The latest chicks

I had a whole passel of Silkies go broody this summer.  Some of them give up, two more go broody.  The usual, in other words.  I’m not letting them reproduce this year- I have so many Silkies.  I did give them five of Cheeks’ eggs between them though.

Drama central!  If any of them stood up to adjust themselves, another one would rob an egg.  Every morning most of them would go out for breakfast, and then there would be lamentations when they came back and their eggs had been swiped by another hen.

With all this egg roulette, it’s a wonder any hatched- they were a little too well attended.  By luck of the draw or else quiet persistence, this one brown lady had the eggs on hatch day.  Two hatched, and one died, and then another hatched late.  Phew!  I’m awfully glad there’s two, because chicks do so much better when they have siblings.
Mama is SO relaxed, and just because it’s so easy to do, I’ve popped them into the greenhouse.  At night I collect them in their cardboard box and lock them into a coop, and in the morning I slide them out, peeping out of their mom’s fluff at me, and I carry the box into the GH, where they spend the day without any conflict, competition, or threats.This is the summer of Cheeklings. Last summer was a raft of Puffcheeks’ offspring, and now all those Pufflings are grownups, sitting on sawhorses and laying eggs.  This year, when Cheeks recovered and started laying eggs again, I promptly set all of them under hens, to save Cheeks’ legacy.  Now I have lots of them.  Seven?  Of course some will be roos, and some look less like Cheeks than their father, but I should have some Jr. Cheeks hens.

Greenhouse goings-on

Earlier this year in the greenhouse.

Now it’s a little wilder.  Even at this point, though, the guineas were getting lost.  The “aisles” have kind of disappeared.  I went  to open the far doors, and there was a white guinea in the melons.  Chirp chirp.  Her boyfriend came back in for her, bushwhacking towards her to lead her out.

I have a theory that the guineas have kept down the beetles this year.  I don’t have a problem this year, although I saw eggs on the leaves earlier.  I also saw the guineas pecking the leaves on their evening browse.  I think they might have been doing a daily cleanup.

The guineas are adorable.  They gather at the door at night, and when I open the door, they file right in.  This is where we sleep. They go for a browse and then perch on their swing.  If I’m too late, the seventh gives up on me and sleeps somewhere else.

I have late blight, bummer, but still plenty of tomatoes coming.  I canned 17 quarts yesterday.

Also yesterday, I turned the water on in the greenhouse, forgetting that the two new chicks and their Silkie mama are housed in there.  Some of the joints and holes in the tape spray water in jets, so it might have been an exciting moment, when the sprinklers came on.

These lucky chicks are so late in the year, and with a Silkie mom that is not nearly as destructive as a big chicken,  that they get to have the GH all to themselves to grow up in.  I get lazy late  in the year, and they are happy and safe in the jungle.

Nosey is auditioning for role of house chicken.

Nosey the Nosy thinks that I have a chicken-shaped void in my life, and she’s the chicken to fill it.
I see that you don’t have a house chicken at the moment.  I’d like to leave my resumé.

It’s true, it’s been a long time since Cheeks moved out.  Nosey has an unusual degree of interest in the house.  With the door always open and the screen on, she spends a lot of time standing on the threshold looking in.And riffling the screen with her beak.I know this opens somehow! 

She work from one side to the other, worrying it.  She hasn’t figured it out yet though.

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Until the day a screen magnet snapped to the door, holding the screen open. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh, Hello.

She strolled around the mud room for some time, inspecting, looking around. The “up” things were really interesting.   As were the knots in the wood.

I let her be.

I was walking back and forth to the door, and she’d look at me and walk towards the door (I was just leaving!), then watch me, and seeing I wasn’t actually shooing her out, turn around and resume inspection (Well in that case I don’t mind if I stay).  Who says chickens aren’t smart.

Inspecting the boot tray.

She stayed in the mud room, just peeking into the house.

Baby Nosey.

 

Tomato canning

A lovely pile of a wide range of tomato varieties.  I have late blight now in the greenhouse (what the?  It’s not damp), so the harvest may turn out to be smaller this year than usual, but any reduction isn’t showing yet.

Three bread bowls of tomatoes today is the second haul harvested, and now the cauldrons boil and bubble.

