Monday, August 30, 2010

Tying Up Loose Ends

I only have one more day of summer hours. Tuesday is the last day I get to go home at 4pm. Wednesday is September 1st, and that signals our return to regular hours at the yarn shop. I'll be working Tuesday through Saturday, 11am until 6pm. So today I ran around and got some last minute things accomplished. I got my hair cut and I picked up 3 pairs of jeans. Then I ran out to Fredrickson and picked up 3 bags of poo. Yes, poo. More bunny poo (and chicken poo) for the organic gardening. I used nothing but manure and worm castings as fertilizers, this year, and my garden was prolific. I want to add more to the compost heaps, so I'll have wonderful soil ammendments to add next spring. On the way back I stopped by a thrift store and found these bargains. I am trying to convert from plastic refrigerator storage, to glass. This first pictures shows an old school storage container. These retail new for around $13. I also found another small pyrex container with a lid.

Then it was off to North Tacoma to pick up another pair of Danskos. These have the antique brown oiled finish. Yes, they had a previous owner. But, guess what? If you've ever tried on shoes at a store....someone else (probably lots of someones) has had their feet in those shoes, before you. I'll happily let someone else wear my Danskos for a week or so, if I can get them for $30 (and no tax) instead of $120.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Pasta Disappointment

My basil is getting to the point where it's "use it or lose it". Now that I've got that huge food processor I can knock out a double batch of pesto in minutes.

The plan for today was to make some homemade pasta to go with the pesto, and have it for dinner. But not all of my Craigslist buys have gone smoothly. I had purchased a pasta maker attachment for the KitchenAid, from a lady up north. Before I sent payment, and had her mail it to me, I asked, "Does it have all the parts?" She assured me it did. Today I took it out to assemble it, and make some pasta, and discovered that it was missing a very crucial piece. The ring that screws onto the front of the grinder and holds the pasta plates in place. If she can't locate it, and send it to me, I'll have to try and order a replacement from the company. So no fresh made pasta today. We had to settle for dried store bought. It was still a nice dinner.

To console myself, I made an apple crisp for dessert. Apple crisp makes everything better.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Another New Kitchen Toy

I had a productive day. I found another bargain on Craigslist. I have been hunting for a good deal on a food processor and found this one advertised in a garage sale listing. The seller sent me this link and a picture of the actual machine. The machine looked similar to the one in the link, but not exactly. Not a huge deal. She must know what she has, right? And if she says it's a 70610 that retails for between $30 and $50, well, I take her word for it. She was asking $20 and I agreed to give her the asking price if they could deliver it, as I don't have much spare time to run around. It will save me at least $5 in gas, and an hour's time, round trip, to the yard sale in Graham. They agreed and dropped the machine by this morning. In perfect condition with all parts present and accounted for. The first thing I did was look for the model number. It was not a 70610. It's a 70590. Which is much better. They retail for about $100. It reminds me of R2D2, so that's what I'll call it.

Tomorrow I'll test it out by making some more pesto. Oh, and the little chicks went to a new home today. They now reside in Eatonville. I made sure the new owner is responsible and will take good care of them. It was really difficult to give them up, but it's for the best. Reggie has been moping and crying ever since he figured out they are missing. He keeps searching the yard for them. I hope he doesn't hold a grudge.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Last Apple Sauce

At least for this season. I canned up the last 7 quarts, today. There are still about 30 apples remaining, but I will either make apple crisp, or pies, with those.

Doesn't Gladys, the new/old KitchenAid, look good on my counter? I downloaded the manual, today, and read how to properly remove the beaters and the bowl. The odd thing is, my beaters work exactly the opposite of how the manual describes. When it says to turn them left, to remove, and right, to attach....I have to do the reverse. Not sure if it's because my machine is older or if it's a typo in the manual? Anyway, I finally got up the nerve to plug Gladys in, and she works just fine. I think she and I will bake some bread, tomorrow, after work.

