Does anyone else feel like we really dodged a bullet by today NOT being Friday the 13th?! The next Friday the 13th will be in November, but hopefully 2020 will be done torturing us by then. This week has been H.O.T. in Texas. Like I feel like I’m living in someone’s armpit after running a marathon hot. The forecasted high tomorrow is 107, but thankfully next week looks MUCH cooler.
The black kittens are smart kitties and they prefer to stay in their air conditioned cat/feed room rather than hanging out in the heat. Their cat gym isn’t the sturdiest thing ever made, but Black Caviar is brave enough to nap on the top floor of the thing.
Black Caviar and her brudder Sunday Silence keeping cool in the AC.
Don’t tell the other dogs I said this, but Quila really is the BEST girl! She keeps as close to me as possible and is a bit protective yet snuggly. Her only misbehaviour is that she likes to open the freezer and help herself to frozen meat and ice cream. She went out on a pasture inspection mission this week to help try to find the hole where Dickens and Lilybet snuck out and didn’t return home until 3a the next morning. BAD DOGS!
Quila AKA the BEST girl.
Boot City sent me this photo the other day. This is Annie nonchalantly resting next to the wheelbarrow while the chickens root through it and kick urine soaked shavings and manure ALL over her. SO gross. But, truth be told, Annie likes to roll in the dirty bedding when it gets dumped. It is extra disgusting because I let it sit in the wheelbarrow for a day or two and fill it with water so it’s an extra disgusting poop soup. Why are dogs so gross?!
Annie and her hen friends.
Last, but not least, is a lovely sunset from the top of the driveway. I have a love/hate relationship with this paved driveway. I love that the road isn’t as rough for the horses to ride up and down in the trailer, but I miss watching people freak out and park at the end of the road and walk up and get to the top to drop off their cars for Boot City to work on. It really was the best judge of character to see if people could or would at least try to drive up.
It’s June now, how did that happen?! Enjoy some photos of the cuteness that abounds on the farm!
This little nugget goes to The Humane Society of North Texas to be adopted next weekend! Get you a kitty cat!
Goats are ridiculous and cute. Baby Esther is off to the left. I love her.
Yes, this chicken has roosted for the night on an extension cord. At least one and sometimes two hens roost on this extension cord every night. You would think they did not have a room full of roosting bars…..
Can you find the kitty cat?
Quila went down to the mailbox with me and it makes me nervous when the dogs go near the busy highway by our house. She was clearly trained by someone at some point. I told her to sit and stay and she did!
The theme of today’s Farm Friday post appears to be chickens!!! Chickens are the funniest and easiest farm animals one can own. The City of Austin will now PAY people to keep chickens! I can’t think of any reason why someone in Austin wouldn’t keep chickens now. Once you get their habitat established and it is predator proof, all you really need to do is feed and water them and clean their house periodically.
Boot City has been working very hard for the 11 years we have lived on the “farm” to improve the pastures. The hill on the front of the property looks completely different from the yucca pasture it was when we moved in and the chickens love to eat bugs there in the mornings.
Since the weather has been nice I have been leaving my tack room door open while I ride. I don’t want any critters making their home in my tack room so I’m usually pretty conscientious about keeping the door closed. Below is an example of just what will happen when the door is left open. She is a Cuckoo Maran (lays DARK brown eggs) and those girls REALLY want to live in the horse barn! They take up residence every chance they get!
I have an ongoing dialogue in my head that I imagine is the chicken water-cooler-gossip. I’ve posted pics previously of them lined up on the actual water trough. Since we finished the stall runs a couple years ago they also like to roost on the bars of the fences. I’m sure these girls are complaining about the gossip ol’ Henny is spreading about ol’ Bitty and Mr. Rooster. Hahahahaha!
My Dad often made poached eggs for breakfast on Sunday mornings when I was growing up. We had a contraption that poached the eggs without actually dumping them in boiled water. I didn’t really know that was how poached eggs were made before the contraption was available until I was well into adulthood. When I saw one at Williams Sonoma (different design than they sell now, interesting) a few years ago I bought one. The cups to cook the eggs were “non-stick”. Well, they said they were “non-stick”, they were actually not at all non-stick. After using it for a few years I finally threw the stupid thing away and got out my handy dandy Cooks Illustrated cookbook to learn how to ACTUALLY poach an egg. Turns out it is SUPER easy! Just boil some water with a couple tablespoons of vinegar and some salt. Turn off the burner, drop your eggs into the water (taking care to NOT break the yolks). Cook for 3-5 minutes and voila, you have poached eggs!
