Saturday, January 4, 2014

I don't wanna grow up!

Every night when I go out to tuck the girls in one thing is ALWAYS the same. 

Gwhen is always looking for someone that she can snuggle under.
It is almost as if she just doesn't want to grow up.  Tonight she was trying hard to convince Sophia to be her Mommy.  :)  It isn't even terribly cold tonight.  I wonder who she will try to huddle under tomorrow night?

Also notice the difference in the combs on these two girls.  Sophia is our one Easter Egger that is currently laying.  You can easily see that her comb is nice and red and stands up quite a bit higher on her head that Gwhen's.  

The gift of a dozen eggs

Today was a very special day for me. 

I got to give away our first dozen eggs! be totally accurate I gave our first dozen eggs to our oldest daughter.  So this egg gift was the first given to someone other than family.

We have some very special neighbors across the street.  We have been close to them since we moved to this neighborhood and we enjoy keeping a close eye on them and making sure they are safe and well.  My husband (and our other great neighbors) try to be sure that their driveway is always cleared when we get snow.  We call anytime we see strange vehicles or anything concerning.  But giving them this dozen eggs will always be one of my favorite moments.  They told me a few weeks ago that they love chickens and miss just watching chickens.  Of course I invited them to come over and enjoy our girls when it gets warmer.  When I handed them the dozen eggs today they looked at them with such love and appreciation.  Warren said, "You are spoiling us!  But I can't wait to have these!"  

My heart literally soared.  How wonderful to give some of our special eggs to people who don't view them as "ordinary" and "run of the mill".  I wish they could know how happy they made me when their eyes lit up.

Our weather is supposed to get very crazy and I know they will be staying inside alot over the next few days.  I hope they can enjoy a special meal or two during that time and that it brings them a few smiles.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Our first BLUE egg!

I had Easter Egger Chickens years ago when I had my first chicken house.  I loved them so much and couldn't imagine not having some in our new chicken house. 

If you are contemplating getting your first chickens or if you are thinking of adding a new breed to your hen house, I HIGHLY recommend this wonderful breed.  They are wonderful girls with tons of personality.  They are cold hardy because of their rose combs.  And they are very easy going and gentle.  If you enjoy naming your chickens this is a great breed because all of the chickens are just a little different in appearance.

So, you can imagine my joy in finding this beauty in the nest box today!
The photo doesn't come close to capturing the beautiful blue of this egg.  It is shown here with one of our Cuckoo Marans eggs.

Sophia's comb has sure changed in the last 7 - 10 days so I was trying to patiently wait for our first blue egg.  I just LOVE the beautiful eggs in my Grandma's bowl!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Grandma's Bowl

There are so many things I love about having chickens.

Little Things

And I think that until you have chickens you can't really understand all those little things completely.

Today was a very special day, a day I get to enjoy one of my favorite "little things".  For the first time in about 12 years I got to put my own fresh eggs in my Grandma's Bowl.  Silly right?  Maybe.  But for me, so much love, and so many memories are brought back in that one simple action.

My Grandma Cox passed away many years ago, when my oldest daughter Meghann was just a baby.  My Grandparents always had chickens.  And maybe my love for having my own eggs comes from those memories.  When she passed away I got many of her wonderful bowls.  And I do very much treasure them.  

Since I have such a love for cooking I have always loved beautiful dishes.  And Grandma's bowls were so wonderful.  I remember exclaiming how beautiful her bowls were one day and she laughed.  She told me that that silly bowl came free in a box of oatmeal.  Nothing special about it at all.  
Nothing special!?!!!  
Was she serious? 
 But my grandparents were very simple people.  She didn't have beautiful china or expensive things.  I think she found it hard to understand how I could think that something so simple would be incredible.

For years I filled this beautiful green bowl with my fresh eggs.  And every time I pull it out of the refrigerator I think of my wonderful Grandma.  
Oh how I wish I could talk to her again and have her tell me stories about her childhood and her parents.  
After I moved from the farm and no longer had fresh eggs I continued to use this special bowl for my store bought eggs.  And although I still always thought of Grandma when I got eggs out, it never held the "magic" that it always seemed to hold with my own eggs.  Today the "magic" returns.  It gives me so much joy to put my own eggs in this amazing bowl again.  
All of our eggs to date. 

