You are currently browsing the monthly archive for May 2009.

may 30 pots

May 30 – This is what I did today.  🙂  I found the how-to via twitter and went here to learn.  They’re called Tipsy pots and are very easy.  I planted them with marigolds, lobelia and some alyssum.  I may do a second one out front where it can be seen from the road.  This one is right by our front door as sort of a welcome.  Plus, I can enjoy it more when it’s close.  You can just see the leg of my yard swing at the far left of the picture.  I can sit there and enjoy my birds, chickens and flowers.  The hummingbird feeder is just behind on the green pole you can see, and in front of the swing is a seed feeder where bold chickadees will come while I sit and watch.

I’d also like to find some old buckets and make a tower of those.  I saw a picture of one, and the top of the tower was an old watering can.  Looked very whimsical.  One thing I’ll do differently next time is to have the bottom pot bigger than the rest.  I used 10 inch pots throughout and next time will go with 12 or more inches for the bottom.  There wasn’t much room to plant anything there and I think it would look better if there was.  I do have some alyssum sticking out, but that’s it.


may 29 hens

May 29 – Chickens LOVE watermelon, so they get all the rinds.  Soon, this will be pecked down to just the skin, as they also enjoy the white part of the rinds.  David eats a watermelon a week this time of year, so there is much rejoicing in the chicken camp.

Also, I banded my Buff Orpington hens.  You can see the color rings around a couple legs above – there were 10 different colors – perfect!  I should’ve done this long ago!  I can now tell them apart, somewhat.  At least, I know for sure that it’s the blue-banded chicken (now named Wrong Way Corrigan) that keeps ending up alone and squawking about it.  She wanders away from the flock in a very unchickenlike manner then panics.  So, now I can name my hens (yay!) and learn them better.  I found it hard to do when they all look the same.   I’m thinking to name the older ones (which I can only just tell apart from the November 4 chicks because the older ones are finishing up their molting and look scruffier just now) after the women in Buffy, since hey, Buff Orpingtons – one has to be Buffy!  Right now I have ol’ Wrong Way and Slacky, the young hen who has a slightly off kilter beak (giving her a slack-jawed appearance).  Means I have 9 other hens to name.  I am also banding the chicklets – at least the Wyandottes (have two done so far) and the wheaten Ameraucanas.  I can tell the others apart by color.  The chicklets are harder to catch.  The Buffs come up to me and I just have to reach down.  Chicklets have to be caught unawares.  So far three are banded – the two Wyandottes and a Wheaten.  Technically I only need to band one more Wyanotte and one more Wheaten, since not having a band is just as distinctive as having one.  Then I will need to name the Wyandottes and Ameraucanas.  One of the Ameraucanas is Cleo – there’s a very early picture of her back in late March.  She’s the buff-colored chick with the big black eyeliner.  She’s now marked more like a Wheaten, except that she has some spots on some of her feathers and her eyes still sport dark rings.

Anyway, blah blah, chickens.  🙂  Love my chickens!

may 28 chicklets

May 28 – These chicklets are a close-knit bunch.  They do come out and hang around the bigger chickens, but when it comes time to rest or sleep, they gather together in a little knot.  Here a few are perched on the lowest lying tree branches while others stand and sit nearby.  They are still sleeping in the tiny coop they grew up in, evidently not yet ready to sleep with the big chickens.

We did lose one of the Ameraucana chicks about a week ago.  Just up and died as chickens sometimes do.  I was counting my chickens and kept coming up one short.   I knew it was on of the wheaten Ameraucanas (the ones with the golden heads).  David checked in the wee coop and found it dead.  Also, one of these Ameraucanas (third from the top on the right hand stack of chicklets) appears to maybe be a rooster.  Its tail is considerably longer than the others’ tails.  That leaves me with 8 new pullets.

may 27 avery

Avery says “Check me out!!”  His mohawk has become general fuzzy headedness.  Look at the fuzzy feet though!  His general appearance is rather scrubby, due to chick fuzz growing out and feathers growing in.  It appears more noticable on a black chick, I’ve discovered, as I never thought the chicklets looked quite this silly.  Of course, it may have to do with the singular nature of the Silky chicken’s feathering as well.  I just know that right now Avery is one silly looking chick.  He’s growing like a weed, though.  He jumped up on the edge of his box today and startled us.  Hopefully he doesn’t figure it out too soon…I have nothing bigger to put him in just now.

may 26 fire

May 26 – We finally had a day where we could burn – fire danger has been very high recently due to lack of rains.  David had been clearing brush and trimming trees and we had two huge piles needing to be burned.  When we woke up and found it all drizzly with more rain to come, he hurried out to get it started once he got his burn permit.  This was the second fire, and the only picture I had with him in it for size comparison.  The flames leaped into the sky.  It was a good day for burning, though – no winds, light rain, everything else green.  All that’s left in this pile is a tree trunk.  It will get chopped up and utilized elswhere, I believe.

may 25 feed me

Phoebe does this when she wants to be fed – lies down next to her food dish and looks all wistful.  Since she rarely does it any time other than the normal feeding times, if she does ask say, in the middle of the day, we will usually comply.   She’s the only dog I’ve met who eats lying down; she has as long as we’ve had her.  Recently she started a new post-prandial habit of walking over to the ottoman in the living room and wiping her face off on the quilt there.  Perhaps I should provide a napkin with her dinner?

