Friday Farm Fotos: Spring chicks

It's just part of having chickens. They get old. And stop laying.
And die.
Of course, around here they always die of natural causes....
Once a hen's laying days are over on the Fraker Farm, they get put "out to pasture" so to speak. In other words, I turn them out every morning and let them spend their days roaming and foraging to their hearts content, and I figure if they become a meal for a predator at least they died happy, since most chickens think it's heaven to get to free-range at all, let alone all day long.
I usually don't keep more than 4 or 5 laying hens at a time anymore simply because I stopped selling (and giving away) eggs and the feed is too expensive to justify keeping more hens than we need to in order to have enough eggs for two people.
I bought four Red Star chicks a few years ago, after having only Rhode Island Reds as my primary layers for many years. I fell in love with these calm, beautiful girls right away. Even as chicks they were so sweet and curious... I could stick my hand down in their box and instead of freaking out like most breeds do, they would come to my hand and peck at my wedding band along with any mole or freckle they thought might need inspecting.
The Four Hens of the Apocalypse (as they came to be known after what they would do to the mulch in my flower beds) lived the good life... they were almost five and their egg-laying parts had slowed down considerably so they started spending their days outside the coop. Unfortunately, one fell victim to a predator, and I lost two more to some mystery chicken illness soon after. I only have the one remaining hen, and she prefers to spend her days hanging out in the sheep barn, but occasionally she comes to the back door and waits for a treat.
Ah, the golden years. :)

I knew this would probably be the year I would need to get some new egg-layers, and I'd already made up my mind to get more Red Stars. Besides, the feed store where I always bought chicks never has a big selection of large breeds to choose from.
Wouldn't you know, this was the year they decided to carry some of my "dream" chickens... Buff Orpingtons. I've always wanted some of these big beautiful birds... sometimes just saying the regal name "Orpington" would make me smile and sigh over the dream of one day having a few for my very own.
I know this sounds hard to believe coming from me, but, well... I went a little overboard at the feed store.
*snicker snort*
I came out of there with six Red Stars and three Buff Orpingtons, which I held in my lap on the way home and all the while Hubby had that look on his face... you know the one~ the "guess I'll be building a bigger coop" kinda look. Poor thing.
Men just can't say no to a woman who loves chickens.


I'm happy to report that not only are these Red Stars as sweet as the last batch, 
but the Buffs are just as sweet if not more.
They're going through that awkward "teenage" stage right now, where they're all legs and feet. 
Love their hearts.

Their favorite thing in the whole world is just to perch and watch the world go by.

And my favorite thing in the whole world (other than baby chicks) is waiting for the day those fresh brown eggs start rolling off the assembly line. *squeee*

Happy Friday!!!


Friday Farm Fotos: Plow, Plant, and Pray

Lily and Tiny share a moment at the fence.

I found a quote on the internet not too long ago in which the beautiful Audrey Hepburn once said,
 "To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow." 
I love that. 
I also know firsthand how frustrating it is to plant one day and then the weather make you lose all hope in your garden the very next day. 
Ugh. Thanks a lot, Mother Nature.

(Sorry, I'm a child of the 70's. :)

Hubby plowed our little garden spot in early March. 
Here he is at work with the sheep cheering him on in the barn behind him. 
Gotta have teamwork to make a garden.

The ground was so beautiful and dark.... thanks to some heavy doses of manure.

Hopes were high for our little garden this year! 
We planted onions, broccoli, and cabbage near the end of March.

Then it snowed.

Aaaand we had a frost. A hard one.

And our poor broccoli... eh, it didn't look so good.

The blossoms on my apple and pear trees didn't fare so well, either.
No fruit from them this year. *pout*

Hubby left the broccoli alone, and it actually came back to life after a few days of warm sunshine. 
Here he is working the rows with "Cubby".

I think everything will be alright after all this cold weather. Time will tell.
We put corn in the ground this week~ 
I'll be anxious to see if it makes it "knee-high by the fourth of July."

My strawberry plants made it through the winter and cold snaps just fine and dandy.
This picture makes me smile like you would not believe.
In fact, I'm smiling as I type this. *giggle*

You know what else makes me smile?
Baby chicks!

But we'll talk about that next time. 
Happy Friday!!!


March, April.... May? Hey!

*tap tap* Hello? Anyone still out there?

Yes, it is I.... slinking back into this blawg after neglecting it for, well... all of 2014 so far. *Sigh*
No excuses, really... just can't seem to cram enough into each day lately, let alone post updates on here.
But that is all about to change! (Really?) Yes.
I have a rather large and growing collection of pictures from the last three months I'm just about to bust to share. With anyone. Just not today. *Insert evil laugh* I'll be posting them on Friday Farm Fotos over the next few weeks, spreading them out so it will be more exciting that way. Kinda like a cliffhanger. Or not.
I'm also going to start something new around here; I started writing in my journal again back a few months ago, and I'm thinking of sharing some of my short stories from it with you. Sometimes I just write nonsense~ well make that most of the time~ but some of them are memories from my childhood and other musings that I want to put on here if for no other reason than to put it out there for someone other than me to read.
Oh, and something else~ I'm trying to familiarize myself with all this social media stuff by posting a picture every morning on Twitter or Instagram or both. Usually it's a picture of a chicken, a sheepie, or Lily; so if you can handle critter cuteness first thing in the morning, look me up. Click here to find me on Twitter, and here to find me on Instagram. Oh, and here for Facebook, if that's your thing.
I've got a lot of catching up to do with all my blog friends, so I'd better get started.... can't wait to see what's been going on with YOU!
Happy Tuesday!