Saturday, September 3, 2011

Babies having Babies

Having eighteen pullets and five roosters all "coming of age" at the same time makes for a whole lot of crazy.

Can you believe that these little fuzzballs are laying eggs of their own now?

March 6, 2011

The puberty wave has brought with it a few strange new experiences -

*Waking (and sometimes going to bed) to the sound of 5 frisky boys trying to out-warble one another. Thunder is the undisputed crowing champ. His crow is like a scratchy air raid siren, especially when unleashed within the confines of the coop. Eardrums bleeding now!

*The chicken edition of "I didn't know I was pregnant" playing itself out daily. Some of our ladies' nesting instincts have not quite caught up to their ovaries, catching them off guard and thus necessitating...

*...a daily Easter Egg hunt. A high-stakes game of find the egg, if you will. The challenge being to find every egg every day without fail, lest you should find one that has somehow escaped your notice for a day or two and sat baking in the August heat. No es bueno.

*Squabbles and kerfuffles over the "good" nest box. Sometimes there's a line. Sometimes the gals don't quite make it, and you find an egg or two where the queue had been. Sometimes desperation takes over, and two hens will squeeze their fluffy booties side by side into a one-hen nest, or, even more rarely, one will sit on top of the other, sidesaddle.

The gals do not always maintain a dignified air while waiting either. If one hen is perceived as taking too long to get the job done, the others will BOCK! their everlovin' heads off until they get their turn in the hot seat, or scramble to find a suitable last-minute replacement for the coveted nest box. Sometimes this is in a corner of their coop or a batted down tuft of grass in the yard. There have been a few times that they have laid eggs under the new coop or, mysteriously, on the "wrong" side of the fence. (Are they escaping the yard, laying, then coming back? Or do they simply aim their derrieres to the south and pop an egg through the 4x4 fence, and into the great, wide world?)

Who can say? All I know is that chickens are generally under-appreciated for their entertainment value. Romances, bitter feuds, babies out of wedlock - it's like an episode of All My Children over here.

A Sampling of our lovlies ~

Curlie, the frizzled Polish Roo, looking, err... not his best.

Amelia the Americauna, in the highly-coveted nest box. Amelia is our super-jumbo egg layer. We're talking 4 oz eggs! Go Melie, go.

Beanie, one of our two Turken hens. Her sister, Vulture, looks the same, but has greenish black feathering like the Australorps.

Thunder, mid-crow, as ever.

Chick-Chick, our only white Americauna and the leader of the pack.

Blackberry, an Australorp pullet, one of nine. Her sisters, Agnes, Rockstar, Pinky-Pinky-Pinky, Skateboard and a few others are not pictured. Could you ever have guessed that I had the help of my friends' preschoolers when naming my chicks? ;)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

30 28 Hats in 31 Days

My challenge to knit 30 hats in 31 days for the Period of Purple Crying's educational campaign against Shaken Baby Syndrome has drawn to a close, and I missed my goal by thismuch - two little hats, to be exact.

Still, 28 hats in a month is still a respectable number. That's an over-sized kindergarten classroom's worth of heads that will hopefully be rendered both warm and safe via my hats and the information provided to their parents about how to safely deal with episodes of intense crying. I feel pretty good about having done my bit in that. :)

I'm slightly relieved to have a break from my frenzied knitting. I think that no one is as relieved to see me reach the end of this challenge as my husband is. He saw my staying up late, knitting on the go and otherwise shoehorning yarn and needles in every spare second I had as a small but omnipresent stress and distraction. I'll say this for it, it was my chief downtime occupation this month. My normal sitting-on-my-tush chores, like folding laundry, have suffered somewhat from being sent to the back burner for 4 1/2 weeks. Fear not, crunchy towels and socks - Mama's back! ;)

A picture of all 28 hats, followed by some close-ups of a few of my favorites of the lot. :)

This is actually a self-striping sock yarn. It was a breeze to work with and I loved not having 7000 ends to tuck in!

The eggplant

I've been calling this one Boysenberry Swirl. Does this hat look like a dish of Fro-Yo or what? ;)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Catching Dinner

Just a few photos of our lovely fishing trip to Elger Bay, which I wrote a bit about a few weeks ago here. I finally downloaded the camera and found some great shots of the kids and the seafood that I thought I'd share. ;)

Zooming, aka "turning on the air conditioning"

One day's Dungeness crab haul.

Using the crab measurer to see whether or not she's a keeper. ;)

A decent-sized Dungie

A Dogfish (shark) on the line. These little turkeys fight HARD!

Scarlet hauling up a flounder.

Elger Point, I think? With our crab buoy floating off to the right. What a beautiful view!

A bag full o' flounder!

Our next venture out into the salt will be to chase down a salmon or two. In addition to the annual summer salmon run, this is also a pink salmon year - they only run in odd numbered years - so our odds of landing a salmon are decent if we can find them in the right place at the right time. They're finally coming into the Puget Sound in respectable numbers, and headed for the rivers. So if we miss them in the salt, we might still have a chance at nabbing one in fresh water. Now we just need to find the time to get out there and fish!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

My First Farmhouse Cheddar!

It just came out of the mold, and is now sitting on a bamboo cutting board under the watchful eye of Lorelei, the Goat in a Coat, to dry for at least three days. After it has dried well, I'll be waxing it. It is ready to eat in as few as 8 weeks, but supposedly tastes best when aged for at least six months.

So somewhere in the neighborhood of Valentines Day, I should finally get to find out whether or not I'm any good with cheddar and/or whether goat's milk cheddar is better or worse that the good ol' cow cheddar that I was raised on. Fingers crossed...

P.S. - Check out the picture of The Goat in the Coat and other amazing batiks by my friend, the lovely and talented Lisa Telling Kattenbraker, at her Etsy shop or at :)