Monday, September 26, 2011

It's been a while .....

I've been SO busy lately.  Mostly at work, but my weekends have been full too. A week ago I went to A Wool Gathering in Ohio.  It was my first time to that festival, and I really liked it, although as we pulled into the parking lot, I realized I had forgotten my camera!

Lisa from Somerhill Farm was one of the vendors there.  She is the breeder of my first French Angoras, Holly and Ivy.  She also breeds show-quality Blue-Faced Leicester sheep, and had these lovely dyed locks for sale, which I snapped up!

Then I stopped by Stephanie's LunabudKnits booth

Stephanie  is one of our KSFF board members, and her booth was one of the outstanding ones with all this fabulous color!   

I bought some of this beautiful gold merino top, and another in olive.   I also got some dyed silk hankies from her in shades of turquoise, blues and greens.  I hope all the links will make up for the fact that I forgot to ask before using her images!!!   With all this fiber I'm buying, I'd better get to spinning it!! 

This past Saturday, I went to the Bluegrass Poultry Association show.  I took my camera, but didn't take any photos.  It didn't seem as good as last year, with only about half the entries.  I went later in the day though, and people who had already had their birds judged, might have already left?    Like last year, I was impressed with how huge (and scary) the standard sized chickens are, and glad I have my sweet little bantams.  There were only 3 Cochins there (standards?  A lot bigger than Dolley), the same number of standard Orpingtons, one Polish, a few Silkies, even though they are so popular, but lots and lots of Old English Game Birds, besides the mix of other breeds. 

I also unloaded found a new home for the one Orpington chick I knew was a male.  I was nearly positive, but as a novice, I asked around for someone who could help me tell for sure.  I was finally directed to a man - apparently with some expertise with the breed - who told me no doubt it was a cockerel.  He had a couple of boys with him, about 8 to 10 years old, one who especially seemed interested in the bird, so as I told the man my sob story about not being able to keep it, I said the boy could have it if he wanted it.  Dad said "Go get a cage," and the kid was off like a shot.... so the little boy chick is now living with a little boy in Tennessee.   Cute, and when I said to the little guy I hoped my bird was going to a good home, the little boy said with conviction, "oh, he is."   

I now have 2 in each coop - just right, if the mystery chick turns out to be a pullet.   The pullet I'm sure of is in with Abigail, and the "not quite sure" one is in with Dolley.  I'm willing to give that one some more time, since space is no longer an issue.  It's funny how each chick is being effected by the personality of the older girl in with it.  Abigail is quieter, and picky about what she eats, and the baby girl is following that example.  If her foster mom won't do it, neither will baby.  Dolley eats greens and other things Abigail won't touch, like yogurt, so her 'roomie' does too.  I gave Dolley and 'her' chick some yogurt yesterday and I should have gotten a photo of that!  Both with it smeared all over their faces like toddlers with ice cream cones! 

If I can get rested up and get some energy back, I'll take some photos and post about my fall garden next time.

From Wren Cottage.......

Saturday, September 10, 2011

There are some advantages... living in a townhouse.   1) I never have to mow the grass, and   2) when it's time to replace the roof, I don't have to bother with arranging that, it's just done for me.

The view out my kitchen window

Of course it's pretty noisy, with people walking on the roof, the scraping and then the nailing.  At the first unusual sound, all of the cats disappeared into whatever hidey-hole they have found for themselves.   The bunnies are unconcerned.  The chickens did a little frantic "the sky is falling, the sky is falling" skittering around, but settled down quickly and are now ignoring it. As for me, I'm going to escape to a CLUCK meeting for a few hours this afternoon.  A guest speaker is going to talk about feather condition and how it relates to overall health in chickens.     

Abigail is done with the mom thing.   Don't get me wrong, she is still a good mom to the chicks, she just isn't single-mindedly dedicated to them anymore.   One evening when the chicks were screaming and jumping all over her, I thought I detected that familiar harried look one sees on the faces of mothers of youngsters from time to time.  I took her out of the coop and put her on her favorite perch by the window, and could almost hear her sigh with relief. Those perch sessions have become more frequent, and she doesn't act all that eager to go back in with the young'uns. 

Abigail also started laying again this week.  While I wasn't getting eggs, I bought Chelsey's Eggs  at Good Foods.  After viewing a video (which I will NOT be posting here) of a commercial hatchery, I don't think I can ever eat grocery store eggs again.  These come from pastured chickens in Pleasureville, KY.  They are good and very big.  Sometimes the carton will hardly close.   Here is Abigail's egg next to one of the Chelsey ones - 

Store-bought egg on the left - Abigail's egg on the right
Not bad for a bantam, huh!

I split up the little family today.  There was a bit too much sparring going on, and one of the chicks looked like it was having some feathers picked out.   The coop is also getting a little crowded, since the chicks are nearly half the size of the hen now. I split up the two I think are boys, and put one in with Dolley.  After a couple of sharp pecks to let it know who's boss, she seemed to like the change.  Chickens are flock animals, and she has wanted to join the family all along.   This week Abigail actually let her join them in their cage for a little while!  That's how much she has mellowed out.
( I like the big round eyes on the Cochins)

The little one had some periods of peeping and pacing, but also settled down sometimes to scratch and peck in the litter.  I'm less sure this week that it's a cockerel than I was last week.  The comb  isn't growing and the wattles are barely there.  But then I look at the "girl," and she looks very different than the other two.......  See why I haven't named anyone yet?  I am so convinced of the girl though that I have been running through First Lady names, to see if one fits. There haven't been any takers on the feelers I've put out on the other two though.  I hope I have some time to find homes for them before one or both starts crowing or know.

My fall crops have really liked the rain and cool temps we had this week. It was perfect for germinating the seeds.  I haven't had anything to harvest for a while though - no tomatoes in over a week.  I had some San Marzanos I picked last week I hadn't done anything with yet, so I made a pan of these.  When I first the tasted them, the skins were very apparent, and I thought I might try to skin them first if I made them again.  I put them in a jar in the fridge rather than the freezer, since I didn't have that many, and this morning tossed some in the pan with my breakfast eggs.  Yum!!  Skins had softened and they just needed a bit of time to meld the flavors.  Today I made a batch of this.  It filled a quart jar with a little left over.  She's right.  It's so good I wanted to just sit down with a spoon and dig in.  I'm planning upcoming meals with this in mind as a topping.