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Since just before Christmas, I have been chicken sitting for a friend. There were three hens that needed some watching while my friend was off doing research during the college break. Among my many talents (adding this to my resume) is my years of experience with chickens, although this honestly is my first official chicken sitting stint. I liken it to babysitting. Once you are a parent, you pretty much have the necessary qualifications to babysit other people’s children. As a chicken owner, I evidently have chicken cred. 🙂
Just for giggles, I actually googled chicken sitting. Yes, much like everything else anyone can think of, there are several pet sitting services that offer chicken sitting as part of their services. I get it, but there are honestly a few businesses which as their sole business, do chicken sitting. I. Kid. You. Not.
Which brings me to the question. Why? Oh why did I spend all that money on a law school education when I could just have been a professional chicken sitter? 58% of Pet Sitters International 2016 survey on pet sitters do chicken sitting, which it reports is a sharp increase from its previous survey. It appears that chicken sitting is an up and coming area of the pet sitting business. Silly me. I thought that chicken sitting was something a neighbor does for you when you are out of town for a few days or a few weeks. A simple neighborly thing, not a whole profession. I really do need to get out more. Seems I have been missing this.
Seriously though, I have enjoyed my chicken sitting stint. Particularly since there is no rooster involved. Roosters can be a pain in the bottom and I bet those professional chicken sitters probably collect hazard pay when there is one or more roosters involved, since that usually involves having eyes in the back of your head to make sure that rooster isn’t trying to take you out while you are tending to the ladies and collecting the eggs.
Eggs. Gotta love fresh eggs. For all those folks out there that haven’t experienced freshly laid eggs, you have no idea what you are missing! Nothing better than cracking open an egg that has a beautiful bright, deep yellow (almost orange) yolk. Trust me, once you’ve had a fresh egg, you will simply hate anything that comes to you weeks (or more) old.
So, what do you think? Professional chicken sitter as my next career? Somehow I think I’d have to move to the city or darn close to one to pull that off, and I’m not ready to make that move.
Here’s some more pictures of the new chicks.
This poor little girl (we hope) literally fell asleep while standing. It’s so funny to watch them run around like…well like chickens (with their heads) and then get exhausted and simply stop, either falling asleep standing like this one or out and out crashed.
Today we added a few new members to the Ts’ family. The phone rang early this morning to come fetch our chicks from the post office. Yes, for those of you who might not realize it, when you buy chicks mail order, they are sent, well, through the mail. Not even Express Mail, mind you. Priority mail – 2 to 3 day delivery.
The little fuzzy things all arrived alive which is good since when we first ordered chicks two had arrived dead, having been smothered during transit.
Much like babies, you forget exactly how tiny these things are when you first get them.
Another Monday…the start of another week. There is something so peaceful about Sunday, I think it takes that long for the the week and its craziness to be washed off of us. By Sunday, usually, everyone is lazy and relaxed. And then…boom…it’s Monday and the race starts again. Up early, school, work, running here, running there.
It’s a whole lot nicer to wake up on Mondays now that its usually to the daylight and the sounds of the birds and the rooster rather than to the alarm clock and the blackness of what appears to still be night. While I guess that I am a morning person, I do like my mornings to be bright.
Okay, this post is strictly for my hubby – who is grunging with the best of them out in Seattle. He is calling to ask me how things are going and it usually hasn’t been a good time for either he or I – so
in order here’s the scoop:
Black dog – not limping and appears happy to see the Boy at the end of the day. He seems quite happy to hang with her too.
White dog – amazingly still alive – although we do have another full day so there’s still a chance that she can screw that one up so I cannot make promises on her viability by tomorrow evening.
Goats – send their regards and Creme asks “WHERE ARE MY COOKIES?”
Fish – Still swimming but their world is getting darker – they need you back.
Chickens – Hanging around commenting that they like their new high-rise accommodations so much better than the swamp. Laying eggs, crossing the road to get to the other side (oh, wait sorry, wrong story). Chili is as angry as ever and getting his exercise running along the fence back and forth- kind of like watching chicken Pong and Chickenzilla is hanging around, being king of the roost as usual.
