Fowl Language

25 Mar

ImageI won’t bother explaining how I ended up driving home with 6 chickens nestled together in a repurposed rabbit hutch with a safety gate for a roof. I will, however, try to convey the sort of happy, fulfilled state I was in, having had the nicest time picking them up at their former home. The friend I had purchased the chickens from is a natural animal owner, she understands and respects the order her farm animals have established and her property is a veritable playground for fowl. There were huge, enviable eggs on her kitchen table (duck? goose? Emu?) and her expansive pen held a dozen different types of fowl along with some goats who were penned up due to the snow. The scene even looked reminiscent of a playground, down in a corner the bully geese might as well have been cursing and smoking, friendly guinea hens could have just as well been playing hopscotch and an impressive white turkey hovered over everyone’s shoulders, definitely keeping an eye on things.

Maybe I’m getting carried away, but these are the images I was thinking about when I backed my car up to my chicken coop. I left the radio on for Margot so she wouldn’t mind sitting in the car for a minute while I slid the hutch into my chicken run. I locked my own two chickens in their coop, based on the instructions I was given to introduce the new ones at night. The rabbit hutch was just slightly too wide for my car, so it took muscle and shimmying to get the hutch even halfway out of the car, and that alone made the chickens restless. I thought about asking Josh for help, maybe 6 chickens would be too heavy for me, but he was working, and I get sort of a rush out of attempting situations like these that seem improbable and difficult. (If I succeed, I strut around saying, ”I did it!” If I don’t, I mutter to Josh, “I don’t know what I was thinking…”)

I freed the hutch from the back of the car only to truly feel the weight of all six birds who were less calm by the second. I set the hutch down only to find it was also too wide to drag into the run. I had to stop to figure out my next move, but while I was assessing the situation, so were the chickens, and they found their solution more quickly than I found mine. The hutch had been on it’s last legs and the journey from the back of the car to the ground caused the floor to collapse a bit leaving a crack a few inches wide, certainly something to be aware of but surely not something a chicken could fit throu…. oh, there she goes. Those chickens catch on quick, apparently only one needs to have a plan, because before I could move, FOUR CHICKENS had fit through that too small hole. To my credit, I ended it right there and grabbed the two remaining araucanas and tossed them into the run. Four chickens were now free ranging yards away from me, one stopped to drink from a puddle while another scratched in some leaves. I remembered they were hungry so I ran off to grab some chicken feed, thinking I’d sneak attack grab them while they were eating. A molting golden bluff ate some feed but was way more concerned with my approaching than her hunger. I foolishly tried chasing them, was it instinct? Of course it was fruitless and honestly kind of humiliating. I thought about the neighbor’s dogs I had seen on my property a few days ago, hoping they were nowhere near at the moment. I thought about the phone call I would have to make to my sister (who is supposed to get two of these) and the shame I would feel when these chickens former owner learned of their fate (sudden death in the woods, I imagine…). I wondered, could my dog help herd? That’s probably not a trait pitbulls are known for. I stood there, weary and defeated, but looked up to see my husband approaching, wearing gloves and work boots. Work boots mean business, I started to rally. We quickly decided on herding since the chasing had failed. Josh smartly grabbed a long thin stick (-I think a leftover from my teepee project!*) which helped him usher chickens from far away. I took off after a lone araucana who had strayed pretty far, and borrowing Josh’s technique I picked up a long, thick branch and escorted my prisoner to her cell. By the time I locked her away there was just one chicken left, hiding out under my car, a smart tactic if I was solo, but she was no match for our team. Josh flushed her from his side and I guided her towards the run. All six inside the fence, we locked the door and high fived. I’m grateful for a partner who knows when and how to help, I’m grateful for a baby who likes adventures even when they aren’t hers, and I’m especially grateful that I don’t have to move these chickens ever again.

*This blog is moving! Go to www.afarawayfarm.wordpress.com for more posts! 

I’ve changed…

8 Mar

addresses!

My new blog is here. Come visit!

Six Months!

14 Oct

Margot turned SIX months old a little while ago, and we tried to document her growth with a photoshoot that started great but ended quickly…

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So instead of a 6 month photoshoot, here’s a couple things she’s been up to:

Sitting up nice and sturdy, with only an occasional tilt and fall sideways (note the pillows…)

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Bananas! (And apples, pears, sweet potatoes and avocado!)

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So far, she’s never met a food she didn’t like.

