Sep 16, 2015

Four Roosters and Two Hens

The turkeys and chickens have grown in leaps and bounds this summer. We have come to find out that we have 1 Tom Turkey and 1 hen turkey. When we got them, we knew the gender of each was completely in the air. And I'll be sad when the day comes to say goodbyes to these two. They both have quite the personalities. Both are protectors of the coop and chickens and love to "talk" to us. 

Christmas, the hen, is not shy at all and basically comes running when we enter the coop. Just Monday night, when the lighting was right, I entered to try and take some pictures. Thanksgiving, the tom, put on quite the show for me, but I was slightly uneasy the whole time as I was afraid Christmas was going to charge or peck me. Instead, she just photobombed Thanksgiving a few times. And she made it very hard to get to the chickens. 

As for the chickens, we expected to get a Rooster or two out of the six chicks as the sexing of chickens is not always accurate and does have a fail rate. And while I was weeding the garden a month or so ago, I heard the first crow. And then a heard a second crow within seconds. Upon inspection I discovered that two of our three black chickens were in fact Roosters, as they proudly crowed for me. But, looking at them and comparing them to the others, I quickly began to suspect that two of our red chickens were also roosters based on the comb development on their heads. 

The next weekend my suspicions were confirmed when again, while weeding in the garden I began to hear some crowing. And this time it was the two red chickens I had suspected were roosters proudly crowing for me.

So yes, of the six chicks we purchased, we ended up with four freaking Roosters. And these aren't chickens good for meat. So basically we have been feeding them and giving them a plush little life. 

That's not going to last much longer. Don't get me wrong, they are beautiful, which is why I was trying to get some good pictures of them the other night. Unfortunately, they did not want to cooperate. And we would consider keeping one, as I am growing accustomed to the crowing in the morning, and enjoying it. 

My mood changed about whether to keep one or not when I was checking the birds recently. I noticed Christmas had scabs all over her wattle and was even missing feathers at the base of her neck. The very next day I watched a rooster chase her out of the coop. And a few days after that I watched a rooster attack Thanksgiving from above. The rooster jumped down onto him while he he was walking under the coop ramp. None of this was ok with me and made me realize we literally had a giant cock fight on our hands as the roosters tried to establish the pecking order. 

We have actually already taken care of one of the roosters, which I have plans to make into a chicken pot pie soup. And most likely, by the end of the weekend, the rest will be gone as well. At this point we're just throwing money away feeding them any how.

The worst is we had just started to get eggs from our two hens. Now, either seeing one of the roosters "disappear" or the actual cock fighting may have traumatized them enough to stop laying. I'm hoping once the roosters are gone, the hens will start laying again. And next year, we're getting chicks from another place.

Sep 11, 2015

New Traditions Are Born - Labor Day Weekend

Since London began Kindergarten, Cameron and I have jumped right in, involving ourselves as much as we can with the school and associated clubs. We have quickly learned what a big deal Labor Day is to the school.

The school is one of three that feeds into the high school the girls will attend. All the students come from the surrounding small, rural towns in the area. And on Labor Day, the schools and towns come together for a day of festivities in the high school's town city center. The day starts off with a pancake breakfast and drinks. Mid-morning is the Labor Day parade down the main street and the afternoon is filled with lunch booths, vendor wares for sale, a Giant Vegetable Contest and a Silent Auction/Raffle booth. And all money raised throughout the day from all the different events and booths gets divided between the four schools.

The long, labor day weekend is spent prepping for the big day.

Saturday started off with all four of us heading over to one of London's classmates house to help with the Kindergarten Parade Float. We'd missed the original planning night before Back to School night as Cameron and I had an long weekend in Vegas with friends already planned. The least we could do was help with whatever concept had been created. And this way London would get to know some of her classmates better and we'd get to start to know some of the parents at the school.

Turns out, while the concept for how the kids would dress had been decided, how the float would look hadn't been discussed much. One mother was making long banners to line the float sides on either side, presenting our theme of "Not All Heroes Wear Capes" (the day's theme was "Small Town, Super Powers" but outside some patriotic streamers, bows and fringe, that was all for the float. The few other parents that showed up admitted they weren't very creative but were happy to help. One mom suggested a cityscape to put on the side of the float but with the banners, that wouldn't work. That's when Cameron & I suggested a larger cityscape made of plywood to go between the hay bales in the middle of the float. In a few minutes, Cameron was even able to draw it out to give the other parents a visual. They loved it. And so we agreed to meet back later that afternoon.

Cameron and I were tasked with creating the plywood cuts outs and getting the necessary paint, as well as priming the plywood before going back. Luckily, the same parents and more were able to make it back that afternoon to help paint the cityscape we had created. London and Sydney had a blast playing with the other kids and getting to tour the dairy that London's classmate's family owns and runs. The family was also quite kind to donate pizza and soda to the cause as we were there until about 7:30 that night.

Sunday we pretty much played catch up at home and got errands and chores done for the weekend. That evening I completed the giant toothbrush I was constructing for London's costume for the float. She'd decided to be a dentist for the float. I think that decision was based largely on her losing her second tooth that week.

The toothbrush was a big hit the next morning, when we met up with everyone once again to put the final touches on the float, including the patriotic streamers and flare, as well as the awesome banners the one mom had made. Sadly, our float only came in second in the competition. And most of everyone I have spoken to since then have agreed the kids float should have gotten 1st - London's teacher thought up the concept and it was the most creative. The float that one just had kids dressed up in Super Hero costumes and a plain cityscape backdrop. Did I mention our cityscape had a barn and silo, Sheriff's office, the kids' school and a Fire station? Yeah, way more creative. Oh well. It was fun and nice to get to know some people associated wit London's school better.

After the parade, Cameron took the girls home. After a week of mid-80 degree weather, Labor Day started the week at 95 and we have since gone into triple digits! So much for the end of Summer. I, on the other hand, stuck around. We've joined the school's Parents Club and I had volunteered to man the cotton candy/water/soda booth that afternoon. And since there was a lack in volunteers, it was really only one other mother and myself, along with her best friend for 3 hours. At least we were able to give the moms that had manned the pancake breakfast since 6 AM a break!

By the time I got home, I was exhausted. The four of us settled in on the couch to watch the 3rd Night at the Museum movie before the girls went to bed. I followed them shortly after, passing out from exhaustion by 8:30 PM!