Backyard, chickens, Cochin, death, eggs, gardening, homesteading,, killed, Olive egger, Urban

The Loss of Backyard Friends.

I knew when I took on having backyard barn animals that at some point I would have some sort of loss. That something would get one of my ladies or that they would get sick or something. But my last month of experience really threw me off of my rocker.

Several weeks ago I went and got new chickens. The Cream Legbar that I had was laying white eggs instead of the blue that she was supposed to be laying and the breeder was nice enough to get me another pullet that would for sure lay blue eggs. While there, 2 more pullets followed me home. There was a cross between a Cochin and a Road Island Red and a Maran/Cream Legbar cross. The Cochin I named Sweety Pie because that is exactly what she was and the Maran mix I named Heidi because she just seemed like a Heidi to me. 3 days in to having them the Cochin was killed by something and it ate her head and left the rest. Two weeks later the Cream Legbar (which I named Stinky because she smelled so bad on the way home) had gotten caught on a neighbors fence and been there for some time and when I got her down she died shortly after. It was really sad. I hated that she had gone through that. The temp was over 100 that day and she hung upside down, for God knows how long, before we found her. I feel so horrible about that. I just thought she was in the shade somewhere in my backyard. Then only a few days after that Heidi starts looking a little lethargic but still spunky when I got close to her one day and only hours later I walk out and find her dead with her legs int he air. Having never lost a chicken before I was shocked. All 3 different ways. My other girls are fine. No problems there for over 18 months. Have you ever had a sting of bad luck like that?

Sadly, due to not wanting to invite carnivores to come hang out in our backyard, I had to put their bodies in the landfill. That brought on guilt too. If you have chickens how do you deal with your carcasses when there is a loss?

Backyard, bees, carrots, chickens, farm, gardening, heirloom, herbs,, peas, squash, tomatoes

2014 Spring Garden

This year in my garden I focused more on getting things planted to grow rather than to make it pretty or well organized. My older son helped a lot and because of that I had all kinds of things sprouting all over the place. Here are some photos of what is going on at the moment. 
Cilantro from Botanical Interests was quick to sprout and has been thriving well. 
This was one of those “just stick something in the ground and lets see what it ends up becoming” I don’t know what kind of squash it is but I do know that it is squash. 

Lady Gaga my Polish hen is quite the sight and interesting to watch but all she does is teach my other hens bad habits. I really need to rehome her. She finally started laying this spring but like I said she is more trouble than she is worth. 

 This Zucchini is growing so fast and has plenty of female flowers on it already even thought they are not blooming yet I am looking forward to some amazing zucchini dishes this summer

 I planted some Sweeter Yet Cucumbers this spring and I look forward to eating them. They are not an heirloom but they are REALLY good. And they already have female flowers growing. So excited! Hope to eat plenty of these this summer.

 This basil popped up so quickly. It is one of Botanical Interest’s variety  packs and it is so nice to have all the different types of basil to try.

 A few days after I took this photo these vines wilted due to a vine borer infestation. I was so sad to see them wilt and not being able to do much for them. What do you do to save your plants from the vine borer?

 In the past years I have not done well with peas. I have had poor plants and poor yields but this year was not bad at all. It is getting towards the end of these peas but I have enjoyed they fresh and cooked. Beside the peas I have carrots in all different colors. I love how I am surprised each time I pull one up at what color it is. In the past I have had a problem with my carrots tasting bitter. Is there a trick to making sure that they taste sweet?

Something keeps eating my Okra pants. I love Okra and was looking forward to eating plenty of it since over 10 plants sprouted but due to both chickens making it into the veggie garden and just some sort of bug eating them I am starting to wonder if I will get any. I love the flowers that bloom on these and since this is red okra the seed pods are beautiful too. I haven’t seen what is eating them. Do you know of anything that eats Okra plants like this and if so how do you stop it?

Swiss Chard that seems to be thriving.

 My Bees bouncing back from having lost their queen at some point. I checked the hive 3 weeks ago and there were queen cells and little to no brood. I was worried that I had lost my bees but they are growing in numbers again so I will have to go in and check on them again next weekend.

 I thought after I fenced the chickens off in a smaller part of the yard that this would definitely not happen. I thought that in such a small space they would keep it nice and mowed if not completely void of vegetation but this is what my chicken run looked like a few days ago. I have since chopped down all of the weeds but left the sunflowers for shade. Does this ever happen in your chicken run?

