Tuesday, December 20, 2005

All I Want for Christmas..

That's right--Heifer International will take your $20 donation and turn it into a flock of baby chicks who will feed and delight an impoverished family.

You can also give honeybees, llamas, goats, cows, and more.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Cabbage on a Stick

This just in from Allotment Lady. I've tried hanging them on a string, that works, too. It does keep the girls happy and must make for very healthy eggs.

Allotment Lady

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Eleanor's Pedicure

Or is it a manicure? Or both?

A software glitch has kept me from uploading pictures for a week, but I've figured out an awkward workaround so that I can share this image of Eleanor with her little band-aid. Her foot seems to be fine, although she's probably due for another cleaning just to be sure it heals properly.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

I Dream of Chickens

I now have a recurring chicken dream. It always involves taking the chickens somewhere (which we have never actually done) and them getting lost. I spend most of the dream looking for them, and wherever we are, there are lots of chickens so sometimes I can't tell whether I have found, say, Eleanor, or another Rhode Island Red. So I spend a lot of time walking up to chickens and saying, "Are you Eleanor?"

In this most recent dream, we were only able to round up one hen, and two others were mailed to us, alive and perfectly well, in a box(!), but Bess was gone. Somehow the dream fast-forwarded many years, and a knock came at the door. A teenage girl was standing there--not a tattooed, pierced, punk rock teenager, but a sort of 1950s, boarding school kind of teenager with honey-colored hair. She said, "I'm Bess, and I've been looking for you," and we fell all over her, saying, "Bess! You grew up into a girl!" She had been raised by a family in Albuquerque, but she'd always wanted to come back here, to her old home.

I woke up before we could take her out back and show her her old bed in the chicken coop.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Eleanor Broke a Nail

Yeah, you laugh, but when Scott went outside yesterday morning to let the chickens out, there was blood on their roost, and not just a little blood. Scared us to death. The chickens all looked OK and it was not until we noticed blood on Eleanor's claw that we had any idea who was injured. Unfortunately, a chicken's claws are used primarily for scratching around the dirt and muck. How are we going to keep this from just filling up with grime? Has anybody out there had experience with this sort of thing?

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Chicken Love

We've had a little sun this week and the chickens are just overjoyed to get out and enjoy it. Now that winter is here and it's not quite as much fun to sit outside with them, we have started to let them out by themselves as long as we are downstairs (in the morning, eating breakfast, for instance) so that we could hear them if there was any trouble.

So they get to forage around in the garden by themselves for maybe 20 minutes at a stretch. The amazing thing is that they actually seem to miss us when they're out by themselves. I go outside with my coffee and call out, "Girls!" and they come running, putting their heads down and flapping their wings a little so they can get up some speed. I've had three of them up on my shoulder at once, cooing in my ears and picking at strands of my hair.

A chicken doesn't really know how to express affection--they are not huggers--so the way they show their interest is by picking at you. I kneel down and let them pick lint off my sweater for a few minutes, and then the lovefest is over and they head back to the compost pile to dig for worms.