Moving Day!

MOVING is something I have way too much experience at. Seriously. I am not a military brat either. A couple of my moves have been because I was seeking change. But most of them were because of life circumstances deeming it the only option. Let me try to list the various moves I am aware of or can remember:

Hospital
Grandparents house
Duplex on A street
House on Delrose Drive
Duplex on 7th and N or something like that
Apartment in Beaverton by McDonalds
Apartment in Beaverton that were gray
Apartment in Aloha by the train tracks (went to the BEST school there for 3 or 4th grade)
Place in Lincoln city (yuck)
Grandparents
Apartment in Newport
Apartment in Santa Clara
House on 16th street
House on Peidmont
House in The Dalles
Apartment on 16
House in The Dalles
House on 19th in FG
Apartment in FG
House in Hillsboro
Garage in Cornelius
Grandparents
Apartment in Springfield
House at MP 27
House on Partridge Way
Grandparents
House in FG
House on Piedmont (across from house I lived at in middle school)
House on Lawnridge
Apartment on Centennial
House on M st.
Apartment off Harlow
Apartment on Gateway
Duplex in Springfield
Arlington, WA
Centennial apartments (same as before)
Parents
Basement apt off Wilson St.
Apartment in S. Salem
Apartment in W. Salem
At a friends
House at Murphy
Barn apartment where I am now.

Hey…if I didn’t miss any it’s not as bad as I thought. Only 41 moves. The move to House on 19th was my first move as an adult!

What have I learned about moving? Get rid of it if you don’t use it or love it! I have trimmed down what things I MUST have with me to a minimal amount especially in the last 5 moves. I spent years collecting and trying to save or keep. Now, I can look at so many things and so easily say…I don’t need it or love it or want it.

Basics needed: A place to sleep that is comfortable and warm. I am very fussy about my bed. Water and food. Warmth.
Things that make it nice for me: Decor, friends, fresh air, being in the country.

There are various levels of safety in my coop.  The red gate keeps the dogs out, the locked gate keeps the predators out and now there is a wire wall to keep the babies seperated from the big girls.

There are various levels of safety in my coop. The red gate keeps the dogs out, the locked gate keeps the predators out and now there is a wire wall to keep the babies seperated from the big girls.

Today was my girls 4th move in 8 weeks. They started out wherever they were born, then moved to the Farmer’s Coop, then to the little brooder I had for them, then down to the big brooder with M&E’s group. Today, they are moved into the coop! They dont’ have complete freedom in there yet, but it is their new home where they will be for as long as I live here at the barn.

The little girls are safe from the big girls here, but still able to be near enough that the big girls get used to them and vice versa.

The little girls are safe from the big girls here, but still able to be near enough that the big girls get used to them and vice versa.

The babies are now housed under the poop board.  The big girls still can get to their roosts and nests!

The babies are now housed under the poop board. The big girls still can get to their roosts and nests!

Here they are, checking out their new digs!  Eating and drinking are most important, aside from being safe, which they are!

Here they are, checking out their new digs! Eating and drinking are most important, aside from being safe, which they are!

When I moved the girls today, I made sure they had all that they needed as well as a few things to make it nice. The have a clean coop that protects them from the elements. There is a water source and food source available. They have some colorful feed bags to look at. They have one another. They have dry bedding for a place to sleep. They can be entertained by the big girls coming and goings.

I think they have a pretty good situation for their integration with the rest of my flock. For the next few days they will stay in their little place in the coop under the poop board. I will open it up and close the door to the coop and let them run around in there for a couple hours each day, while the big girls are out free ranging.

Checking it out and fluffin it up

Checking it out and fluffin it up

Their move was so easy. I created a safe place, put the waterer and feeder in there and then hauled them in two armfuls of chicken love! I can’t wait for them to have freedom to roam the hills like the big girls do! ūüôā That is where all the best parts of living here are! Moving day was the easiest ever. I sure hope they are happy in their home!

Almost 7 weeks old! They have grown so much already.

I was ready for a day at home to just kinda putter around. I didn’t have a lot of energy and I haven’t had a day to just be at home and be quiet for at least a week, so I was ready.

My first attempt at yogurt making and it worked perfectly!

My first attempt at yogurt making and it worked perfectly!

I started my day late with some fresh yogurt! I was so pleased how it turned out. A very nice tangy flavor. I drizzled some of my Ginger Lemon Honey over it and added a generous scoop of home canned sugar-free¬†peaches. What a treat! Smooth tangy creaminess¬†with a light sweetness combined with the summery¬†goodness of peaches. That was my appetizer. About 2 hours later I had potatoes O’Brien topped with a fried egg. And a fresh orange. I was now suitably fed for whatever I needed or wanted to do this afternoon.

My breakfast.  Homemade yogurt with home canned peaches and a drizzle of Ginger Lemon Honey!

My breakfast. Homemade yogurt with home canned peaches and a drizzle of Ginger Lemon Honey!