This is what looks to me like a pumpkin vine popped up on its own. Anybody have a different opinion on what this could be?  it is right in front of my grape vine and I struggle with deciding if I should let it be there or not and am worried that it will take all the nutrients away from my growing grapevine. Do you ever have surprise veggies pop up in your garden? I had several tomato plans shoot up this spring. If you do what kind of surprises have you had?

Backyard, bees, chickens, Parenting, simplicity

Long Time No Post…

The bees are still alive!
All the girls enjoying the warm day!
Buff posing for the camera

This is where Buff likes to lay her eggs
Fridge full of eggs

My shaggy big boy.
Shaggy next to biggest boy.

My current project
My Valentine Present from my Hubby

Today’s bounty from the girls
The baby sleeping next to his Pabbi on the couch.

Thought I would just give you a glimpse into my world at the moment. My backyard is still busy with my farm animals and bees. My home full of boys both big and small having fun and being loud most of the day. We have all been fighting a cold this weekend. When I went out to let the birds out to free range today I stopped in the sun and felt the warmth of the day. I work inside most days nowhere close to windows and even if I were the weather has been cold and dreary for so long. The beautiful weather was such a blessing and warmed both my body and soul as the feathered ladies waddled around me.

I work a lot these days keeping me too busy to keep up with this place. I am finishing my 3000 hours of supervised experience at an inpatient facility for people in psychiatric crisis. I have to finish my hours before my time runs out for my license since I took time off to have Alex and be home with him for the first year he was born. I don’t regret being with him. I do hate that I only get about 2 hours of time with them after work on weekdays before it is bed time these days. But I keep telling myself that this is what it is at the moment. My boys just need to hold on tight for one more year and then we can reevaluate what is what at that point. I did the math though and even after I finish my hours and make more money because of having my license I would still be paying more for childcare for my 3 boys those last 3 hours of the work day than I would be making in those last 3 hours. At the moment I pay about 2032 dollars a month for daycare for my boys. Which leaves me about 168 dollars of my paycheck each month for gas and physical up keep. So I am working at the moment just to finish my hours. I am not making any money.

This brings me to my Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids leadership classes and my thoughts that have come up those teachings. I started my group yesterday and I look forward to the many more group calls to come. I won’t be able to teach Simplicity Parenting until I finish my hours for my license because I signed a no competition contract with my current employer. But I will have it in my tool box for after. As a back up plan and be able to maybe help friends and family with my teachings even though I might not make any money with it. It has me thinking back to my childhood. How was I raised? How did that have an effect on the person I am today? What impact do parents really have? How much can we guide after a certain age? How much is it teaching as much as it is modeling? How do we give our children the ability to find their own way with their own unique talents? How do we guide with out pushing our fears and needs on to our children? How can we just be that training wheel until they are ready to ride life one their own? How long do we hold on to them and how do we know when it is time to let go and let them fall and learn from their own mistakes?
There are so many parenting styles out there. Picking one is not the easiest thing to do. My thought is that if it works for your family then go with it. If it doesn’t work then it is time for change but make sure to pick the change that falls with in your value system and try to be as consistent as possible.

Thank you for stopping by and reading my update. What is your view on the perfect parenting style? Do you believe there is one true way? How much does genetics and personality have to do with parenting? 

Backyard, Cat, chickens, Coop,, IKEA, mother, working

Time Flies….

Happy Sunday!

I know it has been a long time since I last posted. I have been very busy with life as a working mother the last couple of months. I have finished the “training stage” of work and actually started working as an intake therapist at a local inpatient psych facility. I really enjoy work. I know that I am making a difference in peoples lives. I am sometimes the first step in someones road to recovery from mental illness. I enjoy the people I work with and even though at times I feel like I don’t know what I am doing I know I have people supporting me that do.

My office at work.

It is hard to leave my children in the care of others each morning though. If I wasn’t finishing my candidacy hours then I would probably not be working full time. But I only get so long to finish my hours and I already took 18 months off to have Alexander. So I pay 2032 dollars a month so that someone else can watch my children. Mamma guilt gets to me when I am picking up my children at 5:30 or later because I couldn’t leave work fast enough. I try not to think about how many hours they spend in other peoples care. I hate that I spend the days that I do have them cleaning, grocery shopping and doing all the things that need to be done to keep this family of five running. Just yesterday I went grocery shopping and then to get my hair fixed for the first time in 4 months. Today I am about to spend the rest of the day putting clean sheets on all the beds, doing all the laundry, cleaning the bathroom, and mowing the backyard.

