We lost our little DaisyMae last month. It took me this long to get thru photos.

 

 

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Hanging in the sun

Hanging in the sun

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We love that show-as much as you can love a reality show about murders. We just get hooked every time we see that it’s on.

So, if you are a fan of the show, here is The First 48-DaisyPatch version.

North Hampton, NH

For homestead detectives, the clock starts ticking the moment they are called. Their chance of solving the crime is cut in half if they don’t get a lead within the first 48 hours. It is North Hampton, NH. The owner of DaisyPatch farm returns home late at night and is shocked to discover one chicken hasn’t returned home. He had heard a noise earlier, but couldn’t figure out the sound. The chicken is presumed dead.

Time remaining: 48:00

The owner calls the chicken. There is no reply. He calls again, but still there is no reply.

Time remaining: 46:28

He goes into the house and texts his wife to break the news. She is out of town.

He calls the chicken again. Still, there is no reply. The other chickens in the gang are called in for questioning. He has no suspects.

Time remaining: 46:27

The rest of the chicken gang refuse to to answer any questions. The leads have all run dry. The owner will have to wait until morning to see if there are any clues.

Time remaining: 36:44

It’s the next morning. The chicken gang leave the coop and roam the neighborhood. The owner follows at a safe distance, hoping for clues. He isn’t able to find anything. Investigating the location he thought was the source of the noise, he does not uncover any leads.

Time remaining: 36:21

His wife just received the message and texts him back to see if there is any news. She wants to know which chicken has died. He texts her back that he doesn’t know. She will have to come home to identify the missing chicken.

Time remaining: 00:32

The owner’s wife has come home and has identified which chicken is missing. It was a no-name chicken with distinguishing white marks. They are most likely gang symbols.

Time remaining: 00:04

The clock winds down on the first 48. The chicken still has not returned. With no body or leads, he may never know what happened. The chicken gang now has 8 members. None of them will talk.

All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a coop of law.


I have discovered the best way to get rid of weeds is to weed. Ageless words of wisdom right there.


shallots

These are the shallots

That almost got washed.

They were in my pocket.

I’m surprised they weren’t squashed.

Picking them was easy

When out tending the yard

Apparently remembering them later

Was the part that was hard.

They made it inside

and into the laundry pile

They made it downstairs

I think they were there for a while.

Gratefully, Keith

Doing laundry so well

Saved our clothes

From a horrific smell.

He fished them out

And brought them to safety

Into the kitchen

Where they try to look tasty.

You see they didn’t want

To be laundered or cleaned

They wanted to chopped

And sauteed or steamed.

Stirred into risotto

Or softened in butter

Anything, anything at all

Related to supper.

So heed the lesson

From this forgetful wench

Remember your shallots

And avoid the stench.


Our garden sucks this year. The squash has been eaten, so I planted some more. That was eaten. The tomatoes are still only 6 inches high – they just aren’t growing. Lettuce was a short season – it went from cold to HOT! and it bolted very quickly. The strawberries were flavorless and the peas were non-existant. Beans are coming up, thankfully. Basil is weak. Garlic is getting harvested tomorrow. Keith’s hot peppers are just as big as when I moved them outside over a month ago. Potatoes are going to be our biggest crop. I did a new style of planting area and I think it will really work for them. Pictures coming soon, fingers crossed.

 

Needless to say, we’re a bit bummed out. It was a gray spring and has been a wet summer and not much really took off. Waah, enough of that. I might go to the garden center and *shudder* buy a big tomato plant. I started San Marzano and Black Plum and was hoping to see the fruits of those labors.

 

On another note, Pinchy, the limpy chicken is out and about. Her limp is slight, but still there. She is getting picked on, but not as badly as I had feared. Stay tuned!


Many people have asked us if our chickens are for eggs or meat or both. Ah, the dilemma that has plagued us is not easy to put into a simple, “Yes or No.” You see, we have an injured Doodle. 3 weeks ago, during my morning trip to the coop, I opened the nesting box and found one hunkered inside. No you don’t. No getting broody here. I picked her up and placed her forward, inside the coop. She limped, staggered and sat down. Uh oh. I went around to the side door and gently picked her up and brought her outside, placing her on the ground as carefully as I could. She wouldn’t walk on her right leg. Shit.

