Why So Silent? Zoom Zoom Zoom! (Spring/Summer Garden Report)

Boy Howdy, it’s been a bountifully blessed year here on the farm.  In only a few days, it will be a year exactly since we arrived, but I was actually speaking about our awesome spring and summer garden.  I’ve been so busy processing our bounty that I haven’t had the ample time to really share my continually growing experience with you.

Since my last post, I’ve processed so many veggies so many ways, that I’m at a panting crawl.  Well, that and the heat…Gardening in August in Texas is a cruel existence, lemme tell ya!  But with our tomatoes, okra, melons and peppers still poppin’, we do what we have to do…well, sometimes.  Thankfully, we have pigs to help when we can’t drag ourselves outside, or process veggies in time.  You really have a 1-2 day window to properly process most veggies.  And while it’s best to clean and process immediately after picking, early in the morning, with one to two hands working, sometimes, it’s just not possible.

We began by pickling cucumbers…dill, kosher, spicy, sweet, relish…you name it, we did it!  Then the squash and zucchinis began coming in, and we canned, froze or pickled them through out the season.  We canned whole tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, condensed tomato soup, pasta sauce, stewed tomatoes, “rotel” style tomatoes, pickled cherry tomatoes (not perfected, they bust), salsa, tomato juice cocktail and tomato soup base, and we froze roasted tomatoes with our onions and garlic.  We canned and also froze packs of our purple hulls which also had some creamed peas and blackeyed peas mixed in because the co-op purple hull peas were um…more like a mix!  But hey, we have PLENTY of each type of seed, and we will sort them out so that we have rows of each type to can individually next time.

We made spiced peaches and peach salsa.  We canned a few pints of figs.  We pickled, candied, and/or dried our massive variety of peppers.  Are you ready?  Here I go:  Gypsy, Red Bell, Yellow Bell, Green Bell, Big Bertha Bell, Cayenne, Habanero, Jalapeno, Hatch, Cherry, I have a feeling I’m missing one.  Oh and okra, pickled or cut and breaded/frozen for frying.

What we don’t eat, we process and either store or give to our extended family.  This year, underground water lines made all the difference.   And this fall, we will see what life is like under the high tunnel.  Oh goodness, I forgot our canned corn, and frozen cobs.  The rain was awesome this year, and we had many pollinators buzzing around doing their work all day, every day.  We’ve even begun processing our butternut squash!  We are awaiting our melons and cantaloupe while we prep the ground for our fall/winter garden.  We’re a little late getting a few things in the ground…my hamster wheel is malfunctioning!

The sawdust bedding really made the no-splash effect nice, so that cleaning veggies was a breeze.  Our melons and cantelopes are steadily growing on the arbor, and our chicken coop is just growing into a mega-chicken complex.  If they had stuck to the original plans, it would’ve been done, but it keeps growing and growing and growing and….well, you get the picture.

Speaking of pictures, I thought I’d share a couple of my favorite pictures of my canning adventures with you.  So sit back, scroll down, and enjoy. 

Shiny happy Yum-Yum

Shiny happy Yum-Yum

dill-pickled cherry tomatoes...not a hit.  But pretty!

dill-pickled cherry tomatoes…not a hit. But pretty!

A coveted jar of FIGS!  Mmmmmm!  My life-long favorite.

A coveted jar of FIGS! Mmmmmm! My life-long favorite.

can sexy apply to peppers?

can sexy apply to peppers?

Tangy Italian Tomato Salad

Tangy Italian Tomato Salad

Dill relish in the making

Dill relish in the making

My version of ratatouille

My version of ratatouille, before being baked.

more of our peppers...aha!  Banana peppers, I knew I was missing something!

more of our peppers…aha! Banana peppers, I knew I was missing something!

Bisquick Zucchini Bread, um...yum!

Bisquick Zucchini Bread, um…yum!

Stuffed Zucchini...you can stuff those puppies with all kinds of goodies!!

Stuffed Zucchini…you can stuff those puppies with all kinds of goodies!!

IMG_7950

We Thank God for This Good Season!  And I thank you for stopping by!

Until Next Time,
Vaya con Dios!

