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Winter Chores on Our Mini Farm

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Psalms from the Hive

by Jeannie Saum

Though retired, we’re still havin’ trouble

Keeping up with the chores, We’ll have to redouble

Our efforts to keep chickens fed and watered,

Egg gathered, washed and put in cartons.

Then there’s the bees, about all we can do

Is pray them through until next spring!

Clover, Bee, and Revery

Reverie (revery) –(n.) state of dreamy meditation or fanciful musing; a fantastic, visionary, or impractical idea

Rain Barrel wrapped in insulation and plastic

Rain Barrel wrapped in insulation and plastic

The worst of winter hit Ohio early this year with three weeks of snow and some bitter cold nights in early December.  We outfitted our chicken coop with a heat lamp and thermostat, a rain barrel watering system wrapped with heat tape and run through the wall with a washing machine hose to an automatic pet watering dish with float.  This sits on

auto-pet watering bowl fed by heat tape wrapped washing machine hose, sitting on metal oil pan with light bulb under it

auto-pet watering bowl fed by heat tape wrapped washing machine hose, sitting on metal oil pan with light bulb under it

an upside down metal oil pan fitted with an incandescent light bulb to keep the water unfrozen when it gets really cold.

We’ve also added a timer and light to come on from 4 am to 8 am to supplement their light on short winter days.  This helps them keep laying at full capacity, so  we still get 18-20 eggs a day from our 20 red hens.

heat lamp connected to thermostat, light connected to timer

heat lamp connected to thermostat, light connected to timer

I also decided, a few weeks ago, to block off the bottom row of nest boxes that were on the floor level.  We had

Bottom next boxes blocked off, now laying in second row up

Bottom next boxes blocked off, now laying in second row up

re-purposed a shelving unit into 15 nest boxes, but the 20 chickens only use two or three to lay all their eggs – and it’s always the bottom ones.  That means we have to bend way down to collect eggs out of the lowest boxes.  I decided I’m too old for that!  So I screwed some thin plywood boards over the bottom nests so they can’t use them.  Problem solved!  Now they are using the next row up!  As I’ve said before, we are lazy farmers and have tried to set things up so some chores don’t have to be done every day!

Today, since we had a bit of a heat-wave, we went out to quickly finish some of the fall chores we missed, and tweak a few problem areas.   Our chicken watering system had leaked a little and made some of the straw wet, so we headed out to the coup with some wrenches and feed.  The girls are always excited to see us and expect a treat.  They squawk loudly and chase us around, pecking at our shoes.  We hauled out wet hay, tightened the leaky connection, refilled their food and re- duct taped the black plastic covering our insulated rain barrel, since the wind had blown it off.

They always expect a treat and love popcorn!

They always expect a treat and love popcorn!

Next, we headed out to our apiary of 4 hives.  One thing we didn’t get done in late fall was removing the hive top feeders from our beehives before the winter snow hit. We loosened the top and box feeder on the top of each hive, quickly took them off and sneaked a quick peek before putting the inner cover and lid back on.  We were excited to find live bee clusters in all 4 hives!  They’ve made it so far!  We left 2 boxes of honey on each hive to feed them over the winter.  The bees cluster together and vibrate  their wings to create enough heat to keep the queen in the middle warm at 85 – 90 degrees!  They work hard doing this all winter, moving in and out in the cluster to get warm and need lots of honey for energy.  I learned something new at a fall beekeepers’ meeting – that the bees don’t heat the inside of the hive.  They only heat the cluster.  For this reason, many beekeepers suggest not insulating the hive.  Insulation can create air flow problems that causes moisture to collect and drip on the bees, and they’ll die.  The bees can take the cold, but not being wet.

cluster of bees under the inner cover

cluster of bees under the inner cover

~~

Another thing I learned recently was, that when it snows we must make sure the lower entrance does not get clogged with snow and ice.  This can happen even if the snow isn’t that deep and create airflow and moisture problems.  So I’ve been stopping at the hives on my trips down the driveway, when we’ve had a snow, to clear off the entrance ledges.  So far, so good.