DSC09444May 24 – Avery says, “I am fierce!”   Fear him.  hee!  He’s developing this wee mohawk just now.  His whole body is a mix of fluffy grey chickness and silk black feathers.  His feet have their feathers and it looks like he’s wearing fuzzy slippers.  I definitely have a pet chicken now.  He will follow me around in the garden, though since he’s still no bigger than a handful, I have to watch him.  He likes to go right between my feet.   If I am moving a lot, I make sure he’s safely away.  Yesterday he got some quality sun and dirt time and seemed to enjoy that.  In the evenings when we’re watching tv, I take him out of his box and he likes to sit on my shoulder or chest.  He no longer fits under my hand to sleep, but is quite content to settle in to watch tv with us.

David needed to borrow my camera and wanted a picture to email, so I changed the setting to VGA instead of 6 mp, which is where it is by default as I learned *that* lesson (I thought) years ago when one of my best ever chickadee pictures, one that would make such a fine Christmas card, is tiny and not printable.   grr.  Of course I forgot to set it back later and didn’t realize until I downloaded these pictures and so they are basically tiny.  Good for my blog, but not for me to print.  I will have to get more Avery mohawk pictures before it goes away.

may 23 hobieMay 23 – Hobie sleeps in such strange positions.  Fortunately it’s usually in the chair which is under the window, so I get good natural light and don’t have to bother him.  Some days he’s upside down, others stretched out like this.  I wouldn’t mind being a cat.

142 may 22 loooon

May 22 – While getting groceries, I realized what a truly lovely day it was – not too hot, no wind, perfect for kayaking.  When I got home I told David we should go and he agreed.  I packed up a lunch (because eating lunch on the water is truly bliss) and off we went to a small lake I had scouted late last summer when one of our neighbors told me about it.  He knows my birding interests (as he is a birder as well) and told me when he saw our kayaks.  There is a mating pair of loons on the lake, he told me.  When I scouted the lake – it’s truly in the backwoods – I saw the loons and their nearly fully grown chick.  I hoped to see them again.

When we got our kayaks, I imagined floating about looking at creatures, nipping into small coves, quietly investigating new places.  So far we had been on the two large lakes in Cadillac (which don’t lend themselves to investigation) and down the Pine River, which kept us moving and also didn’t lend itself to investigation.

Olga Lake was different.  Just as I had imagined.  When we first got on the water, we quickly got out to the middle of the lake, then just floated as we had lunch and talked quietly.  Then we paddled out where soon no one will be paddling because the water lilies are so thick.  The sound of them sliding across the underside of the kayak defies my descriptive powers.  There were turtles basking on logs.  There were baby water snakes. (!)  Red-winged Blackbirds, Common Grackles and Eastern Kingbirds were everywhere and the air was filled with their calls.  Brightly colored dragonflies flitted about and some were attracted to our yellow paddles, yellow the same color as the flowers of the water lilies.  We went into one cove, thinking it actually encircled an island.  It didn’t.  We had our first portage though, as it was only 10-15 feet across to the bigger part of the lake.  We got back in and were cruising along, looking at a beaver dam up close, seeing muskrats and more birds, when I first saw the loons.  They are tiny in my first pictures as they were well across the lake.  We headed back to the landing and they seemed headed that way as well.  David went on in and loaded his kayak while I stayed to photograph the loons, floating quietly without paddling as they approached me.  At one point they approached within 30 feet of my kayak, not alarmed at all, swimming alongside me.  I just sat with them for a time and it was rather magical.  I got some lovely pictures and even more lovely memories.  The kayaks have more than fulfilled my imagination’s view of how they would be.  It was a very good day.

141 may 21 peeps

May 21 – David called me to see this.  The waterer was empty, but the chicklets found the bird bath worked just as well.  The big chickens have a continuously fed trough of water, but the peeps don’t wander quite that far yet.  I made that bird bath using a cheap cracked plastic one I got at a garage sale for 50 cents.  Filled the base with cement and pulled it off and cast the bowl in sand.  I managed to break the top of the base but I got the idea to flip it over and bury the broken part in the ground, so now it works quite well  even if it looks a little wobbly.  Other than peeps, I haven’t seen anyone use it, but other birds have left evidence, so I know they do use it.