Saturday, October 30, 2010

Western Movies!

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Happy Halloween!

I'm a cowgirl at heart. Still not moving much, but I don't have to do much to watch these wonderful talks on Itunes by Richard Slotkin about Western movies that I love. I have watched these talks once and I'm enjoying them again. I think I like the ones about Stagecoach and Rio Bravo the best. But they are all very good.

Click on the link below to go to Itunes and the lectures. Enjoy.

Watch starting with #18.
I don't know why Itunes has them listed backwards.

The rain should be gone tomorrow! The chickens and Morgan will be glad to get out and run in the woods. 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Back Is Still Out To Lunch

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Still having trouble moving around, standing up, sitting, dumb things like that... hope to be back to taking photos and blogging in a week. Kristine says I have to take two weeks off, but I hope I'll be able to get back in shape sooner than that.

Raining here. Chickens are ok. Morgan too.

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Plastic Roof on the Chicken Coop Pen

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I got a tarp up over the chicken pen because it is going to be raining for a few days and the chickens will have to stay penned. I also put five bags of leaves down in the pen for the chickens to scratch around.

I read somewhere that if you are going to use the deep litter method you should keep the litter dry. So, I'm going to give dry a try. I may need to get some more tarps for the sides of the pen. This storm is supposed to be windy so I'll be able to see how much rain gets blown in the pen. The pen is pretty well protected under the trees.

There is some little critter digging in the coop. Don't know what it is, but I found a pile of dirt on top of the plywood in a corner and I know the chickens didn't pile up the little dirt mountain there. I dug around the outside of the coop corner and put some rocks in the hole. There is already a metal barrier sunk down 18" and metal under the plywood. Maybe it's a mole?

My back is messed up again and I'm still not feeling positive... meaning feeling like doing anything except reading. I need to go make something for my dinner. I'd probably feel better if I ate. Grumble... I am not a happy camper. I think I need more blueberry pancakes.

I have an easy fun rainy day project in mind for tomorrow.
Hope I can move around and get it started.

(October 22, 2010)
The chickens are in the middle of molting
this year too.
We haven't fired up the wood stove yet this year.
Maybe tomorrow?

[1 egg today]
There haven't been any eggs the last couple of days.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Planter Bed Cover Beginning

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No work in the chicken pen today. Instead I decided to start back to work taking it a bit easy. I repotted some plants into larger containers and then I went around looking for stuff I could use to make a cover for the planter bed. I found some things that might work and gathered them together in the garden.

I need to see if I can find some 1 by 1's or some kind of small lumber laying around. I do have 2 by 4's I could use. I'll see what I can build after I find stuff to work with.

I have seen some great looking plastic cloche type covers I would love to make, but the squirrels around here would just rip the plastic to pieces. They even took one of my wooden bird feeders apart. The only one they haven't opened is the metal feeder. I saw a wire planter box cover online for 300 dollars. I'll make something. It won't be beautiful, but it should work.

My back is still ok so I will start cleaning the coop tomorrow too. It sure feels good to get outside again especially after the little rain we had. I love the smell of the forest after it rains.

Kristine drove by two coyote/wolf looking dog like critters last week. One of the dogs? is over a hundred and fifty pounds and she was thinking that these may be the coyotes? that the neighbor saw in her yard after her chickens (the big one went after her dog.) We don't know if these are dogs or what, but I sure hope they stay away what ever they are.

Bags of Halloween candy showed up tonight and I enjoyed the first tiny candy bar I've had this year.

I was looking around on YouTube for some info about chickens in the 1940's and ran across this video of two women recording some family history. I think it is a wonderful idea to get family history recorded on paper, but on video is even better. Anyway, I decided to listen and see what the story was about... the beginning is a little hard to understand, but it gets better. I was surprised to find a chicken turn out to have a staring role in the story. I have tried to get Tom's family to make some video, but no one is interested. Too bad. I think this is a neat story.

