March 22nd

Friday, March 22nd, 2019

I parked my lawn chair in the front yard today and got myself a sun burn.

It was glorious.

50 degrees, no wind, not a cloud in the sky. Welcome, spring!

I even went a little crazy and turned off our furnace and opened some windows. Our house held steady at about 62 degrees, so it was perfect. You forget how lovely it is to have fresh air in your home.

Anyway, as I sat outside reading my book, I looked up at one point to see three deer out grazing in one field, and a flock of pheasants in another. My chickens were making their happy noises, cruising around without a care in the world, Ruby napped in the sunshine. Geese and swans flew by overhead, happily honking.

And then a text came into my phone, and tears started flowing. The most beautiful, amazing news and from that moment on my day was officially deemed perfect. Once the news is public, I’ll share it in a future post, but for now I have to keep it under wraps. I’ll let the suspense build 😉

Happy spring, everyone! I hope you’ve been able to enjoy the bountiful sunshine!

March 19th

Tuesday, March 19th, 2019

It’s crazy to think that this spot was covered by over 12″ of snow just a week ago.

Our yard blended in with the field – there was no definition between the two. We couldn’t see our grass, the remaining soybean stems, or the leaves I raked into the field this fall.

Now today, the girls are in the chicken version of heaven digging through those leaves, finding soybean morsels, searching for little grub.

Their feet and beaks are muddy, their tails pointing towards the sky, and they are making all sorts of very happy chicken noises.

These joyful little creatures have changed our little slice of the world for the better.

March 9th

Saturday, March 9th, 2019

I could lie and tell you that this image was taken today, but I won’t. I didn’t get an image today, so you get another one from yesterday instead.

The girls haven’t really been coming out of their coop much this February because of all of the snow. The temperatures haven’t been all that great up until a couple days ago either, so they had no reason to leave their cozy home.

This intense, warm March sunshine has changed their minds, though! I go out in the morning and there’s a pileup coming out of the door, they’re all so excited to come out. They don’t have much territory to wander, as most of it is snow covered, so they just walk around in front of the garage on the dry cement (so if you come to my house, I’m sorry in advance about all the chicken poop).

I forgot how much I love looking out my window and seeing them meandering around. I can hear them from inside the house, too, so that’s a sound to brighten anyone’s day.

March 1st

Friday, March 1st, 2019

I haven’t posted much about the girls in awhile, so here we are!

They aren’t fond of the snow, so they haven’t come out of their coop in a few weeks. I open their doors, but they gather on their front porch, look around, and turn back around. They choose to roost inside. Which I can’t really blame them, I try to keep everything shoveled, but it doesn’t take long until they’re breast-deep in snow.

However, this morning they did choose to come out for a bit. For just enough time to gather a light dusting of snow on their backs.

In February, we averaged 3 eggs a day so they’re still happy to lay, just not so enthusiastic about the snow.

January 20th

Sunday, January 20th, 2019

Back in the saddle again! 🎶 

Made myself pick up my camera today (I’ve been feeling uninspired if you can’t tell), and I’m sooo glad I did!

If I’ve learned anything through this project, it’s that inspiration can spark anywhere.

I mean anywhere.

Where there is light, one can find inspiration. After all of the practice this project has brought me, I’m at the point now where light motivates me instead of frustrates me. I used to know what I wanted to do in my head but not know how to execute it, but now it comes much easier. I definitely don’t nail it everytime, but I walk away frustrated a lot less often than I used to.

Today the issue was the fact that my subjects refused to cooperate. Paul was a big help positioning -and then repositioning, and repositioning, and repositioning – chickens until one stood still long enough to get the shot I was looking for.

Chicken breath.

I don’t know about you, but I know all creatures breath so by nature you can see their breath when it’s cold, but I never thought about it with chickens until I saw it today.

I knew I wanted to photograph our chickens today because we’ve had a lot of people ask how they’ve been doing with the cold, and I wanted to give an update, but the breath lends perfectly to the topic.

So anyway, the chickens are doing great! We did put a small radiating heater in their coop which keeps it about 20 degrees warmer than outside the coop, so that’s helped a lot overnight. We have it hooked up to a thermocube which is set to switch on at zero degrees, so it only comes on when the girls really need it.

We had read a lot about what temperatures chickens can take, and most of what we read said they’re great down to zero, and then you have to start watching them (hence our thermocube setting).

So far in our experience that’s proven to be exactly true. On days where it’s really windy and cold (below zero) they don’t come out of their coop and huddle by the heater, but on days like today, plentiful sunshine and no wind, they were out all day ranging despite the temperature hovering around zero.

It’s remarkable in my opinion. My fingers are about to fall off and they’re napping in the sun or happily clucking as they forage. No complaints from them.