My garden is doing well. I let my pickling cucumbers get too big. I kept meaning to pick them, but would forget. By the time I got to them, this afternoon, they were huge. And the zucchini are coming fast and furious. I cooked one up for dinner, to have with my pork chop. This is my favorite way to cook zucchini. I cut it up and saute it with some garlic in olive oil. Then season with salt and pepper. It's so good!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sometimes You Eat The Bear....

....and sometimes the bear eats you. If this mixer works, I have eaten a grizzly.

You're all familiar with my current obssession with KitchenAid mixers. I wanted one because you can get attachments for them, like pasta makers, meat grinders, etc...I thought it would be nice to have one machine that can do it all, instead of many. I really didn't "need" a mixer. I have a perfectly good Sunbeam stand mixer that I inherited from my dear mother-in-law. It works perfectly well, but it's not a KitchenAid.

It has 2 stainless steel bowls, beaters and dough hooks. Still not a KitchenAid. But a good, solid, vintage, built-to-the-hilt mixer. I also know that the KitchenAid mixers of today aren't the same as those made years ago. They used to be made by Hobart, back in the day. Hobart makes awsome appliances. But they were bought out by Whirlpool in 1986. So mixers made after that aren't the same quality. They still cost a fortune, though. And I do not have a spare $300 laying around to spend on a mixer. The only way I can justify buying one is to get one heck of a deal. This means scouring Craigslist every day. I have found some good deals. But they are always in Renton, or Auburn, or somewhere else a good distance away. And I never find them on my days off. Which brings me to today. I see a post on Craigslist for a KitchenAid mixer for $99. In Federal Way. That's not too far. I emailed the seller for some more information, like the model number and watts. She told me it was a model K5SS with a maximum wattage of 300. I looked up the model number and saw that the wattage was actually 325. The model got good reviews but I was really wanting something with a stronger motor, like 475 or 575 watts. So I emailed back that I could only offer $60 for this machine. She accepted and wanted to meet me in Federal Way. I would not have time to do that until Sunday. I explained that I do not have a day off until then, so I guess it was not meant to be. It wasn't a big deal, since there are lots of used KitchenAids out there for sale. Then a miracle happened. She realized how much I wanted one of these and volunteered to meet me at the Tacoma Mall, tonight. Once I met her, gave her the $60 and was carrying the mixer to my car, I thought, "I didn't know these came in a vanilla color"? I looked at the wattage and sure enough, it said 300. Then I saw the magic word, written on the side. Hobart.

Oh, my, God! Knock me over with a feather. I shook all the way home. The way the ad read, I thought this was a newer machine that she'd barely used. Well, I believe she barely used it. And apparently so did the previous owner. This thing is like new. And it has to be made pre-1986. And to think I talked her down in price. But I didn't know. Because she had no idea of what she had. What is it really worth? Who knows? To me, it's worth much more than a brand new one. It will certainly last a lot longer. This mixer will never die. The seller mentioned, as I was loading up, that she was getting all sorts of interest in her ad. So much so, that she took it down. I bet she was. And it came with all the attachments.

Excuse me while I go have a pipe and a Scotch and celebrate my state of euphoria. No, I haven't plugged it in yet. I'm afraid to break the spell.

How Many Eggs?

Just for fun, I'm going to keep track of how many eggs the bantams lay in the next 4 weeks. I have to throw them all away, due to the wormer being in the hens' systems. But I can have fun counting them Here's the tally so far, from each hen. Beginning date was 8-24-10.

Ebony = 11 (Ebony is an egg laying machine!)
Pinky = 3 (Pinky is a lazy slacker. I think she's molting.)
Total tossed = 14