I started out whipping up a batch of homemade ice cream. I did a very basic recipe for uncooked ice cream with raw milk. I did the freezer method which is time-consuming (you must visit the freezer every 20-30 minutes to whip up the ice cream).

Winnie and Donna were chest to chest...and as fast as it happened it was over.

Winnie and Donna were chest to chest…and as fast as it happened it was over.

I then went out with the big girls for a bit.  I took them a snack of oats, molasses, egg, squash seeds and yogurt. Then I sat down and just watched and took a few photos. Blue was in a mood today for sure. She was up right next to me. Talking to me in her own little chirping voice.

I was sitting on the chaise lounge frame taking pics and here comes Blue up behind me, hops up and then sits right next to me.  She is like that sometimes...

I was sitting on the chaise lounge frame taking pics and here comes Blue up behind me, hops up and then sits right next to me. She is like that sometimes…

It had been awhile since I had the little girls out. More than a week. They are growing so fast I hardly recognize them. They are now averaging a pound of food per week. I haven’t weighed any of them, but they are definitely bulking up!Thelma

This dynamic duo has grown so much.  Both are Silver Laced Wyanodottes, but they sure are diffently marked!

This dynamic duo has grown so much. Both are Silver Laced Wyanodottes, but they sure are differently marked!

She is just the sweetest most docile thing

She is just the sweetest most docile thing

My Welsummer Princess!  So pretty.

My Welsummer Princess! So pretty.

She just looks regal to me.

She just looks regal to me.

The battery on the camara died before I could do personalized photos of the Speckled Sussex. I will get them next time. I hope you enjoy! I just love my life with chickens. LIfe on the farm is good.

The greenhouse film gets put on the frame!

The film was placed and now it's time to start GROWING.

The film was placed and now it’s time to start GROWING.

I am finally back amongst the living after 10 days of fighting a horrible bug.  I suffered nearly every symptom you can imagine with a viral sickness.  Aches and pains for a few days.  Sore throat and post nasal drip took  over for a day or two.  Headache and some nausea and vomiting visited for a day and a half.  An unproductive tight cough for a few days was bothersome.  Throughout all of it I was weighed down with an overwhelming exhaustion.  I spent almost all of my time in bed.

There are blossoms on all the fruit trees.  Many were pruned over the weekend and so I will soon have lovely bouquets of blossoms in my home!

There are blossoms on all the fruit trees. Many were pruned over the weekend and so I will soon have lovely bouquets of blossoms in my home!

 

Today has been the first day that I really felt good on all counts.¬† I woke up hurting so I took my medication as my NP suggested.¬† If I take it, I don’t hurt so bad.¬† I know that.¬† I still am working on the¬†resentments about needing to¬†take it, as well as it costs money and I don’t like some of the side effects.¬† But I did take it and dozed back off for about an hour and when I woke up I felt pretty good.¬† I got out of bed, dressed, and started moving!¬† A quick tidy up and out the door I went.

Garlic is coming up nicely!

Garlic is coming up nicely!

I had made the decision that I am going to try eating 100% gluten and dairy free for at least 2 weeks and take all my supplements every day (pills…I just have a hard time taking them every day) as well as use my medication as it has been suggested (I never take nearly enough) and see if I notice any improvements in my various health issues.¬† I have enlisted my friends to hold me accountable.¬†¬† It’s not that I don’t want to do it, it’s just that I know from previous life experiences with making lifestyle changes, having accountability is a good reinforcement for me.

That meant heading to the Farmer’s Market to load up on fresh fruits and veggies.¬† I am well stocked in all my other things.¬† I even have things in the pantry to attempt baking some gluten-free bread!¬† But I was pretty low of leafy greens and perishable veggies.

Lulu came to grocery shop during the girls snack time.  She was going one way and Honey the other like they didn't even know one another.  They see each other every day!

Lulu came to grocery shop during the girls snack time. She was going one way and Honey the other like they didn’t even know one another. They see each other every day!

Once I got home E informed me that two friends would be arriving shortly to put up the greenhouse film!  YAY!  It was delivered while I was on my trip to The Dalles and E has been working on the frame to have it all prepared.  Today was the day.  I was grateful I was feeling so good and said I would do a few chores and be down to help when the others arrived.

Donna is checking things out and Patch is watching his flock.

Donna is checking things out and Patch is watching his flock.

Everyone started showing up and wanted to see the chicks.  I decided I wanted to let my little girls (I think one of them is a roo actually) have some sunshine time.  I have created a playpen for them to get outdoors for a little bit during the warmer afternoons.   That gets me outside, even on days I am struggling. E asked if I would take a couple of theirs out too.  I was happy to comply with his request.  Everyone helped with the transport of 7 chicks out to the play area and then we headed up the hill.  But not before quite a few pictures were taken.

This is one of my Speckled Sussex.  I think this may be a roo.  They are 5 weeks old now.  So adorable.

