Re-Arranging Chickens

We spent a big part of the weekend moving chickens around. At this point, I think we’re making a bigger deal out of this than it should be because there’s no way we should be having so much trouble.

The coop pictures were all before we painted them!

Bigger Coop

In the big coop, we put the 13 chicks we got earlier this year. Ten red laying hens and 3 Black Tailed White Japanese Bantams. Nothing has changed there.  The four hens that had survived the dog attack got moved over with the 6 bantams but one of those hens was mean to the bantams so we put her in with the three Dominique chickens.  She has been harassing those two hens. The two Dominique hens are so docile and kind and that red hen spent her day terrorizing them. The rooster intervened some but I think he got tired of trying to stay between them.  Saturday night Vince said . . too bad for the red hen but I’m just putting her outside and we’ll see if she can make it on her own.

Small Coop

The small coop is just a little storebought coop but it’s been good for a nursery, a chicken jail and a chicken hospital.  Yesterday evening, before dark, I talked Vince into having mercy on the mean red hen and putting her in there. But, the three chicks we got a while back were in there so we decided to move the three red hens from the bantam coop and put them in with the Dominique chickens.

New Roommates

New Roommates

The seem fine!

Duplex

In the duplex, we had the three Dominique chickens – 2 hens and 1 rooster. They’ve been in the north side of the duplex since the beginning. In the south side of the duplex were the silkie bantams, who all died in the dog attack but 6 of the eggs they had been sitting on hatched so those 6 chicks were in there.

We put the three new chicks in with the 6 bantams. They aren’t exactly all thrilled to be living together but there wasn’t much bickering.

Bantam Coop Residents

Bantam Coop Residents

The six bantams are in the far corner and the three new chicks are in the foreground.

It has been frustrating for us and I know it’s been frustrating for the chickens! I surely hope they’re all in quarters where they can stay.

The Weather!

This is not what I wanted to see happening this late in the year!

Freeze!

Freeze!

This is not good on several levels.

First, there are fertile eggs in transit that should be arriving tomorrow so I can only hope they’ll be warm enough tonight. Second . . the garden and fruit trees will be damaged. We already lost the fruit crop on almost everything due to the late freezes when the trees were blooming but we do have small peaches and crab apples on the trees and we will lose those tonight. We have 40 mph wind gusts so covering the trees is impossible with this much wind.

In the garden, we have peppers, strawberries and potatoes blooming.

It’s a reminder that no matter how good (or bad) I am as a gardener, we’re at the mercy of the weather and elements. If it isn’t the drought or grasshoppers, it’s a late freeze. I never forget that gardening for me is a hobby. For my grandparents and those before them, feeding their families was dependent on having a successful garden. I’m disappointed and frustrated but by the end of the week, I’ll replant everything except potatoes . . it’s too late to start over with them. I’m thankful I’m physically able to get out there and do the work again, and thankful we live in a day when plants and seeds are available to purchase and that we can afford to buy them.

The old timers around here tell us that when the mesquite trees puts on leaves, then it’s safe to plant your garden.  Not true this year! Can I ever trust the mesquite trees again?  :)

Design Wall Monday – April 14, 2014

The sewing machine never once got turned on this week and I never added the other blocks I made week before last so the picture is the same one you’ve already seen. I keep seeing fabric that I think would make a beautiful One Block Wonders quilt but I’m not letting myself buy it til I finish this one!

One Block Wonders

One Block Wonders

Venison Jerky

The venison jerky is made. By the time Vince trimmed up all the meat, I ground the meat and weighed it and bagged it up,  Saturday was pretty much gone and it was too late to start the dehydrating so we stuck it all in the fridge and got started on seasoning and extruding the jerky this morning.

Vince Making Jerky

Vince Making Jerky

And a little dog is always right under our feet when there’s food involved!  You never know with someone might drop a little morsel.

Speck

Speck

Last year Vince bought the Weston Original Jerky Gun and this was the first time he used it and he was impressed. It was easy to use, easy to clean and the jerky made from ground meat was delicious and easier to eat than traditional sliced meat jerky.

Dehydrator

Dehydrator

By the time he was done, we had used all but two of the shelves in the dehydrator. I love the Excalibur Dehydrator and I think I’m going to go ahead and order a second one because in the summer, I need two of them running. I kept thinking I wasn’t going to order a second one because at least nine months out of the year, it sits on the shelf but last year, I dehydrated so many tomatoes for making tomato powder to add to gravy and soup; I dehydrated a ton of jalapeno peppers for jalapeno powder. I dehydrated okra that we’ve used for snacking and for soups. I’ve dehydrated onions and probably this week will dehydrate a bunch of chopped green onions. We looked at the Cabela’s dehydrator online today but I think we’re going to go with the Excalibur again.

Jerky

Jerky

We made four different flavors of jerky and I think we liked the hot & spicy one the best. From 10 pounds of meat, we ended up with between 4 and 5 pounds of jerky. There’s still a good bit of venison in the freezer so very soon, we’ll be making more jerky using this method.