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The Little Invisible Barn

Isn’t it beautiful!?! 🙂 Ha ha! We have t-minus 2.5 weeks to have it up and ready for our little goaties! Nooooooooooooo problem! 😉 Stu has the plans AND the experience with building this same style structure since he got the greenhouse done. I spent about an hour this afternoon on the hill with a rake trying to level the space. See? I have more work to do, obviously, but it was a good start! I’ll probably need to spend another hour tomorrow and possibly the next day to really get it where it needs to be. It was kinda like a zen garden, only with a lot more effort involved, and not quite so much peace. 😉 I kept thinking that I’m so thankful I don’t have a “manual labor” job. I suppose toting kids around is kinda manual labor, but it’s not the same as digging and raking. Whew! Anyway, I’m super-duper excited about our Little Red Barn and can’t wait till it’s done and painted and “purdy.” Right now it’s invisible, but in my imagination it’s lovely! 🙂 On to the chickens. They are doing well! Now that this is how Lucky spends his time during the day, they seem to be fairly safe. Cisco has either learned his lessons, or doesn’t dare touch them without the “back up” of the puppy to take the blame. Either way the little flock seems to be fine. Our invalid is still recovering in the garage, but is doing great! She’s still laying eggs and the wound seems to be healing fine. I hope it’ll only be another week-ish before I can let her out with the other girls again. I’m sure she’s ready to go out too! All she has for company in there is a lazy cat and I’m sure he doesn’t socialize much. We have reinstated the “closed gate” policy on our yard now that the propane tank is moved and we can close the big gates. This is an effort to have a “poop-free” zone since the chickens are rather indiscriminate about where they “lay” poop. And it’s gross to have it all over the steps and the porch and the sidewalk! But somehow we have not managed to convince them that closed gates means off limits to them. *sigh* There is nearly always 3 or more birds in the backyard every time I look even when all the gates are closed! They are curious... read more

The two P’s and some chicken stuff

Today I found a friend for Polly! Another Nigerian Dwarf named Polka! How cute is that? Polly and Polka! Polka has been raised by a lady who’s been breeding goats for 42 years!! She is also vice prez of the Arizona Goat Breeders Association, so she knows her stuff! She was so sweet and helpful, and full of information! I plan to talk to her again to learn all I can about these amazing goats. The idea of helping a goat have babies (kidding. Seriously, that’s what it’s called!) is a bit on the scary side for me, so I can use all the tips and advice there is! Polka is currently pregnant and even though they were not able to see the babies on the ultrasound yet, I’m told that she usually has triplets! Wow! And the Buck she was bred with apparently has really good lines, so her kids should be excellent! I’m hoping she has a least one doeling so I can keep her! 🙂 Polka is also still “in milk” and will be able to produce for awhile yet before she needs to dry up before kidding. I’m so excited about this! We are going to meet this gal and our other gal Polly, who will hopefully be pregnant at that time, at the state fair where Polka is showing. What fun! I’m hoping to take the lads with us when we go so that they can have a “fair” experience and get to know a bit about goats too! I know that this is going to be a steep learning curve, but I figured that we just needed to stop talking about it and just do it when the opportunity for these really good goats came up! It’s going to be a challenge, but we’re going to make it a family endeavor and get the kids involved from the get go! I know the ladies that I’m buying these goats from have a wealth of knowledge and information and will be able to help us out and get us the resources we need for networking with other goat people. It’s going to be fun even if it is a challenge! My goal, in my mind for now anyway, is to have 4 does eventually. Then I can breed 2 in the Spring and 2 in the Fall and have good milk coming in all year! Plus with 2 there will be plenty for our... read more

Eggs and Eggs!