Speaking of the back yard. I got a new coop. The great coop that my husband made me was not big enough for all the birds I have. It is better suited for 2-3 standard birds or 3-4 bantams. So that coop will be sold. The new one I put together myself!!! With power tools and all!! I am so proud of myself and the birds like it. They actually go in the coop instead of trying to roost on my back porch which was becoming really GROSS! Lady Gaga is the only chicken that keeps trying to roost on the back porch still. But she is not the brightest of the bunch. I got this coop at  While it looks nice it was very beat up when I got it and broken in several places that I ended up having to fix. Unless you are handy I would not order from them.

My chickens have been molting and they also got an upper respiratory infection from the Americauna that I traded the rooster Cowboy for. Being a new chicken keeper I didn’t know that hearing a chicken sneeze is a bad thing. Well it is. Very bad. Stopped all of my chickens from laying for over a month. I got my first egg yesterday and that in the nesting box. It was one of Buff’s eggs. I was so happy to see it. I was so scared that they had gotten a line of strep that keeps chickens from laying for ever. Can’t wait for them all to be laying and the beautiful colors that will come with it.

We have had a visitor in our back yard this week. This poor cat looks like its hind quarters have been saved. Also it is hard to see in this pic but it’s tail is either dislocated or broken. I’ve been letting it eat our cat food. It has been getting cold at night and I can’t think of not helping him grow his fur in by feeding him some good food. 

 Alex and his baby. We got that baby in IKEA in Iceland this summer when my mother died. He didn’t show much interest in it then but now he walks around and hugs on it and kisses. It also sleeps with him at night. Poor Alex has had pneumonia and a double ear infection. He has been a trouper about it too. He almost had to go to the hospital last weekend but we got pediatric home health to come to the house instead. He was still drinking and eating fine so I didn’t see a point in stressing him by putting him in the hospital. 

Australorp, Backyard, bees, black americauna, Buff Orpington, chickens, farm,, sunflowers, Urban Homestead, veggie

Mini Farm Update

In my backyard I am trying to be more self sufficient. I have 4 chickens for eggs and entertainment, a veggie garden and a bee hive. I live on  an 1/8 of an acre so I don’t have much room but I am doing the best I can with what I have.
This video was recorded soon after we got back from Iceland. Since then the rooster (Cowboy) has gotten a new home and we got a Black Ameraucana Pullet as a trade. She is only 4 months so it will be a while before she lays her blue eggs.
First eggs laid in our backyard the day after we got them back from the friend that was nice enough to watch the chickens while I was in Iceland. The chickens started laying for her while I was in Iceland.
 One of the ladies kept laying double yokers and did that for almost a week straight.
You see the difference. The one on the bottom is the double yoker. You can tell be the thick band in the middle of it. 
 They made a nest under the deck so I put a bucket next box under there and they made a next right next to it so that I have to crawl under there to get them.

Chipmunk the Cream Legbar should start laying blue eggs by the end of the month and Mathilda the Australorp is the one that laid that egg next to the nest box.

Buff the Buff Orpington laid an egg for me this morning that I had already collected. She is like clockwork while Mathilda is a little off laying either double yokers, shell less eggs or oddly shaped eggs.
This is our new girl! A black Ameraucana and we named her Crow. She both looks like one and sounds like one when you pick her up.
 Sunflowers are really the only thing that I have grown well this year.
 My crazy overgrown garden.
As you can see in the video my garden is really overgrown since I went to Iceland and it was not being taken care of. I have had a hard time keeping up with it after mom died so I’m being kind to myself and not beating myself up for it. 
As you can see that the second deep is not full at all. They have a ways to go before there will be honey to harvest. The First Deep is full thought so that is good. 
How is your summer going? Growing anything? Knitting anything?

Wanting to read the book The Urban Homestead. Any of you read it? Is it any good?
chick, chicken, chickens, egg, eggs, farm, Farmer´s market, hatching, hobbies, homestead, homesteading,, Keeping Chickens, killed, loss, mother, sustainability

Sad and Crushed.

My mamma nerves are raw tonight.

A little over 3 weeks ago I went to the farmers market to pick up some eggs. When using set eggs I saw that they were fertile eggs. So on a whim I put 2 of them in my small little incubator. I thought since they had been refrigerated that there would be nothing of the eggs and from my reading on the web it said that they would most likely not hatch but I was wanting to give it a try.

