Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Dog Daze of Summer - and Crafting at Camp Gramma 2012

Dog Daze
In between swimming, horseback riding, play time, chore time, and eatin' time, we have craft time.  Every year we have created some pretty neat projects for very little pocket change.  This year was not any different!
Eggs ready to be prepped for painting
Enter THE EGGS.....made of wood, they have been placed in the nest boxes so the new pullets will know where to lay their eggs.  They are light tan colored, and they trick me all of the time!  Same size and weight of a real egg, feel like real eggs, and finally I had to put a big red X on them so I could tell the difference!  Well.....the X's are fading.  Time for a new look!
First, I got out some Gesso and the kids sponged it on the eggs, then let them dry.  Gesso will give 'grabbing power' to the paint so it won't just wipe off as they brush or sponge it on.  Next, time for choosing COLORS of Acrylic Paints!

This was the fun part for all 3 of us!  We used the empty egg carton as a holder for the eggs while they were drying.  Easy to move out of doors and into the sunshine.  The kids could paint on top of the Gesso almost right away - it drys that quickly!

Sponge Painting is easy and quick!
They were done in no time flat, and after painting, I sprayed the eggs with a clear sealer to protect the paint so it will last longer.
Finished eggs
No, its not Easter, but I WILL be able to tell the fake eggs from the real ones now!  And, we had plenty of time to take the dogs for a little walk in the afternoon!

More fun to come....
the ChickenWrangler

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Monday's "Good Luck Butterfly" Brings a HaPpY TuEsdAy

Here he is - Yesterday's "Good Luck Butterfly".  And this is the story - Monday morning as the kiddos and I headed out the door to feed critters and do chores, Granddaughter spied this butterfly struggling to escape under the step away from Prairie Dog's tongue and jaws!  She said "Whomever can pick up a butterfly, it will bring GOOD LUCK to that person all day!"  So, of course I rescued it (I would have done so anyways.  We all know Corgis do not need to eat EveRyThInG in their sight!) and put it on this plant for a photo op.  3 hours later I checked on it and it was still there, but as I reached out to it, he decided to flitter way up high into the air and out of our sight!  Wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to do that?  Someday.....!
 We decided it was breakfast time, but as we came towards the house, there was some screaming and swatting into the air - and someone yelled "Jacket Bees!"  Here are some pictures of the Jacket Bees...

In actuality, they are Hummingbird Moths.  These busy creatures come out several times a day to siphon nectar from the flowers, in this case, from our Butterfly Bush, which is highly scented!  Hummingbird Moths do not sting, and this had to be explained to the kiddos.  When they spotted them the next time, there was no swatting or "scream-age".

As the day progressed, we decided to go swimming at the old swimming hole, a couple miles drive west of our woodland home.  Not many came for a dip, and the heat index was at 100 degrees.  Possibly due to the sprinkling of Good Luck from the Magical Butterfly, both kids came back toting an overabundance of snail shells that we will use for crafts.  I cautioned them to make sure they put the shells back if the 'door' was closed on the shell.  We did not want to upset any occupants if they came out to find themselves made into a necklace or glued onto a flower pot, or something else highly unusual in the snail world!!!
Later in the afternoon, we had to call the vet out to help Candy.  She got "choke" which can be deadly to horses in this heat.  Here is Viv, highly concerned about Candy's having food caught in her throat.
Viv shows how she massaged the throatlatch area to help break up food that was impacted, while we waited for the doc to arrive.  If you enlarge the photo you may be able to see the green coming out of Candy's nose - saliva mixed with the food juices that were caught even lower down (near her heart area!) than what we had first thought.  The "Good Luck Butterfly" was with Candy, as the vet was able to clear the obstruction out in record time!
Last but not least, the "Good Luck Butterfly" helped sell our Jeep that we had listed for several days, with no bites until Monday Evening.  Many calls, many 'no shows', and people that arrived only to say "...if the AC doesn't work, why dont you FIX IT?" -----they didn't realize it would cost more, and we're selling it because we didn't care if it worked when WE bought it - we were more interested in having the MOTOR run good!  One person said she couldn't buy our jeep because it had a sun roof and her husband might someday transport a ladder and would probably stick it through the glass.....  Hmmmm.  Shouldn't she be looking for a TRUCK if he transports ladders???  It takes all kinds, folks!
  Have a great day - we are out to enjoy ours!
the ChickenWrangler