 

I Saved a Sea Turtle’s Life

This past Monday morning, as I was combing the beach for treasures one last time before heading home, I thought I spotted something worth investigating further, in the deep piles of Sargasso seaweed. It was only a shoe with barnacles on it. Unfortunately, there were many such shoes up and down Surfside Beach this weekend, but I’ll get to that later.

As I began wandering back to the sand, I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, something white…did it just move?

buried and exhausted

buried and exhausted

I couldn’t believe my eyes. Is that a turtle? Oh my gosh, it’s alive. I screamed over the winds, for my mother, who was picking up trash and treasure along the dunes. “Mom, hurry up, come here, I’ve found a turtle!!”

She arrived and with her poking stick, I carefully removed the seaweed to expose it’s white shiny belly. I just could not believe this surreal moment was actually upon us!

Poor lil' fella

Poor lil’ fella

I then convinced my Mama that we should at least flip him over, so he wouldn’t feel the need to struggle any further, and then I stayed with the turtle while she ran back to the hotel and retrieved her cell phone and alert the hotel of the situation. They assisted her in contacting the right people, who would arrive two hours later to rescue the turtle.

The turtle probably rode in with the tide and then got caught in the massive amount of seaweed that had amassed since the last dozing took place last Tuesday or Wednesday. This is according to the kind Surfside Beach City worker who was cleaning trash along the beach. While Mama was about her business, I noticed two city workers down the beach opposite the hotel. I hollered at them and they continued to work their way towards me. When the younger of the two got within hearing range, he immediately came over and then called the city. This was big stuff.

Little did I know at the time, this little turtle was an endangered Green Sea Turtle. On record, the only other sea turtle found on that beach had already died by the time it washed up, tangled in fishing net. Lucky for this little fellow, he did not face the same fate.

Free!!

Free!!

Green Sea Turtles prefer warm, tropical waters. They can live to be 80 plus years old and will grow up to 700 pounds. That last fact blew my mind. My marine biologist friend also informed me that sea turtles main diet source is jelly fish, and because plastic is clear like the jelly fish are, turtles will bite into plastic, which carry toxins that will shorten their lifespan and can even kill them. Out of all the turtle autopsies he performed during his university days, he said he never saw one turtle stomach without plastic inside. That’s very sad.

I am elated that I have assisted that sweet, beautiful turtle, and that it will grow very big and have a very long life. It was taken to the National Marine Fisheries Services headquarters where they will thoroughly examine the healthy looking turtle, that was probably dehydrated, and eventually it will be released back into the waters.

The amount of trash my mother and I saw on the beach this weekend, weighed heavy on my heart. So I wrote the following. I hope you consider sharing this with your family and friends, so we can all remember to take better care of our planet. We only have this one.

I want to say something about my beach experience that I would like you all to seriously consider passing on.

The first evening that Mom and I spent on the beach, we were saddened by all the trash left behind by inconsiderate humans. I suggested that we spend one of our walks picking up trash along the way, just to make a dent and she agreed, saying that she’s done that many times in the past. (I get it from my Mama, you see.)

Everyday, we combed the beach for treasure. We found many sea beans, sea lily pods, a few sad shells (lol, Texas beachers will totally understand this), drift wood, remaining wreckage from Ike (YES, it’s still floating around…the beach has shrunk for good, and erosion continues daily.), assorted floats the size of a coconut, and yes, Sunday morning, I found A COCONUT, LOL! But I also found all the buckets and tools needed to build that sand castle you saw, as well as SO MUCH TRASH IT COULD FILL 20 50-gallon drums! And if you noticed in my pictures, there were at least 10 50-gallon drum-trashcans out for public use.

see the blue trashcans?  Apparently many people don't!

see the blue trashcans? Apparently many people don’t!

There were barely 50 people out there on the busiest day.

Mother’s Day evening, we took a long walk on the beach. We wanted to get to the two remaining houses that now stand in the water. There were actually two more roads and another row of houses all along that beach, but Ike tore them up and only two lone houses remain. It’s more than haunting. No stairs, busted windows, but standing as a reminder to all who grew up there, of what used to be.

