R.I.P. Frida

Very sad day.  This morning I went out to feed the girls like normal and Frida was missing.  She had flown over the fence once before, so I went to the front of the house and called for her.  Normally, as soon as she hears me, she comes running, hoping for some treat that I would be bringing them.  When she was nowhere in sight and couldn’t be heard, a lump started forming in my stomach.  I went into the backyard and pulled down the door of the chicken coop.  And there she was; lying dead in the basket where they lay their eggs.  Rigor had already set in, so she must have passed sometime during the night.

Yes, I know that they are farm animals.  And animals die.  Mostly so that they can end up on our plate.  I have threatended the girls many times with “You don’t lay enough eggs, you are going to jump in the freezer!”.  They complied faithfully with giving Whitney and I more eggs than we could eat.  But somehow, this is different.  Such a shock that Frida would die so young, and considering there was absolutley nothing wrong with her at about 8 P.M. the night before.  So between then and 7 a.m. something happened and she passed away.

I have a suspicion that her death was due to her being egg bound, which is when the egg does not pass through their vent and becomes lodged inside their body.  It is very severe and can lead to death quite quickly.  I didn’t want to poke and prod her, as I think she deserved more respect than that, but that is my main suspect in her death.  There were no signs of a struggle or anything, so hopefully she died rather peacefully.

She was my admitted favorite chicken, who loved to be held and petted.  When people would come over, she was the one that I picked up and had people pet (you would be surprised how many people have NEVER touched a live chicken).  She was my faithful layer, laying the largest and most eggs with a beautiful tan color.  The one who seemed most happy to see me; especially when I had cobs of corn or a juicy tomato.  The one who cooed contendedly in my arms when I would take her around the yard touring the vegetable garden with me.

I find myself struck with strange emotions for a pet that I would just as soon eat for dinner.  She was a great ambassador for Backyard Chickens and she will be sorely missed.  R.I.P. Frida, aka Chicken #1, aka Breakfast of Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, aka The Ambassadorette, aka my Favorite Chick

One my favorite pics of all time. Drenched Frida Chicken! She looks so pathetic!

RIP Frida

Vegetable Garden, August 9, 2010

So all is well in the Land of Milk and Honey. Well, actually I have neither of these. I actually sort of want a miniature cow, though I am sure Whitney would be more than a little disappointed (read: fucking livid). The “Panda” breed mini-cows are so cute, and able to be pastured on rather smallish acreage. I just want the milk to make fresh, unpasteurized cheese, but you know, the FDA knows better than I on what I should put in my body… But I digress. Damn, I’m sort of grumpy today.  Here are some pics from the garden…

Eggplant flowers are so pretty. But not more beautiful than okra flowers. I will try to get a pic for next week.

The eggplants are getting into high season now!

One of my cubanelles starting to turn color

The first crop from the garden. Tomatoes, squash, eggplant, melons and more tomatoes!

Vegetable Garden, August 9, 2010

Here chicky, chickies

The girls have been good, happy and healthy.  Brittany, Frida and FiFi also have new nicknames, bestowed upon them by none other than S. Clapp:  Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.  BLD as a collective.  They have been laying well, eating a lot, and generally being happy chickens with no cares in the world.

But lately, something has been stealing/eating their eggs.  Not sure what it could be though.  No proof of fur, tracks or poop so it is sort of a big, looming question.  Some think it might be rats, a skunk, raccoon, or even them, eating their own eggs.  I really don’t know, so now to remedy the problem, everyday when I get home from work I make a stop and collect the eggs before I go inside.  It is a little bit of a pain, but definitely worth it, since I don’t need to be throwing money away!  Time for some pics:

Grazing chickens

Chickens going apeshit over some peaches

Frida practicing for her great escape

FiFi looking mean as hell

Vegetable Garden May 25, 2010

Yeah.  It’s raining.  In Sacramento.  In the end of May.  We got a quarter of an inch of rain today.  Doesn’t make for good picture-taking or great growing for summer vegetables.  So we will see how successful this garden will be; if the season is very short.  The nights have started dipping back into the mid 40’s and not getting warmer than mid 60’s during the day.  I am sure this is totally stupefying plants and animals, not only in my backyard, but across the region.  Here are two pics that I sneaked out and took during a short, five minute break from the rain.

The raised bed contains starting from the bottom: Rosemary, Parma Onions (You can't see them), 4 Varieties of Eggplant, 6 Different Peppers, and then Leeks and Scallions.

May 25 2010

Chicken update… Yeah me!

I can tell the Rhodies apart!  Finally the poor chickens will no longer have to suffer the humiliation and obscurity of not being able to be told apart.  A couple of days ago, I noticed their combs and waddles changed color and have stayed like that ever since.  One of them has a big, bright red comb and waddles and the other has smaller, more of a pinky/rose color.  The one with the pink comb is already named, Britany, but I have to come up with another name for ‘Chicken One’.  Actually Whitney and I came up with the best name ever…  But we forgot it.  =(   So the biggest, fluffiest, chicken; who actually likes to be held and petted, is still without a name.  No way to treat a favorite!  The Ameracuana (FiFi, short for Phoenix because of her kickass plummage) is a complete bitch (What happenend to her?!).  She is the top chicken and she lets it be known constantly.  She even pecks at Nate sometimes.  If she doesn’t earn her keep by producing enough eggs…  She will be the first on the chopping block.  Literally. 

Oh and still no eggs…  Since egg production requires massive amounts of energy, I think that the girls are trying to keep warm and in tip top shape since it has been so damn cold lately.  So I guess I am going to have to keep waiting…

Chicken 'One' hopefully named so only for the time being. Notice the full, red comb and waddles.


And Britany with the pink, smaller comb and waddles.