I tucked her under my arm and with that, it was fully obvious something was wrong as NONE of our chickens let me pick them up let alone carry them around. I brought her inside and Keith and I proceeded to feel her leg, thigh, foot, etc., as if we knew what we were doing, but we couldn’t feel that anything was wrong with it. Keith helped me find the big storage bin he had outfitted for the chickens when they were still in the house under heat lamps as chicks. With her tucked under my arm the entire time and talking to her like she completely understood me, I filled it with wood shavings, got the little waterer and food dish from her chickhood (like, baby’s first silver spoon and cup, yet, not) and set her up in her recovery unit. He and I both hit the internet on our respective computers and came up with very different diagnoses. Keith discovered she probably had a sprained leg and would recover in a few weeks of R&R. My research yielded that she had either parasites that were affecting her nerves and would kill her OR a chicken disease that was affecting her brain and was soon going to kill her and my entire flock within a few days. The chicken equivalent of the black plague. I insisted we go to Agway right away and purchase every medicine and vitamin listed on the internet. Despite Keith’s protests that she just sprained her leg and the reassurance from the Agway clerk that, she probably just sprained her leg, I purchased $45 worth of deworming meds. (They didn’t have a smaller package! This was basically enough to take care of the entire Purdue flock of chickens…we only have 9.)

By then I had imagined all the doomsday scenes involving either hoards of worms oozing from every chicken orifice in the entire flock, or all the Doodles getting paralyzed, then being unable to walk and we would have to kill them all and bury them in a shallow grave. I would put a sign up for future generations to visit the site of the black chicken plague of 2013. Keith was still adamant she just sprained her leg.

When I was a kid, I had this little toy plastic picnic basket that came with plastic forks, knives, spoons and plates. It was red and yellow. I would break a low-hanging branch off a tree in our yard, one that had a “nest” of tent caterpillars. I thought they were cute and fuzzy. So, I would take the branch, use sticks and break open the “tent,” and leave it and a bunch of leaves in my picnic basket, intent on keeping my new, fuzzy pets in their makeshift home. Then, I would get called in for lunch, forget about them and read a book or play with my doll house. The next day, I would go back outside and, seeing my picnic basket, remember my “pets.” Does anyone want to guess what I found? Just a guess? You’re right, they were all dead. I had pretty much baked them in the little picnic box oven in the New Jersey Summer sun. So, I would go do it again, dumping out the picnic basket of dead, dried caterpillars and heading to the trees to rip off another branch. This time, I’d give them water too. Yeah, that’ll keep them alive. Rinse and repeat.

Don’t think this childhood memory didn’t come ROARING back, the irony NOT lost on me as I set up my Doodle in her plastic bin with a dish of water and a tray of food complete with some spinach leaves and raisins for snacking. Well, let me fast forward 3 weeks. Good news! I didn’t kill her. She is still in the box upstairs in the sunshine. The whole box, Doodle intact, gets put outside on nice days, carefully put in a shady area so that we don’t accidentally cook the little thing in my Chicken Buddy Burner (5 points if you were a Girl Scout and had to make your own Buddy Burner.). More good news! The whole flock didn’t die of a neurological brain disease or worm infestation! It is pretty obvious that she had broken or sprained her leg.

I have been keeping her bin clean, her water fresh. She gets treats, and lots of them – grapes, blueberries, raisins, cheese, some beef. We both talk to her when we walk past her bin. She hears us coming and just says, “Br Br Br” and so we talk back. I pick her up and she sits in my lap while Keith makes dinner. She seems to like getting her feathers stroked. I’m starting to like having her inside. Her dish will be within reach, but she seems to prefer to eat out of my hand. Not good. She is now my pet.