~  ~  ~  ~

Bees carry out the dead to the entrance ledge.

Bees carry out the dead to the entrance ledge.

Psalm 65

You answer us with awesome and righteous deeds,  God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas,
who formed the mountains by your power, having armed yourself with strength,
who stilled the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, and the turmoil of the nations.
The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy.

You care for the land and water it; you enrich it abundantly. The streams of God are filled with water to provide the people with grain,  for so you have ordained it.
10 You drench its furrows and level its ridges; you soften it with showers and bless its crops.
11 You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance.
12 The grasslands of the wilderness overflow; the hills are clothed with gladness.
13 The meadows are covered with flocks and the valleys are mantled with grain; they shout for joy and sing.

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Escape Artists!

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Psalms from the Hive

by Jeannie Saum

Not just one

Flying over the cuckoo’s nest

But many, escaping each day!

Once out, they can’t get back in

And scramble , frantic,

Back and forth outside the fence.

Clover, Bee, and Revery

Reverie (revery) –(n.) state of dreamy meditation or fanciful musing; a fantastic, visionary, or impractical idea

 

Oh, we have escape artists in our chicken flock!  Many have figured out how to fly over the 4 foot high fence, or up onto the gate rail to perch, and then over.  At first, they’d go  over and then realize they couldn’t get back in and get frantic.

Up on the gate, trying to get out!

Up on the gate, trying to get out!

They’d run back and forth outside the fence squawking and trying to find a way back in.

But this frenetic prancing didn’t last long!  They soon discovered it was fun to explore, outside the coop – in our yard, in neighbor’s yards, in their vegetable gardens, and down the long driveway towards the road!  We’d discover they were out in the neighbor’s driveway, or in our back yard, and have to go out to round them up, chase them down, and throw them back over the fence.

We kept saying we’d better clip their wings or put netting over the run, but kept putting it off.  And we hated to have to clip wings.  It sounded like a lot of work.  How would we keep track of which ones we had done, and which not?  And would we clip too close and hurt them?  And we’d have to chase them down and grab and they would not be happy!  Then, we figured, we’d also have to keep doing it every few months.  So, we did nothing…

Then, one morning, we got a call  at 7:15 am on both our cell phones and our house phone because we were ignoring this

Grab that girl and throw her back in the pen!

Grab that girl and throw her back in the pen!

interruption to our retirement habit of sleeping in!  When the 3rd call came through, I figured I’d better answer it, as it must be an emergency.  Well, it was – sort of!  It was our neighbor, calling to tell us that several of our chickens were in “Rich’s Garden” and she was worried they would eat his tomatoes.  So, up we got, threw on our clothes and muck shoes, grabbed a few left over corn cobs from last nights dinner from the “Chicken Scrap Bucket” and rushed next door!  They weren’t about to listen to any clucking or shooing, but the minute they saw the corn cobs in my hand, they came running.  I led them out of the neighbor’s backyard, around the fence and into our yard, just like the pied piper, leading the rats in Hamlin.  When I got to our back yard, I picked up a few more, who were scratching under our big trees along the fence.  In all, I had 7 or 8 of our escape artists following the corn cob treat, back to the run !

Okay, it’s time to do something, we decided.  We were set to leave on vacation in less than a week, so we could not have this happening, while our son “babysat” our chicks.  And getting roused at 7:15 in the morning kinda cramped our retirement style!  So we set about to “Cook  their Goose”, so to speak.  A trip to the hardware store for 3 foot T posts, 2 foot chicken wire, zip ties and wire and we were ready to show these girls a thing or two!  We spent a few hours over  2 days, adding a 2 foot extension to the top of the fence around the run and to the gate.  Hah!  now we’ve got your number, girls!  And with one day to spare!

Two days later, all packed and ready to the beach, our daughter, Bekah took the last scraps from the counter, out to the chicks before we left.  And then not one hour into our trip, at,  yep – 7:15 in the morning, – we get a call from our neighbor again, saying the chickens were all in our  front yard and heading for the road.  AUGH!!   How did they escape?!

