visit with friends at Dairy Queen, I stood up and my legs were very sore. It took me a minute to figure out that bending and chasing chicks used muscles I do not normally use.
Hopefully the chicks will stay on their side of the fence. I’m not sure I want to use those particular muscles again any time soon.
Texas is hot in August. How hot you ask? It is so hot that eggs can hatch without a chicken sitting on them.
I know this because we picked up an orphan chick from a person who had several chicks hatch without a hen. She gave four away and then there was a late bloomer. We still had our chicks separated so we thought adding to them would be fine.
We brought the little black chick home and put it in with the others that night.
We have discovered that when you move chickens at night they wake up and think they have always been in their new home. (At least that is what we assume. They transition very well.)
The next morning, I moved the chicks outside in their wire cage to enjoy some grass. When I checked before I left for school, the little black chick had managed to get through the wire and was wandering around in the big world alone. This was not a good idea.
I put the chick back in a cardboard box in the house and went to work. The little black chick lived in the box until it was too big to get out of the wire cage. It was still considerably smaller than the other chicks and they began to pick on it.
I moved it back inside into a larger tub. It was safe but very lonely. It cheeped all the time. Beekeeper Brian put the stuffed cat in the tub with it. That made it happy. Now it snuggles up with the stuffed cat every night. I guess it thinks that is its mother.
Every once in a while, a hen will go broody. This means she sits in the nest box as if she is hatching eggs. This would be fine if she actually had eggs and would sit on them until they hatch. We’ve learned that many times she gives up before they hatch and we are left with undeveloped and unusable eggs.
One hen has been broody and grumpy. She pecks my hand when I reach for the eggs. This is not entirely uncommon however it does not usually leave bruises! I started throwing her out of the nest box before I gathered the eggs. She would peck my leg in protest.
Brian put her in a separate area, but she would fly over the gate and go back to the nest box sometimes even before I got back to the house.She is the black hen – fitting for one so grumpy. Brian has now put wire over the top of the pen so she must stay put.
Be warned – if you get too grumpy at our house, you get put in time out!
Meanwhile, it is much safer gathering eggs these days.
I started teaching at a new school last year. It was quite an adjustment. The classes were larger and longer. I did not know what the students had already learned so I spent most of the year floundering.
About December, I decided that this job would require good shoes. I had enough challenges without suffering from aching feet.
I mentioned this to Beekeeper Brian who immediately took me to what I like to call the “old lady” shoe store. Actually they carry men’s and children’s shoes but they specialize in comfort. We bought a pair of sturdy black shoes and I wore them every day. My feet never hurt even after doing Animal Boogie and playing the turkey game repeatedly.
In the spring I decided to get a pair of sandals. While I am not a fashionista by any means, wearing my black shoes with my light color clothing just didn’t seem right. I found a pair of tan sandals of the same brand. I was a little leery – after all how could sandals be as comfortable as my black “old lady” shoes.
Well one morning a chicken got on the wrong side of the fence and I found myself engaged in a rousing game of “catch the chicken before the dachshund does.” Of course I was wearing my new sandals and they did great. If I could chase a chicken certainly I could chase my preschoolers.
This summer the store had a “tent sale.” I figured I could use a pair of black sandals so off I went.
Alas, there were no black sandals with a back that were in my size and price range. They did, however, have a pair of slip on sandals with the same sole as my brown ones.
I talked to the salesman at length about the possibility of them flying off as I chased children. He could not say from personal experience but he had never had any returned for that reason.
So I bought them and brought them home.
I wore them to teach preschool this week. It was my last week for the summer so I chose to do some of their favorite things – including Ruckus on the Ranch. This meant galloping around like Wyatt and Ruby in each of three classes. Not once did my sandals fly off! They passed the Wyatt and Ruby test.
Now all I need is a pair of brown close toed shoes and my collection will be complete!
After the recent hatching was complete, we have 6 chicks and 2 ducks. We have kept them all in a tub in what was Rachel’s room and is now Brian’s project room. They seem quite content most of the time.
The ducklings are really messy and like to play in the water. Based on the actions of our grown ducks out back I can safely assume they will not outgrow this trait. I recently put them in a wire cage outside in the shade while I cleaned their tub. They seemed to enjoy the grass. We hope to move them outside to a small pen in the chicken yard this weekend.I was thinking about all this morning. They started out in an incubator and then moved into a slightly larger brooder tub. As they grow, the tub becomes crowded. Then it will be time for them to go into a small pen and finally be incorporated into the big chicken yard. I was pondering whether or not the little chicks are ready to be in such a big chicken yard.
I was reminded of our children. They started in the house and as they grew it became crowded. Then they moved on to various locations. One is still in town but in a different house, one is in a town about an hour away, and the oldest is married, in a town 3 hours away and traveling all over the country.
I sometimes ponder whether or not they are ready to be out in the big world. I do enjoy the added space in the house.