Chicken Wrangler Sara

22 11, 2013

Chicken Feed Famine on the Farm – Miller Farm Friday

By |2013-11-22T05:00:52-06:00November 22nd, 2013|Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

A guest blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

Around the Miller Farm feeding the chickens is a multi-step process.

First, I go to the feed store and buy 50-pound sacks of lay pellets.

Then I bring the sacks home and move them into 5-gallon buckets. This prevents non-chickens (i.e. rats) from getting into the food in the shed.  Most of the buckets have lids that snap on and are difficult to remove.  Beekeeper Brian was kind enough to purchase special screw-top lids to make life easier for me.

I fill two screw top buckets with feed and the rest goes into regular buckets. I move the feed from bucket to bucket as needed. It is all quite efficient when I am paying attention.

Monday I was not paying attention.  I went out to move feed from a regular bucket to an empty screw top bucket.

The regular bucket was empty.

In fact, all the buckets were empty. The poor chickens had no food.  Their feeder was empty.

empty bucket2It was a chicken feed famine on Miller Farm.

So I closed up the shed and headed to the feed store.  I went up to the counter and asked for two sacks of lay pellets.

The woman behind the counter informed me they were out of lay pellets. She said they’d run out about an hour ago before I arrived.

I was speechless.

She asked if I had enough to make it until their delivery arrived on Tuesday. I was embarrassed to admit we had no lay pellets at all.

She offered to sell me a 10-pound sack to get me through. Since I knew Tuesday would be a busy day, I bought a second 10-pound sacks to last until Wednesday when I could make another trip to the feed store and purchased a 50-pound bag.

On Wednesday, when I returned from the feed store, the chickens obviously recognized the larger sack and anxiously waited the arrival of feed in their feeder. I scattered some around the yard and filled the feeder.

50-pound bucket

The remainder I put into the appropriate buckets thus ending the famine on Miller Farm.

Last week I learned that 30 chickens are not the same as 46 chickens. This week I learned that 10-pounds of feed does not go as far as 50 pounds.

ten pound and bucket2Even the chickens recognized the larger feed bag.

Math is a very useful subject.

15 11, 2013

Numbering Chickens – Miller Farm Friday

By |2013-11-15T06:00:41-06:00November 15th, 2013|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|2 Comments

A Guest Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

When people ask how many chickens we have, I usually say 30.

I hadn’t officially counted them, as they don’t stand still in the yard making it very difficult. It is like counting preschoolers.

roosting1However, one evening last week, as I closed the coop, I counted them. They were all roosting on various spots in the coop and were settled down for the night.

roosting2

It was then that I made a shocking discovery.

We have 40 chickens not counting the bantams in the little yard.

There are six bantams so that makes 46 chickens on the Miller Farm.

I’m not really good at math but I know that 30 does not equal to 46.

This means that I have been misrepresenting our flock for months. Some might even call it lying although my son assures me that I was only saying what I believed to be true.

It’s still a disturbing thought.

Some might considered 46 chickens over population, but the chickens don’t seem to mind. As long as they have food, I suppose they would rather be crowded than be dinner.

Knowing the exact count does explain something, though. When I go into the yard, I feel like I am struggling not to trip over chickens.

Now I know why – there are 40 chickens in the yard.

I could let Bella into the chicken yard. She would gladly dispatch several. However, I’m somewhat attached to the lot and would feel sad to lose even one.

So I guess I’ll just keep walking carefully through the chicken yard. And when people ask how many chickens we have, I can honestly say – not 30.

8 11, 2013

Flexibility and Perseverance – Miller Farm Friday

By |2013-11-08T06:00:14-06:00November 8th, 2013|Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

A Guest Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

As I was standing at the kitchen window yesterday and noticed a lizard on the ladder outside the window.  This is a common sight however, this particularly lizard seemed to be trying to eat something I couldn’t identify.

lizard on ladderUpon closer look, I discovered part of the lizard’s skin hanging from its nose. It had shed and was trying to get the last remaining dead skin off its nose.

Fascinated, I watched it rub its head against the ladder repeatedly to dislodge the dead skin with no luck.

I was tempted to go outside and “help” the lizard but I knew it would run away and I would not get to watch this process.

I began to appreciate the lizard’s persistence. It also made me glad I am not a lizard.  I’m not sure I have the perseverance to shed my skin on a regular basis.

Next, it used its hind foot to scratch the skin off.  This was so remarkable that I had to take a picture. lizard foot

It amazed me that the lizard could move its leg that way.

I certainly cannot.

I do good to get my legs to walk consistently. Scratching my head with my foot is totally out of the question.

All of which led me to think about flexibility in general. While I may not be physically flexible, I have to be flexible in other ways.

For example, I plan my menu for the week and grocery shop on Mondays.  A couple of weeks ago, my husband came home from the doctor with a very specific diet to follow.  Very little of what I had purchased and planned to fix for the week worked with the new diet.

Time to be flexible 🙂

Teaching requires lots of flexibility. I plan to play a circle game with the preschool class and they come in so wiggly that getting them to just sit down is an impossible challenge.

