Saturday, October 1, 2011

Pancake Chicken

Irma, the broody pancake
The construction of the coop is now complete.  I commend my husband Bob for doing what I could not this summer.  It would have been much easier to call ToughShed and order one.  But noooooo,  not us.  In my hay day I would have done it myself. But with "the foot" it was impossible.  There still needs to be staining and final wiring done.  Another perch ladder will come later.  The nesting boxes were the last to be attached.  My neighbor who also keeps chickens and is a skilled carpenter helped Bob.  So now I can lift up the doors on the outside of the coop to get eggs. 
Tallulah, Lil' Missy, and Mrs. E coming in.

Our cornstalks made it to the coop.

A bit more needed: paint and TLC to pretty it up.

Chickens are animals that pattern.  Our girls outgrew their old "lean to" and I removed it from the yard. However, they still sleep in the same place the former coop was.  They all bunch together against the wall.  They could go into the coop at night on their own, but noooooo.  The 4 Australorps that came later figured it out immediately, and have been sleeping in there on the small ladder from the get go.  So Bob and I have been going out in the dark with flashlights and putting them inside for the last 2 nights.   They are huddled together, and can't see at all in the dark.  We put them in the coop which still has the light on.  They blink their eyes as they adjust, and stagger across the floor. 
The shade provided from roses doubles as a tasty snack when spent!

Velma, the Langshan strutting her stuff

Can you see the love in Tallulah's eyes?
"Irma" and "Wilma" the black standard cochins are broody. If you have never seen a broody hen, you should.  Bob was working on the nesting boxes and came in to tell me that one of the black hens was "flat."  Indeed, she was flat as a pancake.  Making herself cover as much real estate as possible.  Broody hens are crazy. They make a silly trill noise when you come near them.  They are in a trance, stop laying, and eat and drink very little.  Some can get mean.  So I pick them up and get them out and moving.  It can't be helped when keeping hens.  If it gets worse, I will bring them in the yard for a few hours a day.  Wilma has picked a corner in the coop yard to hatch her imaginary eggs in. 
Ester who lays eggs as she walks around!
I continue to enjoy every moment I am with them.  When we were on our trip, I missed them terribly. Don't tell the dog and cats.  Last night I brought my camera out at dusk and took some photos.  I hope you like them.  I actually wish I could sleep with them.  Don't call the psychiatrist...I am still in my bed.  I remind myself of the old joke about the woman whose husband brings her to the psychiatrist because she thinks she's a hen.  The doctor announces that he has good news and can cure her.  The husband responds: "what will we do for eggs?"   :-)
3 over 3 nesting boxes make 6 spots for 23 hens.

Thanks for reading. 
Each day is a gift. Open now.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Bird's Flight: Day 3

We woke up to a cloudy gray day.  Our plans of a helicopter ride were iffy.  We drove the concierge at the El Tovar crazy with checking to see if we could fly.  The weather map said clearing by 2pm.  This bird was ready.  Howard, Virginia Lee, and Bob were all as excited as I was.  We took the only taxi available to the airport/heliport.  The sun was peeking through the clouds.  The front desk said it was a go.  We weighed in...yes, one has to weigh in.

The rim

A rainbow going into the Canyon
Clouds ahead.

The duskiness gave the landscape a new look.

In minutes we were being loaded into the French Ecostar that seats 7, including the pilot.  Headphones on, harness seat belts fastened, lift off.  We flew over the manicured pines to the rim.  Our pilot announced he was going to head a different direction to avoid a large ominous cloud.   My camera work was limited, as I was in the middle back seat.  But my eyes widened when we came over the edge of the canyon.  I could see forever !!!  I could also see lots of dark clouds.  The view changed by the second, depending on the light.  The red rocks and green pines could change to blues and purples when a cloud moved over them.  Our flight was cut short and we had to return to the ground.  I savored every second in the air.  The company refunded ALL of our money to our surprise.
Howard and I wait for the sunset. He took as many photos as I did of the raven!
Next, the Sunset Tour at the Bright Angel Lodge.  On to another bus and a short ride to a point that was known for it's sunsets.  To my delight there was a raven walking on the edge who had spotted a hiker's apple core.  He calmly walked over and picked it up.  Took it to a great viewpoint, ate, and posed in the setting sun as I and many others took his picture.  Then he flew into a pine tree: cooed and fluffed up his feathers.  As the sun set he moved back to the edge. As the ball of light slipped behind the horizon...he took flight over the canyon.  At that moment, as many times before I felt jealous of the ability to soar.  He was my highlight that day.
In all his glory.  (copyright 2011)

Feather ruffling, and cooing at me...such a show off.

This will be for sale in my Etsy shop. (copyright 2011)

More about him next time.
Sunset Grand Canyon National Park

Thanks for reading.
Each day is a gift. Open now.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The El Tovar Lodge: day 2

This trip will be filled with childhood dreams come true.  I was born into a family that thought camping meant staying at a Holiday Inn.  At 8 I remember going to a travel agency with my Mom and seeing flyers about the National Parks.  Later I would see a PBS special on WPA lodges.  The El Tovar at the Grand Canyon, and Zion National Park were burned into my visual memory.  As we pulled into Grand Canyon National Park I spotted 2 ravens on the roof of the guard house.  A sign this would be a great event.
The leg of El Tovar dinning room facing the canyon.

We arrived at the Grand Canyon, and it was "undercast" with clouds below us hiding most of the canyon.  Dinner and breakfast was at the El Tovar.  I was in heaven.  A grand lodge made of logs, stone, and craftsman details. I took a lot of photos.  I will let them finish this blog.  They say more than I can express.
Main dinning room with Native neighbor paintings.

Leaded glass fixtures throughout

FDR's private dinningroom

Craftsman details

Stairway and balcony at El Tovar

Every lodge must have a moose!

Livingroom corner at El Tovar

The Sunset tour before sunset
 Next our helicopter ride and sunset with a raven show.

Thanks for reading. Each day is a gift. Open now.