Monday, July 23, 2012

Camp Gramma 2012

This week my Grandkids are visiting from out of state.  Usually I have only one, my GD, who is 10 yrs old this year.  But THIS year, her 5 yr old brother came along for Camp Gramma 2012!  They are going to help me with one of the Cuckoo Sisters, who is 'decidedly broody'.  Remember the FREE hens I posted about on Craigslist?  Well, no, I didn't go and get them.  But its been so hot and dry, that one of my working girls all of a sudden made a decision to sit on wooden eggs and hatch them!  Photos:

She refused to move out of the nest box.  "THE" nest box - the one EVERYHEN wants to lay their eggs in!!!  The other girls were really mad.  REALLY MAD!    So.....We had to put this girl in her PLACE.  THe CHIcKeN HosPiTaL!  And, my grandkids are going to help me this week with her care; to turn her from a mean viscous monster who wants to OCCUPY into a mild mannered hen once again!
Chicken Hospital and THE DOCTORS
 Click on pictures to enlarge.  And a bonus today - one of my young pullets, a Buff Orpington, layed her first little egg today!  How EGG-CITING!
First egg from young pullet
 More fun to come!!!

the ChickenWrangler

Friday, July 20, 2012

Dear Miss Lizzy -

Please Note:
Our Advice Columnist is still available for Q&A's, and recently I received a question that I will pass along to her!
Miss Lizzy, Advice Columnist
Dear Miss Lizzy,
 Would love to have 2-4 layers right now in the back yard- Have to get the approval from my husband and then see if our county will allow just a couple!!
So you get enough eggs from 10 hens to sell eggs? 

"Empty Nester"

Dear "Nester",
Three "Working Girls" would be enough  help to supply a small family with eggs each week.  Township rules apply for keeping poultry, so please check with the City or Township Clerk for laws pertaining to chickens.  Some small towns will allow up to 6 hens for egg provisions, and some will only allow a few hens if there is a child or grand child interested in keeping some for 4-H purposes.  If poultry are permitted, there may be a ROOSTER CLAUSE (different than Santy Clause).  In close-knit populations, the general public does not care for crowing at all hours of the day.  (Contrary to popular misconception, Roos do not crow at dawn only.  Their alarms go off any time they please, and sometimes continuously.  How annoying.  We are not amused!)
     Currently at this humble abode there are 5 Working Girls, and 3 Pullets in Waiting.  The "produce" from 5 girls leaves enough eggs to sell or share with friends and relatives, as each lady pops out one egg a day.  Any more hens and you could set up a stand on your own property in the country!  Certainly one can keep up that production rate for only so long, depending on the breed/age of hen.  Isa Browns lay large brown eggs, but are 'burnt out' in the laying department after a brief stint of 1 1/2 or 2 years.  HUMPH!  Then they are good for dinner guests PETS.  Heritage Breeds such as MYSELF (a LOVELY Silver Laced Wyandotte) are productive for much longer, generally 5 years.  Humph! Humph!
  Hubby Approval, you say???  ChickenWrangler had little trouble convincing Mr. Wonderful of reasons to keep a flock of hens - once he tasted the difference between nasty STORE bought eggs and the eggs from hens fed with choice dainties, that was it for him, and he is her best advertiser for fresh poultry eggs!  Buy a few from a neighboring farm or co-op store - sit back and wait for compliments to flow!
Ta-taaa for NOW!
Miss Lizzy

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Free Chickens?!? Be WARE!

The CHICKENS, you say!

My girls were a little STUNNED when reading on Craigs List yesterday - Free Chickens, INDEED!  Click on a Chick to enlarge their photos!
Ain't it sweet??? (Borrowed photo. not mine.)
I continued to read with them looking over my shoulders - and the ad progressed to say the hens were free, one bird "currently laying well", and the other was "BROODY (again)".  Ahhhhh.  Lovely feathered birds in the photos.  Tempting....but broody is one thing I don't want to have to deal with, because when I choose chickens, I want the non-broody type, the ones that won't set on a clutch of eggs!  We sell EGGS, not CHICKS!  Although it is little trouble to 'break' a hen during her broody spell, it sometimes has to be repeated - the isolation in a cage suspended off the ground for a week...and then she may quit laying for a month or better, until her system flows normally again. be continued.....

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Happy Sunday - - Pieced Together and Re-Glued

I took Mary outside for a photo shoot this afternoon.  On the last blog post, she was merely taped together with clear strapping tape.  Today the chips are securely into place.
There's a chip and a circular hole in her head from the unceremonious fall she took...

