Sunday, December 19, 2010

What a nice surprise!

Jim's flock of chickens has provided a lot of entertainment and a lot of eggs throughout the time we've had them, but this morning, Jim found out that they managed to provide something else as well:

We have Wyandott and Aricauna hens for their eggs, but we have the Silkie chickens for their ability to hatch eggs. Most commercial laying hens have had the brooding instinct bred out of them, but not Silkies. They'll hatch not only their own eggs, but other hens' eggs, too. 

Although we didn't plan to have Silkie roosters, when we bought them, we didn't have a choice about their sex, and turns out we have two Silkie roosters. Jim tried to give them away, but there were no takers, so they got busy doing what roosters in a henhouse do. It wasn't long before a hen was sitting on a clutch of eggs and refusing to let Jim have them.

Over time, she lost control of the eggs somehow... either kicking them out of her nest accidentally or perhaps one of the other Silkies kicked them out when she got up to eat. Those were always sad finds for Jim.

But yesterday, Jim heard tiny peeping and today he found the source. He brought the little fuzzybutt into the house to show me and to take a quick photo. We wondered whether or not to keep him inside to make sure he gets enough water during the cold weather, but have decided to leave him with his mother for now and monitor him closely. Our temperatures have been well below zero lately, but the coop generally stays about 20 degrees warmer inside. If he needs to come inside, we're prepared, but we hope he can stay with his family.

Merry Cheepy Christmas!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

James' Thanksgiving Visit

By the time Thanksgiving break rolled around, we were SO ready to have James back home. Jim, Moya and I headed to Anchorage on Saturday to do a little shopping before picking James up from the airport. The frosty, snowy trees glittering in the sun along the Sterling Highway that day perked our moods even further than they already were. Just outside of Anchorage, we saw our first dall sheep. I know they're fairly common but we'd never seen any live ones before, so that added to the fun.

On Sunday, with above-freezing temperatures in the forecast, we decided we'd better get the sleds out if we wanted to use them while the snow was still thick enough for good running. Jim and I have matching Mountainboy Sledworks Silverton kicksleds, and man, are they fun! But first, James had a hearty breakfast of a double-yolk fried egg sandwich. James was already back at school when Jim's hens started laying their eggs, so this was his first meal from our own coop. Now that we had him fed, it was time to play!

James is wearing his new Christmas coat and the shearling hat I made for him this past summer.

We like to take the sleds to the next street over and ride them down the hill. Our neighbor's dog, Rosie, followed us and wouldn't go home, so we played with her or around her, whichever applied at the moment.

James is (so far) the only one of us who's decided to see what happens when you run into the snow berm.

Most of the week was pretty laid back. We had a lovely dinner on Thanksgiving with turkey as a side dish and a standing rib roast as the main course. The next two days were the Peninsula Art Guild's holiday craft show. I'd signed up for a booth before I got the contract making slippers for the store in Anchorage, so I didn't have enough stock to fill the whole booth by myself, so my friends Patty and Helen shared the space with me. We did well, and have reserved the same space for next year. See my new banner? James made it for me!

Santa made an appearance at the craft show before heading to the Kenai Visitor's Center for his main event. As soon as I could show Helen how to use my camera, I chased him down the aisle and had my picture taken with him.

After the craft fair closed on Saturday evening, the three of us went to St. Elias Brewing Company for pizzas before James had to go back to school. This week went by much too fast!

One more photo with all the dogs before heading to the airport:

Three more weeks of school before James is home again for Christmas. We can't wait to have him back again for a longer visit!