Friday, January 30, 2015

Calm Before the Storm

It's going to get cold this weekend here in NE Kansas, and 
we are going to have a rain/snow event, though they 
are expecting maybe two inches in our area. 

We took advantage of the 39 degree weather this morning to go out early. 

I thought this was all we were going to see... a hawk in the distance.  He had flown directly across the front of my car.  

However, I was wrong. 

Right around the corner, I saw this guy sitting on a fence post, but he was quite far from the road. 

We got out to the farm, and I glanced up at the com tower... this is what you see with the naked eye. 

And this is what you see with the camera lens. 

I am guessing this is a mated pair, because they would not be hunting in such close proximity. 

I looked up a minute later and only saw one. 

This dog, our beloved Lilly Ann, gave me the scare of my life this morning. 

There is a walk gate between our house and Troy's.  We know the post on the end 
needs replacing... and about five times, I have found the gate open. 
I have take to using the camera to hone in on it when I get there daily, to make sure the gate is closed, because Lilly has gone out once. 

Today, I checked it. 

It appeared to be closed.  

I went about my business. 

After doing chores, I saw down in the pasture with Jester... 

and did not see Lilly anywhere.  

I got up, called and called. 

Before we moved, the only time Lilly ever left our home was to go to the vet. 
Ranger, our German Shepherd, would never go out... never.... but Lilly always has 
run out the gate, and then been unable to find her way back.  

She got loose maybe six or seven times in her life. 

Including today. 

I was scared to death... I ran around the pasture, calling to the Spehar's side, and ran over to Troy's back yard, which is like a park, and has a pond.  I ran to the road... I ran back into the pasture... calling, calling, calling. 

I ran into the house to text Troy at work to have him look for her tonight, and to try to think what to do. 

When I ran back onto the porch, there she was at the gate, pressing her head against it, and when she saw me look at her, she began wagging and clearly wanting in. 


I told Troy I would put a chain around the gate and post with a caribiner clip to close it, but 
he said he will fix it tonight.  We think she is popping the hook off with her nose. 

I just don't know what I would do if I lost this girl. 

Well, here's the status of the chickens this morning. 

Still traumatized from the move. 

Here is where they came from.  Birds are in all those pens you see... they are four 
foot high pens with tarps on top, that was their shelter.  No roosts, and only drinkable water once or twice a week.  I was not going to show you this. 

They are still piling in the corners two days after I moved them. 

I found the small fortex with food half-full... and there was water, though 
there was a rime of frost on both the open fortex and the regular waterer. I have thrown some 
feed onto the floor in the straw, to encourage them to peck and pick. 

These two have sort of gotten the idea, and they spend time looking through the straw. 

(I mixed scratch with the layer pellets, to encourage eating) 

For the first time, after I did the water... I opened the pophole door, and the sun shone in. 
(There are three large windows in the henhouse.)

Yes, the yard got overgrown last summer, but it is fine for a bunch of chickens to peck around and clean it up, but these birds don't get it. 

I'm just going to be patient. 

I swore I would not go out twice a day, but I'm going to go again 
this afternoon and see how they are doing, without my helpers with me. 

As I sat in the pasture finally, I took a picture of our neighbor's house on the next ridge.  
The Spehars came from Croatia, via France.  Their house reflects their Old World 
sensibilities, and they are fine cabinet makers.  The upper window design is beautiful! 

Jester got right to checking his pasture out in the wan sunlight. 

After a while, we started home.  The little white goat and her friends are starting another bale of hay. 

We saw this beautiful redtail above a pasture... and... 

Seconds later, another rose below him... the female, I'm sure, hunting the same pasture... 

And a flock of beautiful birds flew through them. 

As we continued on down the gravel road, guess who we came across? 

That is the redtail from our blog header!  

Instead of sitting on the antenna, he was up on a pole at the intersection. 
We were still on gravel, so we stopped the car to watch him. 

And he watched us. 

We crept closer... and finally turned the car off, since we were in a safe place. 

Then, after almost ten minutes (and 100 pictures I won't show you)... a little car 
came down the main street and turned onto the gravel. 

But, like I told you this week, 

they don't go far. 

Here he is perched 100 yards away, over 155th street, where it is not 
very safe to stop... however, no traffic was coming and I grabbed a picture of His Highness looking down on us as we started home. 

Here, out of sequence, is something else. 

