Out of four chicks hatched this year (two by Rita, two by Aster before she hatched the guineas), all four were male. One of Rita’s was killed at night a while back — I’ve tried to explain to them the importance of going in the coop at night! But young chickens don’t listen and are impossible to catch. So I’ve got three surplus roosters, plus Mister Chicken.
My plan is to keep them unless/until they become a nuisance. Our neighbors have said they’ll take them, so they won’t wind up in a pot. (Though, when they’re refusing to go inside at night, I’ve often thought they’d look quite nice with a coating of bread crumbs — and I’ve been a vegetarian for fifteen years!) The three of them are closely bonded, and it’s fun to watch them wandering around together. I really wish we would have gotten a couple of female chicks, though; the hens are slowing down their egg production for the winter, and M and I are almost out. Only three left in the fridge!
So, M is making us scrambled eggs now (with help, of course), and F has moved into her own room. Both babies slept in my room but in their crib (with one side removed and attached to my bed), which made it easy for them to start sleeping in their rooms. Or at least it went well with M, and the first night was unremarkable with F.
I hesitated more with F — she wakes up a lot, but she’s not as noisy as M was. And now I know how fast the infant stage passes, and I’m not in a rush for it to be over. But I wanted the transition to be easy for F, and I felt like the time was right. As reluctant as I was to move her crib, as soon as it was out, I wasted no time transforming my room back into a livable space. Instead of a baby hovel with cardboard over the windows!
The cats are happy.
M has been helping make breakfast lately. Now if she could just learn how to scrub the eggy pan afterward…
We usually get our apples from the local orchard this time of year. But I was able to get them even closer to home this time. When I brought over the guineas I’d hatched for our neighbors, they gave us two big bags of apples, straight off their trees! They’re pretty tart — perfect for baking — but M likes eating them just as they are. We peeled and sliced two gallon bags’ worth for the freezer. And I made some (very pink!) applesauce out of the crab-size apples we got.
We did the apples yesterday, and then I made tomato sauce today. That’s about as productive as I’ve been lately! We did start preschool-homeschool last week, which M is loving. I’m looking forward to this last third of the year. Apples, classes starting (early childhood class and gymnastics for M), and all those end-of-the-year holidays. Not looking forward to cold and flu season, though. Both girls are just getting over some junk they caught the week before last. M made it to 9mos before she ever caught a cold — F barely hit 3mos. That’s what happens when you’re a little sister, I guess!
Look at that baby, trying to steal one of my fries. She spent almost all of lunch attempting to get her hand to connect with a fry, but the best she could manage was brushing them with her knuckles. How unfair to be only 2.5mos old!
F is a pretty funny baby, and compared to M at this age, fairly easy, too. I’m currently going through a period of feeling TIRED and TOUCHED OUT, like, doesn’t anybody else want this baby for a few days? While I float in a sensory deprivation tank? But I haven’t experienced that panic of second-guessing myself and feeling like having a second child has ruined everything. It’s more just that I know life will be so much easier in another four months, but the only way out is through. If M was a typical baby (and I think she was), this is kind of the hardest part, for me, anyway. The sleepy newborn phase is long gone, but it’s still a while before naps become organized and life returns to some level of predictability. At least everything (feeding, sleeping, health) is MUCH simpler this time.
M has been a real star as we’ve adjusted to our new life as a family of three. She’s at a challenging age herself (she’ll be three in October), and when she’s pushing my buttons, it’s hard to see her as my original baby. But she is, and thank goodness she’s so good at saying, “I need a snuggle!” when her emotions get away from her. Now that F has (some) control of her hands, and batting at toys can keep her happily occupied for a short stretch, I’m able to get M back on my lap for hugs or tickles or whatever she wants (except I canNOT “play with [Paw Patrol] pups” anymore!).
I want to enjoy every minute of F’s babyhood — and I’m sad when I think about her turning into a big kid before I know it — but right now I’m fixated on 6mos. That was when M really started to feel like more fun than hard work. Plus, it’ll almost be Christmas by then, and I can make the girls wear their matching Christmas sweaters!