Yay! We have 4 layers!! I’m pretty sure it’s 2 of the Golden Girls, one Barred Rock, and a Leghorn. How do I know you may ask? Well, I’ll tell you. I know that Henny Penny was our first layer, and by the way she has laid like 4 or 5 double yolk eggs! Is that just something that particular birds are prone to do? I thought it was something more random than, but she seems to do it too often to be that random. Anyway, I saw a Barred Rock sitting on the nest one day while another of the Golden Girls stood by patiently waiting to use the nest next. And the Leghorn, well their eggs are white! Yep, we have a white egg layer, and they kids were so excited to see the white egg! While I like brown eggs better because they look more “farmy” the kids seemed to think that the white were pretty neat. Dunno why, perhaps because they are used to the white eggs from the store. The sizes of the eggs vary of course. HP usually lays pretty good medium sized eggs, except for the doubles which are EXTRA large! The rest of the eggs are still pretty small pullet sized eggs. You can see in this photo the different sizes. One is HP’s normal sized egg and the speckled one is the Barred Rock’s pullet sized egg. And here you see HP’s “normal” sized eggs, her double yolk egg, and a pullet egg in a row. Ahhh, they are lovely! I can’t believe I’m so crazy about chicken eggs, but it’s just so much fun! In other chicken drama, our dog nearly did away with one of our girls last week. It was not a happy day! What happened was that Qade caught one of the hens (happened to be a current layer too!) and was carrying it above dog level. Well, I know enough about canine psychology to know that this kicks in the “that thing is something I want to get” instinct. Lucky kept jumping at the chickens feet, and I was telling Qade to put the thing down. Then up comes our big dog, Cisco, whom we’ve had no issues with him and the chickens whatsoever. Right at that moment Qade decides to “free” the chicken by throwing it into the air. BAD idea! The flapping chicken’s body language says “eat me” to the primal dogs, and... read more

Six days straight!

Going to the chicken coop or “Chicken Poop” as Ella calls it, is one of my favorite parts of the day! Henny Penny is going strong with 6 days in a row of laying! I’m impressed!! Of course, as Stuart reminded me, if they all lay this well we will have a dozen eggs a day! And what we’re going to do with all of those I do not know! Anyway, the gal tends to like to drop her egg around 9-10am each morning. So about the time that I get the twins down for a nap and I need a break from the chaos of the house, I take a little walk to the chicken coop and look for that little brown treasure! 🙂 So fun! I imagine the novelty will wear off in time, as with most things, but right now I’m thrilled that we have a layer! I was thinking we wouldn’t have any eggs till closer to October, so this is just a bonus! Today I had a little helper to gather the eggs! SHE is just as thrilled at finding them as I am! What a find! She thinks they are treasures too! She’s so gentle! 🙂 Thought you needed some happy heads to brighten your day in case you’re not as excited about chicken eggs as we all are. 😉 Happy Weekend! On this day I was trying to get a photo of them together in their little matching dresses, but when I propped them up they kept taking turns spewing out their breakfast. After going back and forth about 5 times with the burp rag, I gave up and put them back on the... read more

Which Came First

… the chicken or the egg? Well, I can now unequivocally say that it was the chicken that came first. 😉 Not that I really was on the fence about this or anything. Ha ha! The other evening I went out to “put the chickens away” which means to close the coop door. They’re so good about all going in at bedtime and peacefully sitting on their perches. Why can’t kids be that good about going to bed? Huh? Ha ha! Anyway I went down a little earlier than usual. Most days it’s around 8pm or later when I lock them up and its duskish enough that I take a flashlight so I can see to count them. Well, they were all in the coop on this earlier occasion, and Ella came with me to put them away. As I glanced around the coop I spied a little “dip” in the chips in a corner and in the “dip” were 2 smooth round BEAUTIFUL eggs! I gasped and said, “Look, Ella! Eggs!!” We were both SO excited! I scooped up the two little treasures, thanked the gals and made a beeline for the house so I could show Stuart! Ella asked me on the way up if there were “baby ducks” in the eggs. I assured her that there were NOT ducks in the eggs. 😉 So when we showed Daddy she said, “There’s no baby ducks in the eggs, Dad!” Good that we got that cleared up! Initially I though there were 2 layers because one of the eggs was quite a bit larger than the other as you can see in the photo. But the larger egg turned out to have double yolks so I think that’s why it was bigger. I’ve only found one of the gals, whom I’ve named “Henny Penny” since she’s the first one to lay, hanging around the coop at various times in the morning alone. Then when I go back, there I find another treasure! 🙂 She’s laid 2 more since I found the original 2 so I’m pretty impressed with her already. It’s one of the “Golden Girls” who is laying. I know others are getting close though. Some combs and wattles are pretty sizable! Anyway, we ate the eggs and I have to say that there is no satisfaction like eating an egg that you’ve worked for for months by bringing up chicks! Plus it’s amazing the difference in... read more

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