The Guardian Remembers

I don’t remember if I wrote about it before, but when we had the last flock of chickens, Whiskey was quite alert to them and responded quickly if they sounded distressed. When the new flock started coming out of their house, they had the usual skirmishes and just like he had with the last flock, he ran down to see what the problem was. When he determined it wasn’t an external threat (fox or other predator), he left them to their little spats.

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The other thing that I’m glad he remembers is how to share. The lard that I made last year started molding (we kept it in the cabinet), so I took it to the chicken house as a supplement for when it gets colder. I’ve also been using it as a bribe to get the chicks out of their house. The dogs, of course, love the lard, but they haven’t bothered the chickens. I have to say that I’m really glad that the lessons from the last flock have carried over to this one.

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Christmas 2016

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We had Christmas here, which meant we didn’t have to travel. The dogs aren’t used to having lots of company and while they thought it was fun to have lots of people to fuss over them, Whiskey at least was ready to have his house back by the end of the night. He curled up on the couch and took a nap to recover from all the excitement. Rhythm was her usual ebullient self and handled the whole thing a little more gracefully. Not that they weren’t both really well-behaved, but she seemed not to mind the company as much.
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While Tony’s parents were here, he showed off his favorite chicks – the blue splash Marans. They really are friendly birds and practically beg to be handled. It’s kind of amazing. They’re all quite a bit less skittish than they were a couple of weeks ago. They all pick at the paint on my boots to see if it’s worth eating now, where they huddled at the other side of the shed not too long ago. The cockerel still is flighty, which is something we’re working on now.
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I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I was having trouble figuring out how to wean the babies off their light. It looks like they might be doing it themselves. Admittedly, this was in the middle of the afternoon, but they seem to be spending less time huddled under the light and more time spread out around the chicken side of the shed. Usually, they’re nested up in some hay they scoop around themselves, but occasionally, they’ll hop up on one of the unused nest box frames (mentioned in the linked post) or even the nest boxes themselves. They haven’t really explored the roost bars yet, but they’re still pretty little, so there’s plenty of time.

Last week, I mentioned needing a new drain plug – turns out, the hole was stripped out. Dad came over and helped me make new threads for the oversized plug I bought, so that should be holding now. I haven’t had time to really check it out yet to see how it’s doing though.

As amazing as it to think about, next week will be 2017, so I’m posting the November/December 2016 album for your perusal. Happy new year!

Where’s My Schedule?

After being released from work for the season, I’ve completely lost track of any kind of schedule. Which is my attempt to explain the missing post this morning. The herd work day that I mentioned last week got postponed because of the weather (apparently, rain doesn’t make for good hoof trimming).

I’m taking the pigs to the slaughterhouse on Monday. We’re excited for the results of the summer’s growth, but I have to say, we’re going to miss them. They’re great composters and their personalities were really amusing. Moving them as much as we did minimized the smell (some days were definitely more noticeable than others). We’re looking forward to getting at least another pair of pigs in the spring.

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In other homegrown food news, we finished culling the chickens (for the MS) and put them in the freezer. I’ve spent the last week or so working on cleaning the chicken house…I’m realizing that one of the reasons I really hate cleaning is that there’s always one more thing to do before you’re done. Or one more thing to do before you can do this other thing that has to be done before that other thing. I finally got the chicken side cleaned out, but the shed side still has some work to go before I can power wash. And then I can sanitize and paint. And build a roost. And a new waterer and feeder.

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This picture of Whiskey is something Tony told me I should try to photograph. Most of the time, trying to take pictures of the sun like this doesn’t work for me, but Tony complimented me so much that I figured there was no harm in trying. Especially since my pictures are all digital now. And Whiskey was a pretty cooperative prop.