Hope you all had a great Christmas and New Year and are surviving the winter weather. Here are a few pics from the last couple of months.
Jess turned this oak stump into…..
this bowl and gave it to my mom for Christmas. He claims he broke every tool he has on it. (I think it was worth it) 😉
My ladies did not think much of all the snow and ice.
they finally started earning their keep!! I’m getting 8 or 9 eggs a day now.
We’ve had snow and ice and slush and rain and now mud….more moisture than we know what to do with!
We got to go sledding….
Guess who had the most fun!?
Rebel LOVES the snow and the excitement of sledding turned him into a little terror!!
With all the snow and ice the chickens weren’t able to get out and munch on any greens so I started sprouting wheat for them. They LOVED it and it’s much easier for them to digest than whole wheat kernels.
We also fed them dried sun flower heads that we had saved from the garden.
Just a few random pics from January.
Can’t believe February is already here!! Have a good one everybody!
We harvested 4 wheelbarrow loads of squash and pumpkins out of the garden! We gave away A LOT and still have plenty to eat through the winter.
I’m so happy with our onion harvest this year.
Jo’s puppy, Rebel.
The cutest nephew came to visit!
Jo made shrimp egg rolls for a school project. They were honestly the best I’ve ever tasted….she got an A, I LOVE homeschooling. 🙂
We also finished harvesting the sunflowers. The chickens will love these this winter.
The barn owl came back for a visit.
Warning, scary chicken ahead…..
Poor, poor, poor Tiny….molting season is not being good to her! Last month she won a grand champion ribbon and this month she would definitely win the ugliest chicken award. 🙂
These little ladies out grew the small coop so we moved them to the big one. I keep pointing to the nesting boxes and telling them to get with it! Unfortunately, I still have two months to wait.
Love all the fall colors!
These two have been giggling for days because we are headed to the Oregon Coast on Monday. Their bags have been packed for about a week now. 🙂
I just got an Instagram account and I’m a little obsessed! (it’s so fun!) So come follow along! (the icon is above my picture at the top of this screen) I’ll be sharing photos of our beach trip next week, and any other pics I snap with my phone.
August was a blur!! Birthdays, dogs, 4-H books, fires, harvesting, dogs, the fair, starting school, butchering chickens, and did I mention dogs? I thought about writing a post called “How to say no to more dogs”….wait, we don’t know how to say no to more dogs. I guess the post should be called “How to spend $2,436.70 on dog food every month”.
(OK, I exaggerated a little, or a lot, but SHEEEESH!)
Anyway, here are a few pics of our crazy August.
The chicks I ordered at the beginning of August are all doing very well. Four more months and we should have fresh eggs again, at least more than two a day!
I love grocery shopping in the garden!!
We got a new food processor!! Just in time to help with harvest. Thanks Aunt Stella!!!! We LOVE it! (Can you tell by the look on Mary’s face?)
This is Mary’s bantam hen “Tiny” and that is a small snake she has. She stole it from one of the other hens and slurped it down like a noodle! I had a little trouble keeping my breakfast down after watching that.
In my last post I mentioned that we told Jo that she could have a puppy for her 11th birthday. It took a little while to find one, but she did.
I really don’t think he could be any cuter and she is IN LOVE! Meet Rebel:
Two days after she brought Rebel home, Jade came home and brought his dog. He had to leave him with us because he couldn’t find a house or apartment where he could keep a pit bull.
Seriously!? Who could not love that face!!
We missed Gunner and are glad to have him back! The other dogs missed him too and Rebel thinks Gunner is his best buddy. They spend hours wrestling around the house…..highly entertaining for us!
We had some interesting sunsets in August because of some horrible fires in the area.
The girls did AWESOME at the fair with their chickens!
Mary got Grand Champion Market Chicken and Jo got Reserve Champion Market Chicken! They both got blue ribbons in showmanship and Mary’s chicken “Tiny” (the one eating the snake above) was the Grand Champion of her breed! They also did VERY well with their 4-H books. All that hard work paid off……literally. They both sold their chickens at the market livestock sale and got $250.00 and $375.00…..for CHICKENS that only cost them 10 dollars to raise!!!! We live in a great community with great people that support our kids! Of course their Papa and Grandma also helped in this area 😉
The last day of the fair the girls and I enjoyed watching the rodeo and Jo took a bunch of pictures.
And then there is the cutest nephew EVER!
The garden is still over flowing!
My sunflowers grew 13 feet tall!
This is the first time I’ve ever been successful growing cabbage!
After the fair we started off our home school year with a field trip to OMSI. (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.)
