Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A birthday miracle!

I was so looking forward to Goldie hatching out her chicks on my birthday.  The day before, the eggs started to hatch.  Oops, did it again!  I forgot to add 20 days, not 21, to the date, since you have to count the first day when they are setting.  I put five eggs under her on July 8, should have been July 9 to hit my birthday.

So anyway, first chick hatched and seemed all right.  I went into the house for my camera, and when I came out, the chick was on the floor of the moop, and not in very good shape.  I put it back in with Goldie, but didn't have much hope for it.  It died a short time later.  A second egg had a ferociously peeping chick in it, but wasn't coming out.  I checked back an hour later, and it was out, but wet and limp and didn't look at all good.  An hour later, it looked dead, but I shoved it back under Goldie and went in the house.  There was still a third egg, but it had no signs of hatching, so I assumed it was not fertile.

When I put the chickens away Sunday night, I couldn't find the chick, or the third egg.  Chickens will eat a dead chick, and they will eat eggs, so I thought the cleanup crew had taken care of things and went to bed, very depressed.

Can you see how depressed Goldie is?

Yesterday Kim brought down two little chicks that had hatched in his incubator that morning.  He said maybe they would cheer up Goldie.  We have a water tank set up in the barn for new chicks and their mamas, so I went to the moop to get Goldie, and Kim took the two chicks to the barn.

I crawled in the moop and heard peeping.  Well, the chicks born June 2 still make a peeping sound, but none of them were around.  And then I saw it!  Goldie had a chick!  GOLDIE HAD A CHICK!!  I laughed out loud.  It is a miracle.  Whether it was the wet chick that miraculously survived or whether that third egg was pushed into a corner so I didn't see it and it hatched in the night, GOLDIE HAD A CHICK!!  On my birthday, no less.  Her name is Little Susie.

Goldie with Little Susie

Goldie, Little Susie and the two adoptees in their water tank home. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Sunday night playing cards at Richard's

I have mentioned more than a few times in Facebook posts that I play cards with some pretty sharp people on Sunday nights.  Sometimes I go a few months without playing, I get so busy.  But lately, I have been making it nearly every Sunday.  I figured I had better show up often enough to win a game now and then!  I don't think I have won more than a game or two, and that was probably by accident.

My card playing friends are Verl and Mayme who are 87 and 82, Richard the host, who is 94, Zelma, Verl's sister, who is 85, and Verda, another sister to Verl who is 92.  I bought my farm from Verda and Stanley.  Stanley passed shortly after we closed on the farm, but Verda is still going strong.  She lives in a small apartment in a senior citizen community in Plymouth.  Zelma moved to Plymouth, too.  The others all still live in their long-time homes.  Verl and Mayme are still on their farm, and are just a couple of miles from me.  Turn a couple of corners, and I am at Richard's place, another farm.  Mayme and I are the only non-Hoosiers, Mayme being from Maryland and I from Illinois.  Mayme and Verl met in a barn in Maryland when Verl was in the service.  That is a story I heard for the first time last night!

We play two different games, first Crazy Eights (but not with any rules like I ever knew) and Nines, a game I had never heard of until I met this bunch!

We stop and have snacks between games, sometimes sandwiches, always popcorn and usually a sweet or some fruit.

If I get there late, which often happens, Verl, who always keeps score, averages everyone's score and gives it to me.  The game is played until one person reaches 500.  Then the person with the low score is the winner (never me!).  Even though I get this artificially low score maybe half way through the game when I show up late, it doesn't take long for me to get caught with high counter cards in my hand and I am soon pushing that 500 mark!  Oh, dear!!

Last Sunday, I missed winning Nines by only one point.   Didn't even come close to winning last night.  :(

These were taken over two weeks because Verda was missing last week.  She showed up late this week, but we got her picture at last! 

Richard, our host

Verl is always the scorekeeper, but we check his work.  ;-)

Richard's turn to deal

Zelma serving treats

Job well done.  Everyone looks happy.

Melon, popcorn, homemade cheese.  Where's the pie?

Mayme cutting pie

Here's the whole crew - L to R, Richard, Zelma, Verda, Mayme, Verl
Treats are done.  Back to cards - playing Nines.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Okay, I give up. Goldie wins!

Two years ago in April, four little chicks were hatched here on the farm, by a Campine no less, which is unusual because Campines don't usually go broody.  These four chicks imprinted on me.  It was a delightful experience.  Goldie and I became especially close.  She is the only female of the four.  Ricky is still affectionate with me as well.  I sold one of the roosters, Pretty, at an early age, and Tiny, the Campine, is a typical Campine -- distancing himself from me as he got a little older.
Goldie and Pretty on my lap.
Last year Goldie had two chicks, and she was so happy!  One died on the first day.  The other survived, and they were together all of the time.  But a hawk got the chick when it was a couple of months old.  I think I was nearly as sad as Goldie.

Goldie with two chicks, spring 2012 

This year, she has gone broody several times but I have ignored her.  After all, there are six little month-old chicks running around here, and I kept thinking she would get over it.  Today I petted her and told her that there would be no chicks this year.  She flared out her neck feathers (again!) and told me what she thought of that.  Then I realized that if I put eggs under her today, they would hatch on my birthday, July 29th.

I chose four white eggs - only white eggs have a chance of being Campine - plus one blue egg.  I carefully dated them and marked them so that any new eggs would be easily recognizable and could be removed from the nest.  (The other hens will happily lay eggs in the nest when the broody hen leaves for a bathroom break or to get some food and water, so marking is important.)

Marked with hatch date - my birthday!
Goldie watching what is happening

When I took the eggs out to the Moop, Goldie was at the feed trough.  Then she hopped up on the roost and watched while I laid the five eggs in her nest.  It took her about a nano-second to figure out what was going on.  She hopped in, then took her beak and made sure the five eggs were safely under her fat feathered body.

Eggs are in the nest.

Look at those ruffled neck feathers!
She's with the eggs.

Settling in
Using her beak to push eggs under her belly
Ah!  All is well.  "I'm making babies!"
 Goldie's neck feathers, which have been ruffled for about the last six weeks, immediately smoothed down.  She knows what is going on.  She is happy.  Good luck, Goldie.  I hope all five eggs are fertile!!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Cherries galore!

Sour cherries
I have been eating my fill of sour red cherries.  About 10 years ago, I belonged to a board called Indiana Nut Growers, and one of the members offered up some cherry trees (really, nothing more than shoots) for $4 to cover his postage.  I got three of them.  Two survived.  I have had a few cherries over the past few years, but this year there is a bumper crop.

They are eye-wincing sour, but so goooooooooooooooood!!!!!!!!!  I have heard that they are good for any kind of inflammatory disease, and I believe it.  My bursitis has been very calm lately.

Today I sent Androo out to pick for a couple of market baskets that will be picked up tomorrow.  People are delighted to get them.  My strawberries didn't do much, so I am glad that I can give them plenty of cherries.  Here is why.  Take a look at this!

Plump and juicy!

Isn't this a beautiful sight?

The chickens love them, too.

Need a ladder for the top branches.