As we walked along, the sun began to set. We saw a blanket here, a pair of shoes there and I mused aloud, “Surely, they will be back for those.” As we continued towards the house in the water, our eyes were mostly set on the waves and the frighteningly thick band of seaweed that was just a slight nuisance our first night there. But as we began to walk back, we began to notice all the things people left behind.

SO MUCH TRASH…but they also left behind so much treasure. I just didn’t understand. We came to a table and our motherly instinct kicked into high gear. At first, we muttered things like, “Have they no shame?” and “What the hell is wrong with people?” (that was me, not mom, lol) But there was absolutely no way we could walk any further. We kicked into high gear-Mom style and began our mission.

We picked up enough trash to fill two of those trash cans to the top. Water bottles, partially drank and empty. A charcoal bag (which came in handy for collecting the obscene amount of trash). Two grocery bags, tons of water bottles, chip bags, both full and empty, a water gun, a fishing hat, 2 kites (broken/discarded), a perfectly good black towel, and more. So disappointed with humanity. If we don’t take care of our planet, no one will. It is truly up to each of us to clean up after ourselves, especially in nature, and in parks. Littering is a crime, and it is bad news for the animals…please be considerate of our planet, our animals, and our fellow man.

I built this entire castle using disgarded buckets. shovels, a mold and a rake.  Do you see the toothbrush?  Who brushes their teeth on the beach?

I built this entire castle using disgarded buckets. shovels, a mold and a rake. Do you see the toothbrush? Who brushes their teeth on the beach?

I loved the program our old church offered children. It was called LEAVE NO TRACE. It can’t get any clearer. Leave the animals alone (unless they are hurt and need help, or they are to be your food.), do not damage their habitat (trees, grasses, waters {stop throwing trash in the water!!!}), and if you alter anything while on your visit, fix it, and clean up after yourself, as if you were never there.

Future generations (YOUR CHILDREN/GRANDCHILDREN and so on), will appreciate the consideration.

I also wrote this in memory of my experience and insight from this weekend:

My deepest thought while at the beach… dare to go there…lol

As I sat before the waves, I pondered the peace it brings, while yet there is no peace to be found within the churning waves and sand, ever ebbing and flowing, in a rushed fashion. And yet beyond the madness of the roaring waves, in the cool waters, there is peace to be found. The circle of life continues it’s beautiful spiral.

Still, their lives are threatened. By us…by the environment…by the changes below the surface even…there is no true peace there either.

Mother's Day church service...just me, the pelicans and God!

Mother’s Day church service…just me, the pelicans and God!

And if I dared to take my eyes from the horizon, from the raging Gulf tides, and turned to my left or my right, I would find my own peace rattled by a piece of trash, or possibly a nearby human’s animalistic behavior. There is no peace to be found on the lower plain.

Peace can only be found, true, everlasting peace, in one place.

The hands that made the trees and the birds and the fish in the sea. The hands that made you and made me. Those hands that were nailed to the tree, where He was bruised, and bled and suffered for you and me. Those hands are the only way you can truly attain everlasting peace. That peace is a gift through the Holy Spirit and acts as an anchor for your soul in times of great grief and despair.

Just as the animals above and below the surface fight for survival on a daily basis, our own life struggles are many, they just appear less savage on the surface. Well, in some cases anyways. Sometimes, we face horrific experiences, but even through these, His peace is there at your disposal. Will you pick it up and claim it as your own, or will you let it fly away in the wind?

The depth of this thought continued. Just as we look on towards the aquamarine horizon and the wind almost forces the smile to break forth from our hearts to our lips, and forces our eyes open wider to ALL OF HIS GLORIOUS SPLENDOR, being healed instantly by the chaotic, erratic, completely unpredictable, hypnotic dance of the waves, God looks down on us, in the very midst of our own chaotic lives, as we dance to the beat of our drum or His…and He Smiles.

He knows the end of our crazy tale of heartbreak and surrender. He holds the key in His hand. Reach out and take the keys of the kingdom. His Peace is the key that unlocks a steady beat. His Joy is the key that adds grace to your feet. His Love gives you wings when you are broken with in. And His blood is the gift that will wash away your sin.

