Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Few Thoughts for A Sunday Evening

A very, very quiet Sunday here at Calamity Acres.  I went to church yesterday evening so that I could sleep in this morning, and did.  Normally, I wake up at light, but it was so cold and I was so warm... I slept until 8:30!  The first time I had done that in months!  Even the pugs were snuggled under the covers, and neither Lil or Ranger tried to get us up to get outside.  Finally, Keith got up and filled the first buckets, and it was his coming and going that finally woke me up.  I am always worried about the birds in the little henhouse, they have a warm light to keep warm, but their water freezes up during the night.  They are the first ones I "do" in the mornings, but by the time I got to the door, Keith was already coming from their direction. 
Today, I checked on them frequently, as it was very cold, only 17 or 18 degrees, and blowing snow for an hour or so.  We did not get any additional accumulation, though, so were grateful for that. 
I spent the morning and afternoon cleaning house, and working on the ever-present bill and correspondence pile, and answering some Christmas letters we had received and set aside for lengthy answers.  Yes, real snail mail! 
It was very peaceful, with the pugs snoring, Lilly Ann under the table, and Ranger on his pad.  The kitties slept away most of the day.  Keith went to church and to a golf equipment sale, which was poorly attended both by sellers and buyers, so came home empty-handed. 
We had some more discussion about our new henhouse, which will be built out near the garden beds.  Remember that we are going to do layered-bed gardening this year, because of the success I had with my flower bed last summer.  It was built on the ground without digging, with a layer of horse-manure-laden straw from the horse stable of last winter... our little garage building.... and with other straw and dirt and manure that we layered on it.  This henhouse will house standard size hens, and they will help do the composting right next to the garden.  The yard will be fenced with six foot high fence (because of Lilly Ann) and the henhouse will look like this:
One reason for that size is we have some new windows in the workshop that will fit, and provide great ventilation for the hens.
We have also learned that "If we build it, they will come".
Here is the first plan for the interior:

We have already decided I told Keith we are not putting a roost over a pophole, so that will be re-located.
This is the first design, after all.  There are two doors, because one will go into the henyard, and the other, out the front where the chicken-herding pugs can come in and out.  They will have a ventilation thingy on the front and back, and the door we go in and out will face east. 
Our idea here, is to ramp up egg production with our current large egg-layers (Ruby, Rosemary, Libby, and Birdy) and get about six to eight more hens to lay big eggs, as opposed to the smaller bantam eggs.  We are undecided as to Rambo's fate as this point. We do not necessarily want to move him over, but he IS a good caretaker for his girls.  There will only be one rooster, and NO ONE will be allowed to go broody in this henhouse (said by the Chicken Keeper in a stentorian voice).  We are thinking that a few of the smaller hens... Rosewitha and Dovey, the gray sisters, and the two tiny Japs, and the pretty black cochin, Lady, will move with them.
The really small birds, the cochin/silkie crosses will stay in the
little henhouse.

Eventually, the large henhouse will be converted again into the goat house, and when I am retired, we will use it to house our three (3) goats, their feed, and a small milkstand where the Goatherdess can milk out of the cold winter wind. 
I close tonight with a couple of pictures of grandson Nathan, who was kind enough to crawl into the henhouse yesterday to roust the THREE hens off their eggs... he took this picture:
Flicka herself, on the left, was born on Super Bowl Sunday last year.
Silka, on the right, has sat the last four clutches of eggs... and Fluffy, the girl in the middle, was born in June, 2010, herself, and started this whole thing.  I am NOT letting them brood... I managed to get two eggs out from under them today, after Nathan got six yesterday. 
Nathan ( my bread baking grandson) resembles Justin Bieber... and I call him "Biebs" as a nickname... here he is as his look-a-like:

and as of yesterday, he went from Justin Bieber to Justin Timberlake, equally as handsome:

Here's to another new week!


  1. Mmm. That's a lovely looking loaf of bread.

    Interesting thoughts about chickens and layers. I have two that lay large eggs, and they've laid pretty well on through the shortest day of the year. My Welsummers have been the most disappointing, laying the least and even though they're done with their moult they don't seem the least bit interested in starting to lay again. If we do get more birds, I think bigger eggs would be better. My Barred Holland though, she lays small eggs but has been steady on through winter. Well, the plans for the new henhouse look good. It'll be fun to see it materialize.

  2. Mary Ann, that Grandson of yours in one good looking young man! I love the short hair look! And he bakes some beautiful bread. I love reading about the chickens and critters at Calamity Acres.

  3. That's a big difference in hair cuts.

    Sometimes you just need to sleep in and take it easy.

    Sounds like you've got it planned out for the chickies.

  4. Wow~ I love Nathan's new look! Very handsome!
    Sounds like you have some exciting changes coming for your cluckies, Mary Ann! I can't wait to see them!


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