Category Archives: chickens

#595: Nantucket Blizzard

We’re in the midst of a nor’easter.
It began yesterday at 4:15.

And howled through the night.
Our hens were safe in their house.
There’s a half-foot of snow and it’s still coming down,
only blowing around so much it’s more like deep drifts
and bare patches.

Morning chores include pouring the teakettle out
onto their frozen water.
For which they reward us with three eggs.

The beehive needed its doorway cleared,
the cement hedgehog on top keeps 
the styrofoam on, and the insulation
gives them an area of the hive to cluster.
We don’t wrap the whole hive because
that would hold too much moisture.
The bottom is left unwrapped in the hope
the hive beetles will die from the cold.

The dozen or so dead bees underneath
are actually a good sign,
the bees are keeping their hive clean.
That’s it for my outside chores.
I came back in to breakfast by my daughter.
The 400 degree oven required for a puff pancake
heats our house,
and the pancake heats our bodies.
Appreciating the blizzard
from inside.
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#591: Blizzard!

Nantucket woke up to this:
The cat isn’t even standing here,
wanting to go out. He sees it’s futile.

The summer patio, where we grill out.
Hah.

A very Christmassy back door.
The snow makes the garlands so pretty.

The clam rake. Don’t think we’ll be clamming today.
Ditto on jumping on the trampoline.

Or sailing Water Bear,
Tobias has her under wraps.

Toward Rugged Road
The front garden gate,
I don’t think even rabbits will be out today.
Tho’ I’ll have to risk it,
the chickens in this shed need
boiling water poured on their water supply.
Thirsty chickens don’t lay eggs.
Unused vehicles: bike and car,
from an upstairs window.
Time to go to the basement and get down 
the cross-country skis and Flexible Flyer.
Because we Have to Go Out,
they’ve closed off Main Street till 2pm
for sledding…

#579: 30 Days of Thanks: Day 6

Chickens.
Today I am thankful for chickens.
They eat leftovers and turn them into eggs.
How cool is that?

Of course, you have to find the eggs first.
This bantam made her summer nest
in the garden storage shelves.

And we didn’t find her for 10 days!
Enough eggs to make omelets for supper.
For which I am ever so thankful.

#567: More County Fair Fun

Did I say how much I love the County Fair?
Here’s why:
Our free Jeep for 3 days!
I won the rental from Nantucket Island Rent-a-Car at a
raffle at Fairgrounds House.
We took it out to Altar Rock for a picnic last night.

Fair food, delicious.
Peppers, onions and sausage or fried clams?
The red bracelets are new.
I don’t like them, they’re plastic.
Handstamps were cooler.

Prizes for honey.
this is a competitive class, there are a lot of beekeepers
on Nantucket.

Facepainting.
Intense concentration on a

Ladybug,
Butterfly,
Extraordinary art by teenaged artists,
and their super happy customers.

Instruction in life’s complexities.
There are dozens of little ones everywhere.
Aflac, the duck, enjoying the music.

The band, 211 in Progress,
click on their name if you want to hear their sound.
They gave a shout out to our fish market during one of their songs,
the line was: happier than a cat in a fish store, Glidden’s!
Did I say how much I love our fair?

Banners snapping in the wind.

2nd prize, Skillet Toss on Sunday.
This is Tracy,
she threw that skillet 42’6″,
not to worry, the kid wasn’t standing there.
Let no one ever say Tracy is a woman
without talent.
Bringing the birds home,
one blue ribbon, one red, three white.
Nicely done, girls.
Our veggies didn’t win anything but
that’s ok, they’re still good to eat.
As David’s proving in the picture.

The ribbons ready for display.
The kitten apron 
ready for storage till next year.
It was a terrific Fair.

#545: Gardening on Nantucket: Colorado Potato Beetles

A garden on Nantucket is a battlefield.
Oh, it looks lush and abundant:
Dozens of potato plants,
planted in last year’s chicken yard.
But close up, the Colorado potato beetle attacks:
This is the second year we’ve had them.
Only 1/4 long and only four so far but
the battle rages:
Each beetle lays at least 300 eggs,
I destroyed one egg mass but obviously missed another.
These tiny guys can defoliate a plant in a day.
We garden organically so they have to be hand-picked.

And not fed to the chickens.
See the beetle larva between the hen’s feet?
Chickens don’t eat Colorado Potato beetles.
Phooey.
They hide under leaves,
but I’m a relentless hunter.
Yesterday alone I squashed 105 larvae.
Including this one, inside a potato flower.
I don’t mind killing them,
they reduce yield and look like Jabba the Hutt.

#536: Nantucket Spring

Spring on Nantucket is fleeting.
Some years it’s only days long.
Baby chicks, snuggled in
Grow to kid chicks, tasting the outdoors,

Then to teen chicks, 
catch me if you can…
Peeking starflowers give way to
 Quaker ladies

and climbing poison ivy.
the moors will still be lonely,

the boat basin,  not so much.

#533: Bantams in a Bucket

It’s time.
The bantam chicks have flight feathers.
Time for them to go in their outside run.
They’ve never seen grass before.
First, into the bucket for the short trip outside.

Wait, what? What’s going on?

Oh, a pile of feed. We understand that.

Can I eat this?
Yes! Cherry blossoms are yummy.

So much space.
It’s a bit nerve-wracking.

But all my friends are here,

and David’s keeping a watchful eye.
Sortof.

#531: Escape to Lily Pond

The summer has barely begun.
We are already sneaking off to the Lily Pond
to escape the crowds.
Scoping out a picnic site.

The cedar grove is taken…

This tree will do.

Cinnamon fern unfurls only in spring but
We’ll be back again and again,

to watch apple blossoms turn to fruit.
And grape vines yield grapes.

Thorny bushes, blackberries.

And the high-bush blueberries, visions of thieves.

Wally wishes she could come.

#528: Chicken Spring

It’s a grey day today but still Spring with a capital S.
Here’s some joy of spring, from above:
Yellow tulip, safe from the deer
due to extensive 6′ fencing.
First egg, from one of the Americanas.
The first egg of any hen is cause for celebration.

Chicken run–they’ve been scratching in the grape arbor
all winter but now I need to plant popcorn there.

So we built them a run to their new yard.

It took a while for them to figure it out.
Our chickens are sweet, timid and not very bright.

Becky’s Bantam’s are a bit feistier.
And super cute.

They love the feeder she made them
 from a piece of bamboo.
I love hearing them peep all day, and night.
So much about Spring is delightful,
even on grey days.

#525: Baby Chicks!

We’ve paid too much attention to evil lately.
Here’s some goodness and awwws:
Bantam chick, four days old.

Jesus reminds us:

In this world

you will have trouble

 but take heart
(be of good cheer)

I have overcome the world.

There is fellowship

and comfort, still.