Freedom is found WITHIN.

May you be blessed this day and put into practice the reception of communion.

Here is a story reporting the rescue:

Until next time, this is the Crazy Chicken Lady signing OFF!

SELFIE!!!!

SELFIE!!!!

Babes in Bluebonnets

Just a quick post to share a few shots I took today while playing with the bunnies and chicks. I hope they are a feast for your eyes.

Th-th-th-th-th-th-that’s all folks!

Fast Times At Farmville High

There’s a rapid pace to farm life that seems to pick up speed during the transition from winter to spring.  Preparations and planting of new garden rows as well as maintenance of winter rows begin.  Taking advantage of the warmer days by cleaning cages and built-up coop floors.  Between a few bugs, plain lethargy, and extreme busyness, I’ve neglected my blogs.

Promises of Spring

Promises of Spring

Since I last shared our farm animal news, Daphne and Phoebe have each given birth to seven kits, boosting our total rabbit population to 31.  That includes Daddy Buck, Father of all 24 rabbits, including Chloe’s last (and incidentally, first) litter of 10, as well as Checkers, an old retired buck who, well, is just here.  We have mated Chloe and Buck again, as Chloe’s 10 kits are completely weaned, getting fatter by the day, and about ready for new homes.  We are going to be selling several of our various chicks and pullets, as well as our bunnies, come Good Friday.

Phoebe and babe

Phoebe and babe

Super Mom Chloe's babies are so loving.  They greet me with kisses every day <3

Super Mom Chloe’s babies are so loving. They greet me with kisses every day ❤

I’m also excited to announce that we will be selling two products my Mama and I have been busy formulating and tweaking, as well, on Good Friday.  If these items are well received at the farmer’s market, you may be able to purchase them online in the near future.  Cross your fingers for us.  As a lady with hard-worked hands, I can say I have reaped the benefits of being the co-creator of our all natural lotion sticks and chap sticks.  I am giddy about our debut!

Our Leonardo, the prize winning Ameraucana-Maran Roo, took 2nd prize at the first ever Chicken Costume Contest, in that particular county, at least.  My Dad likes to say that he couldn’t keep his pants on, because he was pinned in between two lovely brides (hens dressed as brides).  I like to say he had a major wardrobe malfunction.  Either way, I have a much simpler idea if Dad decides to enter another wild and zany chicken contest that requires the chickens to be dressed for success…this year, Leonardo went as a Mexican Cowboy from the Chicken House in La Grange…I’ll post his grand tale soon.  Yes, Dad wrote a nine page handwritten story to go along with his prize roo.  I even monogrammed his boots!!

Leonardo takes a bow at dress rehearsal

Leonardo takes a bow at dress rehearsal

Dad in his modified Tweetie-Roo hat, tries to help Leonardo get ready for the contest

Dad won several prizes for his eggs at the La Grange Poultry show, including best in show.  We do have a lovely assortment of eggs, from whites, tans, browns, and greens, our girls pump out a nice stream of vitamin rich jewels for us to enjoy in so many different ways, from boiled to fried, to baked in a cake.  What a joy to be able to enjoy such fruits of our labor!

Every so often, the tree trimmers drop off a load of mulch in our far field.  Three days ago, they dropped off more than just mulch.  Six newborn kittens were found mewing among the mulch, by my youngest son.  My first instinct was not pretty.  I really wanted him to just put them back and forget he ever found them and let nature take it’s course.  But I always get this prick upon my heart when I harbor such thoughts.  I know we are to be stewards of the earth and if my child is going to grow into a loving man, and potentially a husband and father, I could not in good conscience follow through with my initial thought.

We are now bottle feeding the screaming brat-pack, and I intend to find homes for them as soon as they can eat on their own!  There are already three resident cats, two dogs, countless chickens, and quail, a pig and what was it, 31 bunnies?  I think we have enough mouths to feed around here.  Here’s to hoping for a short-lived kitten-stewardship!  I never said I was perfect…or purrrfect for that matter!

we do what we can

we do what we can

More news on the farm is that our pair of Japanese or Sumatran Bantams are apparently a pair of flaming roos… Dad said, “It’s no wonder we could never find out where she was laying her eggs!  Turns out, she’s a he!”  We’ve recently separated another pair of bantams to find out which is the male and which is the female of that pair.  One or both are laying eggs!  Usually, spurs give away the sex of the chicken, even before their feathers fully develop.  But until the spurs develop, it’s anyone’s guess…unless one wants to start counting wing feathers, that is.  We don’t have that kind of time!