It’s time for a new plan.

The class right after preschool is the high school class. I go from wearing silly hats and using puppets to teaching on Renaissance music and playing ukulele.

How’s that for flexibility? Sometimes I feel like a rubber band.

At least I don’t have to use my foot to get dead skin off my nose.

1 11, 2013

Wandering Hen – Miller Farm Friday

By |2013-11-01T06:00:24-05:00November 1st, 2013|Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

A Guest Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

One afternoon this week, I heard a great ruckus out back.

I ignored the barking dogs and cackling chickens for a while but then decided to see what was happening and looked out the kitchen window and saw Sadie (one of the dachshunds) barking at the front of the shed. The chickens were all standing in the middle of the chicken yard fussing at her.

That was all well and good until I heard Bella barking from an undisclosed location. This was not good because she has recently taken to going under the shed .

I headed outside to find her.

Before I saw Bella, I spotted the infamous white hen under the shed.

I’m not sure how she got there as we have put chicken wire around the bottom facing the chicken yard to prevent this.

I figured Bella was approaching from the other side of the shed so the race was on – who would get to the hen first, me or Bella?

Bella-cropped

I quickly stepped into the chicken yard and reached over the chicken wire for the wayward hen. Success!

Chicken Wrangler 1, Bella 0.

Next I had to coax Bella out from under the shed – a much harder job.

When I went out later to check eggs this is what I found:

egg-cropped

That silly chicken had laid an egg under the shed. This is the same chicken who regularly lays eggs in the abandoned beehive.

Fortunately, the chicken wire is only about two feet high so I was able to reach over it and under the shed to retrieve the egg.

Today when I went to check eggs the white chicken was actually in the nest box. I wish I’d had my camera!

I reached under hoping to find an egg but no luck. Oh well, at least she knows where the nest box is now.

25 10, 2013

Dog Hotel – Miller Farm Friday

By |2013-10-25T06:20:12-05:00October 25th, 2013|Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

A Guest Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

We had two extra dogs last weekend bringing our total to 6.  One of them is a frequent visitor.  He is one of the puppies Sadie had 5 years ago.  A coworker of Brian’s bought the puppy and named him Miller.  Whenever they leave town, the new owners book a room for Miller at the Miller Dog Hotel.

Miller now has a friend living with him named Jengo. Jengo is not a dachshund, but we allowed him to stay anyway.

Jengo

The guests arrived at about 10:30 on Saturday morning.  Fortunately Rachel was at the house to help me introduce Jengo to the rest of our pack.  Miller considers himself one of us so no introductions were necessary for him.

When Rachel and I prepared to leave, poor Jengo was being chased from one end of the kitchen to the other. We tried putting three dogs in kennels, Tucker in the bedroom and leaving Jengo and Miller out in the kitchen.

Miller, who considers Miller Farm his second home, was not thrilled to be sharing kitchen space with Jengo. So for Jengo’s protection, I put a leash on him and loaded him into the car.

We headed to Conroe to meet the high school band. The plan was for me to relieve Beekeeper Brian, who had travelled with the bus full of teenagers since 5:30 that morning. He was to take Jengo home, and I would ride the bus with the kids.

That was the plan, but when lightning started, the band reloaded the bus before I could get there. Jengo and I turned around and headed for Bryan High School to meet the busses and bring Brian home.

After we got home, the rest of the afternoon went smoothly.

Not so for the night.

Tucker usually sleeps on our bed but when Miller visits, he sleeps under the bed. This time, Jengo also got to sleep on the bed. Tucker didn’t want to miss the fun and joined us. (If we are going to do this often, we will need a bigger bed.)

Did I mention that Jengo is a puppy? He got up in the middle of the night and pooped in the house, which meant I also had to get up in the middle of the night to clean up and then feed him. After Jengo ate, he wanted to play.

Reminded me why I had children when I was younger.  I’m getting too old to stay up all night.

I thought about driving him around in the car to put him to sleep only I was afraid it would put me to sleep. We stayed at home and I laid on the couch and tried to convince Jengo to go to sleep. I gave him a rawhide bone to chew, but he tried to bury it in the newspapers.

At 6 am, I gave up and started the coffee. Then I unloaded the dishwasher and started breakfast.  Jengo helped:

dishwasher2

By the time he left on Monday afternoon, Jengo was right at home. This is a good thing as I imagine he will be returning the next time his owners leave town.

That is unless there is “No Vacancy” at the Miller Dog Hotel.

11 10, 2013

Chicken Coop or Aviary? – Miller Farm Friday

By |2013-10-11T06:06:01-05:00October 11th, 2013|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

A guest blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

It rained off and on all Saturday night. I had to be at church early Sunday morning so I went to let the chickens out before the sun came up.

This is what I found:

bird in coop

A small bird had shared the coop with the chickens during the rain.  The chickens didn’t seem to mind.

It reminded me of a song – of course.

This song has no words. It is an orchestral piece entitled “Aviary” from Camille Saint Saens: Carnival of Animals.

Here’s Aviary for those who have never heard it.