We made a frantic call to our son, interrupting his Saturday morning sleep in plans, and he ran down the road to deal with our little escape artists!  What he found, was the gate wide open – evidently Bekah didn’t hook the gate well enough and they had pushed it open!  So they didn’t really escape, just took advantage of a mistake on our part.  Since that day, we’ve had no more chicks outside the run, so hopefully, we’ve WON!

Foiled! Can't escape now!

Foiled! Can’t escape now!

Psalms

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High  will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a]
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you  from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge;

     his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand,  but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes  and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”  and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;

Chicks Are a “Hoot” – or is it “A Cluck” ?!

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Psalms from the Hive

by Jeannie Saum, with apologies to Sondheim and Styne, from “Gypsy”

(or maybe I should apologize to the chicks, since “Gypsy” is about a stripper!)

So beguiling!

So beguiling!

Let us entertain you.  Let us make you smile.

Let us do a few tricks,  Some old and then some new tricks,

We’re very versatile.

And if you’re real good,  Well make you feel good.

We want your spirit to climb.

So let us entertain you.  We’ll have a real good time, Yes sir!

We’ll have – A real good time!

Clover, Bee, and Revery

Reverie (revery) –(n.) state of dreamy meditation or fanciful musing; a fantastic, visionary, or impractical idea

 

Chicks, they’re  always entertainment!   Not Broadway Theater. Not stripper poles, but entertaining, none the less!

We went out to shut the girls in the coop after going out for dinner last night.  Outside in the dark we found 1 roosting on top of the gate, 6 roosting on the small step-ladder outside, and when we walked around the corner, the rest, all in a row roosting along the ramp up to the coop!!  We thought, gee, is it too hot inside the coop!!  No, upon inspection, the door had fallen down again.  Steve had propped it up with a stick wedged in, instead of using the wire hanger on the inside! – Gotta get this fixed!
Poor babies, they were locked out of their bedroom!  They were not happy to be picked up one by one to be put to bed!  They are getting so big, I can’t do 2 or 3 at a time!  Then we turned the lights out, that had gone on by timer.  We figured that the warm weather  was hopefully here to stay and the chicks fully feathered so we need to heat the coop with lamps at night anymore.  The chicks freaked!!  Lots of peeping and squawking in the sudden darkness.  Night, night girls!  Get over it!
When I went out this morning to open their door, I did it from the inside, even though it means walking across the coop, which makes them a little skittish.  We had to put their door on the far side of the coop because we ran out of room on walls where we could mount the automatic door opener.  It has to be mounted directly over the door, so placing was limited.  It’s not a problem except at night, when they are all inside and start toskitter back outside when we walk across the coop to close the door!!  Gotta get that door opener mounted!  Maybe today.

Trying out those wings!

Trying out those wings!

When the door comes open, the girls now go pouring out, no longer afraid of theladder!  We love to watch their antics early in the morning.  We’ve set 2 chairs in the garden, just outside their run, so we can sit and be entertained!  They have little rituals when they get outside that are fun to watch.  They first run around flapping their wings and trying out their awkward flight.  They often go nose-to-nose with each other, flapping their wings in a little “chicken fight” stance.They scatter around, looking for good stuff, and if one finds something the others come running!  At times, they all go scurrying under the coop, for no apparent reason.  Evidently one of them has perceived some threat and somehow warned the others.  They definitely have flock mentality!

Where one goes, the others follow.

Where one goes, the others follow.

If one finds a worm, it is hilarious!   Even if the others aren’t near and don’t realize it, the chick with the worms starts running around the yard, worm hanging out of its mouth.  The others immediately take up the chase and around the yard they go.  The lead chick seems to be saying,  “Na, na-na, -na, na!  I’ve got a wo-orm!!  You can’t get me!”  Then she gobbles it down and the chase is over.
They love climbing on things.  I’ve put a small old step-ladder in the pen, since it is not safe for humans.  I call it their jungle gym.  They love hopping or flapping up to the different levels, to sit up high and watch.  They also like to hop onto a few leftover grape vines still coming out of the ground.  The vines have some horizontal branches on them, but are pretty wobbly.

Grape vine swings!

Grape vine swings!