Our ducks have become free-rangers along with many of our pullets.  The ducks have their own hut, but they prefer to retire with the rest of our chickens in the main coop.  All three turned out to be daffy hens, so we look to add at least one male duck to the group before we’re done. We’ve added several more bantams and Ameracaunas to the mix, as well as 50 plus new Texas A&M quail.  We’ve probably already got 20 adults, so the additions will allow us to retire some of the older quail to the freezer.  They are quick growers and great egg producers, laying after only 6-8 weeks of age, and are also excellent eating…so I shall soon find out.

checking on the quail peeps

checking on the quail peeps

one of these things is not like the others

one of these things is not like the others

We finally got around to operating on and removing Mr. M’s Bumblefoot plugs.  It was icky and Mr. M was an amazing patient.  He’s recuperating in a cage out in the sunlight.  This morning, Dad put him back on the ground, and I hope he doesn’t wind up having to fight his way back to the top of the cockerel-hierarchy.  He was king and head-honcho, the position currently shared (?) between Leonardo and Mr. White.  They are both just chicken enough that I don’t think Mr. M will need to put up too much of a fight to regain his position.  We shall see in time.

before the operation, Leonardo attempted to challenge Mr. M through his waiting cage.

before the operation, Leonardo attempted to challenge Mr. M through his waiting cage.

Dr. Dad operating on Mr. M while I hold him still in a burlap bag

And until NEXT time, this is the Crazy Chicken Lady, signing OFF!

a friend sent this to me...pretty funny, no?

a friend sent this to me…pretty funny, no?

Vaya con Dios

Progress is a Beautiful Thing

Pretty kohlrabi

Pretty kohlrabi

Another weekend is history and March is less than five days away! I never fail to question where the time went, but I can see through progress, that time is being spent well, here on the farm. We do piddle slower than some folk, not in too much of a hurry that we can’t enjoy a few minutes here and there just admiring the beauty that surrounds us. After all, it is well known that slow and steady wins the race, and though this human race is a long one, I’m sure the finish line will be sweet to happen upon one day.

Life is precious, in all it’s forms, and when it ends, suddenly, whether at the beginning of life or after much time on earth, there is reason to mourn. On the farm, we’ve experienced some failed incubating, and some peepers just weren’t strong enough to recover from the hard work of breaking free from their shell womb. We’ve lost a few heads of cabbage to a horrid pest that has to be uncovered, before the damage is realized. The same garden pest eliminated a few of our cauliflower heads as well. Alas, death is an avoidable part of life and serves it’s mysterious purposes as well.

Our 10 bunny rabbits are still hoppin’-happy. They are such a fabulous distraction from chores that I have accidentally added about 30 minutes to my daily rounds, just cuddling and giggling with the sweet babies. SuperMama is back in her own cage and getting geared up to be mated again. With Daphne and Ms. Bunny No-Name still expecting…note to self: It doesn’t do any good to mark the calendar if you’re going to mark it wrong!

SuperMama's SuperStar

SuperMama’s SuperStar


LillyBelle and a sampling of our first blooms

LillyBelle and a sampling of our first blooms

We’re hoping for plenty of chicks and bunnies to sell at the local Farmer’s Market for Easter. If all of my equipment comes in, I will also be selling a very special product that my Mom and I have been working on and honing. I’m still keeping this a secret, until I test a few markets, but personally, I have never had better! Ooooh, the mystery!!

