Day five: Chickens

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Posted by Annie in Organic, Outdoors on March 2, 2013

Chickens in the yard.We’ve had the birds five days now.  We converted a dog pen we had lying around, into a chicken run, basically we wrapped the pen in chicken wire, including the top.  We’ve got owls living in a tree nearby, so we have to be careful.

I am amazed at how fast they have grown.  In just five days, they have more than doubled in size.  Their wings are getting feathers, some only have a little bit of fuzz left on them.  I love to watch them stretch out their legs and their wings, it’s a beautiful sight.

It’s been a job keeping the brooder clean and warm.  The temperatures vary so widely that I am constantly covering them up with blankets over the cage, and taking them off.  I’ve noticed the birds don’t need as much heat as they did when I first brought them home, that’s a good thing.

Chicken WatererYou should have seen them yesterday, when I moved them to the pen.  They were running around, playing, hopping over each other.  I sat and watched them for hours.  I swear they grew from the time I took them out, until I put them back in the brooder.  Amazing.

I hate having to put them in the brooder at night.  It’s not very big and they don’t have a ton of room.  They love it when I put them in the yard, they run and jump, playing with each other, you can just tell they are happy.  Soon, I’ll have the chicken run set up.

What is biosecurity?

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The Birds Are Singing

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Posted by Shawn & Annette in Family Fun on May 1, 2012

Ever noticed how slow I am at posting in the spring & summer? In the winter there is always the snow to talk about, or the wind, or power outages… It’s so exciting to wake up to fresh snow.

Bullock's OrioleTo be honest I’d love to post more in the summer, but I’m just too darn busy. It takes time to put on a decent picnic and we have a lot of picnics during the summer. My husband is a new grill enthusiast and he likes to use his Char-Griller Duo every chance he gets. He even put on the smoker a couple weeks ago (which sat in the garage waiting for him for only 2 years or so). I can’t wait to use it!

I used to work at Laszlo’s Gourmet Smoked Fish in Old Town Sacramento. Let me tell you, that it is the best (bar none) smoked fish I have ever tasted. His smoked salmon is absolutely amazing and if you make the trip, don’t leave without trying the smoked prawns!  I’ve had people who don’t even like fish try Laszlo’s, and most have loved it. It’s a special treat, and we love it so much we still make the 3+ hour drive (each way) several times a year to Old Town Sac just for the fish. Yes, really.

Anyway…We finally moved the bird feeders around. I’m going to get out my fancy bird baths and plant some flowers, too. My husband’s father has a bit of a green thumb and an absolutely amazing garden, so we’re taking his advice this year and waiting for Mother’s Day before doing too much. As soon as Shawn has the time to get the camera online, we’ll be all set to go. I can hardly wait, but in reality it will probaby be late summer or even this fall before he has the time to work on it.

Why can’t technology be easy? They keep promising easy, but never quite seem to pull it off. Even the updates on our computers – talk about complicated! If you forget something, you leave yourself wide open to viruses and worse.  I’ve got Shawn to do my updates for me… you can, too.

“The boys” (that’s what we call our Shih Tzu puppies) just love the birds. When the birds start singing they tip their heads to one side and listen as if it were the only thing in the world. The Stellar Jays sure have been active lately. It seems to me they should be having their babies soon. So, I have been making sure they have plenty to eat and drink. In return, they sing to me almost all day long. It’s so wonderful to open the windows and hear the birds singing. It just makes me want to sing.

Our cat is due to have kittens any day. Fortunately, I already have three spoken for… I hope she has that many. She is as big as a barn and I find myself checking on her regularly. She wants to go outside and she’s not very happy about being stuck in the house.

It’s been a hard day today. Shawn’s brother would have been 40 today. He passed away Easter of 1995. Shawn really misses his brother a lot. Rest in peace Jay.

I’ll try to write more often. Anyone know when the birds have their babies?

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Mountain Quail Return

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Posted by Shawn & Annette in Outdoors on August 11, 2011

Mountain Quail (male) Oreortyx pictus, offset ...

Image via Wikipedia

My sister and I were talking about the birds, she thanked me for sharing my hummingbird “recipe”. I couldn’t believe that people actually buy that junk they sell in the store. Okay, I confess, I bought it ONCE, too, but then I learned the secret and I’ve been making my own hummingbird food ever since.

I was telling her about the Mountain Quail and mentioned that I haven’t seen them for a couple of months now. They normally come down the mountain late evenings, right about dusk. I’ve never seen just one mountain quail, they come down a dozen or so in a flock, I’ve seen as many as 20 at a time. I was so pleased to walk outside to find a flock of Mountain Quail in my yard. They are such nervous birds that whenever I head outside, they run off.

I think I’ll try to get up early tomorrow and open the blinds, maybe I’ll get to watch them for a bit. It gives me great pleasure to sit and watch the habits of all my bird friends. I have one little bird about the size of a grosbeck, maybe a tad smaller, I love to watch as he walks around the yard, using his little feet to kick up the leaves and pine needles. The bird will do that for hours at a time. Maybe he’s looking for bugs?

The little Nuthatch is another one I love to sit and watch, the noisy little birds can be seen for long periods pecking on the side of trees.

White-breasted Nuthatch

Nuthatches are active, agile little birds with an appetite for insects and large, meaty seeds. They get their common name from their habit of jamming large nuts and acorns into tree bark, then whacking them with their sharp bill to “hatch” out the seed from the inside. White-breasted Nuthatches may be small but their voices are loud, and often their insistent nasal yammering will lead you right to them.

I have been slowly trying to educate myself and the family about birds and the wildlife in and surrounding Twain Harte. If you are interested in birds and not all that experienced, you may find this article helpful: Top 10 Ways to Get Better at Bird Identification. I am finding that watching the birds helps me to relax more and keeps me from thinking about all the noise pollution.

Just this morning, I woke up to one of my more thoughtful neighbors hammering away on something — AT 7:00 A.M. — come on now. Even though fireworks and whatnot are illegal, we still have nuts setting off firecrackers in the parking lot of the Twain Harte Market. Not a smart thing to do. It doesn’t take much of a spark to start a fire in these parts, especially this time of year.

We made a trip through Twain Harte last night to make a Post Office run and I couldn’t believe how many people were downtown. The Rock had an overflow crowd hanging out on the balcony, and most of the other restaurants appeared to be just as busy. It was a Wednesday evening, I can’t imagine what could have drawn so many people to town.

I don’t have any official numbers to post, but I can tell you that judging from my own experience there appears to be many more summer vacationers this year, but my perception could be tainted since we moved in January and I’m not as familiar with this side of town.

Do you think we have more, less or about the same number of people vacationing in the Twain Harte area this year? Tell me what you think.

 

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