And I hope Grandma is looking down and smiling to see that this "silly" bowl brings me such joy.
Sure, I know that using the bowl every day could mean that someday it gets broken.  And I have often thought about retiring it to the china hutch for "safe keeping".  Somehow in my heart I feel like using the bowl is what I should be doing.  What joy does it bring locked away in a cabinet?  And even if it someday does get broken I will have all the memories of using it for years and years.
So, should my children or grandchildren ever have any of my dishes or anything else, I hope they will use those items every day.  I hope they will remember me with happy wonderful memories that make them smile the way I smile and think of my Grandma Cox when I use her special bowls.
The top two eggs are today's eggs.  The one toward the back is from Oprah Orpington.  The one in the front is from Martha our Cuckoo Marans.  The picture doesn't totally capture how amazingly pretty this egg is.  

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Interesting Egg Day

I am having so much fun going out to the hen house throughout the day to see if there are any new eggs.
This morning when I took breakfast out and went into the coop for the "Morning Maid Service" I was surprised to find this soft shell egg.
I brought it up to the house right away to show my husband.  Since he is a self professed "city boy" he hasn't ever seen anything like this before.  I found the egg on the poop board under the roost which is why you can see sand on it in the picture.  My guess is that this egg belongs to Gilda since I caught Oprah in the nest box later in the day with her own egg.  And the egg is light enough that I am assuming it doesn't belong to one of the Cuckoo Marans girls.  Gilda's comb and wattles have been getting redder and redder every day so I have been anticipating her first egg.  It is SO exciting to have a new layer!

What egg oddities have you found in your hen house?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Pullet or Hen?

Technology is certainly an amazing thing!  16 years ago when I had my first chicken coop the internet was in it's infancy.  Certainly there wasn't anywhere near the information we have available to us today.

Now, after reading and researching and learning it is almost like experiencing everything with my new girls all over again.  For instance, with my very first chickens I had no idea what to look for in the way of visible changes when chickens go from being a pullet to being a hen.

Once again I have to thank Kathy The Chicken Chick for all of her information and for teaching me so much.  Kathy has a wonderful post at her blog about chickens combs and wattles becoming more red as they near laying age.  Since we have our first two layers I thought I would share a few pictures to show you the difference between our hens and pullets.

Oprah Orpington and one of our Cuckoo Marans are our current two layers.  Notice how nice and red their combs and wattles are.

This picture of three of our "Cuckoo Girls" really shows the difference between the pullets and the layer.
Can you guess which one of these girls is giving me beautiful brown eggs?

I am sure you guessed right.  The big girl in the back is our Hen and the two in front are pullets.  Isn't it amazing how starkly different they look? 

This is a picture of our two Buff Orpington girls.  Gilda on the left is not yet laying.  But Oprah is laying very well.  As of today we have collected a total of 8 eggs from our hen house!  I am so excited to make a very special breakfast very soon.

Another picture of Oprah Orpington and Gilda.  Just too pretty not to share.  I love how big and fluffy and beautiful the Orpingtons are.
I thought I would share one more picture from today.  This is Gwhen enjoying the new treat baskets I hung.  The temperature is about 63 outside so it is a GORGEOUS day!  The only thing that would make it a bit better would be if it was a little less windy.  But a 60 degree day in late December is a wonderful treat!

How are your girls doing?  Do you have some pullets that you are anxious to get eggs from?  I am so excited to get our first Easter Egger eggs!!!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

A two egg day!

I was so surprised to find a second egg in the nest box this evening.  

Evidently the egg I found this morning was from Gilda.  I owe her a huge apology because I gave Oprah a big "thank you" for the egg this morning.  The 2nd egg I found this evening was quite a bit larger and therefore most likely from Oprah.  (**hmmm - I think I owe another apology.  After finding our Cuckoo Marans in the nest box, I now think that our first two egg day was actually a Buff Orpington egg from Oprah and a Cuckoo Marans egg from #90)

We will be having a delicious breakfast very soon with these wonderful eggs.  :)