Monday, November 14, 2011

Our First White Egg

Lilly is laying! 

On 11-11-11 Lilly laid her first egg.  When I went to collect the eggs I was shocked to see a white egg sitting it the box.  Lilly will be our only white egg layer which is how I knew it was hers.

The girls were 21 weeks old last week and so far Lilly is the only one laying.  Out of all of the younger girls, I would not have picked Lilly to start laying first.  This has me wondering if maybe Snowflake, the White Rock, is laying and I am assuming it is from one of the other girls. 

Snowflake is quite a bit larger than the others and she would have been my first guess as the depositor of the egg if it weren't for the fact that it was white.  The eggs I have been getting haven't changed in size and when the birds initially start laying their eggs are normally smaller.    So, unless I can catch them in the act, I will never know which ones are leaving me the presents. 

When I went out to check on them Saturday I happened to catch Lilly in the laying basket. She had a funny expression after sitting up and looking at the egg laying there.  It was as if she was amazed the egg had come from her.  I wish I had my camera with me.  Her actions were priceless.

It's really hard to believe that just a few months ago the girls were this little!  

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Planning for those days

Frozen meatloaf thawing to pop in the oven for supper!
 It's days like this I am thankful for a freezer.  I often make extra food and put it in the freezer to pull out on days that I don't feel up to cooking.  This is one of those days.  The weather is utterly gloomy, cold and rainy.  It doesn't appear it will improve much in the days ahead.  It's getting colder and winter is just around the corner.

I am not looking forward to winter.  I could really live in a warmer climate.   One with lots of sunshine.  My husband says Hawaii would be perfect for me.  I am not sure I could handle living on an "island".   I used to appreciate the change in seasons, but as I get older, I appreciate the warmer weather more.

Even with the cooler weather, I am still able to gather some things from the garden.  The chickens are enjoying the brussel sprouts and broccoli still growing.  They like the leaves as much as the vegetables. 

Today I pulled up the hot peppers.  They didn't make it through the last couple nights.  I forgot to cover them. Each day I take the covering off of the plants and replace them at night.  Which I evidently forgot to do.  It looks as though from the weather forecast this may be the last week I am able to hold on to the plants.  Next year a greenhouse is in my plans.  Unfortunately for now, my celery looks like it is just starting to do well.  I will have to harvest what I can, and soon.

One Last Time

In addition to being the crazy chicken lady, organic gardener, home school mom, I am also a cosmetologist.  This week one of my dearest friends passed away and it is my great honor to have the opportunity to make her beautiful for all eternity.  Words can't express how much she meant to me.

Yesterday I accomplished a task many are unwilling to attempt.  I cut and colored her hair. The color wasn't a temporary one, but rather permanent, just as we always did.  This was a task I was told could not be done.  Telling me I can't do something always makes me more determined to succeed.

Yesterday's visit wasn't our usual encounter.  This time the conversation was one sided.  We didn't get to have the normal back and forth chat.  I was the only one talking.  I didn't get to hear how her children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren were doing.  I didn't get to hear what she had been up to.  What she looked forward to.  This was the first time the words didn't flow from her.

Over the years we were together so often, and shared so much, I can't pinpoint when we no longer were just friends, but rather family.  She never forgot my birthday, nor my son's.  She would even send him a card on Valentines Day.    We had many conversations, all of which I cherish.

We talked about her life growing up.  What is was like having to milk a cow before and after school, raising  chickens and riding horses.  How she met and fell in love with her husband.  The excitement and joy she had with each and every child she carried.  Her grand children.  The birth of her great grand children.  Marriages, divorces, the death of loved ones.  She loved them all immensely.  I can still remember the loss she felt when her mother passed away.  It left a hole in her heart.  But none as large as the one left by the loss of her daughter to breast cancer.

She herself, was a breast cancer survivor, so when my grandmother came down with it she was a great comfort to me.  I could call and talk to her when I was having a rough day.  When her own daughter was diagnosed, she did everything she could for her.  She never gave up the fight for her.  Even when her daughter could no longer fight. 

After the loss of her daughter I felt helpless as all I could do was listen, share tears, and try to comfort her.  She talked about her daughter often.  I was glad to listen.  I was honored I could be there for her.  She never wanted to burden her family with her grief.  I'm sure she never let on how she was truly grieving.

She was always a strong lady, and I'm sure she felt as if she had to continue to be strong for them.  I know she visited her grave often without notice.  I can't image experiencing the loss of a child.  I know many that have, and my heat goes out to them.  I hope to never experience such grief.

The loss of her daughter really took a lot out of her.  She didn't have the strength she needed to fight her own battles.  I held on hope, as I know she and her family did, that she would get better.  Unfortunately for us, God needed her sooner than we hoped.  She was a very spiritual person and I'm sure she is taking care of her family now, just as she always has.   We talked often about angels and how are family members, even after they have passed, have a way of letting us know they are still with us.  I know she will continue to watch over all of those she loved in heaven, just as she did on earth.

Thursday I get to see her again to style her hair and put on her makeup.   I get to make her look beautiful, one last time.  I am so blessed to have had this wonderful lady in my life.  I loved her dearly and I will miss her greatly.   She was true beauty, both inside and out.  She touched my life like no other and will forever be in my heart and thoughts.

I love you beautiful lady.  Until we see each other again, may you rest in peace.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Bath Time

This week has been a crazy week for weather.  Tuesday was gorgeous with a high in the low 70's.  Tonight we are suppose to dip down into the upper 20's.  I was really enjoying the extended warm weather, and so were the girls.  While the weather was warm, I took full advantage of my time by cleaning out the chicken coop, even washing the window! It's amazing how much better you can see through a clean window.

I also washed the windows on my house.  Just the ones I could reach outside.  The inside will have to wait. While in a cleaning mood, I raked some foliage from the yard, and tore out the cherry tomato tree growing next to the coop.  And yes, I said tree.  That was no ordinary tomato plant.  It spanned at least 8 feet tall.  I have never seen a tomato plant grow that large.  That says nothing for the stalk left in the ground I didn't have the strength to pull.  I'm thinking it needs to be chained to the back of a truck to pull it out.  Well maybe not, but it sure sounds fun to do.

I had just given the younger chickens a bath last week and already the white ones were in need of another one.  This time they knew what they were in for, and weren't as cooperative. They do look pretty all cleaned up.  If only it would last more than a couple days.  They like to walk over each other and leave footprint marks on one another.

Lilly the Leghorn

Lilly is still a lot smaller than the others.  Red takes advantage of that fact and picks at her constantly. She has become the warden of the coop. She will walk back and forth on the perch each night and push each one of them off until they give up perching.  Lilly acts afraid to eat if Red is around.  Red seems to like to torment her for enjoyment.  Most days I go outside and let the older ones out to run in the yard so the younger ones can run freely in the run.  Lilly always heads for the food.  She's a real sweetie.  Just as she did when she was a few days old, she will still let you hold her and sit on your hand, while the others would rather try to escape.
Ginger, Amber, and Licorice
Miss Tail Feathers
The younger chickens haven't realized they are just as big and even bigger than the older girls.  They still let the older ones intimidate them.  They try their best to stay out of the way while the others rule below.  With colder weather coming, they are going to have to learn to coexist being "cooped" up more.