Profile: Nosey

All chickens have their own unique chickenalities, but some chickens distinguish themselves more than others.  Nosey has been her own bird from a young chicken, and unlike everyone else, is rather tame.  She got her name from always being excessively interested in my business, and always really into being near me.  She’d be the first at the door, have her beak up in whatever I was doing, sit on my shoulder, and generally tag along or be underfoot.She’s all grown up now, and her first adult summer has seen her create some real habits of behaviour.  She’s still excessively interested in my movements, popping out of nowhere anytime I come out the door, following me down paths, literally underfoot all the time, as I frequently trip on her or accidentally kick her while walking, as she darts in front of or between my swinging feet.When I prepare their food, stirring water into the bucket, all the hens gather and stretch their necks over the edge, but Nosey runs laps around the bucket, then stands on top of my feet to stretch over the edge of the bucket.  Then she follows me to platter after platter as I fill the “trough”s, and dives into each one, then darts to catch up with me at the next serving, as she has to be the first beak in.  Sometimes she’ll follow me all the way back to where I put the bucket away at the end of lunchtimeShe walks with me like a dog heeling, right next to me on the trail, and her pace is a little faster, so she’ll get ahead of me, then pause for me to catch up, then walk right next to me, get excited and get ahead, then pause again.  I’ve never had a chicken do something like this before.  It’s very pet-like, very trying to please, or connect.

She’s very interested in the house, hopping up and watching me through the screen when the door is open.  She just seems more connected to me than she is to the other chickens, although she’s part of the main “hangs out around the house during the day” chickens. 

She’s the only one that allows me to touch her, and I do almost every day, stroking her chest.  She gets all uncomfortable about it and it’s clear she doesn’t like it, but she lets me.  The other hens will leap and squawk when I try a stunt like that.

When other people say pretty much anything starting with “There’s this one chicken”, I know they mean Nosey.
“This one chicken is out here looking in my boot!”  Nosey.
“There was one chicken that came right up to me”.   Nosey.

I heard this one go down:  My husband was outside, and from inside I heard his yelp, and then indignant complaining out loud.  His tale of woe – he was standing outside, eating an apple, pensively watching the chickens, and as he stood between bites, with his arm relaxed at his side, “this one chicken” leapt up and knocked the half eaten apple out of his hand.

Of course, Nosey had the apple.

chicken drill bit

The Silkies have picked a spot to dig a hole, and are digging the hole with their bodies, removing the dirt in their feathers and shaking it out elsewhere.  Slow and steady.

They take turns, and now they have the hole twice as deep as this, so that they are fully below ground level. Odd little birds.Sidewinder unwinding in the pool. I haven’t bought them a bag of pro-mix outside of the greenhouse before because in the greenhouse, they are doing the work of distributing it for me to amend the soil I will grow in, but hey.  They need a bath in the summer too, what’s one bag of mix?   They enjoy it so much. 

Cheeps at the door

I hear them coming around, the cheeps.  They never stop chatting at this age.

I’m glad that the moms are starting to gravitate to the house and beehives –  the safe zones instead of the adventure safaris.  This is where you’ll spend your time when you grow up, kids.  Mooching.

The two of them are too adorable to me.  Inseparable, yin and yang chickens, not very alike other than that they (were) both loners.    The chicks float in one crowd with loose ties to their own mama except for bedtime and warming time.  Ghost, since she has two, has started perching at night with a chick perching on either side, poking out from a wing.  They seem smug about it.  Velvet ,with three, has to stay on the floor to hug them at night.

The chicks are at that miniature stage where they have all their feathers and all the chicken moves, but they are still just tiny little handfuls.  They have frowns all the time.  Dinosaur growth spurt dead ahead.  All the chicks seem to be baby Cheeks, although that was not planned this time.   There’s a Ghost sighting out the front window!

Velvet must be very nearby.  There she is!

Done with the dentist

I think my summer of dental hell is finally over.  Root canal part 2 yesterday (hallelujah, dental staff was at work with the power on Monday!), and the sudden end of “mild” dental “discomfort” in my mouth was like the lights coming on, or discovering you’ve been wearing sunglasses without noticing – energy re-surged into my life!  I think the mouth stuff has been contributing to why I’ve been sick so much, and headaches, lately the past weeks.  It just saps you, enduring it.  Hello future!  Moral of the story – don’t “tough out” a toothache.

On the ceiling tv at the dentist I got to watch B-roll of a Canadian army guy (army comes to the rescue in cleanup effort) getting his saw pinched in a tree on his first cut, catastrophic footage of what’s happened to the Bahamas, and this of a crane coming down in Halifax.  If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s incredible.  I can’t watch it too often.  That’s a steady filming hand, Fatima Ali.

No one was hurt, unlike the Bahamas.  In Nova Scotia, trees and freezer food have been lost as 100K some are still out of power, but this is inconvenience compared to the Bahamas, where they have terrible need.

Here, it’s another lovely temperate day and it’s glorious to have the mosquitoes reduced or maybe finished.  Fall is the best.  Comfortable T-shirt work weather, reduced risk of heat exhaustion.  The best time of year:)

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