Hanging Out With Chickens

This year’s spring and summer rain really hindered our garden this year. The soil was so wet, that under the squash and pumpkin plants mushrooms were growing! Anyway, we decided to let the chickens have the run of the garden, so they can clean out the beds and we can get ready for next time.

_MG_6116

Of course the chickens were more than happy to oblige! Going right for the beds, laying their eggs in them, and kicking up dirt! I only asked that they leave the marigolds and nasturtium alone. _MG_6049

We also had to make sure we covered the potato area with chicken wire. Still holding out hope that the potatoes will get a bit larger than cherry tomatoes. =P_MG_6062

Anna picked a marigold for her hair, so I took a quick portrait of her by the sunflowers.

Picking Up Chicks

il_fullxfull.636714774_akfk

“Picking Up Chicks”

-Painted with Golden acrylics.
-Approx. 7.25″ x 8″ piece of wood
-Topped with two coats of gloss varnish.
-Signed, titled, and dated on the back by me!

Why did the chicken cross the road? Who knows, but Basil the cat wanted to make sure they got to their destination safely, so he offered them a ride!

Collecting Easter Eggs

Happy Easter! We decided to forgo the whole ‘egg hunta’, dying eggs, eating tons of chemically-treated sweets, and stuff. Instead the kids enjoyed the normal egg hunt of, “Hey who wants to go see if the girls laid any eggs?!” Five eggs today! All 5 girls laid, so that’s awesome. Inc. deviled eggs! We had one more go with the rabbit mask, before we put it away for another year, for fear I’ll over-use it…if I haven’t already. >.>


Who wants to lay some Easter eggs?!
A chicken in a basket is worth two…in..a…bush?
We’ve got eggs!
The rabbit unmasked!
Today’s egg collector.

Kind of Spring



This morning started out grey, wet, and muddy. I figured that was the plan for today…or just the plan for the dog.  Then all of a sudden, SUN! The chickens were happy, and even though we don’ t have any flowers growing yet, Anna grabbed one of the silk hydrangea stems from my room and we went outside.

_MG_4683

Anna with Goldielocks, the chicken who has 9 lives. Seriously, she survived being attacked by something in the night, almost losing a toe or two, but we nursed her back to health in the basement. Then rejected by the ducks and chickens, she somehow got a crook in her neck. She now has her own coop and boks her days away, eating and laying eggs. =)

_MG_4635

Anna & Lillian

We love our chickens, a lot. We love our two ducks too…but they’re not team players and don’t seem to like us like the chickens do. I did a quick portrait of Anna and Lillian today, a year later. I also tried to do a portrait with Anna and one of the ducks. The duck wasn’t having any of it and let us know, or let Anna know in a very gross way. hahaha

Anna and her Lillian
Anna and Lillian April 20, 2012
Anna and Lillian
Anna and Lillian May 7, 2013

Oh man, my Mom and I were laughing so hard we nearly lost it. Anna on the other hand was so utterly disgusted. After a couple gags, she started laughing as well. So much for the new dress.

Ducks don't pose
Ducks don’t pose.

Goldilocks, the Chicken

73136_10200523520066207_226864614_n
Goldilocks in her “hospital ward” in the basement.

So about a month ago our golden Pullet chicken, Goldilocks, was attacked by something. We found her laying under the hanging food bin and after calling to the chickens and seeing she wasn’t coming out, we picked her up. That’s when we saw the blood on her foot. Something, still not sure what, attacked her and really mangled one of her ‘fingers’ and palm. Frantic, we called all the vets in town and not one would look at a chicken. You have to understand, we’ve had our chickens since they were chicks last year, and consider them our pets (I mean seriously, they’re named!) We were mostly worried about infection, but in Pennsylvania you can’t even seem to get animal antibiotics at the feed stores. That meant we had to use whatever we had around us to try to save Goldilocks. We took a wardrobe box, laid it on its side, cut a huge hole out of the top, and filled it with pine shavings under a heat lamp in our basement. We have a big vat of silver sulfadiazine so we cleaned Goldi’s wound with copious amounts of hydrogen peroxide and then gobbed the silver cream all over her wound, then wrapped it up with sterile gauze. She survived the night. We kept cleaning her wound, changing bandages, and having her under the heat lamp, and she kept on living. Now that it’s getting warmer, we’re starting to bring her outside.