Also, who knew chickens were so beautiful?


January 15th

Tuesday, January 15th, 2019

Paul is home all of this week, and it is such a blessing.

Our next paycheck may be a little lean, but quality time spent together more than makes up for dollars.

We’ve been able to make a list of things we’ve been putting off and that we’d like to accomplish, and it’s felt good to cross things off. On top of all of the organizing and cleaning we’ve knocked out, Paul built another commissioned coffee table over the weekend that we were able to deliver this morning. After seeing his two coffee tables, it sounded like a neighboring office was interested in a bookshelf – onto his next commissioned project!

I’m so darn proud of him.

And not only do I think he’s pretty great, the chickens do too. He was essentially swarmed coming out this afternoon – they’ve got to check out everything he has to make sure he’s not hiding treats. 🙂

December 22nd

Saturday, December 22nd, 2018

Sista sista is home from grad school!

The girls were just about as excited as I am, haha! Emma pulled up, and all of the girls (except Judy, go figure – she’s hanging out in the back on her own) came RUNNING to her. If you’ve been to our house, the girls were all the way over by our flag pole, and booked it around the back of her car to come say hi.

Those little drummies were working.

Emma hadn’t met our chickens yet, so their enthusiasm was unexpected, and in usual Emma fashion, as she slowly backed away from them: “this is how horror movies start!!” I was nearly crying I was laughing so hard!

So, if you come to our house, and the chickens are out, know that they WILL come say hi. I promise it’s out of friendliness, not aggression. Although Penny has no boundaries, and she’ll walk right up to you and outright chest bump your legs if you don’t stop to say hi to her. Our sweet Ruby will coo at you, and our flock boss Carol will squawk to announce your arrival (she’s almost better than a dog in that regard – I always know now when someone pulls up). Carol keeps the UPS guy on his toes, he’s stopped by a lot over the last week and he keeps his distance from her – hahaha.

These chickens really are the best.


December 21st

Friday, December 21st, 2018

Happy Winter Solstice!

AKA – The shortest day of the year. The “things only go up from here” day. The “we’ll finally start seeing more of the sun” day.

It’s also the gateway to Christmas, which has me excited!

But back to the fact that today we only had 8 hours and 40 minutes of daylight. Why is the specifics of this important? Well, because chickens tend to drastically reduce how many eggs they lay as the light dwindles. The statistics say that chickens need about 14-15 hours of daylight for high production. However, at our house our sixth chicken STARTED laying this week. Instead of our production tapering off, it’s increasing.

I am befuddled.

Granted, the weather has been very mild, aiding in the fact that the girls can put energy into egg production instead of using extra energy to keep warm, but light is light.

As we expected their production to dwindle, this has been a very pleasant surprise.

It’s also been fun, as since they’re continuing to lay, we’ve been able to track what eggs are coming from what chickens. Ruby lays pretty light brown eggs with dark speckles, Penny is an early layer – the first to lay each day, she lays our largest eggs always extremely uniform in color (some of our lightest colored eggs), Maria lays smaller, medium brown colored eggs, and the two chickens that still aren’t named because we can’t tell them apart lay similar eggs.

So that just leaves Judy.

If you’ve come over and met our chickens, you know that Judy could qualify as an underdog. Not overly intelligent, she’s much smaller than the rest of the girls, and she (until this week) hadn’t been laying. She just didn’t have much going for her, but we adore her in that role. She holds a special place in our hearts for that.

So the Judy hilarity continued this week when Paul went out to gather eggs, and there was an egg laid in the middle of the floor in the coop. A perfect little nest made right in the middle of everything.

All of the other girls are flawless about laying their eggs in their nesting boxes (their instinct is spot-on – that is the safest place for them to lay their eggs), but not Judy. Judy just lays hers right out in the open.

Facepalm, anyone?

She did that for a couple of days in a row, but then today she finally laid one in the nesting box. That a girl, Judy!

Now, I will say that she has one really great thing going for her – she lays reaaaally pretty eggs. Light brown, with pretty little white speckles all over. So unique, just like her 🙂

December 17th

Monday, December 17th, 2018

Wait, wait, wait – is that bare grass in mid-December?!

YES! Forty degrees three days in a row will do that to a landscape.

The girls are LOVING it. The warm weather, no snow thing is right up their alley. Especially the no snow part, seeing as they evidently have a deep-seeded disdain for the white stuff.

They’re back to making laps around the house, so that means all of the chicken manure stays where I want it – in the yard. It gets them off my front porch which makes this chicken mama one happy camper.

While this image isn’t perfect by any means, the warm evening light made my soul happy today. And the girls’ bodies make little triangles out in the yard when you see them from a distance, so Penny’s pose here makes me smile thinking about that.