Sunday, April 29, 2012

Spring Cleaning

I’m pooped!

We use the deep litter method in the coop and run. Today was Spring cleaning day. I shoveled out all the dirt and shavings, about 3” deep. I cleaned the ramp and made sure the stump at the bottom of the ramp was cleaned. It took two trips with full tarps to the compost pile. Where the girls promptly ran over and spread it out for me.

When the run was empty, I spread the diatomaceous earth (DE) on the ground and then emptied all of the shavings from the house into the run and spread them out. Then added another layer of DE. The floor of the house then got a healthy dose of DE and some fresh shavings.

We then gave all the girls a dusting with the poultry dust when Husband got home and before returning them to the coop. The DE keeps the fly population down, but the poultry lice seem immune to it after our experience with Nike last year. We have a system, Husband holds them in the empty tub and I sprinkle and rub. It’s usually a bit of a struggle, which is why I wait until the two of us can do it together. Betty, who I thought was going to be the most difficult today, just squatted in the tub for us no problem. Sometimes they surprise us.

Our run is only 6’ x 10’ I can’t imagine the work involved in a bigger one. I’m gonna feel it tomorrow.

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Friday, April 27, 2012

Chicken Chat – Persephone and the Cantaloupe

The Greek myth goes that Persephone was abducted by Hades to the underworld to be his queen. Persephone’s mother, Demeter, Goddess of the Harvest, was so upset that she refused to help the crops grow and created a great famine. Zeus, Persephone’s father and king of the Gods, felt sorry for Demeter and talked Hades into releasing Persephone to be with her mother. Hades released her and gave her a pomegranate for her journey. Demeter was so happy to see Persephone again, but noticed the pomegranate. She asked if she had eaten any food from the underworld. She had eaten 3 seeds of the pomegranate. Because of these three seeds, she had to spend 3 months of each year being queen of the underworld. Which is why we have winter where there are 3 months of no crop growth.

My Persephone has yet to try a pomegranate, but she loves a cantaloupe. After everyone else had gotten their fill, Persy got some alone time to enjoy the fruit. Well, until Doris saw what a good time she was having.

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Chicken Chat – Broody Drama Queen

Welcome to another episode of As the Broody Clucks. Where the raging momma hormones take over a reasonably ditzy lazy hen.

I took Doris out of the nest box this afternoon, put her poofed up self on the ground, and she took off at a top speed weebly waddle run around the periphery of the whole back yard. Then, at the bottom of the hill, she ran into Betty at the compost pile where she wheeled around and headed in the opposite direction with Betty and Percy following close behind at top speed behind her into the side yard where they were out of my site. They returned a second later (the side yard is very small) in the same order Doris head down, poofed up, clucking and running with Betty and Percy in hot pursuit until they made it back to the compost pile where there was a bunch of yelling and clucking between Betty and Doris (Percy knows when to stay out of it) until Betty seemed to think she got her point across and she just walked away to go take a dust bath. Percy shortly followed when Doris turned on her. Which left the Broody Queen all by herself at the mulch pile still poofed up and clucking away. I should have videoed the whole incident, but I didn’t know that was her plan and wasn’t prepared. The other two were just like me, standing out of harms way just watching the whole thing in awe. Ignore her dirty bum, she could use a bath.

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We've hopped in on Farmgirl Friday

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wandering Wednesday – Lake Bracciano & Castle, Italy

A day trip from Rome, Lake Bracciano is a great escape from the city with its lake side market, winding streets, and castle to explore.

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I like to finish with somewhere to eat. Hope you’ve enjoyed our Wandering Wednesday :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Veggie Garden Begins

This time of year is the only time that the garden area gets sun. Forget tomatoes or squash, in spring we get peas and broccoli in before the shade moves in and we have to stick to greens the rest of the summer. They grow best in the shade. Husband is sick of bok choi by August. Anywho, the peas and broccoli seedlings were planted last week and they are doing great do far.

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I also threw in some arugula here and there. It’s a tiny garden. The chickens look longingly through the fence when they think I am not looking. The beautiful compost is a gift from them. Next year’s compost is developing in the background :)

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We will follow along as they hopefully grow into full plants and food. They’ve already started to grow and nobody died in transplant so we are crossing our fingers :)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Doris is Broody

P1040139 We have been able to avoid broodiness somehow this spring, until now. She’s a flat shrieking pancake in the family nest box. Husband puts her on the roost each night next to the open window in hopes that the cool breeze will chill out the raging momma hormones. So far no such luck.

It’s causing a bit of turmoil in the coop. When I take her out and put her in the yard she does the puffed up cluck which in itself is normal. She makes herself into a big poof ball and does a very even “bok bok bok bok” over and over again. It’s Betty’s reaction that’s interesting. She starts shrieking and chases Doris around the yard. This has never happened during broody time before and I can’t figure out what’s behind it.

