Tag Archives: Chickens

November? November!

Whoa whoa whoa everyone, please tell me it is NOT already November. October slipped through my fingers so quickly and I feel like I barely had time to relish in my favorite month of the year! Who am I kidding, though… it has been a terrific past few weeks. So terrific in fact, that I have barely had time to sit down and update this space!

Lately I have been…

Going to the AZ State Fair

Reconnecting with dear old friends from high school at Hanny’s

Watching the garden grow big —

Carrots –

Kale –

Buttercup Squash –

Sunflowers –

And the broccoli, spinach, pumpkin, radishes, tomatoes, etc., etc., etc. are all doing fabulously as well!

The baby chicks are so big now that we have been able to put them in the large run with the adult chickens. They are chirping along as happily as ever and starting to get rather fat!

In even more exciting news, we had a group of three lovely cross-country cyclists stay with us around Halloween. Em and Nick hail from San Francisco, and Alex, a friend they met up with on the road, is originally from Austin, TX. Em and Nick are currently in the process of filming a documentary about cycling fatalities and are en route to Orlando, FL. Alex, on the other hand, has been on the road for the last six months biking all around the perimeter of the continental US. You can read more about their fascinating journey on their blog. They also have a pretty sweet map on the website so you can see where they’re off to.

While they were here, we did some hiking

Hung out by the pool
(it was a pretty warm day, even by fall’s standards)

Partied it up at the Crescent Ballroom for Halloween

and Alex managed to snag himself a pretty sweet tat from Golden Rule

I guess he liked Phoenix okay!

It was really amazing to spend so much time with people who are so convicted about what they do, and so hardcore that they are literally biking every mile from coast to coast. Even Blaise has done some serious biking in his life (more at his blog, guys, I am not equipped to tell these stories!), and after our visitors left, I was starting to feel pretty left out. Why was I so scared of just getting on a bike?

So… my delightful beau struck it out of the park once more…

By fixing me up my very own little bike!

My bike has a little basket and lights for when I bike around at night. My very concerned parents kindly bought my an Adeline Adeline nutcase helmet and guess what?!

I’ve been biking to work every day. I have probably already saved $30-$40 in gas this week already! Hooray!

Dear Em, Nick, and Alex: Thank You for inspiring me to get on a bike!

 

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Coming Up Roses

Well… I suppose we don’t have any roses at the moment, but here’s what’s coming up over here:

Radish

Broccoli

Spinach

Carrots

Buttercup Squash

and let’s not forget the sunflowers!

Also growing but not pictured at the moment are onions, kale, garlic, and several other varieties of squash (pumpkin and yellow straightneck!)

Last but certainly (!!!) not least:

(although kind of hard to see, two of the chicks are under the lemon tree and the grown up brood is staring at them from their run)

The Welsummer says hello! She is very, very loud…

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Little Bits

A bit of what’s going on around here:

The little ones are growing up so fast. I have to remember to snap a few shots every now and then because even I can’t tell from day to day, each pic reminds me that they’ve already gotten huge compared to how they used to be.

Sunflowers peeking up

New tomatoes

And because I’ve been blathering on and on about how cute the babies are, I’ve totally forgotten about the other, still awesome adult chickens.

Hey Pete!

and finally,

We also rearranged the house! Yesterday we took most of the day to do a ton of cleaning and moving. The place feels so much more open and airy!

Life is good! Hopefully I’ll get around to writing a more substantive post soon, but I’m in a rush this morning so be on the lookout in the near future!

 

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Seedlings (almost!)

Yesterday we started the process of germinating a few seeds. Not every seed can go directly into the ground, so it’s important to sprout them inside before you throw them in the soil.

To work with a few of the seeds we already had on hand (khulrabi, pumpkin, eggplant, fennel, and a few others), we cut coffee filters into quarters and dampened them with a spray bottle.

We then folded the coffee filters in half, then half again, and tucked the seeds inside, carefully folding the filter back together to lock the seeds loosely in its dampness.

Next we placed the seeds into little baggies to help keep in the moisture. We did not seal the bags up so that air can reach the seeds. We’ll have to spray a tiny bit of water into the bags every now and then to keep them from drying out.

 

Some seeds we were able to do a direct plant into some soil. We had a bunch of tiny pots left over from the mass succulent purchases this summer, so we filled those with potting soil and carefully laid the seeds in them. Each seed needs to be planted at a different depth, so we referred to the seed packets for this information.

We labeled each pot so we won’t get confused as to which pot has which plant in it. Above we have sweet pepper, basil, coriander, and okra. Oh boy!