This is one of my Speckled Sussex. I think this may be a roo. They are 5 weeks old now. So adorable.

Pumpkin is very inquisitive and Patch is so calm.  I love watching the dogs with the chicks.

Pumpkin is very inquisitive and Patch is so calm. I love watching the dogs with the chicks.

We used ropes and had them tied at intervals and then threw them over the frame and gently and as a team pulled it over the top and to the other side.  It went quite well.  No one got lift off with the few wind gusts we had occasionally blowing through.

This place will be like Fort Knox.  Very tight.  It has been reinforced at every connection and is extremely sturdy.  Good job E!

This place will be like Fort Knox. Very tight. It has been reinforced at every connection and is extremely sturdy. Good job E!

The metal frame is being bolted into the wood frame supports.

The metal frame is being bolted into the wood frame supports.

I loved these bolts.  The drilled right throught the metal and wood!

I loved these bolts. The drilled right through the metal and wood!

The film unrolled and laid out ready for installation!

The film unrolled and laid out ready for installation!

The film is in place and secured on the sides.  The ends will be finished up later by E.

The film is in place and secured on the sides. The ends will be finished up later by E.

 

The method used to secure it to the frame was wonderful.¬† E had attached 2×4’s all along the outer wall at about 2 1/2 feet off the ground on both sides.¬† To this he attached a metal frame using these nifty bolts that drill right through the frame and wood.¬† I can’t remember what they were called.¬† I will have to ask again.

This contracption is so neat.  Can you see the way it is formed and then you just tuck it and wiggle it back and forth into place.  Slick!

This contraption is so neat. Can you see the way it is formed and then you just tuck it and wiggle it back and forth into place. Slick!

This shows it better.  E had to cut off some pieces.  The lengths were longer than the 2x4's.

This shows it better. E had to cut off some pieces. The lengths were longer than the 2×4’s.

 

 

The neatest tool/materials we used was wiggle wire.¬† Yep, that is what it is called.¬† And the person who invented it is wiggling themselves all the way to the bank.¬† The wire has been formed into this¬†shape that fits into the frame and then you “wiggle” it into place and it holds wonderfully!¬† And you can remove it easily if you want to roll up your sides for ventilation.¬† Both of us girls working today loved doing the wiggle wire.¬† It was fun.

The bottom edges were rolled around landscape poles and nailed into the ground with 10 and 12 inch nails.  It looked so pretty when it was all nailed down.  E has plans on putting a window/fan on the North end of it and making a doorway on the South end.  I am happy to let him work out those details.  I want to get in there and get things back in order and start PLANTING!!!!!  I am so excited.  I have never had such an arena as this to garden at my leisure and enjoyment.  I just know this summer is going to be awesome.

After we were all done I still was feeling energetic and so I tidied up the coop some, hosed off the patio and then moved the last 1/2 cord of my firewood to a new site right outside the back door.¬† I am hoping to clean up some of the things that have been discarded around the barn so I can create a nice outdoor environment where I can hang out on a sunny summer day.¬† I don’t care that the girls free ranging all the time means there is poo everywhere.¬†¬†I can still make things look nice.

My 2+ cords has dwindled to less than 1/2 a cord.  Time to tidy up.

My 2+ cords has dwindled to less than 1/2 a cord. Time to tidy up.

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I finished up around 5:30pm.¬† I had been going since 9:30am.¬†¬† I haven’t had a day like this in months as far as I can remember.¬† Mind you, I had lots of breaks where I would check on the chickens or go take a few more photos of the chicks or just watching others work.¬† But I was up and out of bed and active for a full day and it felt wonderful.

I have no idea what they were up to but first Grandma got up there, then Winnie.  Teasing the ones on the ground?  Who knows!  They do what they choose....all day.

I have no idea what they were up to but first Grandma got up there, then Winnie. Teasing the ones on the ground? Who knows! They do what they choose….all day.

I had a dinner of leftovers.  I had cooked a Pork Loin and some taters and steamed apples on Saturday when my guy came for dinner.  It was heated up in no time and tasted delicious.  I also had the other 8 ounces of freshly juiced fruits and veggies that I had made for my breakfast this morning.  I have had no gluten, dairy, or sugar all day!

M bought 6 gallon buckets of heather to plant.  She wants to fill one of the hillsides with all kinds of heather.  Summer and winter blooming.  SO pretty.

M bought 6 gallon buckets of heather to plant. She wants to fill one of the hillsides with all kinds of heather. Summer and winter blooming. SO pretty.

I had made a fire because it was a bit chilly and then took a long soak in the tub.¬† I was in bed by 8pm.¬† Tired.¬† From moving.¬† From working.¬† It felt so good.¬† Just for today I felt really good.¬† I’ll take that.

Thank you God for a lovely day.¬† A day of work.¬†¬† A day of productivity.¬† You know my heart’s desire to work, and I thank you for the gift of work today.

