Tuesday, December 18, 2012

First Egg!

 A shot hubby messaged me this morning....our second egg!

 The girls on their resting place when being moved from outside to the garage....the baby gate.

The golden egg...our first egg after a long, long wait!

I can answer the age old question what comes first the chicken or the egg?

Actually what comes first is 235 days of work and hoping. We brought our chickens home when they were one day old. We had them sit in their warm brooder for 6 weeks, feeding and nurturing them to be strong enough to go outside. Since this past winter was the snowiest in history of Anchorage it took forever for the snow to melt and the back yard to be chicken friendly. 

We spent time getting the chicks used to the dogs, baby and us. They were named and fed the best organic food we could find.

They were bought treats and a chicken toy. They moved outside after 8 weeks full time to their McMansion in the back yard, a lovely cap cod style chicken hutch. Hubby soon began improvements with water system and food system that is genius and allows us to feed them through a chimney that will make easy access even when several feet of snow blanket the back yard.

He then heated the water system, raised the level of the hutch so that we could do a deep litter which eliminates all smells. I brought home hay to use for Ocoee's birthday party and then we used it to insulate the house and make a soft place for the girls to rest. Chickens love hay.

I spent all summer trying to keep the chickens off my deck, out of my garden and away from my flowers and lettuce. I failed lots. I yelled more.

Still after all this work....no eggs.

It has been winter for a long time already in Anchorage. We have had weeks of below zero weather. We have plan B for the girls which involves a huge dog kennel in the garage for the really cold nights. Anything below zero and they are inside the garage. 

The girls even learned to walk in the snow.....which they thought was really crazy the first few inches but are now legitimate Alaskan chickens and wade through with no issues.

Hubby would take them fresh water each day since theirs froze and even prepare them a hot water bottle to warm them up. We installed a thermostat we could monitor the temperature of the coop from inside.

And we waited.

Dates we predicted past. 

We made new predictions. These too passed. I considered a light. Hubby was firm that a light was unneeded stress on these poor, poor chickens.

I sighed.

And then Sunday we found our first egg. We are sure it was Eli that laid it since she is the biggest and bossiest. The first girl to show signs of broodiness (chicken speak for hormonal).

And this morning there was another golden egg.

We ate the first one last night on our weekly egg night. A simple meal of homemade caesar salad, egg sandwiches and roasted potatoes was made celebratory by our first egg and a nice bottle of Pinot Noir. The egg had the oranges yolk and tasted divine.

We joked that these are very expensive eggs, and it will take years to make this hobby/project/experiment pay for itself. The girls are part of our odd little family now and I am thrilled they are laying eggs. They have passed the dogs in rank of productiveness.


Friday, December 14, 2012

We need change! NOW!

As a teacher and parent I am grieving for the families in Connecticut today. I took my students on a field trip today for a performance of dance by a high school. We were surrounded by Elementary students who also were attending. I sat choked up, crying, seeing the joy of these young innocent kids.


I have no answers. This has happened too often.

I remember Von Maur and the feelings of that day flood back. People I worked with and knew died at the hands of another crazy gunman.

It has to stop. We need change.

I hope our government can be strong enough to change gun control laws and that the people of this country can see the wisdom in more control of these deadly weapons.

I can't wait for school to be over and have my baby in my arms, so I can finally breathe.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Advent calendar for toddlers

For Christmas this year I have been very aware of the traditions we are forming now we have Ocoee in our lives. We have some from our childhood and some that are unique to just us.

One that we just started was an advent calendar. Since Ocoee is too young for treats or small toys (she would eat them!) I decided on an ornament a day idea.

These are not normal ornaments. These are handmade felt ornaments that she places on her very own felt christmas tree. I saw the idea on pininterest and loved it. I went to the fabric store, bought my material and got to work.

Well let's just stay my stunning lack of craft skills are shining in this project. The tree is crooked and strange looking and the best I could do for ornaments were roundish ornaments and an odd candy came in red only. Stripes are beyond me. My snowflake looks like Swiss cheese.

Other than the ugliness factor it is a hit! She says tree, tree. Well I think that is what she is saying anyway and we pick her new ornament from her advent calendar each day. The tree is stapled to the hall wall so it is hidden from offending visitors but is perfect for her to play with. She likes to pat the wall over and over. The best part is ripping all the ornaments off.

We are missing a few ornaments that I think our dog Brodie might have eaten. Otherwise Ocoee could care less that my crafting skills are a hot mess.

I may redo next year with really sharp scissors and some patterns, maybe a glue gun and less wine. Or maybe I will reuse this one because one thing about tradition is that it doesn't have to be pretty to be special.

Also about 8 inches of fresh snow and our chickens have even begun to get used to it and wade through!


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Some things are special

So I haven't blogged lately and I wanted to put this out there in the blog world.....I keep some things special, for just Ocoee. A good friend gave me a notebook when Ocoee was born. In this notebook I write letters to Ocoee.

These are special letters. Thoughts for only her eyes to read. I will give it to her one day when she is older and I hope it is special, meaningful and important to her. As much as I love documenting online for the world, friends and family to read, I also need this special outlet for my secret mommy thoughts, feeling, fears and hopes.

Since I currently know 11 people who are pregnant and expecting in the next few months, maybe this will make a good present to other moms....a special place to write....often or occasionally.... special mother words.

My mom has passed away and I know that I would love to see her handwriting and feel her words.

Also if you are thinking of gifts, there is a great website called Spoonflower, where you can turn handwritten recipes into tea towels. In this day of amazing technologies how cool is it to use the technology to see an old fashioned thing like handwriting. And those famous family recipes would be easily available and honored in a unique way, instead of tucked away for no one to see.