If you have any great egg recipes you should share them with me. We are still getting about 20 eggs per day (minus the ones Annie eats) and not selling NEARLY enough of them!
WWWAAAYYY back in September we got a very special delivery from the post office:
LIVE BABY CHICKS! PLEASE RUSH!
What many people may not know is that you can order chicks through the mail. When we order we select a delivery date and usually receive our order within a couple days of the requested date. We always order when the days start to get shorter. This assures we have hens laying eggs when the days are at their shortest and the older hens more or less quit laying altogether. The post office calls the moment they know whom to call to pick up the chirpy little creatures.
Chicks are pretty easy to care for as long as you have the proper equipment and feed supplies. We always get Quik Chick with our order. This is basically a chick electrolyte. Traveling through the mail when you are only a couple hours old can be stressful. Quik Chick helps the little bodies recover from their journey and hopefully be less likely to get sick.
Quik Chik from Murray McMurray Hatchery
We also buy a bag of Purina Chick Starter. Our feed store is a Purina dealer so most animals, with the exception of the dogs, eat Purina food.
Start and GROW!
Once the little critters arrive home we get them out of the box as quickly as possible in order to get them some water and food. They haven’t eaten yet in their young lives and they are hungry!
31 little chicks in a box
We usually get 30 chicks; 10 of 3 different breeds. This time around they were Blue Andalusians, Ancona and Araucanas plus one “Free Rare Exotic Chick”. The rare chick is how the hatchery gets rid of excess chicks. We enjoy the surprise and our extra this time is a treat. Check out this little thing:
He wears a top hat
He will have feathers sticking right straight out the top of his head when he grows up. Isn’t he adorable!
Chicks in their new house
They have to have their beaks dipped into their water when entering the chick pen for the first time. This is to assure they know the sensation of drinking water and where to find it. They will stay in the chick brooder for about 4-6 weeks, depending on how fast they outgrow the space. They must also have a heat source until they are fully feathered at about 6 weeks. Until they they can’t keep themselves warm. It is nice to get them in the late summer in Texas because they don’t much need the heat lamp due to the high temps.
My next post will show you are “teenage” chickens!
We have about 60 laying hens right now. Some are older chickens who don’t lay prolifically others are young hens who have only been laying for a few months. It works out to about 40 eggs per day we collect right now. That is a lot of eggs! We have quite a few friends who get eggs from us, but there are still plenty leftover. My thought was there would be no better way to use up some eggs than to have our friends’ kids over to dye Easter eggs!
Busy Easter egg creators.
I hard boiled about 5 dozen eggs in hopes the kids would have plenty to dye. Our chickens are a variety of breeds so our eggs vary in color from white to tan to brown to blue and green. This made it even more fun to see how the egg colors would turn out. About 15 kids made it to the party so they had plenty to dye. Some of the kids had dyed eggs before, others had not. Dyeing and decorating eggs is one of my fondest memories of Easter from my childhood so I love creating this memory for our friends’ kids.
Lots of colors to choose from!
Along with dyeing eggs some of the little ones had better ideas of what to do ith the eggs. This little guy, barely a year old, was far more interested in partaking in farm fresh hard boiled eggs!
And this future farmer was enamored with the John Deere tractor. A little man after Boot City’s own heart! Every time we have kids out to the ranchette there is a crowd of them on the tractor at some point.
The littlest biggest John Deere fan!
We treasure these times with the kiddos before they are too cool for us. I never tire of watching them running after chickens, trying to catch baby goats, getting their food stolen by the hound dogs, and generally still discovering their surroundings. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t worry sometimes that our friendships would grow distance as our friends have families and their activities and interests diverge from what we did together when we were in our 20’s. Gatherings like this just confirm that true friendships don’t go away, they just change and mature like we do.