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I think it’s just the texture that throws her off every now and then…

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Thumbsucking, which I am hoping will be a source of comfort to this light sleeper:

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And then there’s, ya know, the usual… being charming, friendly, dimpled, enjoyable and great company, pretty much all the time:

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How I Spent My Summer Vacation

14 Oct

(A.K.A. I haven’t posted here in so long!)

I finally organized and uploaded some photos so here’s a brief recap of what we’ve been up to:

The horse we let our neighbor keep in our pasture had a surprise baby:

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Josh cooked a romantic, surprise anniversary dinner that Margot just couldn’t bear to miss.

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We took Margot on her first serious (11 hour!) road trip to visit family in PA, and then had a short vacation at the Jersey Shore.

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She met her only girl cousin, and I am thrilled she has a cousin to be friends with just like I did :).

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Margot is a real natural in the water, just like her mom:

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But seriously, she did love the boat, just like her mom:

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Then we spent a night in Louisville and in true Josh Nittle vacation style, jammed a ton of fun stuff into a short period of time, including:

-The Louisville Slugger factory:

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A surprise glass working class Josh set up for me at Flame Run:

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And a fun evening at the Louisville Science Center:

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Complete with a colorful, mesmerizing imax documentary on Monarch Butterflies.

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All in all, a great, fun summer with my sweet little family. Man it’s good to be home.

Video

Raspberries

7 Aug

About 9 o’clock at night, when I’m pretty ready to put Margot to bed, she turns on the charm and pulls out all the stops.

16 weeks

17 Jul

Margot is taking a nap for longer than 15 minutes so I thought I’d try to get some new photos of her on the blog. She has been a little more clingy than usual, or maybe she is clingy and her behavior before was unusual? How can you know these things about such a new person? Anyways, although other areas of my life haven’t been getting enough attention, Margot’s been getting plenty, and that’s not really a complaint, actually.

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One area of personal growth I’d like to tackle is my photography knowledge and skills. Josh has such a nice camera and I’m so intimidated by it, but I’m the one who gets to hang out with Margot when the natural light in the house is at it’s best so I’d better figure it out!

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Margot has gone from “who”-ing at us, when prompted, to “who”-ing, unprompted, to babbling at us, then family, then nearby children or animals, and will now blow raspberries back at us. It’s so amazing to see her grow so quickly. Part of me already wishes all she could do was “who”, cause she’s totally moved on and rarely does it anymore, and part of me is ready to skip straight to the talking. I guess that’s just the age old dilemma of being a parent- “Grow up! You can do it!”…then, “Ah! Stop growing up so fast!”

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Margot is also sweeping things towards her mouth, she has a small blanket crocheted for her by my best friend’s grandmother Alice that is the perfect size for her swing or carseat, and she often falls asleep with it up by her face. She’s grabbing toys, somewhat, although I can’t say I offer then as much as I probably should. We do have quite a collection of board books that we read every day. I hit the jackpot and found some great books at the new Ollie’s in Richmond, and I think we’re both happy to have some new ones.

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Margot is, for the most part, unabashedly friendly. My grandma says she must have my “sunny disposition” – a phrase that always makes me smile. Margot will smile back at old ladies in the grocery store, the tall man at church with the deep, gravelly voice, and pretty much anyone who stops to say hello. It’s very sweet. My mom once told me the story of a family of siblings who lost their mother, and at her funeral they all revealed they each thought they were the favorite. My mom loved how sweet it was for each kid to think they were the most special to their mom. I sort of see that trait in Margot, she can make everyone feel special.IMG_9958

My favorite moments lately are laying in the hammock with her, watching her watch the hummingbirds at the feeder, her babbling back at me or to me, to get my attention, her arm-flapping, leg-kicking, squealing excitement, and her earnest concentration and delight when her dad waves “hi” to her. I guess I don’t mind if she keeps growing up after all.

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Eight Weeks

22 May

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Margot is delightful at eight weeks, she gets more and more fun by the day. Twice she’s gone from whining in her swing to smiling when I appear to pick her up, it’s disarmingly charming. She’s been wanting to be held more than normal but we go on so many adventures (The Great Salt Petre Cave! An entire day in Lexington!) I don’t really mind having some down time together at home.

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We’ve made the switch from disposable to cloth diapers and aside from an extra load of laundry every 2 days, it’s been a pretty smooth transition.

This photo’s an “oldie” (she was just one month!) but it was Margot’s first time in gingham and her dorky mom’s first time trying to match with her.

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