Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Past

Milo and Claire

We are missing Claire this year. She always had a fun time opening her presents on Christmas day. And, of course, there was the ham.

Milo always seems to get an early start on the unwrapping of gifts. He's not too particular about whose gifts he opens, but he's usually spot-on in guessing which are his. Unfortunately, one year Mike gave me a giant box of Ethiopian spices for Christmas that he wrapped like a guy (mostly tape, some wrapping paper) and put under the tree. Milo, ever the adventurer, made the mistake of trying out the berbere mix. That particular spice mix is so hot -- I think his eyes turned red and horns popped out of his head.

Milo getting an early start on opening gifts

We are looking forward to giving Ivy doggie presents this year. We are hoping to bribe her with those in exchange for a tree-chewing moratorium.

And yes, we do get treats for Charley, but lately he's not really awake enough to enjoy them. I think he suffers from narcolepsy as he often falls asleep on his feet.

The chickens are receiving the gift of life.


Monday, December 7, 2009

The Grinch


I knew this would come back to bite me some day. Ivy's pal at the dog park, Brody (sweet Doberman, same age) taught Ivy to chew on trees, shrubs and various other foliage protruding from the ground. It's one of their favorite pastimes. While other dogs romp and frolic, Ivy and Brody sit and chew. It's serious business, and many a shrub has suffered.

So how did I not realize that this would translate quite nicely to our Christmas tree? The beautiful tree that Mike and I chopped down in the National Forest to aid in fire prevention. The one we dragged what felt like 10 miles through the snow in 20 degree weather and hoisted with superhuman strength onto the top of the car. All 18 feet of it. Yeah, that one. Ivy is slowly and methodically eating it. By the time Christmas gets here, we'll be lucky if the angel still has a place to rest on the top.

I tried to tell Ivy that the baby Jesus was watching. But that just made her throw up.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Green Egg!


Our Coco laid our first green egg this morning! Very exciting. And please don't say it -- Mike doesn't like ham and I am a vegetarian.

I did have to adjust the saturation level so that you can see the green. It's green here in my hand, but my little digital camera just doesn't pick it up very well. But this is really how green it is.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Snapshots

Charley
Likes: Licking velvet, sleeping
Dislikes: Ivy

Milo
Likes: Peanut butter, sleeping
Dislikes: Ivy

Ivy
Likes: Charley, Milo
Dislikes: N/A

Coco
Likes: Being sweet
Dislikes: The phrase "tastes like chicken"

Ruthie
Likes: Attacking my boots
Dislikes: Being referred to as a "she"
Realization: Likes and dislikes may not be mutually exclusive

Calliope
Likes: Hiding under the chicken ramp
Dislikes: Feeling forced to hide under the chicken ramp

Alice
Likes: Squealing like a pig
Dislikes: Being mistaken for a pig

Mavis
Likes: Being named after my grandmother
Dislikes: Being put in the [turned off] oven for photo shoots

Polly
Likes:
Laying eggs!
Dislikes:
Bad hair days, David Bowie

Vivian, aka, Bitchian
Likes: Biting me
Dislikes: Me



Photos by Dan.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Finally!


Our first egg! And I have no idea who laid it. I was ecstatic when I saw it in the nesting box, but then I got a little sad when I thought of my little babies all grown up. But our first egg!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Icy Snack

Ivy likes ice. When we get ice out of the automatic dispenser on the refrigerator, she comes running from no matter where she is inside or outside the house and waits for stray pieces to drop. I guess she got a little impatient here and thus dug up a big snack in the yard.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Big Hot Tranny Mess


Many of you know how much I love Ruthie. Up until this past weekend she would sit on my lap and nap, watch t.v., and generally be sweet. Then she bit me. And now she is crowing. Although I paid extra for females, turns out this is a rather inexact science, shall we say art, and my Ruthie girl is a rooster. A chickooster. Mike thinks he remembers me saying that if we ended up having a rooster, I would find him a good home or if I didn't, Mike would put him in a pot. I don't remember saying or agreeing to either of these things. I have a plan, however. My goal is to completely emasculate this chicken so that she always thinks she is a girl, just with boy parts.


Luckily, she is a perfect gentleman with the other ladies. When I open up the chicken door that folds down into a ramp leading into the chicken yard, she lets all the other girls go outside first, then she makes her grand entrance by flapping her wings, crowing, and basically hurling herself down the chicken ramp. Silkies are not known for their ability to fly, so rather than being graceful, this is really quite hilarious. I tell her that she is terrifying, and this seems to sufficiently mollify her. But honestly, the reality is that she is one hot tranny mess.

Of course, I can't get her to do any of those things on video because she seems to be rather camera shy, so rather than flapping, crowing, and hurling herself down the ramp, here she is in at least half her glory, crowing, pooping, then crowing again. Please forgive the amateurish video. I'm new.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Something New, Something Lu

Mike and I recently went back to Chicago for a vacation. We stayed a couple of nights with our good friends Kevin and Kelly, and of course, their lovely dog Lucy, who decided she may have a thing for Mike.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I Really Hope My Sister Doesn't Read This


I have been working on knitting a lace shawl for my sister Kate's wedding for about a year now. I kid you not, it has been almost exactly one year since I knitted that first stitch. Kate's dress is gorgeous, and I truly believe that only something hand-made could complement it properly. This shawl is really quite beautiful.