As of 9-9-10

Monday, August 23, 2010

Lazy Monday

Today Reggie had to get his hair done. And on those days there's so much time spent on the road (about 2 hours total travel time back and forth to the groomer) that I don't get an awful lot done that morning. We did stop at the feed store, after dropping Reggie off, and I picked up some Wazine 17. At least one of my Bantams has round worms, so they are all getting wormed. Once back home, while waiting to go pick Reggie up, I dosed the bantams water with the wormer and got a load of laundry done. Then it was time to head back to the groomers. On the way I stopped by BigLots! to see if they had an inexpensive food processor. I'd like one for making pesto. But all they had was a mini chopper. I picked it up for $12. I figured, if nothing else, it would be handy for chopping nuts and onions. Once we collected Reggie and made it back home, I set about making another batch of pesto. That mini chopper worked great. Well worth the money. I was able to chop up each item before adding it to the blender for the final puree. The chopper worked great on the pine nuts, grated Parmesan (I pre grated it, then chopped it fine), even the basil and garlic. The blender still doesn't work all that well, but pre chopping everything made a huge improvement. After I got a second load of laundry on the line I crawled into the bantam pen and sprinkled them all liberally with the mite dust. I plan on repeating the worming and dusting in another 2 weeks, then all should be well. We'll start with a clean slate. I like getting into the pen and handling the chickens. That's when their little personalities really show. As usual, the Frizzles were easy to catch. If they were any more laid back, they'd be asleep. They do fuss a bit about being handled, but don't put up much fight. Pinky must be getting used to me picking her up. She almost seemed to enjoy it. The two newer "big girl" bantams, Stormy and Ebony, aren't used to being grabbed but they didn't fuss too much, either. Now the 3 little chicks, that was a whole 'nother story. They screamed bloody murder the entire time. One of them is about twice the size of the other 2. We call it "Baby Huey". It will probably end up being a he, but you never know. If it's a girl, we'll call her Big Bertha. The other 2 chicks don't have names yet. One is a butterscotch color and the other is shades of gray. The small gray chick was last, and put up the biggest fight. It was the only one that pecked me. LOL. Little booger. Other than Ebony having worms, they all seem healthy. In fact Ebony is the spunkiest and heaviest of them all. She is also the only Bantam who is currently laying, and she lays quite a bit for a small hen. Too bad I'll have to toss out her eggs for the next month, until the wormer is all out of her system. But she should feel lots better. After all the chicken drama was over, Singha and Reggie enjoyed lounging in the backyard. Here is Reggie, showing off his haircut while inspecting the squash.

Meanwhile, Singha was busy rolling around on the lawn. Imagine this sequence isn't stop action.

This is my invitation to come give him a belly rub. I've never known a cat to love getting his belly rubbed, but Singha does. And lastly is a picture of Reggie giving his bubba a kiss. Singha never kisses Reggie, but he allows Reggie to kiss him.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Pesto Time!

I have been waiting for this all summer. Actually, since the spring. Way back when I first started the basil seeds in the kitchen. Here they are, right before being transplanted outdoors.

And who can forget all those mornings when I would go out and pick baby slugs off of them? Slug soup, anyone? They got chewed so badly, all that was left were some deformed leaves and stumps. But I persevered and eventually the plants got big enough that the slugs gave up (or maybe I drowned them all?). I have been rewarded with a bumper crop of basil.

Which is good, because I love basil. Especially in pesto. I went out and bought some real Parmesan cheese and a fortune's worth of pine nuts. Today I set about making pesto. Now, I could have sworn that the last time I made it, I did so in my blender. But maybe not. Because it didn't go so well, today. Maybe I actually made it in my food processor. The same food processor I thought I wasn't using, and gave away on Freecycle. Darn me, anyway. I did manage to make a small batch of pesto, after about an hour of trying with the blender. I probably burnt out its motor. So now I am trying to scare up a food processor so I can make a LOT more pesto. Here is the batch I made, today. I put it in an ice cube tray to freeze.

Then I put it into freezer bags. I got to use the Food Saver I got off Freecycle. And it works! Woo hoo! That saved me $100. I can use that money to buy the bags.