Grateful for home and all I have in my life.

The Columbia Gorge is so picturesque!  :)

The Columbia Gorge is so picturesque! ūüôā

I was gone from the farm for a week. I traveled to Northern Oregon to see my daughter and grandson, and my eldest son and his family. It was a wonderful trip. Mostly at home and low key. Our weekly highlight was that my daughter entered a cake decorating contest and won. We were very excited for her.

The winning cake...Jonah and the Whale!

The winning cake…Jonah and the Whale!

I was home for one day and then back to town for an overnighter at my friends who I am providing care for once a week. I have been tired. A stuffy nose and some post nasal drip are indicators that I am battlings some bug again. Dratted all.

It is such a welcoming site to have these animals come running to the fence to greet me on my walk.  Always makes me smile.

It is such a welcoming site to have these animals come running to the fence to greet me on my walk. Always makes me smile.

I’ve been brainstorming all week about a business idea I’m hashing out. A CSA delivery service that is personalized by a weekly ordering system. I think it could be a valuabel and viable community service. I just am not sure if I got it up and running and at became really busy…woud I have the strength to do it.

The blueberry bushes have some nice buds popping out.

The blueberry bushes have some nice buds popping out.

That is what has kept me from working the last 2 years. Pain and not having the strength and stamina on a consistent basis. It is frustrating to say the least.

The girls have a forage festival on the hill.

The girls have a forage festival on the hill.

I saw my Nurse Practitioner today. I had to go in for a visit in order to get my perscription refilled. It is somewhat frustrating that I had to pay for an office visit for a medication I have taken routinely for over 2 years now. Yes it is a controlled substance. Yes they are operating a business and have policies around such things. But for someone with no insurance and no income, it is a challenge.

Thelma, my pretty month old Silver Laced Wyandotte.

Thelma, my pretty month old Silver Laced Wyandotte.

The good thing is that their clinic is considering expansion of services and they would like to offer some cholesterol and diabetic education and check ins. This would be done by a nurse. It would be very part time and pay would be much less than the customary base rate for this area. It is a small clinic. For me, it sounds like a dream come true. One or two days a week being approximately 4-8 hours a week doing nutition consulting and education. I think I could manage that.

40 baby chicks.  Welsummers, Ameraucanas, my 2 Silver Laced Wyandottes and 2 Speckled Sussex.   A nice brood!

40 baby chicks. Welsummers, Ameraucanas, my 2 Silver Laced Wyandottes and 2 Speckled Sussex. A nice brood!

I am reallly trusting that God is going to provide. My financial situation is getting a bit on the precarious side. By the first of the week I will have rent paid again for 6 months, my phone and insurance paid for a month, plenty of groceries in the house, chicken feed, and the gas tank filled up. If my calculations are correct, I will be able to do that for about 3 more months and then……all gone. So, I am hoping and praying and working on making these potential income earning ideas come to fruition.

Miss Donna enjoying her dust bath time.

Miss Donna enjoying her dust bath time.

I did take a couple forays around the property today, getting some exercise. Hope you enjoy the photos. I just love this place.

Pretty posies

Pretty posies

It is a Chickie kind of day!

I am writing this much after the fact. A week after the fact to be precise. I was so excited last Friday because it was the scheduled day for baby chicks!!! M&E had approached me about a month before saying they were getting 35 baby chicks and if I wanted babies it would be best for us all to get them at the same time. That is, if we were going to house them all together for their start. Then their plans changed as they had a funeral to attend to and so they had to put off getting theirs for a few days.¬† I didn’t want to wait! So, I decided I could manage my few on my own.

I found a plastic tote, lined it with foam contact paper (so they wouldn’t slip) and stuck in the lids from jars for water and food. I safely secured a red heat lamp above it. I was ready to head to town to pick up my charges.

My chicks first home!

My chicks first home!

But first, I have a couple more chores to do at home. I converted a 5 gallon bucket into a nipple waterer for the coop. I had been wanting to do this. The old waterer broke when we had all the freezing weather. Then the setup I was using was so messy and nasty I couldn’t stand it. This is going to be so much nicer for keeping the coop dry and the waterer clean.

Drilled 3 holes, added 3 nipples and ready to hang!

Drilled 3 holes, added 3 nipples and ready to hang!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I also gave Grammy’s boots a new pair of shoelaces. These boots are over 40 years old…and they still are comfortable and keep my feet dry and sturdy when hiking around the property. I’ll save the old shoelaces and add them to my tote in the truck for emergencies! I also took my walk before heading to town and went almost 2 miles~!

Grammy's boots with new laces...good as new even after 40 years!

Grammy’s boots with new laces…good as new even after 40 years!

Of course if I go to town it means I have to do my grocery shopping and visit a few folks. With gas prices what they are I try to make my miles work for me. It is 25 miles just to get to town. First stop is to get some juices and easy foods for my friend who has been sick with the bug going around. He has not felt well for a couple days now and so I will get juice, sierra mist, crackers and some chicken soup for him.