_MG_9255
Enjoying the outside fresh air.

See, the thing is, she’s not standing. Her wounded ‘finger’ is fat and probably still hurts, so she won’t put any pressure on it. She’s eating, drinking, generally being a chicken sans laying eggs. But she needs to walk if she has any hope of being a normal chicken again. I really hope she can do it.

_MG_9270
Steadying herself with a wing.
_MG_9298
The brood checking her out.

Spring said, “Hello!”

Spring!
We have greenery!

Sure it may be for only one day this week, but spring made an appearance today and it was lovely! The kids got sunshine on their faces and I found the chickens making dirt nests to roll around in. Everyone was happy. Yay! Tomorrow brings lots of rain and snow to follow. Ah well, it was nice while it lasted. =)

Egg Collector in Red
Today’s egg collector, in red. See the sunlight back there?

We Got a Dog

Fionnoula

My Mother has this thing, this memory of always having a dog in the house. Walking on the Oregon coast with a dog, collecting rocks, shells, glass… She loves having a dog. Don’t get me wrong, she’s a huge cat person, but there’s always a want, no a need for a dog. Anyway, she finally found the right one! While researching the “perfect dog” for a family with kids and cats, she kept coming across Great Pyrenees dogs, so she set off searching for one. She found a guy in Ohio who had some puppies, which I immediately recoiled at the thought. I have two kids, I don’t want a third! As luck would have it (for us and the dog) this guy was done breeding his Great Pyrenees and was keeping two of the puppies but didn’t want the mother anymore. How sad right?? The only logical thing was we’d take the mother! Aside from the fact that she’s 4, already house-trained, and just beautiful, we’d be putting an end to any more breeding. Stopping the ‘puppy-factory’ if you will. We jumped in the car and drove 3 hours into the emptiness of SE Ohio and got our girl! We got her on Saint Patrick’s day, so instead of a proper French name, she ended up with an Irish name: Fionnoula Maeve O’Quinn (mom’s family name.) It was leaps and bounds better than her previous name, which I won’t bother to even type.

Taking Fionnoula for a walk

Fionnoula is the sweetest dog I’ve ever met and though I was reluctant to have a dog in the house, the cats don’t even seem to mind her. But what’s more amazing, is that she doesn’t mind the cats, or the chickens. She’s barely interested in either. She’d rather follow my daughter up and down two flights of steps, outside, wherever she goes Fionnoula is close by.

Fionnoula watching Anna

Egg Collectors in the Snow

Our Backyard Chickens

Chicken feet

I love our backyard chickens. Probably more than is normal, since apparently some people actually end up eating their chickens after they stop laying. I don’t think I’ll be one of those-nei, I *won’t* be one of those. They can carry on, living a lovely life, and not lay eggs. That’s fine by me. They’re such beautiful creatures!

Chicken feet

I had this idea, this “vision” of how lovely a chicken would look surrounded by falling down, almost like snow. (Although if I wait a few months, I don’t need the down…) Turns out, chickens actually do not seem to like down at all. So the “vision” wasn’t quite realized, but that was ok.

Spraying down

There’s something about their fluffy butts that is just so cute. We got six hens when they were just tiny chicks. The little town we moved to decided that on March 26th of this year, they were going to ban livestock, poultry, and other ‘farm’ animals from city limits. That was so ridiculous! Here we moved from Portland, Oregon, where you’re allowed chickens in the city, and this rural Pennsylvania town was going to outlaw them? There was a side note, that if you owned your animals prior to March 26th, you’d be able to keep them until they died. That’s when my Mother and I went on a chicken search! We managed to get the chickens the day of the law… Turns out, there’s a lady in town who has alpacas and that’s her livelihood, so she somehow managed to get the city council to not vote on the ban. Yay!

Sideways

Tail Feathers

 Untitled