Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Our First Eggs and a Few Ruffled Feathers

First of all, a wide open pantry welcome to all of my new readers! I am delighted that you are here with me in the pantry and I look forward to your thoughts and comments along the way. A special thanks to Aunt Ruthie at Sugar Pie Farmhouse who not only keeps a delightful blog and now website from her home and writes such inspiring words when I need them–like yesterday after our chicken fiasco (see below) when I needed to keep a lid on things and to remember what's important–but who also had high praise for The Pantry! She is the homemaker I will never be but whom I admittedly envy in her journey. [Aunt Ruthie also made what looks like a beautiful and delicious plum jam for her own pantry–I love anything "plummy"–and she has one of the most lovely pantries I've seen, to her own design, in glimpses on her website.] PHOTO: Eli holds the first eggs from our hens on August 7, 2009.

Our first green egg from an Auracana "Easter Egg" chicken in the foreground.

I just wanted to post, briefly, on our good news: our first eggs in the hen house! Our son Eli found the very first egg last Friday (August 7) on the floor of the hen house and they have been coming in a few a day since then (this time in their hen nests). As the hens–and Mr. Stew–are almost five months old, I thought this might be timely if not a bit early. Can you only imagine their surprise as they each lay their first egg? "Whoops, what was THAT?!"

Now for the bad news: on Monday one of our "Pond puppies" got lose from a system of confinement on our cool north porch that I thought was fair and workable for a few hours each day while the chickens free-ranged. I had been gone for just a half-hour up the road and that little devil scaled the 3-foot plus railing and gates! We lost seven of the hens in one half-hour rampage. John, the culprit, is remaining with us, with a new system (one of those line ties that he hates), and I'm determined to have peace and harmony in my "farmyard." It was especially hard for this mother who loves her doggies as much as her hens and who understands that there is also instinct to be reckoned with. I should have known that when he and Patch always followed me to the hen house and peered through the door, smiling like foxes, that they weren't just being helpful. Meanwhile, brother Tom, who kind of ambles along and is very Type-B about things, couldn't be bothered with the chickens (and clearly didn't inherit any Jack Russell traits).

Patch left us a month ago and has never returned–I fear he got into one fox hole too many or was bitten by a poisonous snake–so the possibility of losing John so soon after Patch, and less than a year after Lucy's death, was just too much for this farm mama to bear. Now that the dust has settled, so to speak, kudos and love to my husband who, despite his better judgment after a collective chorus of pleadings, decided to let John remain with us (and I mean that expression in all of its meanings). It was his suggestion for the zip line for John during "free range time" (kind of like "puppy nap" and "chicken play"). During the past few days I have often thought of poor Fern begging for her father to spare Wilbur's life, in E.B. White's immortal classic tale, Charlotte's Web.

In the meantime, our boys are back in school (ironically they went back on the hottest day of our summer so far, but August in Kentucky can be hot), I have green beans to pick and freeze, more corn to put up, and more assigned writing projects (there is nothing more gratifying then being asked to write and being paid for it, too–and writing while taking breaks to look out on the third cutting of our knob field or to run into the kitchen to bake something or toss some laundry out to dry). I promise a blog very soon on last week's Highway 127 Yard Sale (and pics of some of my fun findings), as well as that one on root cellars I've been promising.

Blessings from my pantry to yours,


Postscript, dusk, 9pm: We just shut up the chickens for the night and counted a few more have found their way home (and we're still down four--one we know is dead--haven't found other three except for a lot of feathers). John is adjusting well to his new routine, too. I now better appreciate the expression, "coming home to roost"!


Janine said...

Hi, I just found your blogs the other day and I really enjoy reading your thoughts. Our daughter and her husband live in the country in Kansas and they have some chickens also. Her stories are very similar to yours. They even have some pretty blue-green eggs too. They have to watch for any stray dogs because they have killed some of their chickens. I'm going to send her your blog address so she can have as much fun reading your experiences as I do. Thank you so much.

Cat Nap Inn Primitives said...

I am sorry for the loss of your chickens...I hate seing anything die..well except for spiders..but I have been much kinder lately...if they are outside I kindly remove them to get past the web..if they are in the house...well they don't make it..we have thought about getting chickens with the way this economy is going..we would have chicken and fresh hubby brews his own beer and with the hopps that are left, grain etc..he takes them to a local friend that raises them cause their chickens love it..and we in turn get a dozen eggs..nothing like fresh eggs and I love the colors too..I love your blog and you are now added to my daily blog list and I am a follower as well...Take care,
Gina :)

Mrs. P. said...

I followed Auntie Ruth to your lovely site/blog. We have had similar chicken *stories* in our life adventure. Sorry for your loss. I look forwarad to reading more from you. I am totally sold out on pantries.


Linda said...

Hi, I found my way to your blog from Aunt Ruthie's. Sorry about your chickens. We lost quite a few earlier this summer to neighbor dogs. We still have 9 - 3 month olds and looking forward to those first eggs! I look forward to browsing your blog more as well!

Catherine said...

Welcome all! We just shut up the chickens for the night and counted a few more found their way home (and we're still down four--one we know is dead--haven't found other three except for a lot of feathers).

John is adjusting well to his new routine, too.

Anonymous said...

We spent the weekend at the yard-sales. We love doing the 127 route. We went all the way to Frankfort Ky and we found lots of good things to buy.


a Cupcake near you! said...

Catherine, believe it or not I feel somewhat responsible. I should have told you that Jack Russells (and obviously their mutt cousins)can easily jump a 3 foot barrier. They've been known to climb fences twice that high.

I'm so glad Temple relented and agreed to keep John. (Had he not he would have been in MY doghouse, too!) Dogs will be dogs but I hope things settle down. Janey sends her love.


Jennifer said...

I have actually been following your blog for a while and enjoy it so very much! This is our first year having chickens as well. We have been enjoying fresh eggs all summer! Hubby and I traveled the 127 yard sale as well. I look forward to seeing what all you discovered!
Have a great weekend,

Stephanie said...

I just found your site. I know what I just read is really old, but you might still be interested. Years ago, one of our dogs killed one of our neighbor's chickens. He suggested we tie the dead chicken to our dog's collar and let it rot. We did & he never bothered another chicken.