Category Archives: Life

Chicks!

Can’t resist sharing some other pictures of the chicks at our house:

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This one looks like it has eyeliner!

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Little head peeking out. This mama doesn’t “talk” to her babies the way a normal mother hen does (more about this later). Her first hatchling rejected her because of it and was given to another mother (it is actually the eyeliner chick in the photo above). But, then she hatched another one who seems to like her, and her silent mothering, just fine.

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It is nice to snuggle up to a sibling (even if it is 100 degrees outside!)

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This mother has been our best and most reliable mother hen. She is the first to have taught us that we could trust them to hatch and raise their own babies.

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Trust the Mother!

We have three broody chickens. Two weeks ago, the first one had a failed hatch. Two babies made it out of the shell, but appeared to have died immediately. We theorized it could have been bacteria in the nest box or suffocation. We moved her to the broody coop then with the other two chickens (she is actually in a nest right next to her own mother–the hen who hatched her about two years ago is broody again and sitting on a new batch). We thought about replacing her remaining eggs, but since there were still five or six (rather than only two like we thought), we thought we’d give them a few more days. We’d hesitated to move her prior to hatching because we’ve had mixed success with that (sometimes they just give up sitting if they’re moved too soon). So, on the off-chance that she still had any viable eggs, we moved her and the eggs.

After another week and no sign of life, we concluded they’d rotted/died and so Mark went to throw them out and give her new ones. He’d moved her off the nest and was picking up the eggs to toss when he heard her calling/talking to them the way chicken mamas do when eggs are close to hatching. He then thought maybe some of the eggs had been laid in her nest box after the others and that there was still some hope for the remaining five yet. So, he didn’t toss them and put her back. And…when we went out this morning, look what we found!

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I wrote about our first ever broody chicken experience in an essay for Midwifery Today called Birth Lessons from a Chicken. One of the main messages was to trust the mother. That message was hit home again today. When you listen to mothers, of any species, and give them the space to follow their instincts rather than trying to mold them to your ideas of the “right way,” they often do amazing things.

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Of cabbages and kids…

For the first time in our gardening history, we successfully grew a cabbage. A nice big one too!
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And, yes, I had to get a picture of each kid with the famous cabbage:

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Then, we chopped it up in the food processor and made it into a delicious salad for dinner:

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There is something irreplaceable about eating something for dinner that was moments before a living part of the earth, connected into the ground. This is REAL food!

And, took a picture of the new moon over our field:

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Farm Baby

If I do say so myself, I love this picture I took of Alaina on Monday night while Mark was working outside.

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I also spotted this pretty flower:

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And, Mark worked hard on the greenhouse roof:

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And, managed to finish the metal part!

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Blackberries and more

The blackberries are getting ripe! Unfortunately, we felt too lazy to get suited up against chiggers this weekend and so we didn’t pick any yet–just looked at them and took a picture. Tomorrow we’ll do it!

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While out by the blackberries we realized that we have a lot of sumac out there too. Perhaps time for some sumac-ade? I find it fun that we have a variety of sections of our land that form little “food plots” of their own.

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We also admired the large crowd of butterflies on the horsemint that is by the blackberry patch! I marveled that there are beautiful things like this happening all the time, but we don’t always look or see. (Reminds me of my 300 things walk from a couple of months ago.)

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And, despite the not seeing, beauty goes on all of the time, all over, with or without us. It is pretty cool.

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In addition to the beauty, the Japanese beetles have arrived in the vineyard and require daily hand removal and squishing 😦

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But, cute baby eats a pepper at sunset…

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Family strolling away…

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Mark got some minimal progress done on the greenhouse roof this weekend. It is going much slower than we imagined (partially because of the vineyard project taking precedence).

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Couldn’t resist a picture of the field at twilight.

I also tried to get a family picture taken because I have a cute new dress dyed by my friend. But, it was one of those times where no one would cooperate and I thought this picture of what it REALLY feels like/looks like to take a family picture sometimes was funny:

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We also got a so-so, good enough one:

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Lann was the photo taker, hence only two kids in the picture.

It is also broody bird time around here apparently—one mama has a failed-so-far hatch, but is still giving it her best try and we moved two more hens into the broody coop this week (both with ten eggs each). And, the little quail mama is broody too and sitting on a big stack of tiny eggs. I hope some of these babies make it and that each mama gets to fulfill her maternal destiny 🙂

I know natural hatches have higher failure rates than incubating eggs yourself, but it is just so much cooler seeing the mama birds follow their instincts on this. And, I think babies of all species are just happier and more normal when raised by a parent rather than under a light/by non-species member.

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One side of the four-hen broody coop.

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Mama hen giving it her best effort in the second side of the broody coop. Come on baby chicks!

Good vibes for chick survival would be appreciated. I’m so bummed that the first (second generation) mama’s first two babies didn’t make it past the hatch. We need to take away the remaining (seemingly rotted and/or dead) eggs away from her and start her with a new batch if her instincts are willing to keep her sitting for another 21 days…

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Multigenerational nesting

The now grown-up baby of one of our best mother hens has gone broody and is devotedly sitting on a nest. The other day I went in and both chickens were sharing the nesting box–original mama is the orange one and she’s sitting next to her own former baby who is now trying to become a mother herself. What a nice, intergenerational effort from this chicken grandma-doula 🙂
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