Ten days later I candle the eggs and see that one had started developing. I thought this very cool and had this great blog post brewing in my head about how you can hatch out eggs from the farmers market at only pennies on the chick where they would be good layers since they come from stock used for laying.

Anyhow, fast forward to today, day 23 of the chick being in the egg and the normal cycle 21 days to hatch day and I thought the worst, that the baby chicken had died. Crack open the top where the air sack was and to my surprise I see movement. I instantly feel horrible. Baby was still in there and alive and clearly just behind because, duh… I put COLD eggs into the incubator and it took a few days for the temp to get just right.

I hurry up and put the egg back in the incubator and go online to look for guidance. With the information I had given of baby being on day 23 someone told me to pip the egg (making a hole in the membrane) so that the baby could breath. I try and it starts bleeding! I’m horrified! I feel so guilty and dumb. Poor baby I should have just left it alone to do its natural thing like I believe in for all healthy births! I watch until I notice that baby is not moving anymore. My heart sinks. I leave the egg in the incubator until the boys go to bed to investigate. I poke at it and no movement. I watch for anything but the color now is off too. Finally, I come to terms that the baby is no longer alive in the egg and I crack it open to find a beautiful baby that died because I could not wait longer.

Perfectly formed. All the toes and nails and everything there. Just me being a bad, ignorant mother hen. Had I given the baby a couple of more days to finish absorbing the yoke and pip itself then I would have been welcoming a new member to my flock of chickens instead of feeling loss and guilt tonight.

Backyard, chickens, city living, craigslist, Rooster, Urban homesteading

Sad day……

Found out today that Owl is actually a boy. A boy that crows.

Yep. Owl was posted on Craigslist today. I live only 2 minutes from down town Tulsa so keeping a rooster is very unneighborly. Owl doesn’t crow loud but I’m sure with time he will really find his voice. He is kind to the girls and my kids. The photo above has Owl in the front and Mathilda and Dinner behind him (still hard to say him when talking about Owl because I thought he was a she). I still believe that Dinner is a boy too so I will not have any Easter Egger chickens which makes me sad but I guess I will then just get a Isbar chicken for a nice green egg.

This is Buff. She is a Buff Orpington and the sweetest of our flock. I have handled her the most too. Odinn picked her as his bird but has little patients to sit still so that he can catch her. She is usually the first to come running as soon as I step off of the porch wanting a treat or just food in general.

 The black bird is Mathilda our australorp. She is a BIG lady and very curious. She is not as trusting as Buff though and gets very verbal when I catch her.

The other bird in the photo is Dinner and I’m pretty sure Dinner is a He. I haven’t caught him crowing yet so he gets to hang out a little longer.

 This is the chicken tractor my husband made me even though he wasn’t all that excited about getting chickens. Yes I am a lucky lady for having such a great husband. I can fence them in if I want to but mostly they roam my  backyard and eat grass and bugs all day long.

 Remember the baby chicks that were in my kitchen. Well here they are at a month old. They have hit the punk rock stage of just looking all tattered. They are loosing their baby fluff and getting feathers. They have been booted out of my kitchen into the PlayYard (my temporary chicken coop) until they are big enough to join the big girls in the tractor. The one in the back is Chipmunk, a Cream Legbar. The one in the front is Sassy, a Black Copper Maran that I have a feeling is a boy. This makes me sad. That means that as soon as they are big enough to join the big birds then I will have to find him a new home too. Boo.

 I love how proud Chipmunk is when she runs around though. She is not a friendly bird. She is quite flighty even though she was handled quite a bit in my kitchen. But she is pretty and will lay the most beautiful blue eggs.

 Nala, the stray that I saved from starvation in my back yard. Her mother gave birth to her in my back yard and then left her there to starve when she was bout 8 weeks old. The vet thought that she was not going to survive since she was just a walking skeleton. But I took care of her and now she is a happy tubby girl.

 The boys having a lazy morning with the iPad. They love accessing Netflix and watching the old cartoons.

 Alex is a force to be recond with now. He army crawls and if he is in the walker then he RUNS to where he wants to go and has started getting into anything and everything.

 This is my loveseat or what the boys call “mamma’s couch”. At the moment it represents my brain. The 3 projects of knitting, further education on Personality Disorders and the new DSM 5, Mother Earth News (my fav magazine), Menu planing board and grocery list pad, and The Mindfulness and Acceptance book that I’m looking at to learn techniques for when I go back to work.  This is why I make To Do lists because this is what my brain tries to do if I don’t have a list to follow.

