Cast and Crew

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The First Hint of Spring

It's not spring just yet, but it felt so warm and wonderful on Monday that we went out and enjoyed the sunshine. The first snowdrop of the season was waiting for us out front. We weeded and trimmed, the compost got turned, and the chicken coop got a thorough cleaning. It's been a terribly soggy winter so far, and the mud and muck in the backyard is quite discouraging. A little sunshine goes a long way this time of the year.
The girls got some well-deserved sunshine, and you can see Raquel (my, how she's grown!) happily scratching and nesting in the dirt beside the garage. We want to clear this area out anyway, so we've enlisted the help of the chickens in our task. They're terribly driven. I sat down for a while and watched Raquel, Portia, and Ellen basking in this little corner of the yard. They pecked, they scratched, and they stretched their wings out to catch a few extra rays of sunshine.
Everyone's combs are developing nicely, and if you look closely at Portia's (she's the little head on the right), you can see that she's got a little unicorn in her genetics. Yes, her comb has a definite peak. Neither of these two are laying yet, and they've been reminded of their schedule, so we're hopeful they'll get on board soon. You can't survive in this farm by looks alone, even with gorgeous wings like that.
On my way to take a few pictures of the compost bins, I startled Ingrid. She was keeping watch from a high perch, then fled the scene a little too quickly. The front of the compost bins is made of lengths of cedar fence boards, one of which was resting on the top of the one Ingrid had inhabited. Apparently she's not familiar with the "see-saw" principle of physics.

The compost, which did not get its picture into this post, is doing very well with the recent contributions from the girls. We may have enough to donate to the neighborhood veggie patch a couple of houses down. In fact, I'm afraid we may have more than our bins can handle. I feel positive about our decision to cancel the yard waste pick-up, but this whole composting thing is going to be a lot of extra work.

In egg news, Ursula and Raquel are both laying up a storm! Today I collected two eggs from one nest box. Both look perfect, and both landed in the right place. Way to go, girls!!


  1. Hooray for the hen fruits! Glad they are coming along. Portia is just gorgeous. Is she a Spitzhaben? I can't recall. She reminds me of my Spitz roo. I loved the picture of Aengus that you posted in your comment to my blog. What a looker! He's gorgeous, and that's a very distinguished name!

  2. Portia and Ellen are both Silver Spangled Hamburgs, so they tend to look very similar to Spitzhabens. They're temperament leaves a lot to be desired, but they are remarkably beautiful.

    Aengus has certainly shaped up since he was a pup. He's a pretty boy now, but he's still in that awkward teenage phase where his arms are really long and his chest is skinny. By my calculations, he'll be an adult in about seven years.

  3. What lovely pictures! You have some fine looking birds. =)


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