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12 10, 2012

Miller Farm Friday – I love my chickens

By |2012-10-12T07:56:09-05:00October 12th, 2012|Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

This week’s email from the farm…

I love my chickens and my chickens love me – especially when I feed them.

I was checking for eggs in the nest boxes this morning when one of the black hens started moving hay from one next box to the other. I guess she is the designated interior decorator.

Meanwhile, Essie (short for Survivor Girl from the Christmas Eve massacre at Barneyville) follows me around the whole time I am in the chicken yard.

In fact, I have accidentally stepped on her before. That hasn’t stopped her. Anyway, she hopped up on the door to the nest boxes and watched the redecorating process.

She is the only chicken we have who will let you pet her. I guess I now understand how people can have pet chickens. But, she’s not coming inside. Already tried that with Einstein and look where it got him.

I know that is shocking to you, but this made me think of a song.

I have a chicken my chicken loves me
I feed my chicken on tender leaf tea
My little chicken goes bak bak bak
My little rooster goes cockle doodle doodle
doodle doodle doodle do.

Anyone else remember that one?

I did remember the song, but had no idea who wrote it or when. After a quick Google search, I discover Arkansas folk singer named Almeda Riddle (1898-1986) was the first to publicly sing “My Little Rooster.”

Also known as Granny Riddle, her acapella recording of the song appears on the 1997 cult film “Gummo.” If you’d like a listen click below:

If you’ve got a preschooler or kindergartener, gather them up to the computer screen and have a watch of this more pleasant sounding variation. They’ll love it.

Chicken Wrangler Sara isn’t singing, though it could be her. She is a professional musician and music teacher. It’s exactly the sort of thing she’d do.

Well, on second thought, maybe not. She’d probably bring Essie so the kiddos could pet a real chicken and sing!

YOUR TURN: I’m sure we have you humming the “I love My Rooster” tune by now. If you don’t have a rooster or a chicken or a pig or a cow or a …, what would you substitute for rooster in the song?

7 09, 2012

Fowl Moving Day

By |2012-09-07T08:29:47-05:00September 7th, 2012|Friday on the Miller Farm|8 Comments

Monday’s Labor Day holiday signaled the end of summer. For a large percentage of the population this week also signaled the start of school which in turn meant moving kids out of the house and back to classrooms.

With all that moving and changing and settling into routines going on, I thought Sara’s email about moving chickens was a perfect fit today. See if you don’t agree…

Fowl Moving Day

There comes a day in the life of every child where they get too big for wherever they are and they have to move. It starts with the move from bassinet to crib, then crib to “big bed” and eventually they leave the house altogether.

The same type of process happens with chickens.

They start in an incubator (which is currently in our living room),  

 

 

then move to a brooder (in our garage).

From there, they move into a small chicken yard in our back yard where the Bantams (a smaller breed of chickens) live all the time. As they get bigger than the Bantams, they move into the big chicken yard.

A similar, but simpler, process happens with the quail. They simply go from incubator to brooder to one of the quail cages in the back yard. On this particular Saturday, we had both quail and chickens to move.

A multi-step process involving cinder blocks, extra cages and much squawking.

We started by consolidating our three quail cages into one. The cage in the chicken coop only had one quail in it. I believe this quail was somewhat lonely as he spent his days walking in circles in the cage. (Of course, this could also be a result of the bird brain mentality.)

His cage is up high in the chicken coop where neither my daughter nor I can comfortably reach. Hence, the cinder block.

There are two openings in this cage and the quail would run back and forth requiring two people to be ready to catch him. That would be me and my daughter.

So we put the cinder block in the middle and each of us put one foot on it and the other on the side of the coop. Before long, we had trapped the quail and moved him in with his new cage mates.

This left his cage empty for the new quail that were outgrowing the brooder. At first, the move stressed the transferred quail. After all, they’d only seen the inside of our garage, but they have adjusted quite nicely.

Step two of moving day involved putting the young roosters into a separate cage to be fattened up before going to freezer camp and eaten later. Before you cry “animal cruelty,” I can assure you, their life has been much better than that of the chickens you buy at the grocery store.

I must confess, though, I did think of Hansel and Gretel as we were putting food into the cage. 

In case you don’t remember, the witch locked up Hansel and had him stick out his finger occasionally to see if he was fat enough to eat.

Anyway, the roosters had no idea what was happening though I was a little concerned about their transition. But since none of them were named, I wasn’t that attached and stopped worrying.

Sadly enough, when we returned from church Sunday morning, my daughter discovered all but one of the roosters had died. Apparently, they don’t like change (or they got wind of their fate and decided to commit mass suicide).

There was one lone survivor and my daughter, having learned well from her mom’s previous rooster rescue of Einstein, brought him inside.

Mr. Rooster spent the night in our living room and seemed to be better the next day. I named him Einstein II and now he’s living out his natural life with the chickens.

Our final step on this moving day was the easiest – moving chicks out to the small chicken yard.

Teaching them to go into the coop at night is not so easy. For now, I reach under the coop each night to get them and tuck them in with the Bantams. Hopefully they will get the idea soon.

P.S. Besides this being the week I start my piano students, this week happens to be the week that the eggs in the incubator are going to hatch. The cycle is continuous.

I started three new piano students to the sounds of a lone chick calling for the others to come out and play  🙂 No one seemed to mind. You never know what you will learn at the Millers.

Yesterday one of my piano students danced around the living room during her brother’s lessons. She said, “You know how they do a rain dance to make it rain. Well I am doing the chicken dance to make the chicks hatch.”

Unfortunately it didn’t work until after she left. 🙂

I love my job.

My favorite part of this email was Sara’s opening paragraph:

There comes a day in the life of every child where they get too big for where ever they are and they have to move. It starts with the move from bassinet to crib, then crib to “big bed” and eventually they leave the house altogether.

I remember those stages with my three children. I really looked forward to the progress each stage represented and now looking back, I wish they hadn’t come so fast.

YOUR TURN: So how’d your week go? Any chicken dancing going on? Kids moving out or in? Kiddos climbing those giant steps onto the yellow school bus?

13 05, 2012

Mother’s Day 2012

By |2017-05-04T15:57:24-05:00May 13th, 2012|Uncategorized|7 Comments

Biology is the least of what makes someone a mother. ~Oprah Winfrey

Today is Mother’s Day. I’m swinging on the porch swing thinking I totally agree with Oprah’s quote. I’ve some motherly women in my life. Sad to say, most of whom are no longer with me and only one I called Mother.

First, the little four-foot six-inch Irish immigrant Oma Julia. Oma because she married into a strong German family who settled in Texas. She began the lineage.

Next there’s her daughter Helen, the one who birthed me:

Apologies to my brother born over a decade after this picture was made. I couldn’t find a picture of all four of us with Mother, which made me sad. (Note to self–take more pictures.)

Then there’s Rose, the Mom-in-love I inherited when I married. What a jewel she was!

She raised one fine son and for that, I am eternally grateful.

And last, but never least, my Aunt Bick, the one who always says, “The stork just left you at the wrong house.”
We’ve had some real adventures through the years. I love when you remember and we can relive those moments.

Can’t end a Mother’s Day blog without special thanks to these three who ushered me into the ranks of motherhood.

And all of theirs who crowned me grandmother.

Happy Mothers Day to them all and all of you. Hope everyone is having a fantabulous day.