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...a glimpse into life on Vancouver Island, needle felting, photography, food, gardening, etcetera...etcetera
"Happiness always looks small when you hold it in your hands, but let it go, and at once you learn how big and precious it is."
Maxim Gorky

Friday, October 23, 2009

the zen of eggs

Chickens are funny many ways, not the brightest bulb, but in other ways very complex and interesting...for one thing they have amazing eyesight and can spot a tiny bug from 10 feet away. The politics of the flock is very precise and orderly...every chicken has its certain place on the roost at night and the que to lay eggs in particular nests is something only they understand...In the summer months, the daily collection of eggs is a pleasure and there is nothing prettier than a basket of freshly laid eggs...

But come the rainy season the chore of egg collecting also turns into the chore of egg washing. Thier feet become wet and muddy which they bring into the henhouse,( I haven't mastered the art of training them to wipe thier feet yet) and subsequently into the nest and all over the eggs. Its one of those chores that no one really likes to take on but once you get going its kind of meditating, like zoning out when doing any mundane job. Before you know it you have a lovely bunch of clean eggs in different shades of beige and brown...

Last year we had an awful situation in the henhouse where some mink got in and killed our whole flock of about 22 hens and a was a horrible scene and for the first time in about 7 years we didn't have our own eggs to eat and had to buy some from the store until we could replace our hens. The difference between factory eggs and farm eggs is incredible! Aside from the gorgeous yolk colour, there is the taste and the knowledge that the eggs you're eating come from happy, healthy chickens...Cheers girls!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Armed and dangerous...

Roosters have 2 purposes in life: 1: to make more chickens and 2: to protect their flock. So far our rooster has done both jobs well except yesterday he took the protection part of his contract a little too serious.We usually let the chickens out of their hen yard a few times a day for the free range aspect and because they love to forage the property for bugs and worms and fresh greens (it makes their yolks golden orange). If even one hen has not gone back into the henyard when we herd them in, the rooster will not go in either which is a good thing. What is not a good thing is the fact that he feels threatned by the herder (yesterday it was me) until all the gals are accounted for. So there I am up in the backwoods, trying to get him to come in, since I don't see any other hens around. I am wearing Tom's boots which are 2 sizes too big and I do not have a stick with me, which is usually enough to fend him off should he get nasty. Well when he saw me coming, he went phsyco!! I am talking full on spur combat with the neck feathers all forward and I swear his eyes had little tiny images of Satan himself in them. The more I tried to get away, the more he came after me even when I hid behind a large tree, he came looking for me. I can't imagine what the closest neighbour must have thought hearing me shrieking like a scared schoolgirl and at the same time swearing like an angry sailor on leave. Fortuneatly there is enough bush between us and them so they can't see whats going on.

Giving me the evil eye...

I was finally able to pick up a chunk of a rotten log and threw it at him and he went running towards the hen yard. By this time I thought you F#*#*N so and so, I hope that hawk comes straight down and picks you off so you don't even know what hit you! He wasn't anywhere to be seen so he obviously found a hiding place away from me...I was so shook up and angry and until you've had a rooster come at you with the look of the devil in his eyes, you have no idea how freaky it really is...he must have come at me about 8 or 9 times before I escaped. After Griffin and I got back from our walk, we came up the driveway and look who's way down in the front field but one little hen, non chalantly picking her way through the new garden patch. I don't think she had a clue of the trouble she had caused.

So I got to thinking that I didn't want to get caught off gaurd again, and decided I needed some serious armour.

"hey rooster...look who's the tough one now!"

my new anti-rooster shield.

You better RUN!
By the way...I don't think he knows how ridiculous he looks without tail feathers...we got him as a young guy and he's never had any grow in properly...but we'll keep that our little secret. By the karate like kicks he was sending my way, I think I'll call him Bruce, after Bruce Lee (besides a few other unmentionables!).

Monday, October 19, 2009

site of the day...

So, you know how you log on to your computer to research lets say, a good soup recipe and you end up buying an antique couch from Regina? Yeah? Well that's why I limit my time to the www. Actually I haven't bought any couches lately but I think I'm going to start posting a favorite site of the day and maybe how I got there...this time I was looking at rural farm life blogs and ended up strolling through the digital collection of the New York Public Library. If you love images as I do then this one will keep you busy for's just a few of my favorites...

Cherry tree...Japan around 1840

Indian dancer


Scottish immigrants

Sioux camp