Monday, February 21, 2011

Projects

It's nice to have an extra day off once in a while. Today I started a new crochet project that I'm hoping will turn out well enough to be a gift for my mom. I also made some lemon curd. It's the time of year when we really feel like something bright and Spring-like. Lemon curd on french toast. MmmmMmm! I'm just now waiting for the spiced walnuts to finish in the oven. Ooh, there goes the buzzer. They're out. Yum! Cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, ginger and a touch of ground coriander, with honey and butter.

Dance class tonight. And I don't have to teach. It's nice to have a break after four weeks in a row. Which reminds me - we'll have to re-arrange things in June when Ken and I are gone for a week.

No snow this morning, but lots of big clouds passing over. Possible snow overnight or tomorrow. Just in time for my drive to Payette. Ah well.

We've moved five of the chickens into the large pen. This is the pen that a dog got into back in July, killing 13 of our 14 chickens. We've modified it a bit by putting framed wire panels along the ground most of the way round the fence. Filled in the empty spaces with logs. It's been two weeks now and so far things are going well. The one hen left in the small tractor is there to recover from being seriously pecked by some of the others. Although I originally liked the Wyandottes better, I'm now leaning towards the Barred Rocks. They are much tamer and livelier than the W's. We put them in the large pen a week before the two W's and they've now learned that I bring treats (veg peelings, old bread, etc) sometimes. So the three Barred Rocks come running to the fence when they see me. I usually give them the treats before I go in to look for eggs. But even so one or two of them will follow me around, hoping for more.

We put two of the Wyandottes in there yesterday. That was much more exciting than it should have been. Ken came out to help me. You'd think with three hens in a small tractor it would be easy enough to catch two of them. But no. Instead, the two we wanted got out. So then we had the fun of trying to herd them into a corner where we could catch them. You don't run after hens, it's a bit like herding sheep. You walk slowly in the direction you don't want them to go, which usually makes them head the other way. A long pole helps.

One I caught relatively easily - after her running all the way round the yard being herded away from the irrigation ditch by the two of us. The other one was a bit more wiley, to a point. She managed to find the ditch, where there are bushes to hide under. We managed to shoo her out from under the wild rose with our poles. I missed a chance to catch her as she came out, so round she went again. She got into the ditch again and Ken headed for the rose bush to fend her off. When I finally caught up, I saw her. This time she had attempted to hide by putting her head into a small animal hole in the side of the ditch. Evidently with her head hidden she thought her body was also! It was pretty easy to pick her up. I guess ostriches really do hide their heads in the sand. :)

This pen is quite a large area for five hens. It has three shelters in it and since it was empty for most of last year the weeds had a chance to grow. Plus there's a pile of shrub and tree trimmings. I figure if a dog does get in, some of the chickens might survive by hiding under the brush. Anyway, there are two shelters where the hens can lay eggs in privacy. But since they've been in there we haven't been getting an egg per day from each of them. I'm always wondering if one of them has found a hidey-hole in the weeds where she's hiding her eggs. So I make a point of walking all the way round the inside of the pen, looking for eggs. It's one of those things that makes you wonder if this is how the Easter egg hunt got started! :)

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