Ma's Family

Ma's Family

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Run Robin Run!

I just thought I'd take the time to tell a little story about when I was little. We raised chickens when I was a kid and there was 1 rooster that just chased me every morning in my little red bathrobe. My brothers used to laugh so much as I went screaming through the yard, around the house, up the woodpile to wait out that 'pecketdy ol wooster'. And I have to admit. While my daughter wasn't running from a peckty ol wooster in this clip (she was trying to get the chicks to follow her, not running away) it WAS still hilarious in the clip and I had to watch it about 50 time laughing until tears rolled down.

Enjoy the clip! We sure did! Heather is giving away a free blog design! I'm really hoping I win it because she's done a wonderful job on hers and mine is... well not exactly the most creative!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there! I had a fabulous one! I was up early to pick my husband up from work and he made me breakfast (mmm fried potatoes, my favorite!) after I tended the chickens and had bought me a fuschia plant. My kids made me love notes through the day and Rosemary gave me a necklace and earrings she had bought at the maple festival. Of which she had to check every 5 minutes throughout the day to see if I was wearing them and how much I adored them. Catherine and Robin took turns hugging my leg while I was gardening and asking 'Can I say something?' me- 'yes' them 'I love you!' throughout the day. And David and Andy made dandelion soup while I was trimming pine trees .... and served it on the deck steps on mud patties. I have a sneaky suspicion the mud patties came from one of my planters in the herb garden. As it smelled slightly of oregano and mint.

I did not blog on mother's day. I was avoiding the cyber world yesterday for 1 reason. I didn't want to spoil my day. Mother's day is great! It's a day intended to recognize and acknowledge mothers who often do their best work when noone is looking. For the world in general to say YAY MOMS! To acknowledge all the things we do for our families but it's also to me about BEING a mom and ME recognizing and acknowledging the blessings God gave that MAKE me a mom. Being a mom means cooking, cleaning, wiping tears and noses, bandaids, diapers, refereeing, sore feet, loud children, hugs, kisses, story times, love notes in crayon on your fresh painted walls, hunting for shoes, saying prayers at bedtime and teaching manners. We signed on for this! We may not love all that it entails but we can all agree that we love our children and wouldn't give them up to be shet of the messes. If your family does these things every day... how can it be reasonable to expect them to be different on 1 particular day? Do you want them to be?

I've seen so many people saying their mother's day was aweful and grumping about it not being as nice as someone else's. I have to wonder who's yardstick it's being measured by. I love my family. Just the way they are. Every day. I wouldn't want them to disappear. No, I didn't have a day free of housework. I didn't sleep in until noon. I didn't have a day free of parenting. And I hope I never do. Mother's Day isn't a day to have a free pass from your family. It's a day to enjoy them and celebrate the fact that your children are THERE to argue, and spill, and cry, and eat..... and it's my pleasure to enjoy every moment of it!

How big is your yardstick? And is it a different color that your family has never seen before on Mother's Day?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Bullseye Blasters

My older kids had their final meeting for the 4-H Bullseye Blasters rifle club tonight. (Photo included) The last meeting of the season is always to finish up their log books for the records. On the first page the book asks what you wish to achieve this year in this program. Every one of them wrote some form of 'shooting better'. Towards the end it asks them what they learned this year. Every one of them wrote some form of 'shooting better'. I have to wonder what they expect the children to write there and had myself a little chuckle. What if.... they asked the parents to answer those questions? Why DO I send them to rifle club? I can teach them to shoot just fine here. We home school for everything else so why not that?

What do you wish your child to achieve this year in this program? I hope that my children will learn patience, responsibility, safe handling and appropriate care of weapons, respect for guns-people-authority-property and have fun while doing it. I hope that my children will gain self-respect, assurance, confidence and pride in their achievements. And yeah... I hope they get a better aim too! Is that asking too much? I don't think so.

My kids have a wonderful team of coaches! They take the time to know the kids. To interact with them individually and encourage them. To show them each that they are worth something! And like Who's line is it anyway... the points don't matter. At the end of the year some have scored high, some not so much. But they ALL did great. The high scores are celebrated and the not so high are congratulated on their improvement and efforts. My heartfelt gratitude and kudos go out to the amazing coaches and assistants who make this program outstanding for the kids who are in it.

Thank you coaches! You're amazing!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Day 10 - video

The chicks are so curious! Anything in their space gets thoroughly inspected. You can see in the video how much faster the meat birds are growing than the layers. The layers sure hold their own though!

