Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Silly Swimming Chickens. . .I mean ducks. . . I mean chickens!!

We waited quite a long time this summer to get some decent consistent hot weather.  Our summer had a shaky start and spring was just down right cold, but we did finally get some really hot weather.  August fizzled out on a pretty cool note.  That is if you have a pool without a heater.  We've had many cold nights this month and yesterday, we took our pool down.

The third week in July was a really hot week.  The hottest we had all summer.  My children were LOVING the steamy weather.  When it was a 114 degree heat index, they were keeping cool in the pool.  The pool water even reached 90 degrees at one point.  It was a beautiful thing.  Just look at these joyful children. . .

During this week, our Henny Penny's were panting like poor little dogs.  All those feathers insulating their bodies were making the 100+ degree temps. very uncomfortable.  I had to do something to help them out.  So we decided we'd cool off our little girls in the pool with us.  And guess what.  They took to the water like ducks!

I know, I know.  Chickens aren't supposed to know how to swim.  Their feathers will become sodden and they'll sink and drown after all!  Well, we didn't tell our chickens that, so they decided to be extremely buoyant, and relaxed in the pool!

They looked like little toy sailboats sailing across the top of the water!

Notice those closed beaks?  As soon as they hit the water, they'd stop panting.  Ahhhhhhhh. . . Relief!

The little girl in the middle is Riley.  She is a great friend to my children (they call each other sisters), and the only little girl on our street.  This trio plays together ALL THE TIME.  It's wonderful.

This next picture of Madeline and her pet chicken won first prize in a cute kids contest at a local t.v. news station.  It was very exciting.

After pool time, there is ALWAYS preen time.  Have to get all those ruffled feathers smooth and pretty again. . . 

Excuse us. . . a little privacy please human!  Now make yourself useful and fetch us some meal worms.

So if you ever see our chickens running around, please don't tell them that chickens can't swim.  They're convinced that they're professionals and have even told me that they are thinking of starting their own synchronized swim team.  They'll have to wait until next summer though, since the pool is down.

Did you ever know that chickens could be so fun?  Well, I must say that the breed WE PICKED, is key to all our fun.  Not all chicken breeds are this sweet and friendly.  It has been a great experience for my little girls, and the novelty has not worn off.  We love being chicken people!  We are still awaiting our first egg and we could get it anytime within the next few weeks.  Until that day, we will wait with baited breath. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Now to catch up on the chickens story....

So I last left off when they were 6 weeks old.  At 7 weeks, they had been handled and loved on, every single day of their lives.  As a result, they were very relaxed and used to posing for my camera.

Here's Madeline with Lily and Jasmine.

And Tara with Dixie and Daisy.

Four totally loved hens.  Two incredibly happy children!

They loved to get "special treats".  Here, you can see that Madeline is giving them something REALLY special.  Just check out those precious little fuzzy butts.
And did you notice Madeline's beautiful haircut?

Yummy, yummy. . .What could it be??
It's one of their favorite treats.  Rolled oats and yogurt.
These Henny Penny's absolutely love their rolled oats and yogurt

And here is Tara with her pretty new haircut as well.

Then On June 2nd, our chicken adventure came to a painful halt.  We lost our precious Lily.  I dropped Tara and Madeline off at school, and when I came home, I went to the coop to let the girls out.  The coop was not secure enough and a raccoon had taken our sweet, sweet Lily.  My heart absolutely sank.  Frantic, I started running around our property calling for her in hopes that somehow she was okay, although I knew in my heart that she was gone.  All that day, I cried on and off.  I was so sad for the loss of our favorite hen Lily, and so sad that I would have to break the terrible news to Tara and Madeline when they got home from school.  I felt responsible.  I should have made sure their coop was more secure.  It is now, but there was no going back .  When I picked the girls up from school, it was all I could do not to start crying on the spot.  When we got home, I told the girls to come sit with me in the family room.  With an arm around each of my children, I told them the terrible news.  Tara thought I was joking and jumped up to run outside and see that Lily would be there.  We all cried together and talked about how much we loved her.  That evening, the girls drew pictures in memory of Lily which hangs above each of their beds.  

Here is Tara's. . .
 I collected some of her feathers that were left in front of the coop and the girls each put one of Lily's soft buff colored feathers on their picture.

This is Madeline's. . .

This is not the first time we've lost a beloved pet.  Three years ago, we lost our beloved dog Jack.  You can read about that touching day HERE.  It does not get easier with experience.  I know she was a chicken, but unless you've ever had a chicken, you really don't realize how attached you become and how big your love grows for them.  Our precious Lily will always be remembered.  We loved that silly, sweet little girl very much.  Enough time has passed now, that our pain is not so raw.  We can now think of Lily and remember many happy times we had with her and feel comfortable that she had a very happy, pampered life.  She was a special baby.

At first it was hard to see just 3 girls in the yard.

But time does soften the pain, and we have three remaining lovable hens.

And two extremely happy little girls.

If you haven't figured it out already, the hens featured at the top of my page on the blog title banner are my hens.  Jasmine is on the left, Lily is the baby on the bottom of the coop ramp, Dixie is at the top, and Daisy is eating the chicken scratch.  

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Matthew 16:2-3

2 He answered and said to them, “When it is evening you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red’; 3 and in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Hypocrites!  You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times.

Last night I witnessed one of the most amazing sunsets!  I was heading out to pick Tara up from a birthday party and I immediately noticed some amazing cloud formations.  I went back home to grab my camera and kept stopping every couple minutes to take pictures.  I love when God gives us a sunset like this:

This was the southern sky in the beginning:
So you can see why I quickly ran back to get my camera.  The first two were taken on my street.  The rest were taken along the way to Tara's friends house which was about a 10 mile drive.  

The next couple were the western sky.  Everywhere I looked was breathtaking.

And the rest will just be a combination of all the beautiful views that God graced us with.
What more can I say.  A beautiful sunset is a fleeting moment in time, but with a camera , it can always be remembered.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Summer Harvest Has Begun!!

I started with over 1/2 a bushel of tomatoes.  What you see here is 1/4 bushel.

The girls prepped all the basil for me while I diced the tomatoes.  Madeline helped me package it all.  Sorry, no pictures of her tonight. It is much easier than canning, and I actually prefer the taste of it to canned tomatoes.  To me, it is much brighter and fresher in taste.  My method is this:  Dice the (uncooked) tomatoes, skin and all, add fresh chopped basil, melted coconut oil, and freeze (2 cups to a package).  This 1/4 bushel yielded 20 cups. The oil protects the basil from turning black in the freezing process.

This is what I have left to process tomorrow.

When I open these bags of tomato and basil in the middle of winter, it is an utter breath of summer, and essential in helping me mentally make it through the cold, cloudy, and snow filled months of Michigan!!

Although I love "the summers end harvest", I do hate summers end.  I am a warm weather woman stuck in a cold weather state!  I wish Michigan had 3 months of winter, and 9 months of summer temperatures.  Before long, I'll be wearing my wool socks and long johns trying to keep warm (which I never seem to succeed at).  So it is difficult for me to say goodbye to summer.  Wonderful, warm and bountiful summer. *Sigh*  Luckily it'll be here for me next year.

And my heart breaks at how quickly my babies are growing up.  Look at Tara HERE 5 years ago, on the day before kindergarten was to start.  She's standing at the same spot at the counter.  Stop growing babies!!
Blogger Gadgets