Here’s another big bunch of photos, since I’ve been going Instagram crazy the past couple of days. I managed to get the brooder pen fixed up for the two-week-old chicks yesterday morning. I just had to put chicken wire on top (so the big chickens won’t jump in an harass them) and then bring the food, water, and chicks out, but it took a while with sleeping F strapped to me! Once the guineas and these little chicks get big enough, they’ll go over to live at the neighbors. And my plan is to get a coop built inside the barn (right now, the chickens have the run of the barn and are in there at night, and it gets… messy). But for now, there’s the chicken nursery, with poultry of all ages and sizes, each needing their own food and water. Whew.
After playing outside this morning, we went into town and came across a few good finds at the thrift store. An Aquadoodle mat (with pens and stampers, even though the box said there were none) for just a quarter, some puzzles, and that set of Melmac cups and plates. They’re for M’s playhouse, should it ever get finished. I had been imagining cups JUST like these and figured I’d never find something so cute in person, but there they were, waiting for us at the thrift store. So you never know!
Here’s a bunch of photos for you, going back to the Fourth of July. I’m happy that it doesn’t LOOK like we spend all our time inside! I have so much I’d like to work on outside, but I haven’t figured out how to do that with a little baby who doesn’t nap regularly… and doesn’t nap very often when not attached to me. There’s only so much you can do with a baby in a wrap, especially when it’s 80˚+ out. The garden needs serious attention and the chicken quarters need rearranging. We’ve got two-month-old chicks living in the barn with the big chickens, two-week-old chicks inside (who need to go out but stay under a lamp), and then the week-old guinea keets with Aster, in the mini-coop.
But ever since the older chicks went into the barn, the “old” hen house has been empty, so M and I have been working to get it cleaned up and turned into a play house. I’ve removed all the chicken stuff (bedding, roost, feeder, etc.) and scrubbed down the walls, but there’s still a lot more to do. M can’t decide if she wants the walls to be pink or blue (but not dark blue, because that’s too DARK, we’ve all decided). She’s pretty excited about her little house, and I am, too, so now we just have to get the baby on board and cooperative, so we can work on it!
These days, any time I manage to think of and execute a special project for M, I temporarily feel like Mom of the Year. She’s pretty happy doing her puzzles and playing with her pup toys most of the time, but I can tell she gets bored after a while. So a few days ago, we made these graham crackers. M loves using cookie cutters, but we really didn’t need any sugar cookies. The graham crackers are still fairly sweet, but at least there’s whole wheat flour in them?
I’ve been baking with M for quite a while now, and it’s amazing how much more capable she’s become in that time. She wanted to help with every step of the process this time, and she was really able to do a lot. Such a sense of accomplishment for her! And way more fun than watching another episode of Paw Patrol.
Broody Aster just wouldn’t give up her dream of hatching some eggs, so my neighbors brought over nine guinea eggs for her to sit on. But two of them hatched a week early — because they’re chicks! Chicken eggs incubate for twenty-one days, and guineas go for twenty-eight. A hen will get off her nest a couple of days after the first chicks hatch — she has to take care of those chicks and leave the rest of the eggs. I couldn’t stomach the idea of just letting the remaining seven guinea eggs die, so I’ve brought the chicks in. (And Aster is still sitting on the others, whew.)
M is thrilled! She loves chickens, especially the little fuzzy ones. It’ll be interesting to see what they look like as their feathers grow in. The first little wing feathers look the same as our Buff Orpingtons, but I know the neighbors don’t have any BOs. The eggs were pretty small, just a little bigger than the guinea eggs — maybe bantams? But one of their roosters is a huge Barred Rock (I think). The plan is for all the chicks/keets to go back to the neighbors once they’re old enough, but a Barred Rock cross would be an interesting addition to our flock. Maybe they won’t notice if I swap it with a larger BO-mutt!
We’ve been enjoying the warm weather over here. I wish F would make friends with the car seat, so I could take M to more fun places! At least we have a huge yard and a little kiddie pool here.
Everything is going well, so far. F is growing like a weed, if weeds became delightfully pudgy, and M is still cute and funny. The baby chicks are growing up — last night was their first one without Rita, who wanted to stay with the other hens at bedtime. I hope the chicks were okay! And Aster is sitting on guinea eggs (for the neighbors), which should hatch in early July.