2 days ago, I brought her outside to walk in the grass. You know, a little chicken P.T.? I wanted to see how she did with more room to walk. The other chickens immediately tried to attack her. What!?! Keith saw the whole thing. I pushed them away and they kept coming after her. She couldn’t run to get away. My little Doodle! Keith went inside and I scooped her up and brought her back in. He got in the house before me and so when I walked in, he was waiting, holding a very big cleaver. I know he was joking, we both laughed, but…part of us knew he had a point.

It has been 3 weeks with really not much sign of improvement. She is obviously in pain when she tries to walk and can’t fare for herself. She certainly couldn’t run from a predator. So we are faced with a choice. Do we keep trying to rehabilitate her or do we stop prolonging what feels to be inevitable? The longer we wait to kill her, the more attached I will be. I named her Pinchy, after Homer Simpson’s pet lobster he accidentally boiled when he went to give Pinchy a hot bath. In between cries of anguish for poor Pinchy, Homer was cracking Pinchy’s claws and dipping them in butter, going ‘Mmmmm” “Waaah, Pinchy. Mmmmm.” We think we’ll have the same outcome.

We always did talk about these birds eventually becoming meat birds, but I knew I would name them and be unable to do it (not to mention the fact that I can’t even squish a bug with my shoe, I don’t want to feel or hear the crunch so I have to take a big rock or log to do it). I can’t imagine me being involved in killing and then de-feathering. I supposed I would do it if I had to. Gosh, I hope I don’t have to. She is so pretty and sweet. I think I’ll keep trying to heal her up in the house. Fingers crossed!

 

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doodke


February Blizzard, 2013


Doodles in the Winter

I started calling them “Chickie Doodles,” then I just shortened it to “Doodles.” “Keith, have you let the Doodles in?” “I’m going to feed the Doodles.” Anyway, I looked out my home office window to this little scene.


Per the ever so scientific method of weighing oneself holding the box and then weighing oneself without the box and noting the difference, we have just stored 15.2 pounds of potatoes in our root cellar. I think that is exciting. When I first harvested them, I was disappointed. There didn’t seem to many. But now I recall that the seed potatoes we purchased didn’t even total 1 pound. That is quite a haul. Again, our biggest problem this year was that they went dry. Apparently my ingenious method of taking chicken wire, securing it into a short barrel with zip ties and planting potatoes in soil causes too much air circulation around the roots and they dry out quite a bit. We had a very dry summer, so that didn’t help. I’m going to try another way next year. Keith has some ideas.

So far, the Chieftains did the best, with the Russets pulling in close second. The Russian Banana Fingerling were sort of growing on the side of the house and I pulled the plant up and popped it in a planter, so that was the lowest yield, as we only started from one plant.

I will definitely grow both the Chieftains and the Russets next year.

I just had to Google “Storing Potatoes for the Winter” and so have them layered between newspaper in a cardboard box and laid up against, but not quite touching, the cement wall in the cooler part of the basement where no windows are facing. Hopefully they’ll stay cool and dry there and not cause any rot.


We decided to retire early tonight to watch The Dictator in bed. I said, “Not it” and so Keith had to go out to put the chickens away. I pulled out my phone to play a little Free Cell.

I got a text.

“I need help.”

I went outside to find Keith looking straight up. One of the Barred Rocks (my favorites) was on top of the coop. Everyone else was inside.

How is it that I somehow found MYSELF on top of a ladder in my pajamas trying to catch a chicken? I ask this in earnest because that is what happened.

She shied away from me and Keith was able to grab her from the other side. We almost high-fived.

We are a good team. Today, one of the Orpingtons had an 18inch long stream of flypaper stuck across ALL of her rear feathers. We had to catch her, not an easy feat, gently extract each feather and then she lay on her back in my lap while Keith got a cloth wet with hot water.

I was surprised she let me wipe each feather not to mention lay like that in my lap. We put her down and she ran for the ear of corn we put in the ground as bait-already being devoured by the others. We almost high-fived then too.

Both times, we realized we aren’t high-fivers and I just gave him a little pat on the ass. You know, that’s the equivalent of a “married-couple high five.” Look it up.