The chicks are busy busy busy but still manage to settle right down for a snuggle with Robin. While the videos are uploading let's talk about kids and animals. Never ever leave a child alone with an animal. For the safety of both. Baby animals are adorable! But they're also fragile and require some special care. Teach children to handle them properly to ensure the safety of both the animals and the kids. Chicks can get sick easily and animals do carry diseases and germs so be sure kids wash well before and after handling them. It's natural for kids to squeeze when they're excited and toss when they're startled so it's helpful to have a smock or towel to set the animal on. This will keep the chick safer and free the child's hands for petting rather than smothering. Draw attention to the way the animal naturally sits and encourage children to hold the animal in a similar way. For chicks the wings should be folded normally and not allowed to flap and feet should be free of obstruction. Be engaged with them. Take the child's hand in yours and show them how to pet gently. This way you can demonstrate appropriate pressure. Gentle with a dog is much different than gentle with a baby chick. If the child will hand feed be sure to warn them about a little pinch and show them to hold their hand flat so there are no little skin folds to be nipped. And don't forget to wash those hands! These early lessons will lead to a long time of mutual enjoyment and fun!

Chick Patrol 1

Another week has passed and boy have those chicks grown!

Day 2 - Look at those wings! Just yesterday there wasn't a feather in sight!

Day 4 - starting to get some color on those feathers and maybe a bit of fluff starting a tail?
Day 6 - Wing feathers are taking shape and they're starting to scratch for food and chasing bugs. We had a minor issue on Day 7. A snow storm came through and left us without power for about 8 hours. It was a bit of a rush to get all the chicks into laundry baskets and around the wood stove to keep them warm without the lights. They fared well though and after a day of sleeping it off they were back to their chirpy, busy selves again.

Day 8 Feathers on top! And definitely showing some tail feathers too!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The chicks are here!

The Chick Mansion is occupied!

What an exciting morning! We received a phone call from the post office at 7 am saying our chicks had arrived! Looking out the door at all the fresh fallen snow (on March 31!) I wasn't pleased with mother nature! The ladies at the post office assured us they were cute as could be and all different colors (Who could resist taking a peek with all those cute chirps?!?) and had taken good care of them and even had them up front near the heat. They're now all in the crates sipping water and chirping away. We lost 2 in travel and a couple lame ones (their feet were stuck in the crate dividers) But overall they look to be a healthy lot.

We used wire hangers to lower the light down as they were all crowding together tight. (Never hang a light from the cord) New chicks need to be kept at about 95 degrees f but you can see this without a thermometer by noting their behavior. If it's too hot the chicks will move away from the light and be listless. If it's too cold they'll group tight together like the picture below. When it's just right they'll be active and moving around. In the photo below Topper keeps guard over these strange noisemakers. We'll have to keep an eye on him! What he's sitting on is a wire grate about 12 x 12". That's where the water goes. Straw is not very stable and we don't like leaks so there is a small block of wood for height with the grate on top for a level surface. We've added vitamins to the water and use medicated chick feed as recommended for good health.

Half of the chicks are being moved to the second crate. This crate has a white light only because the local store was out of red. Red is preferred here as it's less harsh but a chick's gotta have heat. So white it is.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The great chicken adventure!

Box crate on pallet (sorry for the dark photos!)

So it's almost baby chick day! We're getting ready for 175 new chicks that are supposed to arrive in 2 days. It's important to have their place prepared before their arrival because we're getting newly hatched chicks that are just 1 day old. They need to be kept at 95 degrees and can get sick very easily. I was so lucky to score some large box crates at the local feed store! (Erways is great if you're in the area to stop in!) So I've set up 2 of them. They're pretty simple really just a wood pallet on the floor, then a large plastic trash bag (in case there are any leaky water spills), and the box crate on top.

Then a couple layers of cardboard inside the crate.
Some of my kids hopped in to test it out!

Then a couple inches of bedding inside it. We're using straw because it's what we have handy. The kids will have fun shredding paper towels to mix in with it. And after the straw is nice and dry (it was frozen out at the coop) we'll put a layer of window screen over it for the first few days so the chicks don't try to eat the bedding before learning where the food is. You can see we've put duct tape securely over those shipping handles to make sure no chicks wander out or a get a draft. We'll remove that and replace it with screens when they've settled in. Those handle holes will serve a purpose later!

We do free-range our chickens but baby chicks need a good healthy start. So they start out eating medicated chick feed to keep them healthy for the first couple weeks. After they have some feathers we'll switch them to a small ration of natural pellets each day and all the fresh foraging they can find.

Thanks for following our adventures and stay tuned for tomorrow's update after we've finished preparing the Chick Mansion! God Bless!