 

We put the pots onto a cookie sheet so we can spread water across the bottom for the roots to soak up. For now we are okay to water them lightly with the spray bottle on top of the soil, but once they sprout, they’ll need to be watered this way.

I am very excited for all of this garden business! We are also ordering a few more seeds from burpee.com, including varieties of tomato, radish, carrot, parsnip, arugula, spinach, kale, onion, and broccoli. We’re also on a hunt for some herbs, but I’d like to find them already sprouted at a nursery. I’m not sure which nursery around here will carry all the herbs I want… I guess I’ll have to do some exploring!

In other news, the baby chicks are doing excellently! Every day they get a little more clever, a little stronger, and a little more adventurous. I can’t believe that in about six months they’ll be laying eggs! They are so, so tiny right now, and still so very sweet.

 

 

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New Additions!

Two pieces of really, really great news, guys!

#1: One of these things is not like the other…

Blaise discovered a green egg in the coop! His newest chickens (which we still lovingly call “the babies”) have finally started laying! He discovered some white eggs a few days back, which was a little confusing because “the babies” are Ameraucana chickens, or Easter Eggers. Their eggs should be different colors, so the white was a tad disappointing. But hip hip hooray! A green egg! And more colors on the way, we hope! Only two babies have started laying, so there’s four more to go.

The little guy in the center is our green egg culprit, which I had previously named Corbett. (For some reason, all the chickens seem to have boy names. I am attempting to fix this for future broods! They are hens for pete’s sake! [oddly enough… one chicken is named Pete… oh boy.]).

Side note: This is probably just me attempting to anthropomorphize the chickens, but I’ve noticed that the two babies who are now laying are able to compete with the older hens for food a bit better now. When the two broods were first integrated – the older and the younger – the babies got picked on a bit and were rather skittish. Now, Corbett and her laying buddy, Rusty, are front and center of the pack. The other four non-laying babies are still pretty much hanging out in the back and being afraid of everything and everyone. Does laying eggs give hens confidence? Have they achieved some kind of social standing in the brood? I wonder about these things. Does anyone have any info on this?

#2: We may or may not have decided to get more chickens!
(And by that I mean we did!)

But first things first.

While I attempted to do physical labor (i.e. raking the garden beds or mopping inside, rather, to beat the heat), my very industrious boyfriend took to the little baby chicken coop outside. Since he has had several rounds of chickens already, he is old hat at the whole thing and has a pretty good setup. That doesn’t mean, however, that he doesn’t want to constantly improve on the process. He’s working on fitting in a “doggy door” for the chicks so it’s easier to get them in and out of the little cage.

In the above, you can see Mabus, Pete, and Henface (yes, Henface. I was not around when she was named!) are clearly doing everything they can to distract Blaise from his power-tooling. Such a helpful little brood!

Then it was off to the store to pick out our little chickies!

At Pratt’s, there are several large tubs full of chicks, ducklings, baby turkeys, etc. I had a SUPER hard time ignoring the ducklings, but we were on a mission.

We wanted very healthy chicks, so we had to watch the multitudes swarm around the tub for a while. We pulled out a few who really stuck out – strong ones, curious ones, energetic ones. We ended up with two Ameraucanas, two Cuckoo Marans, one Brahma, and one Welsummer. Six in all.

We put them in a baggy and took them to their new home!

(the big yellow one is the Brahma. She is slightly larger than the others because she is probably a week or so old whereas the others are just under a week old.)

My first baby chickens! I am so very excited!!

It’s warm enough right now that they could probably go outside to the baby coup right away. However, Blaise and I decided we wanted to keep them inside for a week just so they could get some growing done without the stress of the adults wandering near them. The setup is not so very difficult.

Right now they are in a large round tub filled with hamster-type bedding. They have water and feed in constant supply and a heat lamp.  I hadn’t thought of this, but apparently it’s very important that the chickens have room to get out of the head lamp’s glow, but they seem to really enjoy hanging out in the warmth. By this I mean they have space to move around to different climates. As for their feed, I got them a mix made specifically for young chicks – lots of fiber, grain, protein, and a little bit of calcium. You don’t want too much calcium at this age, so we will add more of that into their diet as they reach laying age. I believe this particular blend has sorghum, soybean, corn, meat/bone meal, sugar, and vitamins.

They don’t have a ton of space in their indoor home so we let them out into the garden every now and then to scratch around and enjoy themselves. I prefer that these visits be supervised, personally, because I have seen some cats sniffing around lately. And of course, once real plants have been put in the garden, they shall have to find a new playground!