After a little visit with my friend I went to Cartwright’s meat market. Every friday they have these great little bacon wrapped sirloin steaks for $3.79 each. Limit of 6. I had them wrap me up 3 separate packages with 2 steaks each in them. Not much else is really grabbing my eye so then I’m off to the Farmer’s Market. I needed some oranges and onions and a couple lemons. I’m almost out of my lemon/ginger/honey elixir that I keep in the fridge. Fresh greens, some mushrooms and a loaf of seeded whole wheat sourdough from Ashland Bakery. Now off to the grange.

I was grinning ear to ear upon arriving in the parking lot. I was so excited to be getting my first chicks. I checked in with the counter and told them I was going to gather a few supplies before I picked out my girls. I got some chick food, electrolytes and probiotics to add to the water, a small feeder and waterer and an extra light set-up, just in case. And of course, a thermometer. Now the fun part, choosing my girls. I was set up to get 2 Silver Laced Wyandottes and 2 Speckled Sussex. Of course, I had got the week wrong and the Sussex aren’t going to be here until next week (which is today). I got the 2 SLW and decided I needed one more to help them stay warm (right….one more is going to make a difference…it’s my rationale and I’m sticking to it). I picked out a pretty little Welsummer. They have pretty big brown eggs and I only have one Welsummer, so now I’ll have a pair! I like pairs. ūüôā¬† I paid for all my supplies and chicks with egg money.

Egg money pays for the chicks and supplies.  My girls are paying their way and then some!!!

Egg money pays for the chicks and supplies. My girls are paying their way and then some!!!

Off we go to home.

I got everything unloaded and the chicks settled into their little plastic home. Such cute little fluffy butts! They make the cutest little chirpy noises and they peck and stretch their legs and wings and lie down and look dead! Yes…they will lie on their sides all stretched out and if I wouldn’t have seen her breathing, I would have thought she was dead. But not dead…just sleeping. Which is what I needed to do! It has been a busy day and I have enjoyed all of it!!!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Saturday morning was a bright sunny day. My girls had survived the night. The temperature has stayed right around 93 degrees. They are eating and drinking and chirping and doing chicken stuff! They are so adorable. As are my full grown girls. I decided to go out for a walk and visit with the other animals on this gorgeous sunny Saturday. Spring is coming! The cows are a bit amourous…pretty frisky actually. In fact…this could be x-rated. Part of farm living. The smells, sounds and sights. If ya can’t handle it, you best not move to the country. Animals copulate. Yup! Sex. Right out in the open. They don’t care who is around and what is going on. Just leave them alone and they will do their thing. Even tho these cows are only little Dexter’s and weight much less than a full size cow…I am not going to get in the way of their efforts to poplulate the pasture! No one else is either. The sheep don’t pay any attention nor do the chickens. Over the course of an hour Mr. Cow was very loving to Mrs. Cow! Cow courtship is cute.

Cow courtship...awwwww...he is in LUST!!!

Cow courtship…awwwww…he is in LUST!!!

I have soups to make. I had bought mushrooms with the intention of making the mushroom soup I had before, but I also wanted to make a chicken soup. I used this recipe http://theshiksa.com/2010/11/03/mushroom-barley-soup/ for my base. This soup is really yummy. I didn’t have shitake mushrooms, so I used baby portebellas. To conserve my energy and fuel for cooking I started both soups with the same base. This is how it went down.

Sliced, diced, chopped and ready to be seared in the pan!!!

Sliced, diced, chopped and ready to be seared in the pan!!!

The mushroom soup got started in my dutch oven on the stove. I put 1 quart of chicken broth, 1 quart of water and 2 teaspoons chicken broth granules in the pot with 2 bay leaves and 1 cup of barley and let boil on low with the lid off.

In my slow cooker I placed 1 cup of wild rice, 1 quart of chicken stock and 1 quart of water and 2 teaspoons chicken stock granules and turned on low and simmered for 2 hours.

I cut the portebella’s into slices and placed them in 3 cups of water and boiled for minute and then let them soak as described in the recipe.

The base for both soups:

1 cup celery diced
4 cups carrot diced
6 cloves garlic chopped
1 1/2 cups onion chopped

I cooked all the veggies how “The Shiksa” describes in the mushroom soup recipe in my cast iron skillet. I drained the portebella’s and chopped them fine and added them just like described for the shitakes. Then all the mushroom water got added. I poured 2/3 of the veggie mixture and almost all of the liquid into the dutch oven. The other 1/3 of the mixture went into the slow cooker.

This smells great.  Carmelized veggies for soup pots!!!  Yummy.

This smells great. Carmelized veggies for soup pots!!! Yummy.

I then cooked the crimini mushrooms as described and added them to the mushroom soup mixture with a little salt and pepper to taste. I had to add a total of 2 1/2 cups of water to this as it cooked over a period of 2 hours.