It looks like the chicks  are swinging, when they hop up and sit on the swaying branch!

There’s an old oil tank out behind the coop, and we’ve even found them sitting way up there, like “King of the Hill”.  And no matter what I’ve tried, they still like to stand IN their water saucer with their dirty feet, instead of just drinking from the ground!

Can't just drink from the ground, have to stand in the water!

Can’t just drink from the ground, have to stand in the water!

I’ve told Steve I want to get a little bistro table and chairs to set out there by the coop, for our entertainment pleasure.  I’ve heard somebody say they’re  like “Farmer TV”!  Or maybe  “Farmer’s Theater”!  Not Gypsy Rose Lee, but entertaining just the same – and “G” rated, too!   These chicks are a hoot!!  Or I guess a,  “cluck”!

Psalm 36

5 Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens,  your faithfulness to the skies.
Your righteousness is like the highest mountains, your justice like the great deep.  You, Lord, preserve both people and animals.
How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!  People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house;  you give them drink from your river of delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;  in your light we see light.

Chicks in a Clump of Clover

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Psalms from the Hive

by Jeannie Saum

Little chickies,

All fast asleep

In a clump of clover.

Came out for the day

Can’t get back in

Now that the day is over!

Clover, Bee, and Revery

Reverie (revery) –(n.) state of dreamy meditation or fanciful musing; a fantastic, visionary, or impractical idea

 

Our little chicks are in their new coop as of a week ago.   We kept them inside for a few days, as it was too cold outside for them.  They were 4 weeks old when we put them out, and still needed to have temperatures of 75 degrees or so.  For the past 3 days, we’ve been able to let them outside, since we finally finished the fence run and the weather warmed up.   They haven’t figured out how to get back in the coop – don’t understand the ramp up to the door.

We can get down, but we can't get back up!

We can get down, but we can’t get back up!

IMG_1486

Hiding under the coop!

So-o-o,  after chasing them around their yard, while they ducked under the coop (it is raised off the ground about a foot) and finally giving up, we learned something.  When we went out later, after dark,  they had all eventually fallen asleep nestled in the tall weeds.  We found that when we started picking them up to put them in the coop, they are about comatose while sleeping!  MUCH easier to handle this way.  You can grab 3-4 at a time!  So now, each night after dark, we have to go out to the chicken yard and put our girls to bed.  It feels like the days when our kids would fall asleep on the living room floor in front of the TV and had to be carried up to bed!poppiefield

The chicks look like Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion, asleep in the field of magical  poppies!  They are all cuddled up together in several piles in the tall grass and weeds.  We left a step-ladder in their yard, since we are still working on the coop trim, and now some are roosting on the ladder steps!  We load up 3 or 4 into our arms and carry them over to their door.  Their ramp continues to be a puzzle to them.  They can’t quite get up the slats yet, and just use it to jump off of and practice with their wings.

So even though we’ve set up feeders and waterers and heat lamps that are automatic and don’t have to be dealt with each day, we still have to go out after dark to put our little girlies to bed each night!  Once they figure out how to get in and out by themselves, we plan to hook up an automatic coop door opener motor and timer!

Psalm 4

6 Let the light of your face shine upon us, O LORD.

7 You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound.

8 I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.

First Day in the Coop

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Psalms from the Hive

by Jeannie Saum

New house! New house!

Move the furniture in

Hang the pictures on the walls

The chicks are comin’ in!

Clover, Bee, and Revery

Reverie (revery) –(n.) state of dreamy meditation or fanciful musing; a fantastic, visionary, or impractical idea

 

Halleluiah!  It’s time to move the chicks into their new home.  We’ve got an extra heat lamp, a thermostat, feeder and waterer ready,

clustered in the new coop

clustered in the new coop

straw in the nest boxes and wood shavings on the coop floor!  The weather isn’t supposed to be  too cold at night, so out they are going to go.  Gotta get them moved because the guys are coming to fix and paint the ceilings in our living room this evening!