I mulched and watered our fruit trees and roses and all our greenhouse greenery, and anticipate pulling them all out very soon! We need room to start our tomatoes and peppers! Dad and the boys did more work in the garden, preparing the ground for corn and squash, tomatoes, melons and much more. Even though this weekend was best for weeding and pruning, they planted a long row of purple hull peas and I planted mesclun, spinach, and romaine lettuce. We weeded around the onions, and hilled around the cabbages. I still need to do more hilling of the broccoli and cauliflower. There is always more work to be done, but nothing is more rewarding than reaping the rewards of gardening.

IMG_5793

The past week was filled with dishes inspired by our garden and chickens. I made a divine butternut squash casserole, and will post the recipe very soon. Keep your eye out for it. We’ve enjoyed our broccoli and carrots and chickens in a delicious pasta bake, and salads, complete with boiled eggs and fresh lettuces, carrots, broccoli and radishes, also from our garden. And as usual, our chickens, rabbits, pigs, and ducks have reaped many healthy benefits from our greens and scraps, as well.

I see buds on the redbud trees and our flower gardens are beginning to burst with color, ah the signs of spring are always such a welcome sight. As I write, it is rather gray out, and it is definitely cooler than yesterday, where I noted many a drops of sweat falling from my brow, while weeding. The free birds are just singing non-stop, such joyful odes to the return of spring.

My Dad scored several free cedars for posts. These posts will flank the long chicken run. He has taught me that it doesn’t take much to cut costs. All you have to do is be observant and bold. Always be on the look-out for resources, and if they aren’t on the side of the road for trash, then just ask. The worst thing that can happen is that you’ll be told no. Our neighbor cut down many trees, clearing their land, and all Dad and the boys had to do was clean the cedars up and move the logs out.

He has a system going now that started soon after our arrival and my interest in working the garden with him. He has a carpenter that bags saw dust for him to pick up, he has tree trimmers dump mulch in our outer fields to season, and he then trades with the saw dust for other necessities…and/or extra chickens. This is the same man who bartered with the doctor who delivered me. The doctor was paid a nice smoker-grill for his services. That doesn’t happen anymore!

I realize not everyone is as skilled as my dad is in selling his perspective and goals, but I’ve enjoyed reconnecting with him and learning from him, as he pursues lofty dreams and visions of grandeur—farm style. If only everyone were on board, we might actually take flight sooner, rather than later. But there’s that pesky little element, called time, that has a way of changing and re-arranging things, so I’ll just go with the flow and learn what I can in the process.

Dad will pick up anything that he thinks he might one day utilize. I used to scoff at him, especially as a teen, when he’d make me wait in the truck while he jumped in the dumpster after a piece of lumber or scrap metal. But in getting the garden together, last fall, I began to see the method in his madness. He pulled out some rebar from one of his piles to use in mounting the low tunnels. I used to get in trouble for trouncing over the piles of those long metal rods, as a young child. He would warn me of snakes, and of the dangers of getting hurt or sick with tetanus, but mostly, he would get frustrated that I was going to somehow mess up his treasures. Fast forward 30 years, and he finally found the perfect use for a few of them.

He’s the tidiest of hoarders, and has running inventories, just as he had of his fittings and pipes during his plumbing days. I truly hope my boys learn all they can from him. He’s a big reason I moved my family to this farm. I knew he was just what the doctor ordered for my boys. It’s a messy world out there, and it is my hopes that my boys will be fully equipped to not only survive, but thrive, as grown men. So many skills are being lost in the wind. I want more for my boys than what a city could offer them. As a gal who started life in the country, I valued my upbringing, as it has served me well.

I’ve seen some progress in my sons’ growth and maturity, in the five months we’ve been here. A lot of resistance, but I think they’re wearing a little. It’s starting to sink in that the decision I made was made out of love and hope. One day, I believe that they will look back on this time in their life with nothing but gratitude. But until then…pray for us all! Ha!

And on that note, this is the Crazy Chicken Lady, signing OFF!

"You mess with me, you get the chicken!"

“You mess with me, you get the chicken!”

Vaya con Dios

Everybunny’s Doing Swell

I took a minor trip, to break away from the animals. No, not the farm animals, my own hatchlings, aged 11-17. The farm animals have nothing on the animals that live beneath my roof. From the smells to the yells, I just had to fly the coop for a few days, if only to regain perspective.

looking into the great unknown

looking into the great unknown

I can’t say that I was gone long enough to get anywhere with perspective, but at least I got to see other members of my family who make me feel sane. I was also blessed to be able to visit with my life long best friend, and meet her precious baby. Yes, it was a fabulous get-a-way, but I have to admit, I missed the animals.