2/3 and all the juice into the mushroom pot, the rest into the Chicken soup pot.

2/3 and all the juice into the mushroom pot, the rest into the Chicken soup pot.

Into the crock pot went 2 cups chopped cooked chicken, 1 tablespoon tomatoe paste, 1 can diced tomatoes and a package of spinach. A large pinch (teaspoon) of basil and 1/2 teas salt and pepper. I let this cook on low overnight.

The chicken soup is ready to cook!  Slow cooker yumminess!

The chicken soup is ready to cook! Slow cooker yumminess!

Both soups turned out wonderful. While they were cooking I make some more of my honey/lemon/ginger elixir for the cold season. I decided to try some of the suggestions I”ve seen, and one jar got a heaping teaspoon of cinnamon added to it. The other jar received 3 cloves of garlic sliced into the mix. I will try both. I somehow managed to also get a pan of brownies baked while all this was going on. By the time I was all done with the dishes and the stove and oven were all turned off I could tell I was getting sick! A big spoonful of honey elixir, some airbornne, and a big jug of water and off to bed I went.

Honey/lemon/ginger elixir.  One with cinnamon, one with garlic.  I am ready for whatever comes!

Honey/lemon/ginger elixir. One with cinnamon, one with garlic. I am ready for whatever comes!

I was grateful I had got all these things cooked up. As it turns out, I spent the next 4 days in bed and the soup and elixir were perfect! My appetite was not at all affected by my virus. I was so grateful to have healthy foods ready to eat, because I did not have the energy to prepare them. It was a heat and eat week, all the while watching and listening to and enjoying my new baby chicks.

The first of my chicks.  I have a feeling there will be many more chicks in my future!

The first of my chicks. I have a feeling there will be many more chicks in my future!

The speckled Sussex are in! Time for a trip to town. This time I don’t want to come home and get sick! Just a nice trip to town to get my chicks and stock up on a few items that got used up over the week. Hoping you enjoyed the soups!

Fabulous First Friday of February!!!

Miss Donna thinks it is so lovely in the sun!!!

Miss Donna thinks it is so lovely in the sun!!!

For a gal who spent most of her life in the Willamette Valley where the winters start the first of October and the gray dampness falling from the sky often continuing into late June, spending the bulk of the day outdoors in Februaray without getting drenched didn’t happen very often. In fact, I don’t think it happened very often at all.¬† Which is why I am thrilled to be enjoying my second winter in the beautiful Southern Oregon valleys of the Applegate River area. ¬†February 1, 2013 was a STELLAR SUNNY¬†DAY for me in the country. A perfect ending to a busy week.

I had been invited by E to go mining with a couple of the guys down the road. We were to leave at 9:30am. I was awakened by Lulu barking her head off. I got up and padded my barefooted way across the cold wood floors to peek out the window. I had slept most of the night (a real blessing for me) and the fire was completely burnt out except for a few coals. Lulu was up at the back hill using her most persistant “woof…woof…woof” that goes on and on and on. She really is a great alarm. But there was nothing there. Nothing I could see anyhow.

I drug on my sweatpants and sweatshirt and socks and shoes and coat and headed down the stairs. Time to let the girl out. It was a bit chilly. In the mid 30’s. And it was foggy. A little damp. Did I want to go out and tromp around all morning staring down at the ground?

Of course I did! If I didn’t go I might not be invited again. This was a wonderful opportunity to see some beautiful parts of these valleys that are typically “no trespassing” places. I also have an opportunity to become acquainted with more of my community members. I am learning that country life and farming and self-sufficiency is not about being alone…it is about community. And I like it.

The creek that feeds into the ponds at the quarry.

The creek that feeds into the ponds at the quarry.

The quarry where we went was just over the hill, so to speak. Not a far drive at all. We all took our own vehicles. One guy had to do some noon chores, another had to go back home for something before everyone else had planned on leaving, and I wanted to be able to go home if I got too cold or tired.

Beautiful dog.  Very playful and very well cared for as evidenced by behaviour.  :)

Beautiful dog. Very playful and very well cared for as evidenced by behaviour. ūüôā

This beautiful dog showed up out of no where shortly after we arrived. She was very friendly and obviously well cared for. She followed us around and hung out the entire time I was there. In fact, when I decided to hike around the various little ponds and water features she was right alongside me like that was where she belonged. Unfortunately her presence snuffed out all the water fowl and so I was unable to get any photos of the ducks and quails that were quite prevalent.

Flusing out all the water fowl before I can get a photo.  At least I felt safe going off on my own.  It is bear and cat country out here.

Flusing out all the water fowl before I can get a photo. At least I felt safe going off on my own. It is bear and cat country out here.

I headed home around noon. I had hiked up and down the quarry numerous times taking photos of this and that and wanting to see what the guys were finding. There was only one little chunk of hard gray material they were questioning that it might be something when I departed.