We loaded up the chicks into a big tub and carried them out to the coop.  At first, we thought we’d put their brooder box out there in the coop, so they would feel more comfortable, but they adapted just fine.

checking things out

checking things out

We unloaded the chicks into the coop and sat down with them for a while.  We brought them a treat of fresh chickweed and they alternated between gobbling it up and exploring their new digs!

a brave one on Bekah's lap

a brave one on Bekah’s lap

enticing them to come closer

enticing them to come closer

John 14

In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?

] And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.

And you know the way to where I am going.”

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

If you had known me, you would have known my Father also] From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

The Chick Mansion – AKA Uncle Mike’s Condo

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Psalms from the Hive

by Jeannie Saum

The coop is big enough

For Uncle Mike and his 20 girlfriends

Instead of sleeping on our couch

He’ll have a roost instead!

Clover, Bee, and Revery

Reverie (revery) –(n.) state of dreamy meditation or fanciful musing; a fantastic, visionary, or impractical idea

 

Steve’s brother, Mike, (Uncle Mike to our kids and grandkids) has been spending quite a bit of time at our house since he, too, decided to retire from the Post Office  a few months ago.  He’s been here, sleeping on the couch and sharing the living room with our 20 chicks.  And he’s been helping with the coop building, when he isn’t enticing my husband away from these projects to fish or mushroom hunt and play!  So the joke around here, as the coop has gone up, is that it is big enough to be Uncle Mike’s room addition!  So now we say that Uncle Mike has a condo out back he shares with his twenty girlfriends, the chicks.

Uncle Mike's "condo" - did this coop grow on us?

Uncle Mike’s “condo” – did this coop grow on us?

The coop exterior was finished within a few days, and boy did it look

Ugly green turned out to be not so bad, it's just a chicken coop!

Ugly green turned out to be not so bad, it’s just a chicken coop!

huge!  Steve looked at it and wondered if he over-built!  It is off the ground a foot and 8 feet tall in the front, so it really looks big!  Mike brought us 4 gallons of unused old exterior paint that I at first thought was an ugly green.  (My only requirement for this coop was that it be “cute”!)  Ugly green was not going to do it, but it was free, s-o-o-o, we had to go with it.  Hey, it’s just a chicken coop!

Steve and I worked on the inside together.  Uncle Mike had given us some old shelves built with 2 x 4’s and OSB.  We took them partially apart and built nesting boxes out of them. We kind of had to jerry-rig it, so it turned out a little crooked, but hey, it’s just a chicken coop.

Taking apart the old shelves.

Taking apart the old shelves.

Old ladies can hammer, too!

Old ladies can hammer, too!

2 shelf units repositioned and combined, upside down, one shelf for the roof  - the perfect nesting boxes.  A little cock-eyed and about 150 pounds, but hey - free!

2 shelf units repositioned and combined, upside down, one shelf for the roof – the perfect nesting boxes. A little cock-eyed and about 150 pounds, but hey – free!

We built a slanted wall inside the coop at one end to make a storage area

Slanted wall at one end for storage area.

Slanted wall at one end for storage area.

and  put a cheap used door on it, into the coop side.  Then we sat down in the coop and started figuring out where everything was going to go, how we were going to build the roosts,  etc.  The shelf nesting boxes ended up too big for where we had wanted them, so some refiguring ensued. We scrapped the idea of an exterior door being cut into the coop side to gather eggs, since it looked like the nest boxes were going to have to go on the back wall.   We decided on a roost design and place, built it and put it up.  Then we had Nate and another strong young friend of his, help carry the nesting boxes out to the coop – too heavy for us old folks!

Nesting boxes in place along the back wall of the coop.

Nesting boxes in place along the back wall of the coop.

Then we built a feeder and waterer out of pickle buckets and hung them with chains from the rafters.  Used directions found online!  Love the DIY stuff!   See links for how-to.

We desperately needed the chicks out of the living room, ASAP, as we were having ceiling repaired, amidst all these other projects.  One repair was right over where the chickens were in the living room.  But the

These chicks have got to go!  Outside!

These chicks have got to go! Outside!

weather was still chilly and we worried that they wouldn’t be warm enough.  We hated to lose them after we’d gotten this far.  So we ordered a thermostat with an outlet on it from Amazon and got another heat lamp.  The next day, out to the coop they go!!