I found myself talking chicken with anyone who would listen. This is obviously an epidemic, this chicken raising scheme. The chickens have a master plan to rule the world, and I am obviously just a pawn in their grand plan. Okay, maybe I give the flocks a little too much credit. But there’s power in numbers. And chickens practice voodoo…I know they do!

Look into my eyes...

Look into my eyes…

While I was away, the bunnies and hatchlings continued to grow. I am amazed what can happen in a few days time, growth wise. The kits are so active now, and will come right to you, as you open their hutch. They have needle-sharp claws, which they use to climb up your sleeve, if you’ll let them. I’m mesmerized by their cuteness. I try not to think about their actual purpose, because it’s such a joy to play with my food.

Huey, Dewey & Louie

Huey, Dewey & Louie

SuperMama and her Super Babies!

SuperMama and her Super Babies!

My husband came home last week with an interesting chicken horror tale.

His father and mother began raising chickens four or five years ago. At last count, they had a small flock of 16. The morning after the big freeze, my father in law went out to their coop to check on his flock. What he found both startled and disturbed him. Right in the middle of the coop, were all 16 chickens, laying dead in a pile.

Later that evening, he went back out, to clean up the sad loss, and the chickens had all neatly been moved to the corner of the coop. Still dead. (For some reason, as Mike told the story, at this point, I half expected the chickens to be alive and well when my father in law went back the second time. Sadly, I was wrong.) As he bagged each chicken, he noted that they did not seem scathed at all. That is until he came to the bottom of the pile, and there was a headless chicken awaiting him.

They live in south Texas, about 45 minutes north of the coast. Even though through research, I found that ringtail cats aren’t generally prevalent in that area, it is what his friend and he surmised to be the predator at large. His friend informed him that ringtail cats kill for sport, not unlike humans, and that the way he described finding the chickens, lined up with the nature of the ringtail.

What a horrible way to learn about a predator. We live about 3 hours north of them, and we definitely have a mess of predators to deal with here. In November, Dad shot a possum that was perched behind our chicken cages. Luckily, he did not get one of our chickens before his surprising end. We have hawks and a bobcat that lives right across the dry creek bed from us. We constantly keep the cages clean and food and water fresh, to deter unwanted pests and predators from sniffing their way to easy pickin’s.

While I was gone, the inevitable happened. Dad whipped out the incubator. But another thing that happened is that further construction took place on the future chicken “megaplex” that the boys are working up for our ever-growing feathered crowd. Too many generations are crowding the one tiny coop we have, which leads to laying boxes that resemble port-a-potties, and odd roosting situations, and unnecessary fights. Luckily, with our still-thriving winter garden, we are able to supplement with greens and nice scraps, to keep their health up in the more stressful environment. Just like us, they don’t do crowds well for long.

here we go again

here we go again

So I’ll leave you today with a few pictures of our roosters. With Mr. M hanging in a cage, the other roosters are finding their pecking orders have slid up a notch. So enjoy our farm studs and have a lovely day in the Son.

Chief Rainbow, Precious and widower Mrs. D

Chief Rainbow, Precious and widower Mrs. D

I think Mr. White might be racist...here he is with his harem which includes Lavender the white guinea, and Super Girl, the red-headed flying beaut.  She's only with him until her man is released from the infirmary.

I think Mr. White might be racist…here he is with his harem which includes Lavender the white guinea, and Super Girl, the red-headed flying beaut. She’s only with him until her man is released from the infirmary.

Leonerdo and the ever-social Lavender (who believes herself to be a white chicken)

Leonerdo and the ever-social Lavender (who believes herself to be a white chicken)

Mr. Kellogg Wellsummer

Mr. Kellogg Wellsummer

As you can see, it’s hard to sleep in, around here.

Until next time, this is the Crazy Chicken Lady, signing OFF!

Vaya con Dios