Peek at the Past
I need to dig the ditch again this year.
Click on these 2009 photos
and they enlarge.

[1 egg today]


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Blueberry Whole Wheat Pancakes on a Rainy Day

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I'm feeling a bit better, moving at a slow pace and getting back into blogging after a time out. I even felt good enough to make pancakes for breakfast! Pancakes, macaroni and cheese or spaghetti are my go to feel good foods when I'm trying to be extra nice to myself. I love real maple syrup too.

My back is not hurting now, but I'm  not doing anything. I want to start back to work cleaning up the chicken coop tomorrow. I plan to be very careful. No wheel barrow pushing tomorrow.

I've been looking around on YouTube for some ideas about the deep litter method of maintaining chicken bedding and found this video. I'm going to try and do the same thing using the leaves, bark, and litter I find on the forest floor. I'll have to give the feed store a call and find out if I can buy a bag or two of silage. Or I could scatter some scratch around on the ground.

I think this chicken tractor works for this fellow because it looks like it is in a fenced area where dogs couldn't get at the chicken wire and tear it open. Also the raccoons around here could reach in through the large chicken wire and grab a chicken. Neat idea.

It should be sunny by noon tomorrow so I want to put in at least a couple of hours working in the coop or pen. At least I will make a start.

The molting chickens look like they have been plucked, but they are starting to grow their new feathers. I hope they get feathered out before the cold weather gets here. They don't seem to care about getting wet because they were outside standing in the rain.

Peek at the Past
Molting chickens last year.
Click on these 2009 photos
and they enlarge.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hungry Molting Chickens

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Everyone left early and I was home alone. I finally made it out to the chicken coop and let the hens out thanks to my trusty walking stick.

I hung on to it and managed to get the feed pan filled and put down for them to eat. There is scratch in the pan and dry organic crumble. The feed store didn't have any pellets.

Bad chickens. They knocked a bunch of scratch and crumble out on the cement and didn't eat it up. But Morgan came by and I caught her licking up feed off the cement. She got a big no for that.

I didn't try to mix up mash for them. Too much mixing and bending involved. But the wet feed sure does cut down on waste. I'll go back to making a mash as soon as I'm able.

My lower back is getting a little better. I guess I messed up some muscles or something.

There were coyotes this time last year too.
I guess this is coyote season around here.
(October 12, 2009)

[2 eggs today]
Not many eggs from the molting hens.
They are using their protein to make feathers
not eggs.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Backache, Molting Chicken and Coop Plans

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Morgan's downstairs bed is all washed and clean. And it even smells good thanks to fabric softener.

I was all dressed up in my work duds ready for work, and then my plans for working in the chicken coop came to an end when Kristine asked me to look at something on the computer screen. I leaned over to take a good look and yikes...

I can carry heavy loads of wood and other stuff around outside, but I have an achilles heel. I have done this to my back a few times. All I have to do is bend over a certain way and it's like I lost strength in moving and it hurts and puts me out of commission for a few days. I haven't had this happen for a long time.

My theory about how to handle back pain is... if it hurts don't move. So, I'm moving as little as possible.

I'm drinking tea, eating cookies and not making dinner. I did make the chickens some more cabbage treats.

That poor Light Brahma looks so bad. At least the feathers are starting to grow in on her neck. Morgan is out watching the chickens and wearing a prong collar with the prongs sticking out to help protect her neck from a coyote attack.

 Couldn't go out to work on the chicken coop, so I watched some YouTube videos. Some of the stuff I already knew, but I learned about chicken fowl pox and...

I think I will try adding more leaves and wood chips to the coop pen instead of more dirt. That is... as soon as I can get around. I guess I should look at this whole back pain thing as a good thing because I have come by some helpful info via the video I wouldn't have seen if I wasn't hurting. Sigh...

I've been trying to decide if I should cover part of the chicken pen with a tarp this year.  I do have a lot of straw around for the chickens to burrow in and keep warm.