When we moved here last year, I began to put up 
bird feeders again, but did not want to invite the Starling Hordes to 
eat at our table. 

I expected mourning doves, and we got lots.  We also have 
had chickadees, juncos, and house finches, and purple finches. 
Some blue jays. 
However, not one ate out of that beautiful wooden feeder. 

No one ate from the two nyger feeders, because they were all 
hanging from shepherds hooks causing them to swing in whatever breeze we had. 

This week, I gave up.  I took the feeders back out to the old place and hung them.  Keith even offered to buy some feed but I told him no, i don't want to start spending that much again. 
But... I will fill them when they are empty, and I am using the suet I bought this winter in the little wooden feeder.  I suspect that if we do get some snow this weekend, that we'll see some action there. 

The rooster has not crowed one time. 

I'll see how they are doing when I go out later. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Chicken Mama

I have a friend who has a daughter who has been very ill for several years, with a bad episode this 
winter.  Recently, I ran by there one day to help her with chores.  While we were working, it struck me that I have a perfectly good henspa at the old house sitting empty... and I suggested that if she wanted to put some hens in it to lighten her load, she could. (and my dear spouse agreed!) 


We had to stack everything in the car to fill it full of carriers. 

The biggest one had to sit sideways in the back. 

Everyone was freaked out when I set the carriers down and opened the doors. 

This flock is a breeding flock of blue cochins, and the blacks are necessary to create the beautiful 
penciling you see on the hen in the foreground. I'll try to get a better picture today. 

Here is the beautiful rooster.  His feathers shine green in the sunlight (but we have none today). 

They ate and ate and ate... and then ate some more. 

There are two "extra" birds... a light brahma hen, and a gold penciled brahma hen, shown here. 

The brahmas are also big girls.  
The cochins do not know these two girls, and the gold 
is very meek.  

The silver... hahahaha... not so much. 

I am hoping that when I go out there shortly I won't find any bloody birds.  I suspect, though, 
that everyone settled down after I left. 


They are beautiful hens. 

Even from the keel side. 

My companions had been out there earlier with me... but it was 77 degrees, and my big doll wore herself out. 

Jes got pretty hot, too. 

They have not seen the birds yet... I took them home, and then went to pick the chickens up. 

Oh.... we did see some birds in the sky, too....

And Split-wing watched from the com tower.  Let's hope he doesn't come any closer!  

We are leaving to go out there in a few minutes.  I am going to let the birds out today, but 
of course, winter is returning tomorrow... and we dip down into cold temps at night.  I have no 
heater base for the water fountain any more... but... I have a heat lamp still in the house, and it should keep the water warm enough. 

It will be interesting to see if the birds went to roost... they were in a pen on the ground... and they are heavy birds.  My guess is.... they spent the night nestled in the straw. 

Keith and I have both been a little under the weather these last few days... 
so after I make our trip this morning, I'm going to stay in the rest of the day 
and try not to do too much, and GET BETTER! 

We are thinking of all those suffering in the NE today... what 
a terrible ordeal they are undergoing. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Some Surprises

First, we pray for those who are experiencing the blizzard right now... 
for warmth and for their safety. 

So many people affected! 

We are blessed here in NE Kansas.  Oh, I think we will still see 
some winter weather... but nothing like the last three winters that 
were so terrible. 

I glanced out the window this morning to see how much 
frost was on the car. 

Look what I saw, and ran to get the camera so you could see, too. 

Remember I told you weeks ago that I had come on a small flock of robins, and had 
never, ever seen them overwinter here, not in all my years. 

They were trying to drink the drips coming off the car... and where the rain from yesterday had iced over. 

I took some warm water out.  

And yes... a few minutes later, I took water out in a dog bowl for them. 

I'll be doing it regularly now, because we are going back towards cold next week. 

On my favorite pond, a mile from our house.  There were NO geese on the big lake yesterday, they have all descended on the ponds. 

Yes, I love them. 

Only saw one hawk, and not closeup! 

It was a beautiful, beautiful day to be out in the country. 

Tomorrow, I'm going to be working on the garden at the old place, 
tidying up. 

I'm going to get two of the vegetable beds ready over there, for some 
lettuce and then maybe some peas.  

I think it will be a while before we get the work there finished, and have it ready to 
rent, and I'd like to take advantage of that this year! 

I'll take pictures, of course. 

Again, if you are in the Northeast and reading this... I hope and pray you 
and your families are safe and protected from the elements.