Good thing pesto tastes better than it looks. Can't wait to try some on a batch of fresh made pasta. Pure heaven! Here's the recipe I used. I found it on


2 cups packed home grown basil
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts (toast them in a pan over medium heat, using no oil)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (the real thing, not in a shaker)
3 cloves crushed garlic
1/2 cup olive oil

Put into a food processor first 4 ingredients. Pulse to blend.
Slowly add oil through feed tube to make a nice paste.
Spoon into ice cube trays and freeze. Remove from trays and store in freezer bags, in the freezer, until ready for use. Take out only as many cubes as you need for that meal. For even longer term storage I put them into vacuum freezer bags.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Water Hyacinth Bloom

Don't blink or you'll miss it. These pond plants bloom very quickly. I noticed a little green nub growing up from it, yesterday morning. I thought it was just another water hyacinth baby, since they reproduce with no provocation. By noon it was obvious it was a bud, as it had a bit of lavender at the top. When I uncovered the pond, this morning, it had split off into 4 distinct buds. And by this evening, those buds were open. I hurried to take a picture, since the flowers will probably fade as quickly as they appeared. Aren't they lovely?

Friday, August 20, 2010

My Homemade Laundry Soap

I have been using this laundry soap for almost 6 months. I LOVE it! It is incredibly easy to make and is so inexpensive. If you can find the pink ZOTE in your area, do. It is worth finding. The optical brighteners make a huge difference in how bright your clothes will be. I no longer buy the expensive (and ineffective) commercial detergents. What do I use for a fabric softener? Plain old white vinegar. I add about 1/4 cup to the rinse water of each load. Here is the laundry soap recipe. Enjoy!

1 cup grated pink ZOTE
3 pints water
Dissolve on stove, stirring well. Add:
1/2 cup washing soda
1/2 cup borax
Stir well until thickened. Remove from heat. Put 1 pint of cold water into a 1 gallon container. Add the soap mixture and stir well. Add more cold water to fill container. It will gel as it sits but you can use it right away. I used 1 TBS. for a small, lightly soiled load. Add more soap as needed. Bigger, dirtier loads will require more soap. I would probably have to use 1/2 cup for my hubby’s nasty work clothes.

Very low sudsing so it rinses out easily. Cleans so much better than commercial detergents and the optical brighteners in the ZOTE really brighten whites.

If you decide to try this, be aware that you'll need to dissolve the gel in hot water before using it for warm or cold water washing. If you add the gel to cold water it will just float there in a glob. It's highly concentrated. Also, do not expect this to be all sudsy like commercial detergents. It won't. But it cleans like mad. Those suds are just a marketing ploy. We are conditioned to equate "bubbles" with "cleaning".

KitchenAid Quest

Remember when I was saving up for my chicken tractor? That was fun, and a great way to clear out some clutter while earning money towards something I need (OK, want). I am going to do a similar thing while saving for a KitchenAid mixer. I've convinced myself that I cannot live without one of these. I'll keep track of my progress here. I started things off, this morning, by selling my unused ice cream maker. One more thing out of the garage. Yay!

Rival Ice Cream Maker $10 (8-20)
Blue and white afghan $10 (8-20)
Knitting classes $20 (8-20)
Knitting lesson $10 (8-21)
2 jars apple butter $20 (8-22-10)
Pipe $20 (8-24-10)
Beginning Knitting Lesson $25 (8-25-10)
Crock pot $10 (8-25-10)
Grand total = $125
Hobart KitchenAid Mixer purchased for $60 (8-25-10)

That leaves $65 for new jeans and/or a haircut :-)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Neverending Apples

I think I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. There are still apples left on the tree, but not so many. These are what had hurled themselves onto the ground, over the past week or so. I had been picking them up and storing them in the garage, hoping they wouldn't spoil before I got to them. Today was slow at work, so I came home and decided it was now or never. These apples needed attention.

Besides, I don't know how much longer my friend will let me have custody of her food mill. The first batch of apples were the oldest. And some of them didn't look so good. I salvaged as much as I was able, and used the first batch to make more apple butter. That is cooking away in the big crock pot. I'll be able to can another dozen half pints of apple butter, tomorrow. Then I started on the second half of the apples. Those were fresher and nicer. I used them to make 11 pints of delicious applesauce.

I only added a cup of sugar this time, as the apples are sweeter than at the beginning of the season. And I used a tablespoon of cinnamon. Errol got a little sample and declared it to be perfect. I have to agree, it is pretty darn tasty.