Kids – Well, as to the 2 that are here, they are fine. Sore, with the occasional grumble, but trooping through double camp week – leaving at 9:15 and getting home at 8:15 (personally I think that school is looking MIGHTY GOOD to them right about now) As for No. 1 son, he doesn’t call me, he doesn’t send me flowers anymore (little Barbara Streisand in there for good measure) so he either doesn’t love me anymore or he loves Rhode Island more. Haven’t heard from him but then again, haven’t heard from Peggy that he is hurt or driving her crazy – so no news is good news there I am guessing. Makes me wonder if we’ll ever hear from him when he leaves for college.
Renovations – I came home this afternoon to 6×6 thrown about the front yard in preparation for the porch removal. The cross pieces (supports, rafters or whatever they are called – Lou, no making fun of me, ok?) are on the roof part of the lean-to and there is a basement door in our basement (although it is being held up by the refrigerator and not the door frame). B. was going to order the decking for the porch and I ordered the siding and roofing for the barn lean-to. It should be here next week.
Neighbors – All appear to be doing well and carrying on their normal routines.
Birds – Now, they are complaining, seems that their feeder is absent this week. Guess I will have to remedy that and take over as stand-in feeder until you return.
In general – the whole State of Vermont misses your wit, humor, good looks and company. They wish you a safe and uneventful trip home tomorrow evening and will be waiting to greet you (now you see why we need the new porch people – has to bear the weight of all those people waiting on the doorstep for Tom).
and me – well, you know that I miss you alot and much like a bear on the first crisp days of fall – I need some sleep. 🙂
Hurry home. Love ya.
Today was in some ways comical. It is hard to imagine that we could fit any more in even if we wanted. We have a contractor here doing work and a company came in to move our barn building (we are putting a lean-to on the side of it and it needed to be raised up) and chicken coop (while they were there anyway – move it to a place that the chickens don’t require snorkels to maneuver through with all this rain we have been getting). That required moving the chicken fence and the chickens (who were less than pleased that they were de-cooped for the better part of the day). It was however quite comical to watch 4 chickens try to sit on top of the same metal feeder in order to nest and lay eggs. It was also quite funny when they were let back into the coop – everyone, even the one rooster Chickenzilla (as we affectionately call him) made a beeline for the coop. What was his hurry? I have no idea – a safe haven to decompress from all that stress I guess. After it was all said and done, it required moving it all back and putting everything back into the coop and re-aligning the fence and making sure it was all re-connected electrically since last evening we watched a coyote meander through the field next door.
In the middle of all of that chaos, the plumber didn’t come and the cleaning lady did (which I wasn’t expecting since I had my dates all off) and Tom was to be at the airport for a business trip and departing in the afternoon.
Then, I had to do dinner, we were asked last minute to babysit the neighbor’s son and a LONG committee meeting to get all the merit badges and other issues from scout camp and the boys’ canoe trip underway.
Tomorrow is another early day with soccer camp and prying Tyler out of bed to get there.
The plans for the ark are well underway here. We have modified the original version a little bit and are installing the wi-fi and the satellite, because after all, this is the 21st century. We are amassing the two of each kind of animal and stocking up on food. I did see the Ahearn bull wandering the streets looking for its mate this morning. We should be ready to launch by July 4th because I don’t think that any of this rain is EVER letting up. The garden is definitely well watered, but way soggy. Perhaps rice would have been a better crop to plant this year, doesn’t that grow in water? I do believe that in addition to the very soggy chickens wandering about the yard, I did see a dolphin go by while I was working this morning. Instead of waving to the neighbors as they drive by, we have resorted to waving to them as they row past the house. I do hear that the fishing is GREAT, though since you can do it right off your own porch in your pajamas if you like. Hey, there is an upside to everything, you just have to look for it.
I started this blog a little over a year ago, mostly as a way for me to journal the trials and tribulations of moving up here from New Jersey. It was my little space to release the thoughts rattling around in my brain and give me some sanity. When I first did it, no one read it, nor did I care. Now – a few days over a year later, I have almost 4,000 hits and it astounds me. I still do this for my own sanity, but also to keep friends and family apprised of what transpires up here with our gang on the hill. A year has made a difference in a lot of ways – the boys have grown much bigger, taller and stronger and I have become accustomed to a much more simple way of life. I must say that I am happy, this was a good choice. The boys seem happy and despite their occasional teenage grumbling (which would happen wherever we lived) I think that they truly love it here. That alone makes it all worthwhile. We were discussing this morning, that we didn’t imagine in our wildest dreams being parents to 21 chickens and 3 fainting goats, but now….I can’t imagine not having them. (The White Dog, mind you I can still do without – I would be more than happy to train Phoenix the Goat to take over for her). Still….it is hard to believe that I have been blogging for a year. It seems such a normal part of my life that I honestly can’t remember what it was like before it. I feel compelled to write something every day….which is good– for me and for you.
