Monday, April 4, 2016

Yay Spring, Egg money, petting zoo feeder, new chicks, Jimmy's VIG

Spring is definitely here.  The first  spring flowers have popped up all over Mystic Cedars in the last 4 days. The salmonberry  bushes are full of bright pink  flowers. If the flowering is any indication ,we should have a bumper crop this year. The pear trees  are looking very pretty as well so I am full of hope for a fine harvest in the fall.
DD and I ordered 30 chicks back February. She brought my half of them   with her when she came for Easter.  6 Leghorns and 6 Rhode island reds.  She kept the extras.  They were kept in the brooder until  all their feathers came in  and until it was warm enough for them to be outside. This weeks warm weather was perfect for integrating them into the old flock. They are doing  quite well.  One of the leghorns is already showing signs of being a rooster. That's ok.  DD and I both want to try to raise  sexlink ISA browns. ISA browns  are the worlds most prolific layers.     We are going to need  prolific layers  because I am getting more requests for eggs than my current flock can produce.  I thought I would need to put a sandwich sign out front when I had  'extra' eggs  but it looks as though most folks want a standing order. I've let everyone know that there will be more  fresh, free range, organics eggs by the end of June.
The 3 November  babies that we allowed to hatch are all grown up. Two of them were roosters. DD took one and the other is promised to a flock on the eastside of the mountains. He was  going to go there last week but there was an interruption in  transport plans at the last minute. So, Jimmy and I will be taking a special trip over to deliver him soon (unless someone headed to the tri-cities wants to give him a ride this week).  Jimmy and I are very surprised at how  big this  guy is. He is  only 5 months old and is already  larger than our  3 year old Wyandotte ( his daddy).  If he keeps growing like this he will be the size of a small turkey by his first birthday.
And in other chicken news. We finally  got the petting zoo  chicken feeder in.  This turned out to be a bigger project than Jimmy and I anticipated. We decided to put it under the old apple tree.  We had to clear an enormous pile of  blackberry entwined windfall  to get to the fence area where we decide to  put it. It took us two days to clear it all and get it chipped up. When we were finished we discovered the only thing holding the fence up was the  enormous pile that we had just taken away. So, Jimmy  had to replace  an 8 foot section of the fence. But it is in.  I was so excited after all the work we did that I anticipated huge crowds  on the first  day.  I watched from the window on the first day  to see the crowds show up ....and I watched and I waited and I waited.  I finally got bored and wandered away. When I went out in the evening to bring the machine in.... it had indeed  been used and I ......missed it. Day 2  a few more folks noticed it  and  had fun feeding the girls.  I noticed yesterday that there were people who wanted to feed the chickens but the chickens had  wandered off  to their favorite  little sunny spots. So, yesterday I learned that a petting zoo chicken feeder only works if there are chickens around to feed. So, now I just need to get the girls to be in the right place at the right time.    When I was building the fantasy for this in my head was a lot easier.  AND in my fantasy...Jimmy didn't demand 20%  for beer money for all the work he put in to make it happen.  After  much negotiation (arguing) we did a handshake deal.  He gets his 20% AFTER the monthly  chicken feed  purchase.  This whole thing was conceived after Jimmy  got nasty about how much I spend on chicken feed. It was an argument about something completely different AND he was losing  so he  decided to throw a low punch and bring the girls into the fight.   He was right, I was spending  part of our budget on chicken feed but, no more. The girls are now paying their own way and he gets a vig.  He will never be able to use my chickens against me in an argument again.  During the negotiations he tried to  snag of vig off the egg money too but, I put  my  size 6  foot firmly down on that one.  Egg money is a sacred,  time honored tradition  and   generations of men across the world have had to  learn  the hard way  to keep their hands and minds off that little jar of change.  Thanks to a christmas gift from DD, I know exactly how much is in there .  She bought me a change jar with a digital counter on the lid.
I don't want you to think that there is a permanent rift over any of this. Last night after everything was done I pulled off a bottle of the homemade blackberry wine and we sat companionably by a fire in the backyard right up until he started making plans for the egg money...