Another of my standard sized hens has started laying. I think it's the production red, Laverne. Here are the 3 eggs I gathered, today. The dirty white one is from Joanie, who can't seem to lay her eggs in the right spot. Sometimes they're in the nest and sometimes (like today) she lays them in the coop, on the dirty floor. Other times she'll leave them out in the run. She's a Leghorn and I'm starting to think they've had all the brains bred out of them. She's dumb as a rock. The middle egg is from one of my bantams. I think it's the black one that's laying. And she's the only bantam laying right now, since Pinky's molting. The brown egg, to the left is from Laverne. And she even put it in the nest, like a good girl.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Simple Beauty

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I think this rolling pin is gorgeous. It was a gift from a former employee. She was quite a bit older than I, and this rolling pin had belonged to her mother. What possessed her to pass it along to me? I have no idea. But, I have to say, it is one of the most appreciated gifts I've ever received. I use it every week, to roll out my bread.

You can tell it is quite old. The green paint has been rubbed off the handles. And the wooden roller has a lovely patina. Best of all, it works perfectly.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Escape From The Pen

There are many comings and goings at the Willoughby place, this week. After mentioning to a friend that I wanted some chicks, well, be careful what you wish for. Someone showed up and offered me 3 chicks. And have you ever known me to turn down a baby? The problem was, I wasn't prepared to house chicks. My bantam pen is chain link, and chicks can walk right through that. I had picked up a good sized roll of 1" chicken wire, on Freecycle, but hadn't installed it yet. I needed a baby pen, and pronto. I had to be back at work in a couple of minutes. Hmmmmm...gazing around the garage I spied this old folding dog run. The kind that you can shape into many configurations, and the sides are secured with clips. It seemed like it would work, temporarily. The openings are 1.5" wide by 6" tall.

The chicks are much wider than 1.5". I put them into the pen and placed the top to one of the square plastic compost bins on the top of it. Added a paver to that, for weight, and called it good. The babies tried to push through but would stop at about their shoulders and remained in the pen for 3 hours. I felt confident that they were secured, and left for pipe club. I returned home at approximately 10pm. I immediately headed for the backyard to check on the chicks. There, sitting atop the OUTSIDE of the coop, on top of the nesting box, was the brown baby chick. Uh oh, that's not good. The coop is not inside the run. I looked into the run and there were no babies in their little playpen. But there was one ON TOP of the lid that was on the little makeshift pen. I grabbed both those chicks and quickly stuffed them into the coop. But where was the third baby? By this time I'm starting to panic. The husband fetches a flashlight and I open the nesting box to peer into the coop. And there's the third baby, all safe and sound. I let out a huge sigh of relief. Especially when I noticed that my ginormous Siamese cat, Singha, has been in the backyard all along. It is a miracle that he didn't get the baby that was completely outside the pen and on top of the coop. Singha is an excellent hunter who has caught (and shredded) pigeons and frequently plays with rats, until they can't play anymore. If you know what I mean. The husband, ever the comforter, says he knew that Singha didn't get a chick, because there would've been feathers all over the backyard. Thanks honey. He also says the reason Singha didn't get the baby was because he knows the chickens are "momma's" and mom will be really pissed if he kills one. Whatever his cat reasoning, I am so thankful he was a good kitty last night. And I learned that apparently chicks are squishy, like mice, and can fit through incredibly tight spots.

Guess what I did, first thing this morning? That's right! You're so smart. I put that chicken wire all around the inside of the run. Now it's baby proof. And my knee hurts. And my hands are all scratched up. But the chicks are safe. There is still a little gap where the gate closes, but I place a board and a paver against it, and they can't get out. Here are the little Houdini's. You can see that the 1" chicken wire is doing the trick.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Homestead Happenings

When you work full-time, there is always a lot to catch up on, around the house, on your days off. Sundays are usually spent with the husband, which leaves Monday as the day when I attempt to make a dent in the house and yard work. Today's tasks were: bake bread, deep clean the coops, do a couple of loads of laundry, and make some apple butter/apple sauce.