As I have my cup full of coffee and a list to finish, I wish you a  beautiful day full of wonder and love.

What is on your To Do list?

Have a problem with organization like I do? This looks very promising.
Australorp, birthdays, Buff Orpington, chickens, Cream Legbar, Easter Egger, family,, Keeping Chickens

The Past Week

These AppleCheeks arrived in the mail and are new sponsors of my blog!

My big boy turned 5 last week!

Odinn decorating his cake.

Alex getting some tickles and wearing some of the AppleCheeks we already owned!

The new chicken coop almost finished but usable. Just need to cover the front of the coop so that rain doesn’t get in the feed.

Buff free ranging.

Got some plants in the garden


He added an extra candle. LOL


Guess you just started joining us at the dinner table?

The best play yard ever!

People ask me how I am keeping chickens and gardening. The trampoline is where Alex is happy and outside and playing so I get some free time to get stuff done. My husband also is a great help. He built the coop. I just painted it and told him what I wanted.

And last but not least….

Say hello to Chipmunk and Sassy! Chipmunk is a Cream Legbar and Sassy is a Black Copper Maran. They hatched on Sunday! I’m so stinken excited bout them. They are the newest additions to my flock and the first real baby chicks that I have had and OMG they are so fluffy and cute! I just want to hold and watch them all day long! Sorry the photo is not the best but they are just getting use to their brooder box in the kitchen.
Want to start your own backyard flock?
Check out:

Backyard Farming, chickens, chicks,, Strawberries, veggie

Chicks got Names and Garden Update

The chicks have gotten names. Meet the girls Buff, Owl and Mathilda. Starting to think Dinner is a boy so that is why his name is dinner for now.

And here is my honest try to start the season off right

I just planted the strawberry containers. Ordered from Amazon 25 Evie Everbearing Strawberry Plants and got WAY more from the seller than 25. Planted 18 plants in those 2 red planters and another 4 in another and there is at least that many more still left to plant. They are also all live and sprouting, unlike so many packages I have gotten from my local hardware store.

Also got Backyard Farming on an Acre (More or Less) in the mail today to review. Can’t wait to dig into it and tell you what I think. Hope I learn something new. From what I’ve seen by looking through it quickly it is pack full of useful, specific information on plants and breeds of birds. Tell you more about it soon.

being in the moment, chickens, chicks,, Right now, weight, wine, yoga

::right now::

Borrowing this being in the moment from Amanda at Soule Mama. Join me and link to your blog in the comments thread.

Right now I am………………….

Silly bird stay in your brooder

My brave boy!

:: glad that when we took our 3 year old to get his blood drawn to check on iron levels, heart issues and other things that I was able to mentally prepare him well enough so that he didn’t freak out. I told him that we needed to see what color his blood was. If it was red then he was human but if it was green then he was an alien. Thankfully it was red and it was time to celebrate.

:: relaxing after having taken the 3 boys out for pizza with my husband because that is what Magni chose after having his blood drawn.

:: thankful for having a pediatrician that listens and is thorough.

:: feeling the tension in my shoulders that I am sure will not go away until I get the results from the blood test.

:: listening to my baby chicks chirp from the kitchen and glad that I got medication for their bacterial infection because now they don’t smell as bad and hopefully Buff (the blond one) will bounce back and start putting on some weight.

:: finding it funny that while I was sitting and watching the birds earlier the Australorp (the black one) was staring at me and suddenly the name Mathilda popped into my mind. So now that is her name. Mathilda. I like it. Would have never thought I would own any animal by that name but I believe that is what she wants to be called. Starting to think that even though she will just be black that she might become my favorite.

:: hurting after a cycling class I took last night. Not my muscles but my bum is bruised after the saddle. Ended up having to quit before the class was over because the saddle just hurt too much.

:: looking forward to tomorrow morning’s yoga class. Wondering which teacher I will get this time.

:: deciding that I need to start running in the evenings after dinner now that the time is changing and we will have daylight longer.

:: disappointed after my dear husband got batteries to put in our scale and found out that I had put on 3 pounds in the last 3 months. Sigh…. You would think that supporting such a big boy on breast milk alone would be making me smaller. I guess I will have to do this the good old fashioned way. Stop eating like a pig and move my rear.

:: staring at the amount of laundry that needs to be done. Ug.

:: thinking about poring myself a nice glass of wine, watching a show and knitting for an hour.

:: wishing you a beautiful weekend full of adventure and people you love.