Psalm 127

Unless the Lord builds the house,  the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city,  the guards stand watch in vain.
In vain you rise early  and stay up late, toiling for food to eat— for he grants sleep to those he loves.

Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.

Like arrows in the hands of a warrior  are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man  whose quiver is full of them.  They will not be put to shame
when they contend with their opponents in court.

Steve’s Revery Continues – Chickens!

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Psalms from the Hive

by Jeannie Saum

Thirty- eight years of revery

Will it ever end?Product Details

From worms  to turkeys to bees

An idea comes ’round again.

This time it’s chickens, calling his name

A revery from long ago.

Now, he’s retired

Reinventing himself as a farmer.

Guess a farmer’s wife I’ll be.

Clover, Bee, and Revery

Reverie (revery) –(n.) state of dreamy meditation or fanciful musing; a fantastic, visionary, or impractical idea

 

My husband’s brain is going crazy again.  Now that he’s retired, he’s decided he’d really like to have chickens, too.  We’ve been buying fresh eggs down the road and really like them.  Steve has always had a hankering for farming and now that he has the time, he’s ready to dive in.  We’d also been reading a lot of books and magazines about homesteading, since we’d bought a remote cabin in Southern Ohio, and Steve kind of liked the idea of “growin’ his own”!

Me? Not so much.  While I love the thought of fresh eggs, I’m worried about the work involved, and getting stuck doing it!  I think about having to get up early to let them out and feed them.  I wonder if we’d still be able to go camping on the weekends, or down to our cabin, or travel some in our retirement.  I worry that we won’t be home in time to put them in at night.  And what about our kids’ dogs?  And the smell, and the mess, and the expense?  But then I think about baby chicks, and watching chickens scratching around in their yard.  And the fun of working on a project together with my husband.   Hm-m-m-m.  A lot to ponder.

I started doing research online – my usual modus operandi, since I am an information junkie like my father!  I read and read, and started thinking, “Maybe ducks instead of chickens!”  They’re supposed to be cleaner, require less care and tolerate heat and cold easier. And their eggs, though stronger tasting (we’ve never tried), are supposed to be in vogue for chefs and bakers.  I even bought Steve some books about ducks.!

Then one day, our daughter Bekah came home from her home-health job and said her elderly client used to have both ducks and chickens.  He told her that all of the above was true about ducks, BUT, they poop, big and messy, everywhere, and if you let them free range in your yard, you’d never be able to walk through it again!  Okay, never mind, on the ducks.

A few days later we went to our local beekeeping supplier’s farm to get some bee stuff.  While there, I noticed a pretty red hen running around and struck up a conversation with a customer.  He told me they had gotten the same type of chickens (Golden Comets) a year ago, in his retirement and had not found them too much work.  He told me about their auto-closing door, their large feed and watering containers that last for days, and how they handle weekend trips away and such.  He said they get almost an egg a day from each hen!  Okay, now I’m getting interested. . .

Gold Comet hen

Gold Comet hen

I finally acquiesced and told Steve to go ahead and inquire at the local feed store about chicks.  Just my luck, “CHICK DAYS” was coming up in ONE WEEK, and if we ordered now, we could get what we wanted, much cheaper than at another time.   AND, you had to order a minimum of 25!!  Holy, moly!  Chickens in a week was NOT what I was going for here! I was thinking a few months or so – time to get used to the idea, time to get supplies, time to build a coop, etc.  But no-o-o, that’s not how it goes around here.  We always seem to be in panic mode, always in over-drive!  What happened to that calm relaxing retirement?

Of course, Steve  called Pete and Laurie and asked of they wanted some, too (since they’d been talking about it with us), They said yes and Steve immediately put in his order for 25 baby Golden Comet chicks, of which we would keep 20!  Now the race was on.  We had a week to get a brooder box and supplies, find a place to put them in the house, and about 4-5 weeks to get a coop built!

How do we get ourselves into these predicaments!?

Isaiah 43

1 But now, this is what the LORD says– he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.

 3 For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead.

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