Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Backyard chickens, shell less eggs, fix the hen house, blackberry jelly

Somebody is laying shell less eggs!  I cleaned the coop yesterday and found  2.  I have my suspicions but we are on chicken watch  today to find out for sure. Hester is off the list.  We watched as she laid a beautiful egg.  Pretty sure its not prissy cuz the bad eggs are  brownish.   One of the older reds is trying to molt, so it could be her.   The old graying red ....well if its her ......   But the prime suspect is Hash. Could be just a newbie beginning to lay and there was an itty bitty egg in the nest a few days ago.  Could be the other birds are running her off the nest to soon.  Might have to add a third nesting box if that is the case.    Not sure if that will work because they all fight over the same nest anyway.  Tomorrow is fix-the-hen-house day.   We are expecting that it will be a cold nasty winter so we have been brainstorming over how to keep the girls warm without running electricity to the coop.  I found one of those emergency camping blankets in my dresser drawer this week , so I will be lining an area with it as an experiment.  I will also be moving the roost or covering the nesting boxes... I haven't decided which one.  Covering the nesting boxes would be easier and it would give me an area to line with the thermal blanket.
While I am on chicken watch , I will be turning my preciously guarded blackberries into jelly.  Later this evening I may attempt to start my newest project..... weaving.  I picked up a beautiful loom for a steal at a  thrift store this summer.  The enormous crochet rug I started last winter is almost finished.  Its just been TOO  hot to work on it.  I can see why working on textiles has historically been a winter activity.
Oops..... time to chicken-check!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Show over, Harvesting, canning, drying herbs, getting caught up

Today we strike the show and then I am back to canning and chickening and..... Oh wait, I never stopped doing that stuff. I just stopped blogging for a while.  Something had to give and it was the writing.  I have tons of stuff to tell you about!  I made my first batch of soap!  I need to hone it, but , its soap.  Nice thing is... between the books I own and the internet, I know what to do to make it better.
Our beloved Hash is all grown up... well almost.  No eggs yet and so far, no more crowing.  She has integrated into the flock .  Hester and Prissy have also integrated well. Its relatively peaceful out there these days.  The older girls are watching the light change and are anxiously awaiting their freedom.
The garden was late getting started this year but once it did, it exploded.  I put up so many pickles this year that I am giving away cucumbers by the bagful.. Jimmy's tomatoes are beautiful.  We have been enjoying a steady diet of steak and tomatoes for two weeks now.
I picked up an old Hershey's recipe book at a garage sale this summer and it had the best cake recipe I have run into so far. Once things get settled I will post  it for you.  And now that the weather has cooled off, we will be moving our cooking indoors and Ida Bailey will get dusted off again. 
HERBS:  Banner year for them. I should get one more good cutting to dry.
I convinced Jimmy to let  a blackberry bush grow in one of the back corners.  In another week I should have enough to make a couple of fine batches of blackberry jam.  I traded  eggs for beets  this year  cuz I just didn't have enough room to grow enough to pickle. I'll be stewing and canning tomatoes next week.
We have about 10 more winter squash that I am leaving on the vines for a few more days to see if I cant get them just a tiny bit bigger.
All in all , not a bad summer.  Spent it with with smart, talented, dynamic artists and enjoyed myself thoroughly. Our artisan lifestyle did not suffer a bit for my absences.  But now that it is over I will be better about this blog.