...missing fingers and trim from her robe.....

...and more missing chunks from the robe and base of the statue.
Did that serpent cause "the fall"?  He'll be seeing more than just **STARS** when I get through with this figurine!

the ChickenWrangler

Saturday, July 14, 2012

New Statue Restoration Project

Above is the restoration I completed of Jesus on the Cross.  The wood was so beautiful it was hard to believe that someone had painted it white and put brown antiquing on it!  The customer was very pleased with the results and was happy that I had decided to leave the wood sanded clean and clear-coated.
Before she drove away with her Jesus, she left me with a box in my hand that contained Mary and an assortment of broken chips and pieces.  This is my next project to complete for her. 
Some of the smaller chips are missing, so I will have to create or model parts of the hands and gown, and a portion of the base in the back that she is standing on.  This statue was made in Italy, and although it isn't vintage, it is much loved by my customer and she could not bear to think of tossing it away.  I will do my best to restore it.

the ChickenWrangler

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Recipe Sharing and PHOTOS

 Here's a tasty little recipe that I'm sharing with you from a site called "Mennonite Girls Can Cook" and if you enjoy cooking or baking, that is a neat web space to explore.

Coconut Loaf

1/2 C butter, softened                      2 tsp coconut flavoring           1 C sour cream   
1 C sugar                                          2 C flour                                1 C coconut flakes
2 eggs, room temp                             3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla                                      1/2 tsp salt

In Med. size mixing bowl, cream butter with sugar.  Add eggs and flavorings, mix well.
In another bowl, mix dry ingredients.  Stir dry ingredients into creamed mixture alternately with the sour cream.  Fold in coconut.  Pour batter into a greased 8x4x2 in loaf pan.  Bake @ 350 for 50 min. or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Remove from oven and let cool for 10 min, then remove from pan.

I think that a drizzle of white icing, flavored with coconut, might be tasty on this little cake, or it can be left plain as the instructions were given.  Bakers Choice!

Bake and Enjoy!

the ChickenWrangler

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Old Fashioned Way of Feeding - And a Short Commercial Break!

"Mr. Wonderful LOVES CHICKEN(s)
In my travels I found another "Old Timer" - a Purina TUBE Feeder!   Lucky ME!  My "Mr. Wonderful" puts up with my fancy for "All Things Chicken", and this includes the Poultry Transport Crate I posted about recently, and now, THIS little beauty:
Prairie Dog, Purina Feeder, and Maggie May (on right)
(Reminder: Click on photos to enlarge.)  I believe this feeder goes back to around 1940's, and it's made out of galvanized metal, so very little rust spots are on it.  I was told it was sitting idle for the past 25 years, underneath some pine trees, and it has been EMPTY (except for accumulated rain water, I'm sure!)    The checkerboard pattern in red is still visible, as is the prize ribbon design.  The removeable roof top has indentations to resemble roof thatching.  It can also be hung inside a large chicken barn when the roof top is removed, or used as pictured for feeding in a yard as I am doing.
  You can see my Corgi, Prairie Dog, eyeballing the feeder.  If you know the CORGI breed, they are ALWAYS HUNGRY!  Prairie will try to get the bread scraps I toss to the hens, and it is all she can do to refrain from grabbing the bread when I say "NO!" to her, the little scamp!

And NOW - the Commercial Break:
 For those of you who ALSO purchase Purina Feeds as I do, here's a little tip that will help to save money on animal feeds.  All you have to do is sign up!  I've been getting coupons in my email from Purina for Horse Feed, Chicken Feed, and other feeds/products.  Savings range from $1.50 to $5.00 on 40 - 50# bags, which is darned good, in my estimation!  I just printed off 3 coupons I needed this morning, and if you would like to sign up for free coupons of your own, go to the Purina Mills site by clicking HERE, and use this code number: 212621 when you register!

the ChickenWrangler

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Transporting Poultry the Old Fashioned Way

I've been looking for a Poultry Crate - I like Vintage/Antiques, but sometimes the prices are prohibitive.  This weekend I located a crate within my budget and a reasonable price, and it is definitely vintage!  Weather-faded wood with worm holes in tact - rusty 'make-do' latch - no fuss, no muss.  Just the way I like 'em! (click on pics to view larger sizes)
There was even lettering stenciled onto that old wood:

How Cool is THAT?!?

Signed :
the ChickenWrangler