I started by doing the laundry, hoping it would get dry before the rains came. It got about halfway dry before I noticed it sprinkling. Fearing a deluge was immanent, I brought the laundry inside and hung it on the drying racks. It never did pour, but one can't be too careful in these parts.

Next I disinfected the coops and when they were dry I sprinkled them liberally with some food grade diatomaceous earth (DE) and replaced the litter and nesting materials. I feel bad for the poor girls in the tractor. It must be awfully boring for them and they don't have a place to do what chickens love most, take a dust bath. I decided to make them a little sandbox. I placed some sand in a Rubbermaid shoebox, and added some DE to it.

The sandbox was a big hit! The chickens loved it, and took turns rolling around and throwing sand all over themselves. Here it is Shirley's turn, as Joanie looks on.

The Bantam run also got some attention. Their coop got the same treatment as the big girl's. I also placed some DE under the hay in their yard. My husband installed a lockable hasp on their coop door and fixed their ladder so it doesn't fall down. I have added a blue tarp roof in anticipation of the coming rains. Blue tarps are very popular here, in the Pacific NW. I am hoping the tarp and hay keep their yard from becoming a mud puddle. We'll soon see.

Here is a picture of Lenny & Squiggy. They are doing great in their little pond.

The garden is also coming right along. Here are my basil, no longer little stumps that get munched by the slugs. I may get pesto this year, after all. Better buy some pine nuts.

I've got my first 2 zucchini of the season. I need to hurry and eat them, before they turn into baseball bats.

And look at all these green tomatoes. I have my fingers crossed that they'll turn red here, real soon.

And yes, I did get the bread baked and the apple butter is cooking away in the crock pot. I still need to make a huge batch of applesauce, but that will have to wait until later in the week.

Just What I Need? Another Hobby.

There's a new fella in my life. His name? Mr. Beer. He's not sophisticated and I'm sure most accomplished brewers look down their nose at him, but I look at him as a gateway. Besides, he was only $5. I big thank you (?) to Erin for alerting me to her yard sale. When I saw that magic word, BEER, I knew I had to have him.

Even though he doesn't drink beer (he's allergic to yeast) my husband is as excited as I am to begin making our own suds. He even found a brewer's supply place right here in Tacoma, on 112th, called The Beer Essentials. I'm sure we'll be paying them a visit very soon.

I had to hit Erin's sale early (I was on her porch at 8am) because the husband and Reggie wanted to make a road trip to the ocean. We are kinda, sorta scouting out areas to live in, once we retire. I have a deep love of the ocean and rain forests, so we are thinking of settling near those. This trip took us to the Pacific Beach area. That place is getting very built up with quite a few fancy housing developments. No, that's not my thing. I want a little homestead where I can enjoy my twilight years with chickens, some goats, and a garden. While at Pacific Beach we had to take an obligatory walk in the sand.

Reggie pulled me up one side of the beach and down the other. He's always loved the ocean. And those crazy "sea chickens". After our run in the sand we stopped to have lunch at the Falcon's Nest.

This place used to be called the Zany Zebra which is memorable only because we never ate there. It was always closed when we visited. Which was often.

It was still early when we returned to Tacoma. I decided to go ahead and sprinkle the banty girls with their mite dust. I crawled into their run and started grabbing them. Pinky was first, since she is always the most dramatic. Once I caught her she again settled right down. I made sure I doused her good, as she spent the most time with the infected hen. Then I treated the frizzle twins. They are super easy to catch I just reached out my arm and picked them up. You gotta love Cochins. They are so damn easy going. So now the girls have been sprayed and dusted. I plan on disinfecting both coops today. I'll also put down some food grade diatomaceous earth under the hay in the banty run. That should put a hurtin' on the little crawly beasties.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

