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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Eggs! (& seeds)

Yesterday was a banner day for me. 
I returned home from work and  pulled from the mailbox a large padded envelope -- full of seeds!  (Yes, I have ordered and received the seeds for my garden this year -- planning my garden and deciding what fabulous things I will grow in it is one of the things that helps me live through these crazy winters.)  I was dreadfully excited and could hardly wait to open the envelope, which I did as soon as I got into the house.  The seed packets were beautiful, colourful and bright and full of sleeping seeds, reminding me that spring is on its way, whether it feels like it or not.
(Though the words came out a little fuzzy in the picture, you see Tomato Purple Bumble Bee, Beans Snow Cap, Beet Bull's Blood, Squash Patisson Golden Marbre Scallop, Parisian Carrots (free!), Bean Galopka, Ground Cherry, Tomato Granny Cantrell German Red, Squash White Scallop, Rocky Top Lettuce Mix, and Corn Cherokee White Eagle.)

And then I had to take the dog outside and check on the chickens.

The chickens, having been cooped up all week because of the snow that has blown into their pen, have refused to go outside the coop.  Thus, they have taken to destroying everything within their coop, just to have something to do.  Yesterday, they were making a bit more of a fuss than usual this week, so I spent a good deal of time petting them and talking to them and feeding them and even carrying a few around the yard on my arm.  They remained worked up, but calmed a bit, and that's when I decided to check their nesting boxes, which I haven't done in a few days, because it's winter and cold and dark.  I opened the nesting box and I saw this:

Wow!  Five eggs hanging out in the nesting box.  Amazing!  I was so excited I danced around.  I felt like a proud mama -- my chickens' very first eggs!  I think I may have almost cried.  It felt nothing short of a miracle.
So I ran inside and got the camera so I could take the picture you see, and then I gently gathered them up into my hands and rushed them into the kitchen.  And I made a little egg flower for a photo to show them off.

We have been holding on to egg cartons for a while, so I grabbed one from off the fridge for these new little additions and arranged them from smallest to largest.
One egg had cracked, either trod upon or frozen, so I finished the job and scrambled it up for Poncho the Dog.  It had definitely previously been frozen -- the yolk was stiff and difficult to scramble -- but he didn't mind and happily gobbled it up.

The other four eggs are waiting patiently in our fridge, waiting to be eaten.  I'm anxiously checking the chicken coop today waiting another.  My excitement is nearly palpable.
I think it's just one of the chickens laying, probably either Clementine or Mabel, though if I find more than one egg in the box today, I will know I have two layers.  I find it rather awe-inspiring that my little hens can produce such perfectly packaged nutritious food almost daily.  It really is quite amazing.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

My Chickens Prefer a Snowless Winter

From the snowless, iceless days of December -- meet a few of my "girls," all grown up:
Almost a glamor-shot of Mabel, the Silver-laced Wyandotte (Clementine and Pearl in the background).
Mabel and Olive (Speckled Sussex) at the melon, Penelope (Buckeye) and Ivy (Speckled Sussex) behind.
Clementine (Buff Orpington), Ivy, Pearl (Black Austrolorp), and Penelope enjoying the lawn.

The chickens have stayed safe and warm enough, despite living outdoors during this most bizarre winter.  Unfortunately, they quite dislike the snow and stay cooped (!) up when there is snow or ice on the ground.  I'm sure they are looking forward to the coming of spring, though, sadly, that is still some time away.

Here are a couple of pictures of Mabel trying to figure out how to get out of the coop without touching any snow.  Ivy is poking her head out, too:


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Snowshoe Hike on Mount Warner

Yesterday, The Trustees of Reservations led a snow-shoe hike around Mount Warner.  It was the perfect day for it, with the freshly fallen (and falling) snow.  For upcoming events at Mount Warner, see the TToR website.

 Snowshoes were available for rent.
 Our young fearless leaders.

 The beauty of the snow.
 Our fearless leader/coordinator, Josh.
Don't get lost -- follow the yellow dots on the trees.
 Snow on wire.

 The view from atop, by Carr's Orchards.
Celebrating the end of the ascent with hot chocolate and whipped cream, provided by the other fearless leader/coordinator, Scott.

There will be more hiking and biking events coming -- don't miss them!