Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What happens when you forget

...that you've left a bowl of raspberries in the downstairs pantry:

First, you wonder what that smell is:

Then it dawns on you. You shake your head disgustedly and think "what a waste":

Even Roxy's embarrassed for the person who did this:

Though she is kind enough not to name any names.

Monday, September 20, 2010

My friends, the chicken whisperers

I never told the story of what I got to do on Labor Day afternoon two weeks ago and this is an event that, for me, can't go unmentioned. Why? Well, I finally got to visit my chicken mentors, Tonya and Kao, at their home (and chicken paradise).

I first mentioned Tonya and Kao about a year ago when one of my sweet Barred Rock hens, Bippity, came down with some odd ailment. It was clear my girl wasn't feeling well and I was beside myself with worry. One phone call to Tonya and before I knew it, both she and Kao were here at Critter Farm, giving Bippity a full exam:

The fact that our homes are about an hour apart and it was a work night didn't even phase them - you can read about this night (and their prescription for Bippity, who made a complete recovery) by clicking here.

I first "met" Tonya and Kao through a Yahoo group called PDX Backyard Chickens (the PDX is an abbreviation for Portland). This is an online support group for local chicken owners to ask questions and share experiences with other chicken lovers. Tonya and Kao are renowned within this chicken community for their vast chicken-keeping knowledge and their unbelievable kindness.

Aside from providing unlimited support to this ever growing community, they also adore every one of their own 60+ hens (and yes, even the one still-developing rooster) and can not only identify every single one by name (KC (aka Kitchen Chicken), T-Rex, Honey, DooDad, Dancy, etc.) but can tell me the precise breed (and mixed breed) that they are.

Here's Kitchen Chicken coming in (to the kitchen) for a bite to eat:

Look at this adorable little playhouse-turned-chicken coop:

This is Boots. I think she liked me:

Every time I turned around, there she'd be, hovering around my feet.

I finally bent over and scooped her up and she didn't mind a bit! For a good portion of the time, I just carried Boots all over the property and we had a great time. (She whispered in my ear that she'd like to come to my house for a sleepover, but we still need to discuss that with her mom):

It was wonderful spending time with both Tonya and Kao and hearing them tell me -in person- about all their pretty birds. And then there was the car. Can you see it down the hill in the distance?

Yup. A 1960 cascade green Corvette...and Kao took me for a ride:

I had *the* biggest smile on my face.

And my Jim was delighted to go for a ride with Kao, too:

Back at Rancho de Kao, Tonya shared some of her chicken tricks:

They even have two White-Crested Black Polish hens in their flock. This is what my sweet Dottie's head would look like...if her coop mates didn't keep picking on her:

Hi again, pretty Boots:

It was a delightful afternoon and evening - made even more incredible then by the fantastic meal they prepared for us. Wonderful conversation and fabulous tri-tip on the grill...:

...and homemade (I watched Kao make it!) strawberry ice cream. - yum:

If you own backyard chickens, I hope you are fortunate enough to have a chicken mentor. In my case, I am beyond fortunate because I have two.

P.S. If you recall seeing the great carrot tonic for chickens that I posted here a year ago, this invaluable health aid, of course, came from Tonya and Kao, too: chicken tonic recipe.

Friday, September 17, 2010

An Indian Summer

Northwest Oregon is known for its Indian summers....




Lazy, September days...: spent doing playful things outside that include a cool glass of lemonade afterward:

Truth be told, this is not even remotely how it is around here right now. And trust me, everybody is very surprised by the wet and gloomy we've got going on:

According to our calculations, there are still four days of summer left:

But Pete and Reggie already seem to be hunkering down for winter. I can only coax them out of their house by tempting them with tasty greenery outside their door (and under the eaves):

My garden is confused - "There's still so much to do," it says. Tomatoes need to ripen:

Grapes need more sun to finish up:

Raspberries still need to turn red:

Instead, we've got heavy heads:

...which come from feeling just a bit sorry for ourselves:

It's been a challenging growing season. This year, we had less than 2 months of the mild, dry, smile-inducing summer weather that we come to count on after Oregon's wet and rainy fall, winter and spring:

Oddly enough, the chickens don't really seem to mind. Not as long as their breakfast shows up on time:

Oh, and Dottie?:

Just as a side note, she laid again yesterday afternoon:

She has now laid officially one full week longer than last year. Paula, over at Weeding for Godot, left a comment on my last post suggesting an egg wager, you know, for folks to try to guess just exactly WHEN that girl's "final lay" date will be. I'd have to come up with a really good prize, wouldn't I....

Saturday, September 11, 2010

I was wrong

Dottie was not quite ready to begin this year's egg laying sabbatical after all:

Today, she has officially laid for one day longer than she did last year.

Isn't it funny that I think this is big enough news for a special, up-to-the-minute blog post?


Friday, September 10, 2010

A message from Chester

Chester asked me to tell you that he didn't think he got nearly enough attention in last Friday's big animal post.

He also wanted to show you his new cone:

He likes to pose with it (the color is stunning against his black fur):

Bite it:

Shake it:

Rub the side of his face against it...:

... "Hey you, girl with the hat who feeds me," interrupts Beau the gray donkey, marching confidently into the photographer's field of vision, "look at what I can do!":

"Aw, jeez!", sniffs Chester, trying to reclaim his limelight, "she's not going to be interested in that":

"But everyone should watch me do this...:"

"Phew! That was exhausting":

"Wow, Chet", says Beau, his eyes (and nostrils) growing quite wide:

"I don't know what to say other than...":





"I'm totally going to bite your face now, Beau..."

So, in summary, Chester just really wanted you to know he didn't get enough attention in that post last week:

Oh, and that he's got a new cone: