Category Archives: chickens

getting egged on the internet {& eggs in a basket}

When my brother was the editor of the university paper, he wrote many a controversial piece. The one about cheerleaders incited such wrath that he received threatening phone calls, hate mail, and one day – he was egged. That’s how I felt this week as I read the comments to my Scary Mommy smoothie article on Facebook.

Ouch.

Apparently, my funny was not funny to hundreds of women who referred to me as a “parenting fail.” Complete with the use of the “F” word. I could only read a couple of comments and then had to shut the computer quickly, my whole body turning hot, my feelers mightily hurt – and will never return to that particular comment section again.

Brynne, upon hearing me recount the tale to my husband, stood with her hands on her hips and stomped her foot, “AHHH! You are a very good mommy! Just because you put glass…in…our…”

Yeah, we know. I learned quite a few lessons from this, the most important one being it takes a thick skin to be a writer. Thankfully, The Most Important Nine Minutes was much better received.

What to do when the internet eggs you?

You make Eggs in a Basket of course!DSC_0097It’s the easiest recipe there is.DSC_0099Warm up a skillet. You can drop some butter into the pan, if you like. I usually don’t. Use a biscuit cutter or a small glass cup to hole out the middle of a piece of bread. Lay the bread in the pan and crack that egg right into the middle.

If your pan is hot enough the egg won’t travel so far, but stick right there in the center. How do you like your eggs? Sunny side up? Flipped on both sides? Friend Lindsey sprinkles with cheese! Salt and pepper? Do it up.

DSC_0102Cope likes her eggs runny so she eats her egg in a basket like this, dipping the extra cut-out bread into the yolk.

DSC_0108The husband loves to squeeze Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce on his eggs in a basket.

And how could we make this even more interesting? How about some peppers?DSC_0010 DSC_0014Slice the peppers and lay them on a hot griddle!

DSC_0015Crack your eggies right into the basket.

DSC_0022I think I like this recipe because it’s just so pretty.

DSC_0020A sprinkle of salt and pepper.

DSC_0031Let ’em cook a minute or so. Again, so fast.

DSC_0044Can be eaten any time – breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Post-run snack. After school snack. Or at 10 p.m. during a final-exam study break.

Quick, tasty, and healthy, with all three essential macronutrients – carbohydrate, fat, and protein.

Eatcha Eggs!

I would be remiss if I didn’t say a public thank you to our lovely Downton Abbey Flock. I so appreciate that they don’t throw the eggs at me, but just lay them nicely in the corner.

IMG_5790I just found this picture…the first chicken we ever had.  And look at the small size of my babies! Sniff.

May you have a beautiful, egg-filled weekend! How do you like your eggs?

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May Came

At least that’s what the calendar says…and now June is almost here. School activities are keeping us running and busy with field trips and end-of-year celebrations.  Mother nature is keeping us busy with planting, weeding, and tree climbing.  Make sure you get that last on in.  Life was meant to be enjoyed in a tree!

Last month was barren and cold and suddenly it’s blooming and beautiful.  

We decided to put the chicks out so they could get some fresh air.  But really, it was all about me; they are so smelly and stinky I needed them OUT.
Tenny, of course, was going crazy.  The sight of a bird makes him lose all rational thought.  He spots a robin and is off like a race car, speeding and careening until the robin cheeps with delight before flying away.  Such a tease.  We put a chicken fence around the chicks as a safe guard.  The natural dog inside Tenny has not yet been overcome.

“Mom, I think we should put Tenny inside,” Brynne said.

“He’s fine,” I said.  They can’t get out and he can’t get in.”

You already know this isn’t going to end well, don’t you?

Aren’t they cute?

I am not going to tell you the end of the story yet, because it’s a tragic one that will detract from the lovely blossom pictures I’m now going to focus on:  
Today I’m focusing on the happy things.

But in my mind I can still hear the screaming…

Let us now focus on the running in our lives.  There has been lots and lots of running this month – wahoo, it’s been so exciting.
This was Cope’s last year at her little elementary/middle school, and her last year running track (no track at her high school…so sad.)  She was a super star, running the mile run.  She won her first race (I may have been a little teary-eyed b/c watching my children run does something terribly wonderful to me), and here she came in third.  She gained A LOT of confidence this year, was well-coached, learned strategy, and how to find her pace.  There are so many great lessons learned from athletics.

She qualified for the state meet and ran her personal record of 6:09.  What a great season!
Nellie, also on the track team for the first time, bonded with his sister on long bus rides, and ran the mile, the 800 (2 laps), and threw javelin (the highlight of his life – a long spear he was actually encouraged to use.)  He missed qualifying for the state meet by .2 seconds (like the snap of your finger).  

This boy is so fast, he has a long running life ahead of him…he may have even beat his mother this weekend at a 5k.  Twice.  He ran a 21:50 5k today…I just couldn’t catch him!

I tend to be more…vocal at track meets.  Here, Daddy watches with that phone in his ear.

The girls were always super-excited to stay for long track meets.

Last month was blah and barren.  And now the world is lush and beautiful.

I found a turtle in the middle of the road.  Did you know that keeping a snapping turtle in NH carries a $10,000 fine?  I sent one to school and was promptly told this information.  Why does this make me laugh?

While older kids went to track practice, girls ran home to Mama.  One of my favorite parts of the day.

Apple blossoms bloomed

Dandelions bloomed and were picked in big bouquets

I can’t seem to do a million things at once, and lost my mind several times.  My dear mother-in-law had to turn off the oven after I was 40 minutes away and realized I was cooking English muffins.  Isn’t it supposed to be the other way around?

Brynnie boo had a birthday!  Donuts on a string….

The black flies attacked Paige and her ear swelled three times its normal size

And the girls ate the donuts with gusto.  Happy Birthday, Brynnie!  This is kind of a lame birthday post, but I love ya, girl – you know I do!

I’m not sure why this is so fun, but it has been vastly entertaining.

Especially when it pops repeatedly in sister’s face

Waah!  My ear hurts.

In bloom

The climber of trees

I’ve been after the kids for running outside with their dirty feet and then coming inside with their dirty feet and then running up the cream carpet with their dirty feet…

Sometimes I think I just need to let it go.  But something inside of me just can’t do it.  My solution is…they WEAR shoes when they go outside.  Is that so wrong?
This is supposedly a weed

For one week out of the year, this crab apple tree blooms the most beautiful pink blossoms

And we must pick them and swing from tree’s branches.  And the tree is happy.
I like this quote:

The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction. 
-Rachel Carson

Why does the sight of Daddy mowing the lawn make me so happy?
I can’t stop loving them, either.

May came.
Happy May.
xo.

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Dear, Sweet Lavinia

We lost a chick yesterday
Lavinia, the smallest of the chicks
too much handling?
too much love?
we’re not sure.

Lavinia was so sweet and small; she just lay down, with labored breathing until she stopped.  And that was that.
The girls took it hard
but had a very nice burial
with gathered stones and dried flowers
and a homemade gravestone

Of course the paparazzi (their mother) had to capture it all.

I’ve seen Brynne walk down to the burial site, several times, with letters she has been reading to Lavinia.  Of course, when she’s not watching I’ll go down and read them because I’m very snoopy like that.

The fact that it was Lavinia made it all that more dramatic.
A solemn occasion

Ah, life is hard on the farm.

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Downton Abbey, Chicken Style

Because I’m a sucker for “experience”
Because I didn’t learn my lesson last time
Because they said please please please and I just couldn’t say no

I had nothing to do with the naming.  The girls knew exactly what our new additions should be named, weeks in advance.
Please meet, “Anna”

“Sybil” 

“Mrs. Hughes” (the girls decided she should stop wearing so much black)

“Lavinia” is the smallest of the bunch, a little fragile.

“Sybil” and “Mary” are Bard Rocks and hearty egg layers.

The three sisters; Mary, Edith, and Sybil.  Mary’s kind of a loud mouth and queen of the pecking order. She’s so aggressive we wonder if she’s actually “Mr. Bates,” in which case we’ll have a cock-a-doodle-doo wake-up call every morning.  If this is the case, we won’t have Mr. Bates for very long.  And then Anna would be very sad – after all they’ve been through!  We won’t know for a couple of weeks.  There is a 1% chance “she” is actually a rooster.

I just really like those legs.

Starting is easy:  A chick water feeder, food feeder, chick feed for less than $10, a bin with wood shavings, and a heat lamp.  They’ll stay inside for 5-6 weeks, growing like they’re on a high dosage growth hormone – in a week they’ll be double the size.

And then they’ll start to smeeeeeellllll, but we’re not thinking about that yet.  They’re still cute.

Doggie can hardly stand it
Let me att’em…just a little sniff sniff…we had a little mishap last time…so doggie isn’t getting near the Downton clan.  We must protect our nobility.  We are honored by their presence.

The little ‘uns have promised with all their hearts that they will take care of them for the rest of their living days.  Feeding, watering, collecting eggs even in the dead of winter.

Nelson boy wants nothing to do with the girls; he’s still smarting from the rooster attacks years ago.  But perhaps the famed Downton beauty and charm will win him over.  Brynne and Paige can’t keep their hands off them and swear they’ve never been so happy in all their lives.  This Downton addition comes at the perfect time.  Today is the first day of school vacation; best week-long entertainment ever.
cheep.
cheep.
cheep cheep.
cheep cheep cheep!
oh my goodness it’s already driving me crazy.
xoxo.

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Chicken Delivery

The chicken left the kitchen and this is how it happened…The first question:  Do we bring the chicken in the kennel or just bring it in the car?  Problem was I had the little Civic and kennel wouldn’t fit, plus it’s much more awkward to carry to car.  So, we had to catch chicken and wrap towel around it.  Heaven forbid a chicken poops in daddy’s car.  He’d never get over it.  I was left with this duty. 
We had our last bonding moment

“Mommy,” Paige said, “Are you serious?”  
Paige was voted “Most Likely to Hold Chicken Appropriately and Not Squeeze or Let Go.” Wait, she’s the three-year-old.  But Brynne gave her that duty anyway.  I laughed all the way to delivery point.  Paige was so good!  The chicken sat quietly and didn’t peck or try to fly.  I think she knew something was up.  We were hoping for one last egg on Paige’s lap but it didn’t happen.

Our friends, Jamie and Toby, told us to bring the chicken over and put it with the others.  We were greeted by an ENORMOUS 300+ pound pig.

“Mommy!” Brynne wailed.  “We’re leaving our chicken with that?”  More laughing.

The goat got a little over-excited but finally the chicken was released.  The pig, goat, and other chickens welcomed her with frolickings of all sorts.

“Wait,” chicken said, “You’re not leaving me are you?”
She perched on one leg and watched us walk away.  The girls almost cried.
Apparently our hen is the only chicken that doesn’t have her wings clipped.  She constantly flies around and perches on top of the coop, lays an egg, and the egg rolls off the coop and breaks.  I’m sure Jamie and Toby are loving us now.  
It’s school vacation week and it’s been nutty with too much driving in the car but visits with far-away friends and cousins whom we adore.  We’ve had many adventures, none of which involve chickens. Phew.
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Chicken in the Kitchen

One of my least favorite jobs in the winter, especially a particularly freezing cold snow day is to wade through knee-high snow drifts with a pitcher full of water to feed chickens.

But what’s even worse is wading through knee-high snow drifts, finally making it to the coop, and finding dead chickens.  Yes, I’m sorry, it’s true.  How could this be?  The coop door was shut tight! There was no possible way a giant animal came calling.  No this killer was the small innocuous-looking furball named The Weasel.  I saw it on the rafters but didn’t make the connection – how could this tiny animal kill my chickens?

I tromped up to the house, paced back and forth wondering what to do.  Call Gregor?  Please come home and get them?  Wait til he got home?  Oh, I really really really don’t like dead things.  I’m not really an animal person.  Really.  I just pretend to be on this blog.  So I went back down and The Weasel had killed two more chickens!  At this point Cope (it was a snow day) chimed in to tell she had read about weasels.  They kill for fun.  They don’t even want to eat the chicken.  Just like that, for a little bit of fun, The Weasel had wiped out our entire flock.  
Except for one.  The last remaining chicken was perched on a ladder, trembling in fear.  What do I do with one chicken?  If I left it, it would surely die.  I contemplated doing just this.  I could wash my hands of it and pretend it flew away to live in Florida.  Happy and content.  But that darn weasel was lurking.

The kids came down with me and tried to catch The Weasel.  We brought Tenny down and he tried his darndest to catch it too but it was crafty and sly and kept slithering down holes it had made in the coop.  So we decided we could only do one thing.

Brynne grabbed that chicken and brought it into the house.  I got the kennel.

Our new pet
It was kindof fun at first.  But chickens have a reputation for being messy.  And smelly.  When we cleaned the kennel it walked around the kitchen.  Paige tried to catch it.

But she was kindof scared.

She tried tip-toeing…
Finally Brynne caught the chicken for her by grabbing its tail feathers

The novelty has worn wore off and now we just had a chicken in the kitchen.
And now I want the chicken OUT of my kitchen.  It is driving me crazy.  It is messy and stinky and has been warned that the garage is going to be its new home.  Poor chicken.  It has laid an egg for me everyday though.  This chicken needs a coop.  She needs some nice friends.  Or maybe you’d like your own chicken in the kitchen?  Free delivery. 

What did we do with the deceased?  I bribed Brynne with a treat if she would “help” me.  I held the black garbage bag open and looked away.  With no hesitation she grabbed each one by their feet and dumped them right in.  1, 2, 3, 4.  Done.  I did not think about what I was carrying all the way through the knee-deep snow drifts.  It was heavy.  With some chicken claws poking through the bag.  Ew!

Will we ever have chickens again?  I just can’t answer that question yet.




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The White Rock in the Arctic Air

As they say in New Hampshuh’, it’s wicked cold.


Sunday into Monday
7:00 p.m.      2 degrees
8:00 p.m.      0 degrees
9:00 p.m.      -3 degrees
10:00 p.m.    -5 degrees

Fast Forward…
2:00 a.m.     -18 degrees
4:00 a.m.     -20 degrees
7:00 a.m.     -23 degrees


Really really cold.  November/December was pretty fabulous. When that occasionally happens I always start to wonder if maybe winter won’t really come after all.


But it always does and it is here.


Sadly, my last remaining beautiful white chicken did not make it through the day.


As you may recall, we had a chicken attack a couple of weeks ago by an unnamed assassin.  It got a white chicken (called a White Rock) and a brownish/red one (Rhode Island Red).  We only had two white chickens to begin with, so we were left with only one white left.  


The white chickens were my favorite.  They were the fattest, the prettiest, had the most personality, and seemed to be the most devoted to their favorite human (me 🙂  Whenever I started walking toward the coop, all the chickens paid attention, hoping for some food, but the white waddled so fast toward me, they always made me laugh.


Winter came, the attack occurred, and I noticed that the remaining white chicken was ostracized from the group.  Without her other white companion the other chickens rejected her.  This was surprising as most of them came as chicks in April, and were raised together.  But she was no longer invited to perch at night on the ladder.  She was always by herself and pretty soon stayed alone in a corner.  She seemed depressed.  Is this what they mean when they say, “pecking order”?


The last few days when I’d go down to feed them, she’d look at me, but never go after the food I would drop.  And it became so very very cold.  And still she stayed in the corner, closest to the door that opened to the outside air.  I told the kids on the way to church that the other chickens weren’t playing nice and that she didn’t have any more friends.


