In 45* below zero temperatures, this crazy, bad a**, 4 year old, Blue Marans hen decides to hide a nest and hatch out a chick!!!!
Mmmmm….how about a nice warm mug of milk with some honey stirred in? Maybe a little cardamom too.
Today, after about a week straight of bitter cold in Michigan, the sun finally came out. The hens have been cooped up and were anxious to get outside. LeadBoy and I were taking advantage of the respite from blowing cold winds to get the rabbit and chicken feed bins replenished. A chicken darted back inside the coop right between LeadBoys legs squawking and fussing and carrying on…. Just as he turned around to see what was flustering her, a small hawk swept down with claws extended and made a swipe for the chicken! It missed, but raked LeadBoys jean- covered leg!
Not too many people can say they’ve been attacked by a hawk!
Sometimes life gets in the way of doing chores before sunset. We have two lantern style flashlights we use to do chores when it’s dark. One has a handy little hook on top that I loop into the top buttonhole on my jacket. It’s the perfect height for seeing inside the rabbit cages when one hand is in latching cage doors and the other hand is pouring food and water. When the work is done, it’s a pretty picture.
Lounge lazily in front of the Grizzly all morning while hubby disassembles the venison from the bones.
Disappear from the house for 3 hours while hubby first grinds the venison, then shops for spices.
Wear out all the children playing “Dog Pile of Love!” Game until all giggles are out of them. Put them all to bed.
Begin measuring spices, mixing, bagging and labeling different sausage recipes. One by one, older children creep out of bed begging to “help” with sausage making. Conversation degrades into imitations of drunken, belligerent sweat shop owner and Dr. Who, leaving all of us laughing so loudly we threaten to waken FlyingBoy.
Fall into bed exhausted, swearing to each other that we won’t leave sausage making until the last day of hunting vacation ever again, knowing full well that it is one of our favorite family traditions.
With the daylight hours waning, we have been experiencing one of the tragedies of farm life: not enough eggs to keep my family happy. My sister suggested we tag along to an auction that her family attends once in awhile. I had no intention of buying anything, but my heart raced when I saw a particular trio of hens and a handsome rooster. Easter Eggers. Americaunas. Blue Egg layers. And then I saw another cage of Black Copper Marans. Feather legged Marans. Marans lay a dark, dark brown egg.
Auctions have a reputation of being a good place to get rid of sickly, past their prime chickens. Well, one of the Marans had a runny nose and she tended to hold one of her eyes closed. And she was missing her tail feathers.
I quarantined all the new birds in rabbit cages and dog pens. The new birds then got doctored up: apple cider vinegar in their water, cayenne and garlic in their feed, each bird was dusted with diatomaceous earth and all bedding was sprinkled for good measure. I did the same for my flock as a preventative measure. Within 48 hours my sickly girl was the picture of health. The third day she presented me with a beautiful, dark chocolate colored egg.
Here is the kicker: these “auction birds” are all hand tamed! They will eat out of my hand and sometimes even let me pet them! Wherever and whoever you are, dear, previous hen owner, I want you to know that your beautiful birds are loved. I appreciate all the time and effort you poured into these animals. And my family appreciates their eggs.
A week later, the new flock got introduced to my old flock with only a few squabbles between the hens. My big Roo, Cogburn, immediately establishing dominance over the new smaller Roo, who has been dubbed Burl.
Can you guess why I named him Burl?