I use the piece in my elementary music classes when I talk about music being high or low. And, every time I have to explain “aviary” is another name for a large birdhouse.

I didn’t realize it could also be a chicken coop.

4 10, 2013

What’s In a Name? – Miller Farm Friday

By |2013-10-04T06:06:52-05:00October 4th, 2013|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

A guest blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

Ice cream was on sale at the store last week. I walked by the freezer without even slowing down.

I was so proud. Then I passed a second display – not fair.

The featured ice cream was “Texans Tackle Crackle.” The carton resembled a football and, although I am not a huge football fan, the name intrigued me.

I bought ice cream – and ice cream cones. It is very good ice cream. Vanilla with chocolate swirls and something crunchy – I’m guessing it is the “crackle.”

This got me thinking about names.

Not all of our chickens have names – which is good since we have thirty or so chickens. Only the ones with distinguishing characteristics have names. For example, Frizz.

FRIZZShe is a frizzle chicken who has quite an attitude. She needs to have a name – she has earned it by her tenacity among the bigger birds.

Then we have Crooked Neck so named for obvious reasons.CROOKED-2

We had one named Hurt Foot for equally obvious reasons but she died. We don’t believe the death was at all related to the hurt foot.

Samson is our rooster with very long feathers.samson

In case you aren’t familiar with the story, Samson was an Old Testament judge who never cut his hair as part of a vow to God. He was known for his strength among other less desirable traits.

Names can describe something as is the case with our chickens.

Names can also create a sense of curiosity like the Texans Tackle Crackle Ice Cream.

So what’s in a name? A lot more than you might think.

6 09, 2013

Hen in a Hive – Miller Farm Friday

By |2013-09-06T07:06:11-05:00September 6th, 2013|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

A blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

The first thing I saw when walking out to get eggs last week was a chicken’s head coming up out of an empty bee hive box like a Jack-in-the-box.

I guess you could call it a “Hen-in-a-hive.”

Of course, I didn’t have my phone/camera with me, and I was unable to coax her back into the hive when I came back out with a camera.

The next day when I went out to get the eggs, I carried my phone. I asked for volunteers, but no one raised their wing.

I didn’t worry. I knew eventually the hen would be going back in the hive because every day there is at least one egg in there.eggs in hive

It is always a white egg, which means it came from a white chicken.

Lest you think you understand chickens and eggs, green eggs do not come from green chickens nor do blue eggs come from blue chickens. Color coordination only works with the white eggs and white leghorn hens.

Speaking of the white leghorn hen, you may remember this is the hen who took us on the great “Chicken Hunt.” That’s why I was unable to catch her to put her in the hive for a picture. She’s the escape artist!

Then yesterday I saw her head coming out of the hive again.  This time I ran inside to get my phone.

hen in hivePoor thing! She’s one confused hen.

But as Beekeeper Brian pointed out, at least she is laying her eggs in our yard.

30 08, 2013

Singer 6233 Obituary – Miller Farm Friday

By |2013-08-30T06:16:44-05:00August 30th, 2013|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|4 Comments

Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

Singer 6233 took its last stitch on August 15, 2013 and was pronounced “not worth fixing” on August 22, 2013. This well-loved machine was a gift on October 3, 1985 and has had a very useful life. 

Among its accomplishments are the creation of a student teaching wardrobe, various curtains and appliance covers and many mending jobs. It also happily made baby clothes and matching dresses for young girls. These same girls later learned to sew on this Singer.  

Through the years, my trusty Singer 6233 made an official Star Trek costume, an elephant, six fluorescent jackets for a Christmas Pageant, a bridesmaid dress and multiple prom dresses.feedbag

This machine lovingly created several family Christmas outfits. Most recently, it made tote bags out of chicken feed sacks.

 

 

Singer 6233 travelled extensively starting out in Houston, moving to Denton, Canton, Mexico City and ending up in Bryan, Texas. 

The store was just going to throw it in the dumpster (after I left, of course) so I brought it home for a proper burial.  

It will be hard to replace my Singer 6322. They just don’t make them like that anymore. The sales lady promised to work with me to learn a new machine. I am skeptical.   

For now, I will let sewing rest and mourn my loss.

singer 6322

 

23 08, 2013

Family Resemblance – Miller Farm Friday

By |2013-08-23T05:47:16-05:00August 23rd, 2013|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|2 Comments

A blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

We have several friends who have new babies in their family.  One is a first born and she looks like her father.  The other is the fourth girl, and she looks just like her sisters.

In our family, the two girls look like my husband and the boy looks like me.

When my parents and I arrived at their new home in Colorado, their neighbor came up to me and started to give me a hug then stopped short.  He thought I was my mother.  I assured him it was ok to hug me anyway.

fish face-2Besides the fact we are all making fish faces, there are definite physical similarities.

It is usually pretty easy to find the family resemblance in humans. Recently, though, I’ve noticed it in our chickens.  (Perhaps I spend too much time in the coop.)

See what you think…here are pictures of Crooked neck and her child, Samson and his child and a nameless barred rock and her child.

Can you tell who is related to whom?

hen1hen2

hen3hen4

hen5hen6

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