Yet she continued to lay her daily egg and sitting on the other ones laid, to keep them warm until I came to collect them.  She never pecked me when I reached under her to retrieve them.  This was strange too because chickens peck at everything.


Perhaps against my better judgment I opened the chicken door yesterday morning so the “girls” could get some fresh air and hop around outside if they chose.  Some of them ventured out a few minutes but chickens don’t like to walk on snow.  The little walk didn’t last long.  


The day became colder and colder, with the door open, and she just stood by it, never moving.  Another factor working against her is that the white chicken variety, in general, are not as hearty as the other ones, but they seemed to do very well together until this week, when she was left without her friend.


We found her after church, keeled over her eggs, right in front of the open door.  Why she didn’t move out of the cold I don’t know.  Perhaps it was the mean girls who wouldn’t let her come closer to get warm.  She just got weaker and colder until mercifully she dropped over.  And I felt so bad!  Brynne has also given this a lot of thought and said several times, “I feel so bad for that poor poor chicken.”


Do the other hens feel any remorse?  No, chickens are pretty stupid.  


Poor little chicken, my favorite beautiful hen.  All she ever wanted was a few kind words, an invitation to perch with the group, and to lay her daily egg for me.  The arctic blast was definitely a contributing factor but I think my white hen really died from a broken heart.

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Chicken Death and Drama

I know many of you have been updated with our recent chicken attacks, but in case you missed the latest, here it is.  Here our chickens peck in tranquility, being thrown food, the required oyster shells to make their eggs stronger (a needed requirement did you know?), and pulling their weight by supplying the daily egg.
Good chickens

Mom, why is there a dead chicken in the middle of the pen?
Oh dear, twas true.

A pile of feathers where the attack occurred.

After some investigative work, Brynne said it happened here, where the pile of feathers are.  The question:  What animal was it?  Did it wiggle under or climb over the electric fence?  How did it not get shocked?  
Uh oh.  We discovered that our electric fence was OFF.  Probably when we had small children over and didn’t want them electrocuted.  
Lesson learned.
I felt worse a few weeks later when we got lazy.  The electric fence was on, but their chicken door was open during the night because it was cold and dark and no one wanted to walk down to close it.
Grandma Mia heard a terrible racket and horrifying scream coming from the henhouse at 4 a.m.  Then all was quiet.  What was it?  A racoon?  A coyote?  A fishercat?  
It must have been a big enough animal to jump over the electric fence.  This time it got TWO of our chickens, one of them being my personal favorite, the beautiful white bard rock.

Grandma wasn’t afraid to touch it

Toenails

Ew.  Will you ever eat chicken again?  Whatever it was had big teeth.  Grandma Heather is convinced it was Sasquatch.  Seriously.  Do you believe?

Disgusting

Brynne was the only one who would get close for the anatomy lesson.
Then it was chicken for dinner!
Ok, it wasn’t that chicken but Nelson was just thrilled about deboning for the next soup.
So here is what we have learned:  You must be ever vigilant when protecting your vulnerable and weak ones.  You must not leave them without protection, nor leave them in a place where attackers can sneak in the night and catch you both unaware.
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Great Outdoors/Chickens