There are 8 parts to this video.

I think it is interesting
to see how other people keep their chickens and care for them.

Morgan still likes to run through the chickens
and stir them up.
(October 11, 2009)

[1 egg today]


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Close Call

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It was a close thing this morning. I almost got together enough energy and will power to go out and haul some wheel barrows of dirt around and clean the chicken coop.

But just in the nick of time I decided to do laundry and wash my work clothes. No excuse tomorrow. I'll have to get out there and do some work.

Bye, bye books. I still have two more Elizabeth Peters, Amelia Peabody mysteries to finish. I go for the escapist type take me away reading.

I think this whole no energy thing has something to do with the seasons changing. Maybe my body is trying to go into a hibernation mode for the Winter? I'm sleepy and so is Kristine.

The chickens had a scare today and ran to hide under bushes, the jays were screeching and Morgan was running around looking for something. Not barking though. Kristine and I couldn't figure out what the problem was... hawk, fox, coyote?

After the chickens surfaced, I cut them up some cabbage and had a photo op. (Kristine got hamburgers and fries for us and cabbage for the chickens.) They look terrible. The chicken pen and coop are full of feathers just like last year.

The big green bag on the porch is covering the plastic christmas tree. I hauled it out of storage when I was clearing stuff out and left it there. I'm undecided... somedays I think I would like to have a real tree this Christmas and some days I think, no, I don't want to deal with the needle mess, watering, and worry about fire danger.

 News is that someone around the area had their goats and all their chickens stolen. Makes you wonder why they were taken. Food? Mischief? Fowl play? (yeah, I know, bad pun... it's foul)

Global Warming?
I say Ha! too.
Supposedly, chickens don't fart so I guess I don't have to worry about some global warming edict coming out about how I need to get rid of my chickens to save the world. I feel sorry for the people who have cows. They are getting a bum rap.

Molting last year.

[1 egg today]


Thursday, October 07, 2010

Pumpkin UFO?

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A UFO landed in my planter bed!

Pretty neat! I planted some pumpkin seeds and used this old piece of a light fixture as a cloche to protect the new growth from the rain and critters who would eat the plants.

I love finding new uses for old stuff!

I do keep trying to come up with a really good idea for how to build a cover to protect the plants in the beds. I tried growing potatoes and something ate them all.

That is a weed growing out there all by itself. Nobody wants to eat the weed.

I have decided I need to use chicken wire and not netting because the deer will just push the netting aside. I've been taking some time off and enjoying myself reading and just goofing off. As the weather gets better I am going to have to get back to actually doing things. But not yet. I'm having fun being lazy. I recommend it!

(October 7, 2009)

[1 egg today]
The chickens are molting
and they look terrible.
Poor hens!


Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Wash That Fabric!

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10/6/10 Update: Thunder, lightening and rain... but mostly the lightening has decided me in favor of shutting down my computer and unplugging it from the outlet.

I really don't want a fried computer.

Today I spent time getting fabric ready for cutting and sewing. I hate how the fabric always gets all twisted up in the washer and dryer. (Thank you to the sweet lady who gave me the material)

I always wash material before I sew with it because there are those times that fabric dyes will run and that makes for a terrible mess if it is already made up into a garment or a quilt.

I love using the little ironing board I built into the wall in pre-blog days (it came out of an old house in San Francisco.) I remembered to take the material out of the dryer when it was still damp which makes for much easier ironing.

A few years ago, Holly painted and decorated the old wooden chair. I love having and using things that have such dear memories.

I have been spending time looking for a quilt pattern that I like. I did find one, but I'm not sure if I have enough lights and darks. I'll keep looking.

I'm hoping that after I work on this quilt I'll be brave enough to make Kristine's quilt. It's been over a year and I'm still afraid of cutting into the the beautiful oriental fabric we bought. I can't find a pattern I like either. Ahh... the unknown dangers of buying gorgeous fabric.