It was a great day and a wonderful way to start off the school year!! We are easing our way into a full school week. The rest of their books will be here next week so we will be in full swing after that!
Hope you all had a wonderful August too and are getting used to the cooler weather!
Two summers ago we raised several Cornish Cross Meat Chickens. Meat chickens were a brand new adventure for us and even though we lost a couple and taking them to the fair was a disaster, we had fun, and they tasted GREAT! I blogged about the whole experience and you can read each weeks post starting here.
This year my girls wanted to take meat chickens to the fair again but didn’t want to take Cornish Cross. I did some research and Ranger Broilers seemed to be the next obvious choice. They are bred to be a fast growing meat chicken just like the Cornish Cross, but they are good foragers; unlike the Cornish Cross that like to sit in front of the feeder and stuff themselves. I am excited about comparing these two breeds.
We ordered 15 chicks from Meyer Hatchery and they arrived June 11th. When we got them home we realized that they had sent us an extra chick. A few days later, I began to suspect that the extra chick was a Cornish Cross. A few days after that I was sure of it, now I can compare the two breeds while they grow!!
All 16 chicks were active, cute, and very entertaining. All of us agree these are the quietest chicks we’ve ever had.
At 2 weeks they are still pretty cute but that doesn’t last for long.
As you can see the Cornish Cross sticks out like a green bean in a fruit salad…..ok, that was bad, but I was trying to come up with something other than “he sticks out like a sore thumb” and well, that’s the only “appropriate” one I could think of.
We weighed them at 4 weeks.
The Ranger broilers weighed in at an average of 2 pounds 6 ounces, and the Cornish Cross weighed 2 pounds 10 ounces. At 4 weeks they have eaten about 60 lbs. of feed. As soon as I think they are big enough we will let them out for at least a couple hours every day so they can forage for grass and bugs. So far, other than growing just a bit slower than the Cornish Cross the only difference between the two breeds is that the Rangers seem to be more curious and friendly.
I’ll post an update in a few weeks and then a final post after we butcher them at the end of August. Thanks for following along!
Back in April the girls picked out 4 bantam chicks at the feed store. Oh what cute little fluff balls they were! (click here to see pics) Those chicks are now four months old and will be going to the fair next month. I didn’t want more than one rooster and that’s what we ended up with. He is a very handsome (obnoxious) little guy and the three little pullets are just adorable and sweet. The only problem we have is we’re not sure what breeds they are. So I’m going to share some pictures and if anyone out there knows what breed they are the girls and I would LOVE to here from you. I did do a little research and I have a few guesses but I would like to know for sure. It would be great to have the correct breeds to write on the entry forms for the fair!
Meet Chocolate…..better known as Little Pecker.
This is Tiny, she is so very sweet.
This is Rayven, she is very gentle and just beautiful!
This is Peep, she is loud and can fly farther than any of our chickens!
April was incredibly busy, but full of amazing cuteness. 😀
We started off the month with our spring break. I figured it was a good time to bring home our first batch of chicks for this year. The girls want to take bantams to the fair in August so they picked out four bantam chicks at the feed store.
This batch of chicks brought with them a lot of firsts for us. Our first bantams, our first brooder in the house, and our first time using a EcoGlow Brooder instead of a heat lamp. This was also our first time picking chicks that we didn’t know the sex or the breed. The only thing we were sure of was that they were CUTE!
I will miss the day when my youngest kiddo outgrows bringing me dandelion bouquets. 🙂
We bought 10 blueberry bushes. We weren’t ready for them, but they were too cheap to pass up. (I LOVE blueberries!)
We enjoyed some great weather during April.
The photo bombing dog strikes again…..
Our old mower was unable to be revived this spring so Digger and Jade brought home a new one. (well, new to us) It was great to find something local that we needed just in time that’s in great shape for a fair price! Little Chef was super excited to get a new mower; she does lots of the mowing.
Last years green onions starting to bloom. I thought they were beautiful.
We got the garden cleaned up which was no easy task considering we neglected it last fall and then digger tilled it, pretty or not. 🙂
We had a wonderful Easter celebrating our Lords resurrection with family, friends and great food!
The girls and I got to take a trip to Newport, Oregon with my mom and a few of my siblings. This was the view from our beach house!
We visited the aquarium and the science center while we where there too. What fun places! This was perfect for Jo as she’s doing a report at school on Orcas. 🙂
Little Chef LOVED the music room at Ripley’s Believe It Or Not.
Jo’s cat Boots had four kittens in mid April. This one has been named Sky. Jo has been in kitty heaven!!
