"....Your children shall be like olive plants all around your table." Psalm 128:3

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Recent Happenings

Happy Wednesday, friends!

It's hard to believe that I haven't posted anything since March 7th. It's been crazy busy around here the past several weeks! Here's what's been going on...

The day after my post about the Silkie chicks, we got some snow. Not much..just enough to cover the ground and make everything beautiful..

The next day, our chicks from McMurray Hatchery arrived..all 35 of them...

Aren't they adorable? Well, they were adorable. They are feathered out now, and looking more like adult chickens. The cute stage didn't last very long.  :(

A few days later, we found one of our Bantam hens was broody and is now on 6 eggs. Oops.. make that 4 eggs - 2 have already hatched!

One chick is light brown, probably an Aracuana. (The eggs she is setting on are not her own, but eggs from our other hens.) 

The other chick is almost entirely black, which means it was fathered by Ian's huge black rooster, aptly named Gigantor. See how massive he is compared to our hens?

You can see Gigantor's chick peeking out from under the Bantam's feathers on the lower left side.  :)

And as if we didn't have enough birds in the house (in the den beside the wood stove for warmth), we bought 16 White Pekin ducklings from our local Tractor Supply.  Ducks are my favorite birds!! :) They are straight run, so we don't know how many males and females we have. Only time will tell.

How cute are they?!

Mimi loved carrying the ducks around the house, providing there was a "duck diaper" (paper towel) under the duck at all times.  ;) She and her siblings did a great job of taming them.
When the birds got old enough (or rather when we got tired of the constant chirping), we moved all of them out to the barn.

On the days when the weather is warm enough, we let the ducks out to graze in the field.  Mimi is getting plenty of opportunities to sharpen her duck herding skills..

But she also makes sure each duckling gets some TLC.. :)

Sometimes, she just sits and watches them. They are quite entertaining.  :)

Ok, enough about the birds. Spring has finally sprung here and that means it garden planting time..at least the early crops.

So far, we have planted peas, carrots, kale, mustard, and spinach..

And, of course, you simply can't plant  a freshly plowed garden with shoes on, right? Barefooting is the only way to go!  ;)

While digging in the dirt, we found this cocoon..

Ian, our resident entomologist, couldn't identify it. So we put it in a jar, hoping that we will eventually get to see what's inside. Whatever it is, I am sure it will be fun to sketch in our Nature journals.

~Psalm 33:5b "The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord."

Have a great rest-of-the-week!  :)

Monday, March 7, 2016

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Baby Chicks and Marco Polo

With spring just a few weeks away, it's time for our family to be thinking about increasing our laying hen population.  Last week, we placed a chick order with Murray McMurray Hatchery. They had already sold out of several of the breeds we were looking for and we had to settle for what they had left. So I called several Tractor Supply Co. stores in our area to find out what kinds of chicks they had.

One store had Silkies for sale. Now, we had never raised Silkies before, and I am not one to just go out and buy chickens without knowing what they're good for...as in meat or eggs. 

So I did some research on them: they aren't the best layers, but they are excellent setters and will hatch just about any type of egg: goose, turkey, or duck. And since our sweet little Banty got taken by some devilish critter recently, we are in dire need of a hatching hen. They are also considered the friendliest of all chicken breeds and easily tamed.  From everything I read about Silkies, they fit the bill perfectly.

But being friendly and good setters wasn't all that sold me on the Silkies; I read about their history and, according to Wikipedia (I also read other sources that confirm this info), "The earliest surviving written account of Silkies comes from Marco Polo, who wrote of a furry chicken in the 13th century, during his travels in Asia." And Mimi is studying Marco Polo this year in Term 3 of AO!  A chicken breed that was probably first documented by Marco Polo?? I couldn't resist. And you can imagine her excitement when I told her. I love it when we makes connections like this.  :)  Off we went to Tractor Supply!

Now for some photos of the adorable little ones...

According to Mimi, we simply can't have baby chicks without a Lincoln Log house for them to play in.  ;)

Oh, and chicks we ordered from the hatchery? They arrived this morning. So that makes a total of 35 baby chicks in our den. We have them right beside the wood stove to keep them warm. Needless to say, it's a bit loud in the house right now.  ;)

Have a great day, friends!  :)