Bzzzz August 26th, 2009

Once again I am renaming the small garden area on the side of the house.

chickens-on-wallkabout-august-09

Back when Winifred, our sweet Belgian Malinois, was still with us, we called it Winnie’s Poop Garden. It was not a place where you wanted to spend your free time.

Last year, desperate for more vegetable growing space, I planted tomatoes and cucumbers there and dubbed it the Other Veggie Garden.

chicks-august-09

This year, the Palazzo di Pollo and the auxiliary chicken coop, the Eglu, now reside in that area. And since I was dividing what seemed like hundreds of hostas this spring, I began transplanting them into the shaded area beside the coops. Naturally, I added more hostas as I fell in love with them during visits to garden centers. I called it the Hosta Garden, but just as easily could have called it the Slug Garden, since the slugs and snails moved in to partake of the expansive hosta buffet—their fav.

Now that the baby chicks are old enough for some supervised walkabout time, I am calling this the Chicken Garden. This is where the big chickens and little chickens are currently engaged in their nightly meet-and-greet leading up to the merge of the two tribes.

Miss P adores the chickens. She would, in fact, love to eat the chickens. But being a smart cat, she understands they are off-limits and has ceased making predatory moves in their direction. It doesn't stop her from looking though.

Miss P adores the chickens. She would, in fact, love to eat the chickens. But being a smart cat, she understands they are off-limits and has ceased making predatory moves in their direction. It doesn't stop her from looking though.

You cannot just toss little chickens in with big chickens because they will be pecked on and could be injured. It is best for chickens to get to know each other a bit, work out their differences in relative safety and begin establishing the new pecking order prior to being thrust under the same roof. Using the Eglu as the temporary home for new chickens allows the chickens to see each other but not co-mingle until they are ready. This also allows us to ensure that the new chickens are disease- and pest-free before introducing them into the flock.

Now that the Polish and Easter egg chickens are about 11 weeks old, it’s just a matter of days before we attempt the big move. Until then, they peck and scratch in the Chicken Garden under close supervision. ¬†After all, we don’t want a repeat of the incident that took Johnny Cash.

P.S.

I SWEAR I am still gardening. I have the photos to prove it. More soon.

P.P.S.

You can see the whole chicken photo album here. Click on the photo for a larger image. There are more photos in the albums from the photos sign at the top of this page.

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Bzzzz July 1st, 2009

I wonder if the reason God makes baby animals so adorably cute is to ensure that we will love and care for them?

Think of a baby kitten’s wide-eyed stare, puppies tumbling over each other in enthusiastic play, baby koala bears holding on to their mums, baby kids flopping their big ears around. Heck, even babies that grow up to be killers are lovable when they’re little—baby bear cubs, coyotes, foxes.

Not snakes though. A small size does not improve a snake’s lovability factor.

Baby chicks, I think, rank among the most adorable of the adorable baby animals. Adorablest? I know because I have six new baby chicks as of this morning—two buff laced Polish, two standard white crested blue and two Easter egg standard. (At least, that’s what I ordered.)

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This adorable Easter egg standard's name is Meredith. Not only will Meredith go nicely with Myrtle, Maude, Madelein and Marilyn, but it is also Ben's girlfriend's name. Live long and prosper, Meredith!

This little cutie is one of the Easter egg standards and will grow up to lay blue/green eggs.

If everyone survives to adulthood, we will then have 12 hens and a big old rooster named T. Boone Chickens. That will double the number of hens T. Boone must service.

My husband keeps shaking his head and asking, “What are we going to do with a dozen eggs a day?”

Frankly, I don’t give a damn. I just like my chickens. The eggs dishes are a bonus—quiche, pound cake, omelets, souffle, frittatas, egg salad, deviled eggs, creme brulee, chocolate ice cream, cookie dough ice cream, chocolate chip cherry ice cream…

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