This is the main pond.  I love the lighting and the shadows playing across the water.

This is the main pond. I love the lighting and the shadows playing across the water.

I took a little break when I got home. Well, sort of. I gathered eggs from both the big chicken barn (M has been under the weather this week) and my girls coop. I walked down to see the new sheep and cows that were brought here  yesterday to live and graze in the pasture. The sheep is very friendly and not bashful at all in visiting. Both sheep are breeders and will be taken to the ewes later in the spring.

This is the newest ram.  The little white guy with the black eye!  He has two black eyes!

This is the newest ram. The little white guy with the black eye! He has two black eyes!

The new cows are a pair of Dexters. Very good looking they are I think. Effective feeders is what I was told. When they first arrived yesterday it was lots of fun watching them become acquainted with the Heifer we have here. He tried to chase the Dexters around, and he was so lumbersome in his movements comparted to the more svelte and agile Dexters. Yes, I think I like those Dexters.

The Dexter's are here...the Dexters are here!!!  I like them lots!

The Dexter’s are here…the Dexters are here!!! I like them lots!

On my way back up the hill, I found my girls having themselves a great time on Solar Hill. They were dust bathing and sunbathing and lolling and scratching and completely enjoying their chicken life here on the farm. I sat in the dirt near them and just watched for about 15 minutes. They were quite entertaining, as always. By this time the sun was beating hot…well…in the low 50’s anyhow. I needed to go for a ride. A motorcycle ride!!!

Ziggy has herself buried down in.

The girls love this spot under the little Madrone.  Ziggy has herself buried down in and is having a little clucking session with Ruffles

Sunbathing in the dirt and enjoying life on the farm.

Sunbathing in the dirt and enjoying life on the farm.

I have been aching to go for a ride all week. There were some sunny warm days earlier in the week but I had commitments to attend to that required me to use my truck. Going to the feed store was one. I know one of these days it is going to get really warm and I want to be prepared if my deep litter method in my chicken coop gets smelling bad. I¬†bought a bale of¬†straw and some¬†pine shavings. I also bought feed and ordered some chicks. Yup…we are getting chicks next week.

M & E ordered 35 chicks. I only ordered 4. Two Speckled Sussex and two Black Laced Wyandottes. I intend to order a couple more chicks. I am considering doing some breeding and have decided I want to specialize in Wyandottes. I find them so beautiful. I am planning to get 4-6 Blue Red Laced Wyandottes in March from a breeder I am corresponding with via email. They will be my start. The Wyandottes are good for laying as well as for meat. If I am going to be breeding I am hoping I can have some be meat and some for eggs and some for show and some for continuing and improving the breed. Well, that is my idea for now anyhow. I’ll get the chicks and see how it goes.

Anyhow…back to my RIDE ON THE BIKE!!! I layered up. I had on my longies and an extra shirt and a hat and scarf and two pairs of gloves and my jacket and wool socks and boots and fortunately I could still move. I started it up and down the hill I went. It was amazing! It was exactly what I had hoped it would be and what I wanted it to be and what I had envisioned it to be. I was yelling “YAHOOOOOO” all the way down the drive!

Yes, it was cold. My ears were the most affected by the cold wind. The rest of me stayed tensely warm. I decided I would ride into Grants Pass and treat myself to a Dutch Bros. I love going there because you get so much more than just a hot drink. You get some good vibes. They are good folks there! When I arrived I was so ready for something hot and to be out of the wind.

There were 3 guys on bikes having their cup of Joe and smokes and taking a break. I recognized two of the guys from previous times there. Everyone was¬†admiring one anothers’ bikes. And yes, even tho mine is just a little Yamaha V-star 250cc, they still take a look and make a comment to me. It is nice. It’s not about the bike, it’s about the fact that you ride.

I knew I wanted to head home before the sun got behind the hills. Even tho the sun had not dropped, there were many areas of shade along the road home. I decided to go along the Missouri Flats road and stopped by the cemetary to take some photos there too. The lighting was nice I thought.

Even the cemetary was a birght and beautiful place of peace today.

Even the cemetary was a birght and beautiful place of peace today.

I am so grateful I got to feel the wind against me and also enjoyed the sun beating down to take off thie chill!

I am so grateful I got to feel the wind against me and also enjoyed the sun beating down to take off thie chill!

What a wonderful day. I was ready to be home. A warm fire and some hot dinner would be just the thing to settle me in for the evening. But first I had to give the girls a snack of popcorn and stale bread. They haven’t had a hot snack in a few days. I am trying to break them of pecking me for treats every time I go outdoors. It probably wont stop. I love spoiling them too much. They are happy girls tho. They have given me eggs all through the winter. From 12 hens I’ve averaged 5 eggs a day all winter long. One day I had 8 eggs!

It is late now. I am tired. It is a good tired. A fulfilling tired. I am glad I was able to get up and out of bed and enjoy this lovely winter day. This first day of February. The sunniest most outdoorsy February day I’ve ever enjoyed!

