Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Chicken update

 Let's start with the sad news.  Toasty Crunch died during the night about a month ago.  She had been slowing down over the preceding weeks, so it wasn't really a surprise, but it was still sad, of course.  Average backyard chicken lifespan is 5 to 7 years, and she turned 5 in May, so I guess it was her time to go.

Toasty Crunch

* * * * *

Next, we'll cover the dramatic news.  When I went out to check on the girls yesterday evening, I found Charlotte huddling behind a barrier (more on the barrier later) with blood all over her face and head.  I couldn't tell where the blood was coming from, and it appeared that she was not actively bleeding, but one thing about chickens is they like to peck at red things, like blood, so I wanted to get her out of there.  I set her up in the grow-out/isolation pen overnight.

I assumed that Rocky must have attacked her, since there were no predators present, and no other chickens above Charlotte in the pecking order, but that would have been so out of character for Rocky.  Yes, she's at the top of the pecking order, but she doesn't go out of her way to attack others, and she's never, ever drawn blood.

In the morning, Bubby and I washed Charlotte's head and deployed a wound treatment spray, but we still couldn't find the source of the blood.  Upon further observation, I noticed that Charlotte was favoring one foot, and one of her toenails looked odd, so I'm guessing she broke her toenail, and then scratched her head with the bleeding foot?  Seems implausible, given the amount of blood, but so does Rocky attacking Charlotte.

* * * * *

And now for the eggciting/surprising news.  We have four new chicks: Fluffer-Nutter, a light brahma; Amelia Eggheart, a cream legbar; Socrates, a prairie bluebell egger; and Maple-Hibiscus, a blue laced red wyandotte.  They're 13 weeks old now, and doing great.  They have just the beginnings of combs and wattles forming, and they should start laying within a month or two.

Amelia Eggheart, Fluffer-Nutter, Socrates, Maple-Hibiscus

They spent their first 7 or 8 weeks in a brooder in our bathtub before moving to the grow-out pen outside full time.  Flutter-Nutter and Maple are about Charlotte's size, and as a group, they were getting too big for the the 8 square foot grow-out pen, plus it was becoming increasingly difficult to get the chicks back into the grow out pen after letting them out to move the pen, so we moved them into the big girl coop last week on Friday.

In preparation, I set up a couple of barriers for the littles to hide behind should the bigs chase them, and I set up two additional feeders and two additional waterers to give the littles a better chance of actually getting food and water.

Amelia Eggheart, Maple-Hibiscus, Fluffer-Nutter, Socrates
On this day, they were avoiding going into the hen house to sleep because the mean girls were in there, but they kept knocking each other down because they all wanted to be as close to the hen house as possible.  Bubby and I got them in and situated on the roost, and I think they're figuring out how to go to bed on their own now.

Here's the surprising news: the integration has gone really well.  Three days after the integration, the littles were no longer spending all of their time hiding from the bigs, and the bigs have stopped lunging whenever they catch sight of a little.  I am amazed.

* * * * *

My favorite lap chicken, Esther

In other chicken news, Esther laid an egg yesterday, after an almost 9 week hiatus while she underwent a partial molt.  Rocky is growing feathers after molting about 3 weeks after Esther, so hopefully she'll begin laying again soon, too.  Both Esther and Rocky are 5 years old, the only two left of my original flock.

Charlotte, Toasty Crunch, Rocky, Esther

Charlotte has been laying like a champ all spring and summer, including one in the grow-out pen this morning.  Charlotte is 2 years old, the only chicken left from my third flock.

In conclusion, we have 7 chickens, four of whom are new, two of whom are laying eggs, and everyone seems to be doing ok.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Menu plan for the week of July 25

 Last week I harvested the first zucchini from this year's garden.  Apparently my friend who lives about a mile and a half away has zucchini coming out of her ears (not literally.  It's actually coming out of the garden, but it is prolific.  She's out of town this week, so maybe I should offer to go over and harvest for her), but not me.  I do not have zucchini coming out of my ears or my garden prolifically.  We've been having a flower problem, in that it's rare that we'll have both male and female flowers open at the same time, which kind of hinders fertilization.  

Anyway, I harvested the first zucchini, and I asked the kiddos what I should do with it.  I mean, I knew when I asked that question that they were not going to suggest eating it as a veggie.  I knew they were going to suggest eating it as part of a sweet treat.  And I was right; they wanted me to make muffins with it.  So I did.  I used this recipe for chocolate zucchini bread, but made muffins* instead of a loaf. 

They were really good!  Not too sweet, and kinda messy to eat (because they were so moist), and moist, and delicious.  I'll definitely be making these again. 

Here's what's on the menu this week:

  • Fend for self or spaghetti
  • Nachos with guacamole and other yummy fixings
  • Chicken drumsticks, potato salad (gonna add pickles this time), raw veggies
  • Beef and potato casserole (I've often thought this would be good/better with mashed potatoes instead of diced potatoes.  I've got some leftover mashed potatoes, so we're going to find out), green beans
  • Pizza, salad
  • Hot dogs, buns, carrots, jello
  • Grilled chicken, salad, grilled veggie (zucchini if we have one ready from the garden; broccoli if not)


* I'm not sure why I prefer muffins to loaves in the quick bread space, but I do.  It's kinda weird because I'm not a crust or edge fan, and muffins have more crust than loaves, but there we go.  