Alas.

Ivy hates it. She hates it so much she tried to derail the project by chewing up my knitting needles. What I don't understand is that this particular project was stored in a cubby, nicely folded, and when I went to work on it, it was still folded up, but the needles were chewed. Fiendish and diabolical is Ivy's particular brand of magic.


Sadly, this is not the first pair of knitting needles I have lost to a dog. Milo once had a fondness for the bamboo as well. Wood is a difficult drug for these dogs to avoid.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Happy Chicks


The coop is now finished, except that I would like to paint some flowers on the front (it is inhabited by a bunch of ladies, after all). Valynne and I painted it all pretty-like. The girls seem very happy in it.

There is still just a bit of work to be done. The fenced run is being built this Wednesday. By the way, the saw on the right was for cutting some trim. It's not for the chickens. I need to move it. It looks unseemly.


One very exciting development is the silkie's ears. As you can see on Ruthie, they are an iridescent blue. Am I alone in my envy here? Granted, the hair and feathers will cover up the blue soon enough. Ruthie is the best chicken of them all. She sleeps in my lap on the couch and watches t.v. with me. Tonight when I took her back to the coop, she started to cry when I set her down. It was very touching. Then she pooped on my shoe.

The lovely Ruthie

Goodbye, lemon soap. I loved ye well.

Ivy has learned to open the shower door. This is unfortunate, as she polished off the lovely lemon poppy seed soap given to me by my friend Valynne, brought all the way from Idaho. I actually put the tiny chewed up remaining piece of the soap on the table to take a picture tonight, but while I was zooming in with the camera, Ivy snatched the remainder and swallowed it whole. So no picture of the soap. If Ivy starts burping bubbles, I will be sure to try and catch them on camera.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Thoity Doity Boids

Coco, Vivi & Mavis

As you can see in the photo above, Coco, Vivi and Mavis have taken to roosting on top of the pen. We really need to finish up the coop, which is pretty much completed except for the run. We've run into a bit of a rock problem in digging the fence posts. "We" meaning, of course, "Mike."

Most days the chickens seem to like me, and Coco loves to be held. However, they do have their psychopathic moments. Vivi especially. Serious breaks from reality occur on a fairly regular basis.

I spoke too soon when I said that chickens are not Things Great Danes Eat. Chickens are, in fact, Things Great Danes Try To Eat When Humans Are Not Looking. Both Ivy and Milo have tried to set their jowls on tiny fowl, but have instead wound up with mere feathers a-flying. Danes are no longer allowed in the garage.


Bird in Bowl (Polly), Still Life (or, Terrified to Move)

Although it's hard to tell, that red bowl above is a very big bowl. Bigger than half a basketball for sure. Polly is a big girl. It looks like she is pigeon-toed, but in fact, her feet are pointing directly forward and those are just lots of feathers coming off of her feet. She is a bit camera shy, so this is the best I could do.

On Sunday, friend Valynne helped me install the floor. Isn't it beautiful? We were pretty proud of ourselves. We high-fived.

Award-winning Floor


Valynne

Mike is still my hero. He even used decorative hinges on the human and chicken doors (that he made totally from scrap lumber!). The doors fit perfectly and the entire coop is looking beautiful. I am going to paint the inside a lemony yellow, and the outside will be some sort of pleasing green.

Mike and the door. It has a handle!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Oh Really? This Was a Structural Support?


former fence post

Monday, June 29, 2009

O Sad Chicken, You Make Me Laugh and Cry

I would be sad too if I had eyes that worked but yet I still couldn't see. Life looks as though it weighs heavily on your poultry shoulders. But don't worry, sad chicken. We won't let you starve. The dogs don't seem to want to eat you. And we won't let Vivi create a gang to braid your hairfeathers into oblivion. Cheer up, chicken!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Ivy is an Artist at Heart

painted Ivy

Ivy likes paint. Especially the Benjamin Moore zero VOC, which is better than others I guess. But doesn't she look pretty in lavender? She also likes my Golden Heavy Body Acrylic tubes, so I have to keep those under lock and key.

Other non-comestibles Ivy has been observed to eat within the past two weeks include but are not limited to:

  • fence post;
  • obscenely copious amounts of grass;
  • styrofoam insulation;
  • pine floor studs;
  • wallboard;
  • granite;
  • foyer rug;
  • pine shavings;
  • chicken feathers. Hilarious doggie sneezing ensued.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Well Apparently Not

It does not seem that the chickens are going to be Things Great Danes Eat.