The super cute chicks at the beginning of this post grew quite a bit over the month and aren’t as cute any more. They have graduated from being in the house and have been moved to the shop. This is a picture of their first trip outside. They now spend a few hours outside in the little pen each day.
I am very excited to announce that this is the VERY FIRST guest post here at the Red Double Wide. The best part is, that it was written by my husband! I had a blast reading this post even though I had already heard the story first hand. If you enjoy it too, please leave a comment to let him know!
Hello! I’m the husband of the “Queen”. Here she calls me “Digger”, elsewhere she calls me other things. If you haven’t guessed; I’m a subgrade contractor (think heavy equipment) and I dig for customers all over this county, but this story isn’t about me. A good friend of mine was helping to finish excavation of a painfully slow trench on Saturday while I ran some errands. He’s a contractor as well, and we have been working together quite a bit the last few years. So much so the girls have taken to calling him “Uncle Tom”, but this story isn’t about him either.
I returned to the jobsite from home near noon; a twenty plus minute commute, several miles of which is gravel and none to smooth. I parked next to the customers shop and followed the trenchline down the hill and through the trees to where Tom was still digging. He seemed content enough to keep scratching away at the dense clay subsoil, so I headed back up the hill for tools to level a transformer pad. That’s when I saw the chicken…
Now please understand that my brain didn’t process what my eyes were seeing straight away. My eyes are used to seeing chickens running around all the time, especially this particular breed of chicken, but I’m thinking about the work at hand. It’s Saturday (a day I prefer to spend with family), half my day was ate up due to prior obligations, and Tom is here trying to help me get caught up before the utility company shows up Monday morning to install.
As my feet carried me several steps closer to the truck, my mind was thinking; “Huh,… someone around here has the same breed of chicken we do.” My next thought was the fact that “around here” was nothing but woods. No close neighbors, no buildings aside from the customers new shop, and most notably there are no fences. Nothing but overgrown pine, scrub oak, and now a loose chicken accustomed to a free range life. Uh oh…!
I tried to call Grace thinking she could count her chickens and tell me if one is missing (or more to the point, hoping one isn’t), but no answer. I called the owner of the property (who lives 2,000 mi. away) to ask if he’d ever seen chickens roaming around this place, but he was sure he hadn’t. The small flicker of hope I’d had vanished. I told him “I think I have a problem. One of the Queens’ chickens stowed away on my truck, and I’m staring at it right now.” His immediate laughter made it clear he understood just how much fun trying to catch a chicken in the thick brush covering this hillside would be. The small pine and oak had grown like dog hair, and,… well,… you do the math.
When he stopped laughing we touched briefly on the project, and then he asked a favor. Would I mind disposing of some fruit he’d left in a cooler outside the door the week before? “No problem”, I said, and immediately filed that little chore away for later. I had to figure out what to do with this dang chicken!
I knew what had happened. There’s a fair gap between the bottom of the dump bed and the top of the fuel tank between the frame rails on my truck. Just about the right height for a chicken. For some reason OUR chickens feel compelled to jump up in there periodically, scratch around at nothing I can see, and bail out again at their leisure. I don’t know why; they’re chickens! They do all kinds of goofy stuff I can’t explain. Typically they leave when I start the truck, so no problem. Anyway, that’s HOW she got here, (and boy howdy that must of been some ride) but now what do I do about it?
I briefly considered how much trouble I’d be in with Grace when I got home if I simply ignored the bird and went back to work. Yea, right. Capture was a must and I knew it, but I couldn’t just walk up and catch the dang thing; I had to corner it somehow. This was looking like a two man job. I took a deep breath, glared hard at the chicken (willing it to stay put), and let out a sigh of resignation. As much as I didn’t want to interrupt Tom’s progress I headed back down the trenchline to recruit his help. When I explained the situation he laughed out loud… Why does everyone think this is funny?
By the time we got back up to the truck the chicken was gone (of course). Tom went right, and I went left hoping to surround the general area we thought it must be in. This is about the time Grace decided to return my call. She was still in town and not yet finished shopping. I explained what was going on,… SHE didn’t laugh. I’d already been considering just what to do with the little bugger once caught, but the options were few, and there was NO WAY I was turning a chicken loose in the cab of my truck. I asked if she could bring the carrier we use to transfer critters out to us after she got home. “Sure, fine”, but she wouldn’t be home for a few more hours. As my eyes searched the acres of woods for the small brown bird I said, “This could take that long.”