What a fabulous weekend we just had.  The weather was perfect and we had some good down time to watch conference with grandparents.  I took lots of fall pictures when we went for a mid-afternoon walk but haven’t uploaded yet.  The colors around here have completely changed since these were taken.
Here’s a few pictures from the last few weeks…
We finally put the chicken fence back up but our roaming chickens still want to be free.  Everytime we catch one and throw it over the fence another one flies out!  Did you know chickens can fly?  Well they can.
Brynne is still the master chicken catcher.  I told her I’d give her a treat for every chicken she caught.  Her eyes lit up, “chicken noodle soup?”  You know, the Campbell’s kind?  My kids think this is heaven-sent.  Whatever.  Chicken Noodle Soup it is!
The things I do with my time…it’s not really something I would have foreshadowed, this whole chicken thing.  The white are my favorite – the Aracouna.  They lay blue eggs.
Here is baby Kora and doggy.  Since I don’t have a crawling baby (I love crawling babies!) I have to take pictures of other people’s crawling babies.
The trees behind these chickens are now orange and red and yellow.  Breathtaking.  Every year.
Isn’t it nice when the kids actually play a game all together?  Here we have a tea party.
This year we got one pumpkin.  It grew in Brynne’s patch.  The only one.  She was pretty thrilled.  It didn’t get any bigger than this and it now sits on our porch.  She calls it “baby.”
Our friend’s, the Johnson’s, just got these El Pacas.  For pets.  Really.  Don’t they look like Dr. Seuss characters?

Buddies
Life is good on a swing
Theatrics on the swing
Coaching Cope’s soccer team again this year.  Lots of fun, lots of time.  We’ve lost our last 4 games but attitudes are still good.  It would be nice to have a win though.  Cope loves playing sweeper.  Wow – what a difference a year makes.
I took the girls on a mother-daughter camp-out a few weekends ago.  Our friend Nora was there too.  It was fun except I was really tired and wanted to go to bed at 9.  Staying up until midnight, running through the woods, playing pranks on my friends?  That used to be the best at girl’s camp!  
But now?  I just wanted to go to bed.  I think this is a bad sign.
It was fun to see the girls run through the woods
Then they all made a necklace.  Those teeny tiny fingers worked some magic.
On the way home my tire was low so I pulled into some back-country garage where some nice men discovered a nail in the tire!  They fixed it for $10 and we were on our way again.  Count my many blessings.  How many miles on the highway was I driving with a nail in my tire?
So, life is good in the great outdoors.  Hope you are enjoying some foliage too!
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Kids Having Fun

Cope came home from school with four bags of King Arthur Flour.  Made just across the border in Vermont, it was good stuff.  I especially liked the white whole wheat flour.  She was supposed to make two loaves; one for her and one for the Andover food pantry.  Someone didn’t want to make bread so she brought home enough to make four loaves!  I tried to stand back and let her do it.  It’s hard to shut the yap.
We had a lot of fun together in the kitchen.
She was most proud of her braided loaf but did not appreciate all the clean-up that cooking requires.
Nelson played with all the games from his birthday.  Here he plays “Sorry” with Daddy who I made wake up from a nap to play.  I should like playing board games more but…
Here Nelson rejoices at the piano
And writes me a little note.  Isn’t that sweet?
Want to entertain children for hours?  Turn on the water, give them some dirt and watch the magic happen.  I picked this kitchen up for $20 at a thrift shop.  It was supposed to be for Brynne’s birthday next month but she found it stashed in the garage and begged and begged.  I relented. (This is probably really bad parenting?)
They LOVE their kitchen.  And it was warm enough to play house in a swimsuit early this week!
After throwing a tantrum when we couldn’t find her swimsuit, Paige finally had fun in her underwear.  We discovered that a hole, some dirt and water make a muddy swimming pool.  Yea!  Hours my friend.  Hours.
April 9th arrived and so did ten chicks.
6 Aracouna (they’ll lay blue eggs)
2 Rhode Island Reds
2 White Rock
They will live in this box for 6 weeks until going into the coop.
 We are hoping they are well-accepted by the flock.
Our seeds are taking off!  Too much, I think.
Paige can NOT leave the chicks alone.
Last year I watched them like a hawk.  Now I hardly care.  Just no squeezing please.
“Oh Sweethaut,” she says.
This is Louie

This is Emmy.
They all get mixed up but it’s still fun to name them.
Poor Nelson is still traumatized from the rooster that he wouldn’t even touch the chicks.  “I hate them,” he says.  The girls walk around with them all over the house and so far Tenny hasn’t been too interested.
Kids having fun.
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