...sometimes even a single feather is enough to fly. (Robert Maclean)


egg celebrations

We've been having an egg-celebration around here.
(In the last week, two of our young hens started to lay their eggs!!!)

I was at work, but Boo messaged me to tell me that 
our dear little Connie was frantically looking everywhere to find a spot to do her business
(even though she had no clue what her "business" was, at least not that very first time...)  

She didn't have to know what it was to know that it felt urgent.
Her henny instincts told her to find a spot that was just right...

 Connie was on a mission.
She looked everywhere.
Inside things.
Under things.
Behind things.
In every little nook and cranny she could find.

Nothing would do.

is the just right spot?

She looked in the corner of the coop addition 
where some of the older girls used to like to lay...

Not right. 

She looked in the old hutch,
the one where the little field mice have made a permanent home in the drawer...

Not right.

She looked in the old dog house (we filled it with comfy bedding).

Not right.

The ramshackle nesting boxes that Kalinda used to love...
Not right.

She looked in the nesting boxes I built
(we stapled some fabric curtains to make it cozier and darker inside...)

Still not right.
Her sisters were really beginning to wonder what all the frantic searching was about...

She looked in the old duck house... 
la maison des canards
Still not quite right...
pas tout à fait à droite...! 
Then, finally...
 She found Brahmie's old chicken tractor in the shed.

And she found a way...
 to go under the front edge, hop up, and then into the back where it's dark and cozy. 
What a girl!

 Buttercup started the same frantic search
a few days later.

And guess what?
She wants the same spot Connie wants.

I guess everything about it is...
 just right.

(Or she just wants it because Connie wants it...!)

So now they squawk over who gets dibs.
Today it was like musical nesting boxes.
Up and down.
One in, one out...
(Move it, sister!)
Squawk! Squawk! Squawk!
Over and over again.
So there you have it.
Two of our little "mediums" are no longer mediums.
They are officially big girls now...
They've marched their way into hen-hood.

 Connie's first little eggs are kind of round-ish.

 Buttercup's are pointy and spotted.


Boo even made an egg-selent celebratory cake,
with one of the new eggs as the centerpiece.
But alas, before I got to take a picture of it,
even though Boo thought she had put it safe and sound 
out of reach of our counter-surfing dogs...

Yep, you guessed it...
Clara jumped up and used either her teeth or her furry paws 
to pull the platter with cake and all 
off the back of the top of the toaster oven
down onto the counter, and she ate what was left.
(apparently Boo forgot that the top of the toaster oven is NOT safe).


Well, Little Miss Naughty 
didn't get dinner or breakfast
after that fiasco.

So you'll just have to imagine the beautiful 4-layer yellow cake
with a layer of strawberry jam,
covered in dreamy buttercream frosting
with one of Buttercup's eggs nestled on top.


We should have known better about Ms. Clara.
She's a real appreciator of the finer things in life.
Her philosophy is like Mae West's:
"too much of a good thing can be wonderful."

Oh, Clara.  


a prayer for the butterflies and the bees

Sometimes gardening feels like praying.

A prayer of sorts, anyway.

Befriending the butterflies and the bees
is an extension of gardening,
and being a guardian of those small winged creatures
definitely feels like a kind of prayer to me. 

Prayer isn't just wishing and hoping
and calling upon higher powers.
Prayer is also action.
Prayer is doing everything you can. 

And we are praying for the honeybees,
doing everything we can think of to help them survive the winter.
 Winter is a really rough time for them.

I tried to make their hive as insulated and draft-free as possible:

I closed off the screened bottom board.
I closed the other entrances (i.e. bee holes) to keep drafts down.
(I left only one small reduced entrance 
for them to take cleansing flights as they are able to on warmer days.)

I stuffed insulation up inside the roof.
I wrapped the hive body itself with hive-wrap.
Then we stacked hay bales all around the hives
to try to provide a wind break, 
and some more insulation around the outside of the hive.
(The heart of the hive, in the center, is where the bees are now.)

As long as they made enough honey for themselves, 
they have a decent chance of surviving.

In the spring, we'll break down the hay bales
and use them for mulch or to keep weeds down in our garden paths.


We've been praying for the monarch butterflies, too.
They depend on native milkweed for their habitat and their food source.

 Here they are, our prayers in a bowl.

We saved native milkweed pods,
and we spread the seeds all around.


 We scattered them in the wind.

With hindsight, it may have been smarter to actually plant the seeds in the ground.

But I trust that nature will take it's course.
The wind blew the tufts of seeds all around. 
Some of the seeds clumped or got caught in grasses or wildflowers, 
but rains and snow will help them make their way down to the ground.
Leaves will continue to fall and provide natural mulch.
Many of these seeds should take root.
Life, after all, 
wants to live.

 Just like the monarch butterflies.

The past 20 years have shown 
approximately a 90% decline in the monarch population. 
(from 1 billion down to 30 million...!)
The good news is that with increased awareness and efforts, 
the numbers increased slightly last winter.
Let's keep that momentum going in the right direction!

 Visit www.plantmilkweed.org for more tips on what you can do to help the monarchs.