Sunday, April 3, 2011

For my Sister ......

Who, when she read that I was going to use a 'First Lady' theme to name any chickens I might acquire, said "You've got to name one Dolley!"

Meet Dolley -

And Martha! 

They are Cochin bantams. Dolley is Blue, and Martha is a Splash.  I picked them up from Wildwood Aviary today.  Thank you Twyla!  I am finding out that sexing chickens is not an exact science, especially at their age. Martha has quite the comb, but Twyla said she (?) is not developing wattles, moves and carries herself like a pullet, and she was pretty confident of her gender.  She was generous though, and said if 'Martha' turns out to be 'George,' she will make it right and let me come and pick out another pullet. Several of her other full-grown hens also have biggish combs, so we'll see how it turns out. She can definitely fly though!  When I was setting them up in a coop/cage, she flew out a couple of times.   She is also very chatty -and 'talked' to us most of the way home, with tiny little chirps and cheeps.

Unlike the sprightly Dolley Madison, this Dolley is the more laid-back of the two chicks.  I really wanted a blue, as I mentioned in an earlier post, but was only offered splash in our communication before today. So when we got there and the first one Twyla pulled out to to show me was blue, I was surprised, and not about to let it go!!  She was so sweet, and fell asleep in my hand.   The photo doesn't do her justice.  Even though both are in that gawky, awkward 'tween' stage, they are still very pretty birds. 

PBS did a docu-drama about Dolley Madison in March during their fundraiser, and it was quite good.   When I did an internet search about her, I found even more interesting things, including these:   

Dolley with her neice.

I've mentioned before that I like history, so please bear with me: 
I find it very remarkable that we have photographs of one of the principle people from the founding years of our nation.   They all have painted portraits, but photos, to see exactly what she looked like!   Dolley lived in virtual poverty in her later years.  Her rogue son from her first marriage used up or lost any money she had, until she literally had to sell the farm.  

Slaveowners, she did not free the slaves as was James' intent, but sold them - for the money.  Installed in a house in Washington owned by her brother-in-law, she finally sold her faithful manservant Paul Jennings, although she had already made out a will in which she promised him freedom.  He was purchased again six months later by Daniel Webster, and with Mr. Webster's encouragement, Paul would take her things from the Webster home - such as baskets of food - when he visited her.   He eventually bought his freedom from Mr. Webster, and wrote the very first memoir of life in the White House.  

The narrator of the documentary pointed out that in all the portraits and photos of her in later life, Dolley is wearing the same outfit - most certainly because it was her best, and the only good outfit she had.     I noticed that even in old age, she still had her determinedly black curls showing from beneath her turban. 

But - back to the chickies: 
So I have two new babies, and  couldn't be more pleased with them.  They will be quarantined in a different part of the house from Abigail for a few weeks, and then I will decide how to house them.   Delores and I were both surprised an how small an area they seemed to need, and were quite happy.  I hope these girls are happy here.


  1. I love Dolley Madison! She's the one who saved the oil paintings in the White House before it was set on fire. And her husband James Madison, our 4th president, sold our farm to Jack's ancestors in 1816 when Indiana was still a territory. I have his picture hanging in my family room, just my way of paying homage to him.
    So hello, Dolley! I love your name!

  2. Congrats on the new family/farm members! I hope all the GIRLS get along when introduced.

  3. I love that! I never knew anything beyond the White House years. Your family has become huge! I can tell that you are rejoicing about that. Ready for spring?