It has been such a long time since I've used my new sewing machine that I've forgotten how to use it... well, not really, but I don't feel comfortable using it and I have to keep reading the instruction booklet before I do anything like thread the machine. I think I need to go back to the shop for a refresher course. I'll call the shop and find out the next training date.

Kristine brought home the newest (April)
Elizabeth Peters
Amelia Peabody Mystery.
I'll look for patterns for a bit longer
but then I'm going back to reading.

Peek at the Past
(at the bottom of the post)
(October 5, 2009)

[2 eggs today]
Morgan and the chickens are still locked up
because of the coyotes.
It was rainy and cold out
so I stayed inside too.


Sunday, October 03, 2010

Porch Pumpkins

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My rolled up jeans tell a story. Yep. I'm getting shorter. In four months I will be seventy. I don't feel much different than I did when I was thirty which is a good thing.

The only thing I really notice is that my jeans hit the floor by my heel if I don't turn them up.

Of course, if I wore shoes the jeans would be just the right length. So, maybe I'm not that much shorter after all.

These pumpkins are outside on the entry way tiles where they can stay cool and keep their good looks until I figure out what to do with them. Kristine wants to carve one and I guess the other two will be around for Fall decorations.

The chickens are still waiting for a pumpkin. One that looks like it fell off the truck would be good. The chickens and Morgan are still locked up. Kristine is still looking for a collar for Morgan. It would be neat if we could find a wide heavy nylon collar and then also have her wear the prong collar with the prongs sticking out.

Lazy Sunday! There was rain of a sort today (very light) so I didn't go out. I'm so bad. I was on the couch reading and fell asleep. If I didn't stay up all night reading, I wouldn't be so sleepy. It is all Kristine's fault for bringing me lots of books. Love those books!

I should be reading blogs and leaving comments, but that's not happening. I am addicted to reading books.

(October 3, 2009)
Fall is here again

[1 egg today]


Saturday, October 02, 2010

Happy October! Spike Collars and Coyotes?

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Wow! October's here in a hurry and this time I'm ready with the decorations unpacked and hung up around the house.

Tom brought home a pumpkin for the chickens, but Kristine said no way are the chickens getting that pumpkin because it is a perfect shaped pumpkin for carving.

So no photo of chickens having a pumpkin snack. The hens are still locked up and not happy.

Morgan is happy! She likes staying in the house up in the loft and sleeping all day. Although now I do hear her upstairs chewing away on a bone making a lot of noise.

Kristine and I have decided to get Morgan a wide collar with spikes to help protect her neck if she is attacked by coyotes. I have read that coyotes will attack the neck behind the jaw. I suppose they will bite for whatever they can grab.

When I take Morgan out on a leash I put a metal prong collar on her with the prongs sticking out so the coyote would get a mouthful of spikes. Prong collars are supposed to be used as training collars, but we didn't use it that way. I used the prong collar on one of my dobermans when I first got him (adult) so he wouldn't pull on the leash and take off with me dragging along. I didn't yank on the collar. He learned quickly that if he pulled on the leash the prongs would poke on his neck. The prongs aren't sharp, but they are uncomfortable if pulled against.

Morgan wears a nylon collar that she can pull off if she gets her collar hooked on something in the woods. I have heard of many dogs (even my brother in law's dog) who have been strangled when their collars are so tight they can't be pulled off over the dogs head if they get caught on something.

Kristine is going to look for a metal spike collar because I have read about dogs who have slipped their leather spike collars off and chewed them up and swallowed the spikes and and to have operations (some died.) Sigh... nothing works perfectly. Well, I'll have to wait and see what Kristine can find.

This whole dog collar thing has got me looking online for info about dog collar history. And I found a bunch of neat dog collar images on Google images. Spike collars for dogs have been around for a long time.

Peek at the Past
on the way to the dentist.

[2 eggs today]
one broken
(the chickens are molting)