You are currently browsing the monthly archive for March 2009.

88-mar-29-snowbirds

Juncos.  In the new snow.  The new snow that is continuing to fall.  The new snow from the system that dumped 28 inches of new snow in parts of Kansas and please oh please don’t do that to us…

The weather folken originally said we were in the band of “heavy?” snowfall, meaning they thought perhaps but didn’t really know.  Then they changed it to no, then to “oh, we still don’t really know.”  I’d call it rather heavy.  There’s a few inches out there already and no sign of it stopping.  It just keeps getting heavier.  Ah, spring in Michigan.  Such joy in the unknown.  My consolation is that I do tend to note the weather daily in my bird journal (I note birds seen and heard, critters seen, and what the weather was doing more or less) because I can see from last year that yes, there was snow through parts of April last year, so this should come as no surprise.  It doesn’t really.  It’s my fourth winter here, after all, so I’m finally sort of understanding how it all works with Real Winter.  Basically, you just hold on until June and even that is no real guarantee.  Evidently it has snowed on July 4th.  Go figure.

87-mar-28-seedlings

This year I heeded the magazines’ advice and started my tomato seedlings early.  They’re just getting going.  I got very few tomatoes last year due to the late start and the weirdo weather.  Got plenty of zuchinni and some bell peppers, but little else.  So this year I got the wee plastic greenhouse and am starting things early.  These are organic beefeater tomato seedlings.  They came from organic seeds and shall, of course, remain organic.  The picture of them looks scrumptious.  I want to give tomato canning a go this year.

I saved seeds from my lovely Cinderella pumpkin and hope to have some of those in the fall.  It will be exciting.

86-mar-27-chick

One of the new chicks (obviously).  She is the only light-colored one.  I chose her because she’s a little puffball and because she looks vaguely old Egyptian with her dark kohl-lined eyes.

We set up a heat lamp in the mini coop and the chicks are happily running about instead of spending all their time under their mother trying to keep warm.  They’re fun to watch.  Their little wing feathers are already coming in!

85-mar-26-door

Our new front door was finally installed.  David is getting things knocked off his to-do list.  It will make it more difficult to get pictures out the door, but I’m willing to sacrifice.  I love the bevels.

84-mar-25-chicks

New chicks!  (though not the best picture)  I got 10 – 7 Ameraucanas and 3 Silver-Laced Wyandottes.  The Wyandottes are the black ones with white beaks that look quite large.  The Ameraucanas are the lovely shades of brown.  They are all supposed to be pullets (females), though the sexing is only guaranteed at 80% from this hatchery.  Last year, my 2 Ameraucana pullets turned out to be a pullet and a roo.

Since I had the extra day, I had cleaned out the nest box of the bad eggs and given her two new eggs to sit on to keep her interested.  When I got the chicks home I took them to the coop and slid a couple under her.  She looked a little surprised, but she stayed with them.  So I took the eggs out and put the other chicks under her.  She accepted them!  Instant chicken family.  Motherless chicks now have a mama and chickless ever-so-patient mama has chicks.  David put the finishing touches on a mini coop for them so they could be protected from the rest of the flock, and we put the new family together there.  When I put the feeder and waterer in front of mama, she clucked in delight and called the kids over to eat.  It’s a wonderful thing.

In the meantime, another hen has gone broody, further cutting into my egg production, though it will go back up in a few weeks when those election chicks begin laying.  The new broody was already sitting on 5 eggs, so I slipped 2 bantam eggs under her, insanely curious to know what the chicks will look like, then gave her the additional eggs I had slipped under mama hen so in 3 weeks time, there may be another 9 chicks – 7 Buffs and 2 bantam cross.

83-mar-24-buttons

I drove into town today as it was supposed to be chick day.  The sad face I got when I walked into the feed store with my little cardboard box told me that the chicks had not arrived.  So as not to waste the trip in, I went to get groceries and to the Goodwill.  There I found treasure!  A large glass vase full of buttons!!!

David did not understand nor share my enthusiasm for this treasure.  He was aghast that I wanted to dump them out, saying I’d have them all over the house as though I was a toddler or something!  I carefully dumped them into a pizza pan to sift through and discover my favorites, like the only oval on in the group, the deep purple one, the little irridescent flowers.  Ah, bliss!  I put them into a gallon ziploc and it’s a lot of buttons!  My previous button collection filled one quart mason jar.  The new ones will fill another two or three.  I am pleased.

82-mar-23-roos1

The chickens are so happy to be running about.  The only problem so far is that Hobie has decided he *loves* chasing chickens.  Sadie takes affront at this (those are her chickens to protect) and if she catches him at it she runs at him and literally roars – a big bass growl that sounds like a roar.  He runs for his very life, though when she does catch him, all she does is poke him with her snout.

These two young fellows did what quite a few chickens will do.  If I’m sitting in the sun, they will come sit near me.  I love this about chickens.

81-mar-22-pullet

This is one of the November 4 (election) babies.  She’s one of, I believe, 6 pullets in the group (they can be hard to count when they’re all milling about).  They are such handsome chickens.

Regarding the training of chickens.  It just sort of happened, really, as much of my training does.  I talk to the chickens.  I’d call them when I had food for them – usually something good like greens or scratch grains.  Eventually it came about that if I called, they would come.  They also come without calling, if they see me, as they see me (and David) as the source of good food stuffs, and so hurry over when we’re outside, hoping for something.  It’s a little unnerving to be out and about and suddenly hear a stampede of chicken feet behind you…

80-mar-21-snow

Ah, Mother Nature, she kids, she keeeeeds!!!  First full day of spring, and this is what I wake up to…I was not pleased.  The dogs, they were pleased.  Me, not so much.  The chair had been set up to enjoy the afternoon sun, of which we had been getting plenty.  Then this outrage!  It did, however, melt off in the afternoon and is now all brown and dirty again, awaiting the explosion of green that will be the grass.  That will be within two or so weeks, judging by pictures from last year.

This is one of the nice things about taking lots of pictures.  Visual confirmation of the ways of the weather here.  It is soothing to look at pics from last year and know that we do indeed have less snow now and warmer temps and therefore will have the green soon.  I’m just happy to be hanging my wash again.  No more trips to the laundromat.  This winter we will have a dryer, though, so I think my laundromat days are finally over!

79-mar-20-pileated

David was outside working on the new bedroom (!) and called me out to say the Pileated Woodpecker was in the yard.  When I went out, he flew away, scaring the chickens (large wingspans to them mean hawk!).  I came back in and a little later looked out to see him hanging on the suet feeder.  I stepped into the garage very slowly so I could get a good shot out the door (as it has a big window in it).   Handsome fella, isn’t he?  He hung around for quite some time.  Once he was still, the chickens were fine and actually hung out under the suet feeder because with that bill, finesse in eating is not a trait the Pileated Woodpecker has.  There were many crumbs to be had for chickens.  I love how you can see the color of his eye!  He is about 20 feet away or so at this point.  The suet feeder hangs from a rope – a set-up necessitated by last spring’s bear invasion.