Saw these impressive horns on my travels and had to take a pic!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Saw these impressive horns on my travels and had to take a pic!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

End of the day and the girls get popcorn and some leftover bread pieces.

Let me introduce you to the Layers!

I was hit with the chicken bug last spring. It all started with a trip to the local feed store to do some shopping for landscape items. That is where I saw the baby chicks. Then I started noticing that many of my neighbors had a flock of chickens running around in their yard. The more I saw chickens the more I wanted them. I was Googling coops and combs and breeds and how to make them safe nearly every day. There was a loosely organized thought that I would be able to get some of my own chickens the spring of 2013.

Things changed in a hurry. I moved to my current abode the end of summer. It was not a planned move but it has worked out perfectly. There was an un-used coop right next to the barn where my apartment is. I had discussed the possibilities of having my own flock with my landlords before I even moved in. I had envisioned a pretty little coop that was all cutsy and decorated. Instead, I have an old animal shed that has been converted into a coop with a LOT of chicken wire. It is not pretty at all, and was dirty to boot! It took me a couple days of hauling all the old matter out and scrubbing and doing a few safety modifications to get it up to snuff. When it was all done and ready for some hens I was a proud gal!

The coop with the new wall I added.

The coop with the new wall I added.

I found an ad on Craigslist. A woman was going through a relationship break-up and was moving herself and her 6 kids to her parents. She had 13 hens that she adored and wanted them to go to a good home where they would have happy cage free days. We began sending messages back and forth. We talked on the phone. An agreement was made. I promised that I would never put these girls in a soup pot and that they would have a good and happy life on the farm until the day they died naturally.

I was so excited when I went to pick them up. I had two big cages. It was the middle of the day. These girls did not have a coop but were ground birds in a backyard. Although these girls had been handled all their lives and had their wings clipped they were hard to catch in the middle of the day! And of course, I had never caught chickens before. It was pretty funny. We somehow managed to get them all in the cages and I was giddy with excitement driving back to the farm.

So here is the lineup:

Grandma, a New Hampshire Red, is head of the flock.  She rules!

Grandma, a New Hampshire Red, is head of the flock. She rules!

This is Sweetie.  She is a Black Australorp.  She is named Sweetie for a reason.  Love this girl.

This is Sweetie. She is a Black Australorp. She is named Sweetie for a reason. Love this girl.

This is Tawnya and Beatrice, my Ameraucana's.  They give me pretty blue eggs, but not during the winter.  Very shy girls.

This is Tawnya and Beatrice, my Ameraucana’s. They give me pretty blue eggs, but not during the winter. Very shy girls.

Baby Blue has been so funny lately.  She is an Andalusian Blue and makes some of the most interesting noises.

Baby Blue has been so funny lately. She is an Andalusian Blue and makes some of the most interesting noises.

Goldie is another NH Red.  She is a good layer, and not shy at all!

Goldie is another NH Red. She is a good layer, and not shy at all!

Ziggy and Ruffles, my Barred Rocks. They are very docile and great layers!

Ziggy and Ruffles, my Barred Rocks. They are very docile and great layers!

Donna is looking at you.  She is a Polish hen.  Love her bouffant hairdo!

Donna is looking at you. She is a Polish hen. Love her bouffant hairdo!

Big Red, and Rhode Island Red, sitting in my flower pot.  She gives me an egg almost every day.  She also is one of the most aggresive of my girls.

Big Red, a Rhode Island Red, sitting in my flower pot. She gives me an egg almost every day. She also is one of the most aggresive of my girls.

Winnie is a Golden Laced Wyandotte.  She is very pretty and elegant and a sweet hen.

Winnie is a Golden Laced Wyandotte. She is very pretty and elegant and a sweet hen.

I'm not sure, but I think Honey is a Welsummer.  She was pretty beat up when she got here, but is very healthy and happy now.

I’m not sure, but I think Honey is a Welsummer. She was pretty beat up when she got here, but is very healthy and happy now.

Grace was another Ameraucana.  She became dinner for a hawk.  RIP Grace.

Grace was another Ameraucana. She became dinner for a hawk. RIP Grace.

That is all of them. I love these girls.  They are MY girls. They provide so much more than eggs.  They give me a purpose to get out of bed on days that it would be easier to stay in bed.  They give me lots of wonderful eggs.   They make me smile. The provide hours of entertainment when I choose to go outside and watch them. I have learned so much about chickens in the short time I have had them here with me. 

They are spoiled! They get treats and talked to and picked up and cuddled. They have their pictures taken often. Everyone who visits the farm comments on how pretty they are and how happy they truly seem.

Of all the things they do for me, one of the best is allowing me to be part of a very large collections of people…and that is “those crazy chicken people”! I am PROUD to be a crazy chicken lady! ūüôā And I am proud to be associated with all of you!

Thanks for letting me share my girls with you!