I heard it! The sound came from the direction Tom had gone and I followed it through the trees. I saw the little trouble maker just before I saw Tom… Now, to better understand what I was seeing, you need to know that Uncle Tom is not a small man. Well over six feet tall and something beyond two hundred pounds,… on his hands and knees crawling through the brush making chicken noises! Not only that, but the sounds he was making were remarkably convincing. It occurred to me that what I’d heard may not have been the chicken at all. I struggled to stifle my laughter not wanting to alarm the bird, and began maneuvering to trap it between us.
An hour or so later, having repeatedly tried and failed to grab the dang thing (picture headlong, prostrate dive), we resorted to steering our quarry through the trees with long sticks back down the hill toward the truck. Every cluck was a taunt! This chicken was laughing at us, and it wouldn’t shut up! We finally managed to push it out of the brush next to my trailer where it immediately took refuge. It didn’t take long to realize retrieving her out from under the trailer with sticks was hopeless. At this point Tom and I agreed that spending a beautiful Saturday afternoon being outsmarted by a chicken wasn’t our idea of recreation. I shared that I was wishing one of my daughters were there. She’d just call “Here chick, chick, chick.” and the thing would come a runnin’. Or maybe my dog? Nah, he’d fail to see the point. A gun!… Now there’s a tempting idea.
We sat on the trailer awhile considering options when I remembered the little favor the customer had asked of me. The FRUIT!!! Why had I not thought about the dang fruit until now? I went and brought it back to the trailer where we set some out as bait a couple feet beyond the birds new sanctuary. Tom sat on the trailer above it laying in wait. Oh yea,… She wanted that sweet smelling fruit bad. Really bad… But this chicken was quick and cunning. Several failed attempts later we decided to let “her” rest awhile. (Well,… it was hot! She needed a break!)
I told Tom, “You know this chicken is going to be given a name when I bring it home.” Tom knows the story of Stinky and is aware of a few other birds at my place that have been named and why. He thought a moment, then looked at me with a grin and simply said “Traveler”.
FINALLY!!! With an impressive snatch Tom had her! The little beast was contained! Victory was ours! The intellectual prowess of two middle aged contractors had ultimately prevailed! Umm,… So now what do we do with her?… I hadn’t heard from Grace, and there was STILL no way that chicken was being set loose in the cab of my truck,… So,… “Let’s hogtie her”! Tom had some string in his truck, and she really didn’t struggle all that bad while I tied her feet together. He set her down next to the fruit and water, at which point she immediately stood up and started to quickly hop away. Brilliant!… I took a longer length of string and tied her to the trailer as a lead so she couldn’t get far. In a few moments she succumbed to her defeat, realizing any attempt to escape was futile and settled for a feast of overly ripe peach and plumb.
I was finishing a couple small things on the project when Grace called. She was still some while off and it was looking like I’d have to come back the next day to finish the trench anyway, so I told her to stay home and I’d be along soon. I figured the bird could ride in the bed of my truck hogtied and tethered, but the Queen wasn’t very pleased with this suggestion. I told her I’d figure something out and went back to finish up so “Traveler” could go home.
I wound up stealing the small Styrofoam cooler the fruit had been in from my customer, and still hogtied put the little pain in the butt inside. She rode back with me without complaint on the passenger side floorboard; a piece of plywood for a lid kept her trapped, and yes, Traveler was very happy to be home.
Uncle Tom kept digging for a few more hours after I left, and I finished the excavation Sunday after church (a day I strongly feel is for faith and family). The family agreed with “Uncle Tom” as to what the perfect name for this chicken should be, so it remains…
This is a post for all you Stinky fans out there. If you’ve never heard of Stinky and want to know how Stinky got her name and why she is so special to us, click here.
When my girls picked out the hens they wanted to take to the fair. Stinky was an obvious choice. She is the most docile of all our chickens (given her history) and very easy to handle.
Over the past few weeks Jo, has been packing her around, singing to her, and training her to stand on the picnic table. When you show a chicken they should stand on the table in front of you without being held there.
A few times while Jo was “training” Stinky I would hear her firmly say “Stinky, you stay right here, I’ll be right back”. She would leave the chicken on the table, run in the house to tell me something “exciting” or grab something “important” and then run back out. That darn chicken would stay right where she was told every time, and Jo seemed to have absolute confidence Stinky would be there when she got back every time!
When fair time rolled around, I was not worried about Stinky. 🙂
Here she is taking her first bath in preparation for the fair.
It must have been an exhausting experience because as soon as the bath was over she had a snooze….. 🙂
We started our drive to the fair with the hens in a kennel. Stinky however, would not behave herself and kept picking on poor Goldie. She wound up riding on Jo’s lap… (I suspect a conspiracy here!)
Jo made sure Stinky got plenty of outside time and they both met new friends.