Charley and Coco

As you can see, Charley is not a huge threat to our new poultry friends. Judging from this photo, I think the predominant thought that runs through Charley's head at any given time is "What exactly are you going to throw at me today and how am I best going to circumnavigate it?" Or in the alternative, "You have got to be freaking kidding me."

Ivy wants to lick the chickens. One of them got a little wet because of her, and let me tell you, the phrase "mad as a wet hen" was not first uttered for no reason.

Milo wants to poke the chickens with his giant nose. That seems to be his thing. Poking smaller animals. And nobody wants to be poked. So that may be a problem, but at least it's our biggest problem.

Vivi

This is Vivi. Every time I stick my hand in the home she jumps on it. I think she thinks it is an elevator. Which is actually pretty accurate. Lately Vivi has been running at my hand and pecking at it rather violently before she jumps on. Routine elevator safety precautions I guess.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Now We Are Twelve

box o' chicks

The chickens all arrived safely on Wednesday -- all 8 little girls were healthy and seemingly happy. One little girl, quickly named Calliope because of the incredible amount of noise she makes, has a little eye infection, but the vet gave us some antibiotic ointment that seems to be helping.

home

Mavis, named after my grandma (who happily said "O, that would be great!" when I asked her if she was okay with having fowl named for her) and Vivian are the two Barred Rocks. They are very spunky and a little unpredictable.

Mavis & Vivi

The two easter eggers are very friendly and like to be held. Friend Lia named the brown one Coco and friend Judy named the other Dusty, after Dusty Springfield. Lia and Judy came to the post office with me to pick up the chicks, and we created a bit of a raucous party in the parking lot. Lots of chirping and general revelry.

friend Lia
friend Judy

The silkie bantams are indeed the lapdogs of the chicken world. They are so incredibly adorable. One is almost as big as golfball, and the other two are just slightly larger. The only way I can keep track of them is that one has an eye infection and a little Karo syrup on her head (Calliope), and the really tiny one has a very poopy bum. I think I will name her Ruthie. Don't hold me to it, but she just seems Ruth-ish to me. We lost one of the bantams today, and it's actually quite upsetting. I have no idea what happened as she was doing so well the past two days. The other bantam is as of yet nameless. How rude of me.

silkie bantams

The bantams have furry feet and five toes on each foot.

feet!

What really cracks me up is the amount of time Mike has spent with all the chicks. And it's not just one or two chicks. If he holds one, he makes sure to hold them all. And when Calliope's eyes were looking ghastly, he did a lot of research on chicken eye ailments on his own.

It is very hard to photograph chickens. I need photographer friend Dan.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Chickens Are Coming!

I am hoping hoping hoping that chickens are Things Great Danes Don't Eat. I have 8 chickens coming the week of June 8. They aren't born yet, so the wonderful folks and photographers at mypetchicken.com have given me permission to post their photographs of the little lovelies.

Mike had originally stated in no uncertain terms that he would have nothing to do with the chickens, including, but not limited to, the following:
  • Coop Building
  • Egg Collecting
  • Poop/Coop Cleaning
  • Feeding
  • Petting
  • Looking
  • Liking
He did say that he *might* feed them when I am out of town. I have my doubts. However, a few weeks ago he changed his mind and he is helping me build the coop. I see veiled excitement under his thick crusty exterior. In the alternative, he may have just been worried about the potential disaster that is me with a hammer.

Silkie Bantam

We will be the proud caretakers of four of these little muppets. If your first reaction was to clutch protectively at your throat and back up from your computer screen, click here (probably not good for the little ones or those of you sensitive to, um, the salty language.) If you think they are adorable and you want to carry them in your pockets and rub them on your face like a cotton ball, here you go: "lapdogs of the chicken world." Where do you think they keep their eyes?

Barred Plymouth Rock

We will have 2 Barred Rocks, or "Stripey Jailbird Chickens." See the ankle monitor on her right leg? They are supposed to be plucky and docile. I'm not sure what this means, and the word "plucky" makes me a little nervous, but I do like a good black and white ensemble, especially one with red accents. They lay a lot of eggs, but since and Mike and I don't really eat too many eggs on a regular basis, I may sell some at one of our local farmer's markets one day.

Easter Egger

Easter Eggers have a gene coded for blue, green, or pinkish eggs (one color, not all). They are a kind of hybrid, and I think they will nicely round out the flock. Normal chickens.

The Mother Cluckin' Hen House

We've been working on the coop by thinking furiously about it. We plan every weekend to work on it, but thus far it has rained or snowed every single weekend for the last 5 weeks so only a little demolition work has been done. Most of you have seen our old goat condo, which is what we are using for the coop. We are adding windows, a large run fortified as best as possible to keep out bears, mountain lions, raccoons, foxes, and hawks. I was planning on hand-digging a 12" trench to bury fence in, but my brilliant father-in-law suggested that maybe renting a trencher would be more efficient and less back-breaking. I researched trenchers and they all have about 50 pages of safety warnings, so with my propensity for bad accidents, I'll leave this decision up to Mike. Maybe I will post pictures of our progress.