Friday, December 30, 2011

The Chicken Coop of My Dreams!

Okay, if you have been waiting on the edges of your seats with anticipation, I promise to take some pictures of my chicken coop soon and give you lots of ideas just in case you should ever want to build one of your own.  That is, if you haven't already gotten yourself knee deep in chickens!  Of course, after seeing this coop on's blog, I just want to tear mine down and start all over again. WOW!  How cool would it be for not only your chickens, but yourself to have some smashing digs like this!  This coop reminds me of a chicken castle from a fairytale dream, but it actually exists.  Really, it does!  And you can read all about it on fancyfarmgirl's very fun blog!  After seeing more pictures of it you may just want to buy a house on more land and get some chickens!  Or even if you didn't want to get chickens, you might still want one of these coops just to sit for a spell on a hot summer's day drinking a mint julep as you take in the view of your beautiful vast land.  Of course, you wouldn't have to do much work, because you would have farm hands to do that.  You could just sit and read and enjoy!  Oh my gosh! To me this coop is just that awesome!  I showed it to my husband and he just gave me a crazy laugh and I think I saw sweat starting to pop up on his brow and lines of worry form around his eyes.  Poor guy.  I'm sure he will be having nightmares tonight about me wanting him to actually build this!  hee! hee!  I do always have some kind of project for him lately.  So, here it is - ta da! - the chicken coop of my dreams:

Happy New Year!  I pray all of you have a Wonderful and Healthy 2012!  And May All of Your Dreams Come True!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Christmas Gift for the Chickens and Perhaps for Myself

(my chicks dreaming of digging in the pinestraw outside of their pen)

We live in a neighborhood that is very fortunate to be surrounded by forest.  Behind our houses there are nice wooded trails.  Recently I was taking a walk on the trails and to my surprise ran into four hens and a rooster!  Come to find out one of the homes that sits on several acres behind our neighborhood owns a few chickens.  I have heard the rooster crowing in the distance on occasion, but was not sure where it came from.  Seeing this little group of feathered friends really gave me the "itch" to let my chickens roam a little.  So, a few days ago I brought out the treat can and bravely let out my most tame and favorite hen, Blackie, and to my relief found that if I shook the treat can that she would follow me wherever I went.  The next day it was time for me to change out the wood shavings in the chicken house and to do some minor maintenance, change out their water, and refill their feeder, etc...  So, I left their pen door open and set them free!  At first they weren't really sure if they should be outside the pen, but it didn't take them long to start scratching around in the pine straw and leaves, looking for grass, roots, and tasty bugs.  They quickly embraced their new found freedom!  As I cleaned out the house, the four girls stayed close to their home for several minutes, but soon they had wandered from the wooded area where their pen stands to our back lawn.  Honestly, I can say that I was grinning ear to ear just enjoying the sight of them enjoying being "free range" chickens as they should be.  The four girls wandered in a tight group like very best friends all around my backyard.  Before long, though, they were wandering into my neighbor's yard, so I got out the treat can and gave it a few shakes and they started heading towards me and back into our yard.  Whew!  I was very relieved to know they ALL understood the sound of the "treat can shake".  I'm sure all of the neighbors think I am crazy!  So, I let my hens enjoy their happiness a while longer, but soon had to round them up and put them back into their pen.  The four of them wandered toward the sound of the shaking can following me slowly as they found tasty tidbits along the way.  I let them take their time.  They all eventually made it back into the pen, except for Meanie, who has always been my problem hen.  I had to get my husband to come and help me round her up, but it wasn't too difficult.  I also had a lighter heart the rest of my day just knowing I had possibly given the feathered gals a nicer and more eventful day.  Sometimes it really is the simple moments that make us truly happy.  I even allowed the four gals back out today for a little while.  Since, I live on only one acre in a neighborhood, I don't think I will ever be able to let them roam freely without my watch.  If I did, the neighbors might not like it if they roamed over and munched down their flower gardens, nor would it be a pretty picture if one of my hens became a tasty fresh meal for one of the neighbor dogs, but on days that I have some extra time to keep them under my watchful eye, I think I will be letting them have more wonderful moments of freedom.

This week, my husband and I repainted our kitchen.  When we were done, I told my husband that I wanted to get a chicken painting to go on one of the walls.  He looked at me with raised eyebrows and said, "I will not allow you to become a crazy chicken lady!"  I was thinking to myself that it was already too late.  And as soon as Christmas is over, I plan on looking for that prefect chicken painting!

I wish all of you a Very Merry and Peaceful Christmas and a Happy and Blessed New Year!  I hope they are filled with simple and happy moments!
(Whitey - with a dirty beak and beard.  The hazards of her new freedom adventure digging in the pine straw and the downside of being a white chicken.)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Italian Egg Drop Soup

Hello! to the readers of my poor little neglected chicken blog. I'm back! To fill you in, all is well with my chickens Blackie, Whitey, Meanie, and Baby! Blackie, and Whitey are still laying eggs almost everyday, so our fridge stays full of good fresh eggs! This is somewhat surprising considering that most chickens stop laying as the days get shorter signaling that the time of year is not really a good time to raise little chics.

Also, we considered changing Meanie's name to Sweetie. When we purchased her she was constantly attacking the other hens, especially Baby and we actually feared for Baby's life, but after a few weeks she finally calmed down and although she kind of remained a loaner (probably because the other hen's feared her), she seemed to be learning to get along with the others. I was feeling very sorry for her as the weather became colder, because she always roosted on her own roosting stick all alone while the other three always cuddled together on the other roosting stick. BUT the other night I noticed as I was securing them in their little house that she was with the other girls on the roosting stick and my heart was warmed UNTIL she started pecking the other chickens HARD until she chased them off of her stick! So, her name has remained Meanie and I don't feel so sorry for her anymore.

Another funny little thing I've recently discovered, Blackie and Whitey almost always lay their eggs in the nest box that I have one fake egg in. I wasn't sure if they had just gotten used to laying in that paticular nest box or if they laid their because of the fake egg, so I started moving the egg to different nest boxes everday and no matter where the egg is they always lay in that box. So funny!

So, the other day I tried a new recipe with eggs. My husband LOVED it and says he wants me to be sure to make it more often. I think you will find it very unique as well as super yummy and easy. It is also perfect for these cold winter days. Enjoy! :)


3 cups chicken broth

2 cups water

3 large eggs

1/2 cup pastina or other very small pasta (I used ditalini)

1/4 to 1 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese (depending on taste)

3/4 bag of baby spinach coarsely chopped

1/4 tsp. pepper

pinch of nutmeg

Bring chicken broth and 1 cup water to a boil. Add pasta to mixture and cook until pasta is tender. Meanwhile whisk together remaining 1 cup of water, eggs, and cheese in a bowl. When the pasta is tender, whisk the mixture into the boiling water and reduce heat to low, keep whisking for 2 more minutes. Stir in spinach, salt, pepper and nutmeg and cook until spinach is tender. Top with shredded cheese if you like. YUM!