Monday, July 18, 2022

Menu plan for the week of July 18

 Hi friends.  This week we're on to week three of avoiding the grocery store.  Of course, we're extremely low on fresh fruits and veggies, and low on frozen and canned veggies and fruits, so it's more like avoid purchasing anything for the main dish at the grocery store and only buy veggies, fruits, milk, eggs, and orange juice.  And oh yeah, there's a birthday this week.

It doesn't have quite the same ring, does it?

Anyway, here's what's on the menu this week:



Thursday, July 14, 2022

First garden tour 2022

 It's time for a garden update!

This year, I planted a salsa garden, which is fun.  It's kind of a bummer that the salsa ingredients won't necessarily all be ready at the same time, but I'm ok with that.  I'm growing most of the components, but I'm willing to supplement from the grocery store as needed.

I have roma tomatoes,

jalapeno peppers,

bell peppers--this little guy is almost bigger than its plant,

and onions.  I'm so glad I decided to grow these in containers--they're doing great.  

I also planted cilantro, but unfortunately, it bolted, so now I'm growing coriander.  This is why the garden people say to succession sow cilantro.  Maybe I'll have seeds in time to plant another crop--we'll see.  I did not plant garlic in my salsa garden because it takes too long/doesn't grow well in my area.  

Also in the garden this year, I have cherry tomatoes--one that I purchased as a start, two volunteers from last year's plant, and one sucker that I pruned and stuck in the dirt.  It seems kind of miraculous that it's that easy to propagate tomatoes.  There is purple basil planted in the pot around one of the cherry tomatoes.

Of course, I'm growing my favorite, sugar snap peas.  I just started harvesting a couple of days ago.  I also threw some pole beans in, and they're trying to overtake the peas.

I planted a total of four watermelons from seed I saved from last year.  This one is the furthest along.  I've seen male flowers, but no females yet.

I planted some zucchini, and it looks like this one is fertilized and growing.  We'll use these for fresh eating, plus I'm hoping to freeze some zoodles and can some pineapple zucchini and sweet relish.

I also started a couple of cabbages from seed, hoping that growing them in the garden, versus in a container, will enable them to become more cabbagey than last year's cabbages were.

I'll leave you with this beauty--a volunteer sunflower growing outside one of the raised beds.  I regretted not planting any sunflowers this year, so I'm grateful that this one planted itself.

Monday, July 11, 2022

Menu plan for the week of July 11

A week ago Friday, I brought home some groceries, and suddenly our fridge, freezer, and chest freezer were full†.  Like, very full.  So full that it felt like I couldn't fit anything more in them.  So full that I regretted buying some of the bulk items that I bought.  Which is good, right?  That means that we have plenty to eat*.  Here's the thing, though.  I like to have space.  Breathing room.  Margin.  And the fullness of our food storage appliances made me a little anxious.  I know.  I'm so weird.  

So I decided to brainstorm some meal ideas that I could make without going shopping first.  I've talked about shelf cooking before, but I've always spoken about shelf cooking from the standpoint of using up random bits and bobs of things, and never from the standpoint of avoiding the grocery store.

Friends, I came up with three weeks' worth of meals that I could make without going to the grocery store.  Three weeks!  Last week, I added to my Bullseye pick-up the few items that people around here get real cranky about not having around**, but aside from that, we didn't buy any groceries.  I felt pretty good about that, and the fridge and chest freezers are feeling much more spacious today.

Now we're on to week two, and here's what's on the menu:

  • Fend for yourself or spaghetti and green beans
  • Tacos with all the fixings, tortillas
  • Chicken sandwiches, fresh veggies, including sugar snap peas from the garden, and fresh fruit, including black raspberries from our yard
  • Creamy crock pot chicken and rice, broccoli
  • Pizza, salad
  • Hot dogs or brats, buns, jello, carrots
  • Grilled pork chops, corn?, mashed potatoes?***

† The fullness was caused by a confluence of events.  Hubby and Bubby came home from Scout camp with extra food, plus because they had been at Scout camp, MC and I had lots of leftovers in the fridge, and AKD visited that weekend, so I felt like I needed to stock up for that.  Plus I made soup, which I freeze in meal size portions.

* A big portion, probably a third, of what was in the freezers was bread: hamburger and hot dog buns, muffins, mini waffles, pizza dough, loaves of bread.  I like to make most of these things from scratch because they taste better and are cheaper than store-bought, but I make them in bulk because one mess is better than three, and bread sure does take up a lot of room.

** For Hubby: milk and OJ; for me: eggs

*** We have exactly one potato, so not sure how that's going to work.  We're also pretty low on veggies, so that's a bummer.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...