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Monthly Archives: December 2012

Last night we got our first real snow of the season.  I took some pictures before messing them up with footprints.

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I then raked out the run, even with a roof the snow blew in. I then opened the coop-run door.  The ladies did not want to come out.  Finally with some sunflower seed bribes, three came down.

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Miny and Mo

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Mini

Enough of this I have work to do.  My driveway is long, wide and covered in snow. An hour or two later, the driveway is cleared and miraculously there are a maze of snow-blower paths (the crazy things we do for our chickens)  for the chickens to explore.  Four explored, two did not. Jack and Mini stayed in the coop (I’m not going to guess what they were doing) all morning long.

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Jasmine, Mo, Miny and Ini

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When the adventurous four went back into the run Jack and Mini finally came down and joined them.  Jack, my rooster, is a bit of a chicken.

Ed

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Here it is the middle of December, in New England, and I’m still doing things outside for my garden. I went and picked up over thirty large contractor bags full of horse manure. Took three trips, good thing it’s not far. These bags are so heavy that I can’t pick them up without straining something,  So I made a lift from recycled parts that were at the recycling center’s metal bin.  I hang it on the hinges of my back door.  I roll the bags onto it, jack it up and pivot it into my truck.

truck lift with 160 lb log

truck lift with 160 lb log

 

With this manure I covered my asparagus bed and my rhubarb plants for the winter.  My compost pile hasn’t frozen yet, so I was able to spread compost over the rest of the garden.  Now we wait for spring.  The warm days have caused my garlic (that I planted in November) to sprout.  Small green shoots are poking through the ground.  They are very hardy and will be fine till spring.

Last night I made soup with my last butternut squash.  Fresh homemade and still warm pretzels with melted butter to dip them in, an excellent meal.DSCF0001

Roasted Butternut Soup

  1. Butternut squash
  2. Olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper
  3. 1/2 cup cooked sweet sausage w/ minced onion
  4. 1 cup chicken broth
  5. 1-2 cups of heavy cream
  6. 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  7. water as needed
  8. salt and pepper to taste
  9. Goat cheese crumbled for topping

Peal and cube squash, toss with olive oil and spices, bake in shallow dish till fork tender, about 45 minutes.  I do this ahead if I can.  In blender puree squash, sausage and broth, add water if needed. Puree in 2 batches.  Combine all but cream and cheese in sauce pan, bring to a gentle boil add cream and salt and pepper if needed, reduce heat, 5 minutes, serve. Sprinkle goat cheese on top.

Ed

April 4th 2012, I bring home 6 one-day-old chicks, 6 yellow fuzzballs that will fit into the palm of your hand.  They’re in a cardboard box a little bigger than a shoe box.  Every bump in the road, every turn, every stop and every start would get them peeping as loud as they could. Very traumatic ride home and I’m a safe driver, well some of the time.  I had set up their new home, a 2 foot by 3 foot cardboard box in the dining room.  A heat lamp, a chick feeder tray and a watering jug had been borrowed from a friend.  He had gotten his chicks in February and didn’t need these items right now.  When I picked them up, I was watching his chickens, they were all feathered out, maybe a little skinny but they were chickens, not cute little fuzzy chicks. I asked how old were they.  My mouth dropped when he said six weeks. “SIX WEEKS”??  Yeah, they grow fast.

I need a coop, really soon. That cardboard box in the dining room won’t hold them for long.

At 3 weeks they were jumping and flapping their wings, some could make it to the edge of the box.where they would perch. A week more and one jumped from the edge of the box to the back of the dining room chair.  We knew this was coming and had a screen cover for the box.

Coop framing and roof

Coop framing and roof

I decide to make my coop up on stilts. The floor area is about 4 feet by 5 1/2 feet, enough floor space for up to 7 chickens.  I made it that size so I couldn’t go nuts and bring home more cute chicks.  Some chicken owners do that a lot. I purchased treated fence posts for my stilts and set them 2 to 3 feet in the ground.  Then built my coop on top of them.  Most of the coop is made from pine boards that my father-in-law and myself milled from 3 large pine trees that we cut down 2 years earlier.  The roof material is 2 sections of metal from my neighbors old swimming pool.  The run is an old chain link dog run that I salvaged for free.  “Backyardchickens.com” talks a lot about the $900.00 egg or the $1200.00 egg.  This is the first egg that your chickens lay. And this is how much you have spent yo get that first egg,  This does not include the time and energy you have put into this adventure.  My first egg was a $350.00 egg. It was laid August 4th 2012, four months after I brought them home.

Coop front view

Coop front view

Coop side view with nesting boxes

Coop side view with nesting boxes

The cute little fuzzballs have changed into moth eaten, partially feathered preteens, that only their mother could love.  They changed daily.  It was hard to tell who was who.  Oh Yeah, we did name them, Ini, Mini, Miny, Mo, Giselle and Jasmine.  Once you name them, you can’t eat them.

Coop done, out they go.  First night in the new chicken condo.  I rise early the next morning and look out the back window. And what to my wondering eyes do appear???  A FOX.  A red fox is walking around the run and the coop.  How did he know??  He must have gotten a tweet or a little bird told him.

8 week old chicks

8 week old chicks

The baby chick, Giselle, as she grew was changing faster and getting bigger than the other hens.  At 8 or 9 weeks, when she started to crow, we renamed her Jack.  And a handsome rooster he is.  I can’t even complain, I ordered 5 hens and came home with 6 chicks, one turned out to be a rooster.

Ed

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