The entire east coast got beaten by the Nor’Easter. Some faired better than others. Evidently Albany took a beating with the ice it got and I can only say that I am glad that we didn’t attempt to make the trip down to Jersey yesterday or we would have been in the middle of that.
As for us here on the hill, we got snow, sleet, rain, freezing rain – I think we received every form of wet precipitation in the last 24 hours that Mother Nature had to offer. What we wound up with was ice covering the trees, bushes, cars. Slush on the driveways and roadways and snow everywhere else. Not much snow, about 4-5 inches, a lot less than they predicted but with temperatures expected to drop to 5/-5 tonight, I am sure that Saturday morning will greet us with everything frozen solid.
Needless to say, the goats weren’t too happy to see the patches of grass that were out there yesterday covered again and the chickens, well the chickens, just refuse to leave the coop. I really can’t blame them, surrounding their coop is a slushy mess that I wouldn’t walk in.
Chickens don’t much like the snow. Or at least, our chickens don’t much like the snow. We had snow showers off and on today which left a couple of inches of snow on the ground. (Snow showers in our neck of the woods is a dangerous and misleading term since snow showers have been known to drop INCHES of snow which is the same as snow storms in other parts of the land). Anyhow, the chickens really didn’t take much of a liking to the snow and the goats, well the goats are lovable but not too smart, they had big frozen balls of snow in their fur evidently not thinking it necessary to get indoors when it was snowing.
Busy weekend. We had baby Emily’s christening and one of Tom’s cousins’ weddings in the same day. We left here bright and early in the morning and it was a long, long day. Fun but exhausting.
Lots of catching up with friends and family.
The other day there was a chicken in my flower box. My flower box with its really good looking flowers. What’s a woman to do? We suspected that the chicken had used the ATV which was parked parallel to the flower box as a stepping stone and a few minutes of quiet observation proved that theory correct. So we moved the ATV and figured that was the end of it, but no, took her a little longer but she made her way back up there.
As I left I thought well, at least, she not using it as a nesting box…..WRONG. Came home to find an egg in the box. Yesterday, there was another chicken in the box. What is this, Grand Central Station?
We put wooden skewers in the box which is supposed to deter them from using it since they don’t like getting poked. (I don’t know anyone, person or chicken that does). So we will see how this works.
Well, the chickens appear to have kicked into overdrive. Tonight, the boys pulled 22 eggs from the coop. Yesterday was 18 eggs. We thought that they might be missing Tom since the day before they only laid 6 which was a paltry amount compared to 14 they were laying on a consistent basis before he left.
I picked the first official garden crop for dinner tonight….bok choy seedlings that were incorporated into our stir fry.
Tomorrow I am heading to Shelburne Museum. I hear that it is a pretty neat place. We’ll have to take the camera with us. I know I have been slacking on the pictures and haven’t even gotten to trying the photoblogging yet.
Right now I am baking a Quesadilla Salvadorean, for my son’s international buffet at school tomorrow. Silly me, I figured quesadilla is like you get in the mexican restaurants or whip up for a quick lunch, but this evidently is a cake. Made with fresh eggs, I might add. It does smell mighty good in the oven. A pretty simple recipe. If it looks edible I might upload the picture and recipe for those that might be as adventurous as I was in making it. Bummer is, I won’t get to taste it so I will have to rely on the epicurious opinion of a 12 year old. Hmmmmm…..
I am investigating purchasing whole wheat berries and a grinder to grind our own flour and have an emergency stash that will keep a whole lot longer than flour already ground. Opinions welcome on this subject, although all those I have mentioned it to think its a great idea. Keep you posted.
WHITE DOG UPDATE: She did it. I knew that she couldn’t help herself but rip apart the garbage when Tom is away. I thought we had it licked this trip since she has been so good all week, but tonight, come home to find garbage EVERYWHERE……..