Meet two of Stinky’s new friends: Fire and Afro 😀
Show time was a little nerve-wracking for both of them. But all that “training” paid off!
We always knew she was a blue ribbon chicken!!
After four eventful days at the fair Stinky was VERY happy to be home with the rest of the ladies!
If you’ve been following along on our Cornish Cross raising adventure, brace yourself for an eventful week 7! If you are new to our little adventure you might want to check out the first six weeks: week 1 – week 2 – week 3 – week 4 – week 5 – week 6
My girls ages 9 and 10 chose to take two of our Cornish Cross to the fair this year and sell them at the market livestock sale. Our family has always shown and sold sheep, but with a lack of fencing and the fact that chickens are far less expensive to raise, we encouraged chickens this year…..a mistake?? Maybe….
Our 4-H leader, who knows WAY more about chickens than we do, advised that we pick a couple of our roosters to take to the fair because of their size. So on Wednesday afternoon the girls each picked out a rooster and we set to work getting them cleaned up. The girls also took two laying hens to the fair, which made a total of seven baths that afternoon…..four chicken baths then three people baths, getting chickens clean is a dirty job!
I was dreading this part, but other than a few soggy, soapy chicken wings slapping us in the face and one mom and two girls chasing a soaking wet hen around the yard……it went very well. 😀
It was a nice, warm, day so it didn’t take them long to dry off….and we were off to the fair!
Both Cornish Cross weighed in at 6.6 pounds (to sell they have to weigh between 4 and 7 pounds) and after a vet check we settled them into their cages. They were the only Cornish Cross in the barn…we live in a small county! I noticed right away that they didn’t really like walking on the wire cages, it was very different than our lawn. The poultry barn was hot, and this breed doesn’t do well in the heat. They plopped down in their cages, spread their wings out away from their bodies and started panting. (this is normal; this is how they act when they are hot) I was a little worried, but It was starting to cool off by then and I figured in a couple hours they would be fine….and they were. The next morning they looked great and we kept an eye on them throughout the day.
Thursday night I received a phone call that I was to immediately remove my daughters chickens from the fair grounds. The vet said they were sick and not going to make it through the night! As I approached the barn I saw the vet outside and asked him what the problem was. He said that our chickens had bloody wings, sores on their feet, their feathers were falling out, and they couldn’t stand up!?!?!?! My brief attempt at defending this breed and these birds in particular was oddly met with “I know, I know” and some reference to PETA. In short the vet made it very clear that he had made a decision, it was his call, and the birds had to go. Yes, I argued….no, I did not scream, yell, cuss, kick, bite, or hit, like I was tempted to do at that moment. (we’re talking about some major restraint here folks)
I removed the chickens with tears in my eyes and two little girls full of questions I couldn’t answer. 🙁
When we got home I took the kennel into the shop and opened the door. Both chickens walked out and I began checking them over. I had the Vetericyn out to spray any hurt wings or sores…..there was no need for Vetericyn. I was relieved to not find any sores, but at the same time was very frustrated!
After we took some pictures we put the chickens back in the pen with the rest of the meat chickens. The next morning, the chickens “that weren’t going to make it through the night” were just fine. When I opened the gate to give them breakfast they all ran to me. (Well, as well as Cornish Cross can run anyway) In fact, four days later as I write this they are still fine!
By the time we got back to the fair grounds the next morning our 4-H leader had heard about what had happened,… and she was none to happy!! We ended up filing a grievance with the fair board and attending a board meeting on Saturday morning. (This filled me with some measure of anxiety by the way, I am not one for confrontation) The board was very kind to listen to our complaint. I stated that I believed the whole situation was handled poorly and I didn’t want this to happen to more kids in the future. They said that everyone needs more education about this hybrid chicken, and market chickens should have cages on the floor so they don’t have to walk on wire mesh.
I agree with the board that more education is needed,(like how to tell an ugly, hot chicken apart from a sick or injured chicken) and maybe some misconceptions about this bird can get cleared up. (at least at our little county fair) I intend on writing several more posts about Cornish Cross and we will be making several educational posters to hang up at the fair next year….. whether we enter Cornish Cross or not. The fair was not a total bust, the girls had tons of fun showing their hens and hanging out with friends. They are already talking about next year. 😀
Next week I will share about our last week and our very first butchering day.
I want to say thank you, thank you, thank you to our wonderful 4-H leader Linda. She was so much help in our meat chicken raising experience and is always available to answer our questions. She helped with 4-H books, the fair entry process, and when things got crazy at the fair, she stood by us, helped with the grievance process, and even went to the board meeting with us. Linda….YOU ROCK!!!! 😀