My Frizzles Are Frazzled

Well, folks, I've decided against having a rooster, after all. I was hoping the bantam boys would be quiet enough to keep, without attracting attention. They had other ideas. The Red Cochin bantam was adorable....but freakin loud. He was such a good, protective fella and really loved his little gal friend. I was very sad to part with him. Then the Araucana boy became available along with his girlfriend. Except the seller pulled a bait & switch. The hen he actually sent me home with was not the one in the picture. The one I brought home was much older than a year and I'm afraid she was not in very good health. It was not my intention to feed and house an older hen, well beyond her productive years. There are people who are into that, and I found her such a home. The rooster was in good condition but I decided to pass him along to my friend, Kristine, who lives further out and would not have annoyed neighbors. That little guy's crow was not nearly as loud as the Cochin's, but what he lacked in volume he made up for in frequency. He crowed
This morning I had no sooner made the decision to send him packing, when I got an email that there were two little Black Frizzle girls available in Milton. For $5 each. Errol and I drove out there tonight, after work, and we were thrilled to find that they were young & healthy (yes, I'm inspecting them a lot more closely, from now on). Here they are, after arriving in their new home.

They are so damn adorable. These are Black Cochin's but with a "frizzle" mutation that gives them a very fluffy look. I have read that they aren't particularly good layers (only 3 eggs per week) but they do get broody (darn it, now I can't have a rooster). Maybe I'll be able to find some fertile eggs for them to hatch, next spring. These little baby girls were hatched in March and are not yet old enough to lay. I felt bad having to put them into the pen with the older "psycho" chicken, Pinky. She was already in a foul mood (or fowl mood) because she'd lost two boyfriends in as many days, and she was bent on taking out her frustrations on the new younguns. But Cochin's are easy going and lovable, so I hope she'll come around and play nice. The Frizzles didn't quite know what to make of Reggie, who was very curious, as he is whenever new chickens arrive. He startled one, by sneaking up behind her. She turned around and screamed bloody murder. When I went to close the coop, Pinky was inside, but the 2 frazzled Frizzles were cuddled up in a corner of the run. I went in and gently showed them where they needed to sleep. They are all tucked in and I hope tomorrow they will feel more at home and Pinky won't be such a snarly bitch.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Wow, That Was Fast!

When I decided to get some bantam chickens, the plan was to breed Ameraucana/Easter Eggers. The kind with the green eggs. For some reason, my husband is very fond of those eggs. And if he wants green eggs, green eggs he shall have. But I am also a tightwad, and can't see spending very much for chickens, when folks practically give them away. I especially refuse to buy a rooster. Because I want a free rooster, and don't want to pay more than $5 for a hen, I thought it would take me quite a while to build my little flock. So when I saw an Ameraucana hen offered, I jumped at the chance. But you can't have a single, lonely chicken. And there is no more room in the tractor. Pinky needed to have a Fonz. And that adorable Red Cochin boy was available. I knew he would be temporary. I just didn't know HOW temporary. I've only had him two days. And I've already located a free bantam Araucana rooster and another $5 Ameraucana hen. You've gotta make hay while the sun shines, so the little red fella must move on. Luckily my friend Kristine just happened to be looking for some new rooster blood for her flock. So tomorrow he'll go live with her large group of lady chickens, and this pair will come to roost with the Willoughbys.

We'll be sad to have to see the red Fonz leave but I am satisfied he's going to a good home. And I will have a matched set of green egg laying chickens. Now to find one or two more banty hens, with at least one being a broody girl, and we'll be all set.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Kayaking Mowich Lake

Today we threw the kayaks on the Subaru and headed for Mt. Rainier. There was no one at home to watch Reggie, so we forced him to come along and have some fun. Here we are upon our arrival at Mowich Lake.

Doesn't this look inviting? The water is so clear and blue.

Here is Reggie in mom's lap. You ever tried to paddle a kayak with a crying Yorkie in your lap? Not a lot of fun. So I pawned him off on his dad.

Dad paddled off with the dog, and I was free to take some pictures.

This is one of the waterfalls that comes down the far side of the lake. You can only see them by boat.

Look how crystal clear the water is. I was hoping to spy one of the crustaceans who inhabit the lake....

but all I found was this. I've never happened upon a live one, but see bits and pieces, so I know they exist.

And one last photo of the mountain as we bid good-bye to the lake. A good time was had by all, even Reggie. Who was quiet all the way home.