May 28 2012

Hangin’ With the Boys, Pickin’ Up Chicks

hangin' with the boys, pickin' up chicks

The girls have been moved into their coop full-time now. They’re just about fully feathered now, and they were telling me as clearly as chickens can (pretty clearly, actually!) that they were sick of the brooder box. Most domestic animals, I think, are basically good at communicating their needs to humans: it’s kind of a prerequisite for making the whole thing work. Anyway, the chicks were flapping all around in their box, roosting on the side and pooping on our floor, squawking loudly to be taken outside at the break of dawn, and scolding and haranguing me at night when I brought them back in. They seem much happier now that they’re in the coop full-time.

I’m starting to let them go out a bit in the larger yard, too, as you can see. But they’re still quite little, and I’m concerned about roaming cats. So they won’t get to be outside without supervision until they’ve grown up. Eventually they’ll have the run of the backyard all day long. The fun thing about chickens is that they put themselves away at night—when the sun goes down, they file back into their coop, no chasing or herding required. They are little homebodies at heart.

Here’s a close-up of their beautiful feathering:


May 27 2012



I finally planted my garden! I’m an absolute novice gardener so I don’t expect that everything will take, but I’m super excited to have home-grown veggies this summer. I’m basically doing square foot gardening—densely planted raised beds—though I kinda just eyeballed the grid. We got the vegetable starts at Whole Foods (which in turn bought them from a nursery in Sebastopol).

From front to back we’ve got: a pot of strawberries, parsley, two basil plants, two different heirloom tomatoes and “super sweet 100” cherry tomatoes, oregano, eggplant, artichoke, summer squash, chives, “green dragon” cucumbers, zucchini, and mint. (Some of those plants are going to need stakes, but we haven’t done that yet.) The back row is planted with okra from seed, so we’ll see if that sprouts.

The second garden bed is slowly being filled with compost. Next year I’ll plant that one too, but we’re starting small.

May 21 2012

Chicks, Three Weeks

Genevieve, perched on the side of her brooder:


I know it’s Genevieve because Robin told me so. You can see she’s looking a bit ratty, as her chick fluff is being steadily replaced by adult feathers, but I think her adult coloring is gorgeous too. Genny’s the biggest of the chicks, and the one most interested in getting up to perch on the side of the box. I take them out to the coop most days, now, and they all really like the time outdoors. But they also still seem to appreciate the warmth of the heat lamp at night. It’s probably going to be at least another week before I can move them out full-time.

May 19 2012

Day at the Park


Today Robin’s school held a neat fund-raiser: called the “Big Wheel-a-Thon,” it was structured as a race with the kids doing laps on their Big Wheel bikes. The idea was that you’d sponsor your kid, pledge a dollar a lap or whatever, but in practice nobody was keeping track of how many laps they actually completed. It was more a “donate what you feel like” kind of event: and the race had only winners.

Here’s Robin coming around the bend:


Unlike most of the other boys, he’s perfectly happy to ride on a pink bike. I, um, may have told him that the pink ones go faster.

Here’s a close-up of our little athlete:


Davy wanted to get in on the action too, but he was confined to the lower playground:


They also had face-painting, games, food, art projects, and lots of fun stuff. And Robin’s Nanita was in town to cheer him on, so that made it extra special. Robin’s been spoiled for grandparents lately: he was thrilled to see his Pappy and Nonna last weekend, and we even drove down to Pleasanton on Mother’s Day so the boys could spend a little time with his great-grandparents. (The “awww” moment during that visit was Davy, toddling straight up to his great-grandfather with his arms raised high: Pick me up, Grandpa Wayne!) These kids, they love their extended family so. much.

Though I have to say, that boy bullies his Nanita mercilessly. After we got home from the park, it was all: “Mom, I want to play Angry Birds on your computer!”

“No, not right now,” I said. Next thing I know? My mom has pulled out her Kindle, downloaded the app, and Robin is curled in her lap happily playing Angry Birds: Space.

“I love you, Nanita,” he said contentedly.

“Will you always love me?” she said.

“Yes,” he said, emphatically.

I don’t think it’s that his heart is easily bought. I think he just knows love pretty well, being surrounded by it and all. He recognizes it quickly, returns it easily, takes it for granted but renews it inexhaustibly. Him and his brother both: they’re sweet little boys. They know a good grandparent when they see one.

May 16 2012

Pearls of Wisdom

If you ever have cause to ask yourself, “What did I just step in?”—then you have already lost.

May 11 2012

Change of View

It’s super warm today. And the girls seemed restless, flapping around in their brooder box and fighting over their own poop. (It’s pretty frequent that one chick will spy something dark and bug-sized hidden in the pine shavings, and start scratching and pecking at it to see if it is a bug, and then her sisters will come over to see what she’s got and whether they can take it from her, and that’s how you end up with three chicks fighting over their own poop. They are extremely cute, but their beauty is matched neither by their cleanliness nor by their intelligence.)

So, I decided to take them out to the coop for the first time. I only planned to have them stay out for a couple hours, but they seem to be having such a grand time in there, roaming all around and scratching in the dirt, that I guess I’ll let them enjoy it as long as it’s still warm. The coop is predator-safe, and I figure it will do them good to have actual bugs to fight over.

UPDATE: No, actually, after having been exposed to real bugs, they’re now going after their poops with twice the vigor. Sheesh, girls.

May 10 2012

Chicks Chicks Chicks


And a funny chick joke:


I’ve been told that the important thing is to make sure you’re holding their wings to their sides, and supporting them from underneath.

May 9 2012

Chicks, Week Two

I think my girls have probably doubled in size this past week. They’re starting to, quite literally, stretch their wings, and even hop/fly up to perch on the side of their box. This probably means they need a bigger box.

Starting next week, if the weather stays as warm as it has been, I’ll be able to take them outside to their coop for a few hours at a time. I’m sure they’ll have fun exploring the big henhouse and scratching in the grass of their enclosed run, even though they can’t yet be allowed to roam freely in the yard. They are still little babies. Just not quite so little as they used to be.

May 6 2012

Bunny Hunt

Last week Robin’s school took a field trip to a park, where they staged a “bunny hunt.” It wasn’t my work day so I’m not entirely sure what-all they got up to, except that one of the other parents sent me this completely adorable picture:

bunny hunt

Robin came home with his face painted like a rabbit, and a bag of chocolate and small stuffed toys, and a propensity to hop around the house shrieking “I’m a bunny! I’m a bunny!” So I think it was a good day.

May 4 2012

Happy Birthday Grandmama!

I just wanted to wish my grandmother a happy birthday today. She’s 88 and in great health. Hope you have a wonderful day, Grandmama! You’re an inspiration.