As I write this, I can hear their little peeps from across the room. It is the cutest little sound! They are pretty friendly and will sit in your hand for a good amount of time. I want to give them nice, girly names at some point, but I will probably hold off for now. No more Petes, Henfaces, and Mabuses! Only one is named so far, a little Americauna I call Goldie. The other ones will have to wait. But not too long, I’m sure – I am certainly one proud mama hen.

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Curioser and curioser…

Look what I found in the chicken coop this morning…

I haven’t yet seen a speckled egg in the nest boxes… and this one seems to have been pecked open. Hmmm…

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Egghead

True Story: I Love Eggs. Sunny-side-up, poached, scrambled, fried, hard-boiled, deviled… I really love eggs. My good friends from school will tell you that I ate an egg salad sandwich almost every day during my senior year of college. This is serious business. Very fortunately for me, I now have ten feathered roommates who love eggs just as much as me, if not even more.

Meet the chickens.

The chickens are pretty hard to photograph on an iPhone as they like to run around in that typical chicken way, so please excuse the blurry faces. They are good chickens, however, and I promise they have normal faces, not blurry faces. Our chickens are free-range, organic-fed, happy, blur-free chickens. And guess what?! They make so many delicious eggs!

Right now we have four grown up hens and six little guys. The little guys aren’t so little anymore, I suppose, as they are nearly the size of the grown ups and will likely start laying any day now. Probably when it cools down a little bit. I was pretty frightened of my new roommates at first. They really like to swarm at you and peck around your feet (and maybe on your feet if your shoelaces happen to look like worms). They make weird noises and puff up and act really angry and broody (ha ha get it? broody?) when, in reality, they’re actually quite docile and silly. I am starting to become quite fond of the chickens!

Our very biggest chicken, Mabus, is a monster of a hen. I have been practicing picking up the hens lately, and today it was my grand goal to get up the guts to pick up Mabus. It happened!

I don’t know why I am making that face. Mabus is a really nice chicken. We have meaner chickens than Mabus. She is arguably the loudest of the chickens, of course, but she’s really a very amiable creature. I had no reason to be making such a face at Mabus. Sorry, little hen.

As you can imagine, we eat a lot of eggs at our place. Oftentimes, we are swimming in so many eggs that we have no idea what to do with all of them. This is when we send out SOS texts to friends and family – “DO YOU NEED ANY EGGS RIGHT NOW??” This was the case right before we went to San Francisco. Right now, unfortunately, not so much. We’re pretty sure it’s just because of the intense heat we’ve got going on right now — most of the chickens’ energy is going to staying cool. In any case, we only get an egg or two every day which we greedily cook up on the same day.

Fresh eggs? Like… layed 10 minutes ago fresh eggs? Boy, let me tell you, they’re pretty delicious.

Inspired by my old friend and fellow blogger, Rebecca Yang of Yang with a Dash of Yin, who posted a delicious recipe the other day that I’ve been drooling over for some time, I decided to finally learn how to poach these eggs. Now, I’m someone who will order an Eggs  Benedict at any chance I can get these days, and typically end up paying a premium for delicious poached eggs. I was a little nervous to try to do it myself for the very first time, but…

…It went pretty well!

I poached them very quickly so that there was still a good amount of yolk in the middle, just how I like it. I found it was really, really easy… but Blaise tells me that I’m getting spoiled by learning how to poach eggs with such fresh eggs. I hear it is a little more difficult with store bought ones.

I am very proud of my first egg poaching experience. I served it on top of a potato hash that was also pretty simple:

2 potatos
1 green onion*
1 medium garlic clove*
small handful cherry tomatoes
basil*, salt, pepper, other spices (to taste)
olive oil -or- butter

*items were pulled from our garden!

Heat up a seasoned cast iron skillet while you peel and cut both potatoes. Throw them in and stir them around with a bit of the olive oil so they are all completely coated. Salt and pepper the potatoes. Cover. Let cook for 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. After the potatoes have had some solo time in the skillet, toss in the garlic and green onion. Continue to cook on medium, making sure that nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan, but remembering that the potatoes really do need a good amount of sustained heat-time to soften. If it’s looking like the potatoes are mostly just getting brown and burn-y, throw in a little bit of butter or oil to help them stay soft. When the potatoes are just about done, chop up some cherry tomatoes and throw them in, too. I try to avoid putting tomatoes into my hashes or stir fries until the very end because they get pretty wrinkled and acid tasting as opposed to staying sweet and succulent.

Additional goodies to put in:

kale, spinach, or any other leafy green
mushrooms
peas
carrots and/ or parsnips
avocado
lean meats

or, as pictured above….

eggs.

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