Hopefully, things will return to normal soon and before Betty “catches” the broodiness. Doris is not a good hatcher. Betty is a great hatcher and mother. She raised Percy. I do want to wait until their annual state test in July, before we add any youngins. Last year the younger girls were too young to get tested and the flock couldn’t be NPIP certified. Plus they both lay the biggest eggs, we don’t want them both out of commission.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Peaked Hill

Peaked Hill is one of the highest points on the Island which fortunately, with the acreage around it, has been preserved for the recreational enjoyment of the people and the agricultural use of Island farmers.  It’s one of my favorite places to unwind and absorb the natural world around me.

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This day did not disappoint. It started out foggy, which most spring and summer days do around here, but cleared up quickly. The leaves on the oak trees haven’t even thought of coming out yet, this emptiness of filler seems to amplify every sound in the area. All the birds were very chatty. There were so many different songs to hear and the busy woodpeckers were tapping the trees. I could also hear the low moo of cattle, though I didn’t run into any.

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The lack of foliage on the trees also gives the wild flowers in the underbrush a chance to bloom and absorb the sunshine. These little dew kissed blossoms were in the middle of the trail.

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These were hiding off the trail.

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The trail meanders uphill and opens up to a high point with an area of mostly blueberries and huckleberries, which have been apparently drinking up the sunshine and have already started to bloom.

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The high point also presents a lovely view. It seems the fog hadn’t quite burned off completely and the bank was sitting right off shore. It was at this point I started to hear a cacophony of noise. At first I thought it was geese, but it didn’t seem quite right. It took me a few minutes to figure out it was guineas. Lots of them. Singing and chatting at the top of their lungs off somewhere in the distance. 

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The way back is a trail through enormous boulders left by the glaciers in the last ice age.

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The picture above is visually deceiving. The boulder in the front right looks like a stepping stone, but it was up over my knee in height and several feet long. 

This trail can be extended by other trails that go off in several directions across hill and dale. It’s easy to spend the whole day wandering without realizing it and travel quite a ways away from your car. The hike we took today was a good hour and a half for me with all my picture taking stops and bird listening stops which was enough sun without leaves on the trees or my parasol. 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A Special Visit

The Island today had a special visit from the cruise ship Balmoral on its return trip to England from after retracing the route of the Titanic. I’m sure they felt right at home with our usual Spring fog this morning.

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The tour buses were in full force today, showing people the sights. I hope they had a nice time, there is not much open yet to entertain. Only the charms of the quiet seaside scenery.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Well…..

The computer was creeeeeeeping and some doofus stole and sent spam with one of my email addresses. Fortunately, after some hard brain work, both have been fixed and I am able to start posting again. See you soon :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wandering Wednesday – Calcata, Italy

Wow, it’s Wednesday already. This Wandering Wednesday we travel a bit outside of Rome to the fortified hill town of Calcata. In the 1930s the government decided that the tufa stone the town sat on wasn’t stable, so they condemned the whole town and moved everyone out to the town of “New Calcata”. In the 1960s artists started moving in despite the stated dangers and created an artists community. Eventually the government changed their mind and lifted the condemnation and it is now a thriving artistic eclectic community. There is one entrance through a great gate and up a hill. Most vehicles can not fit through and you have to walk into town. Please join me for a wander through the narrow streets and alleyways of Calcata, Italy.

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I want to have breakfast there every morning. Hope you’ve enjoyed our Wandering Wednesday :)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Wandering Wednesday – Washington D.C. in Spring

A couple of years ago Husband and I went to DC for the Cherry Blossom festival. Though crowded, it’s a beautiful time of year in the nation’s capital.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed our spring themed Wandering Wednesday today :)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Cross Buns

I know that the old fashioned English version of these buns do not have frosting. But, who doesn’t like frosting? So, that’s my disclaimer. I know these aren’t the “traditional” buns, but I like the frosting :)
So, it’s Palm Sunday today. The point that starts off “Holy Week” which ends on Saturday and is followed by Easter. Today I made Cross Buns and had Husband bring some over to the Patronas of the family, his great granma and granma as an Easter gift.
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I used the King Arthur recipe because I have had such good luck with them. For the fruit, I used dried dates, cranberries, raisins, and apricots all my favorites. The dough was a bit wet, I had to add more flour to get a workable dough. So, if you do try this recipe have an extra cup of flour nearby for adjustment. Once it was adjusted, rested and risen it was easy to work with into the bun shapes.
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Because I used a 9x13 pan, I baked them an extra 5 minutes than the directions called for. They looked really thick and I wanted to make sure they were thoroughly cooked through. The frosting for the cross is a basic milk and confectionery sugar. Just be light on the milk. I say this from experience :D
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Viola! They were a great success. Granma has already sampled them and given the thumbs up. I will have mine in the morning with my coffee. Or maybe just one tonight ;)


I've hopped into the Mix at Flour Me With Love's Mix it up Monday and the Homemaker Hop

  
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