Miss Beatrix Potter Hen

Miss Beatrix Potter Hen
Miss Bea posing for Mama!

Friday, October 12, 2012

On Chickens, clucking, and eggs !

  I love to chat...with my chickens ! 
  And, I have been known to sing to them. For those of you that keep backyard chickens, this will not surprise you, but for those of you who may be thinking right about now that I am indeed a "Crazy Chicken Lady" , so be it ! 
  Chickens are social creatures, gregarious by nature. They enjoy the company of their flock-mates and thrive on interaction with their human family, and I in turn enjoy spending time amongst  them. I often sit inside the hen house and catch up on all the latest gossip, although some of my happy hens are more chatty than others. Or, while we don't have the luxury of a fenced in backyard, as often as possible, we do allow them the freedom to free roam, albeit supervised, but free roam none the less so they can let their feathers down so to speak, and dig for worms and bugs, eat fresh grass and weeds, thank you very much, ladies and just be chickens. So I plop myself down in the yard and watch. Now, I admit that I sometimes need to offer a little directional guidance to the occasional free spirit wanderer, but they pretty much know their boundaries.  During the two plus years that I have been keeping chickens, I have come to recognize their various peeps, clucks, coos, and cackles, squawks, and the ever popular, "makes me absolutely giddy" egg-laying honk ! Are you with me ? 
   Nothing beats the sound of chicken chatter in the early morning hours. Well, nothing, except maybe the sound of a rooster welcoming the new dawn. (more about that in my previous post, Good Morning !) Anyway, I say who needs an alarm clock when you have the anticipation of waking up to the gentle coos and clucks of a flock of chickens. I usually wake before the sun, and anxiously await those first few quiet coos and clucks from my sweet hens as they hop off their roost and greet the new day. 
   Chicken chatter is pretty much similar to that of the different cries your young baby makes, or the various woofs, barks, and growls of dog-speak.  Chickens talk because they want to, because they have a need, because they have an announcement as in "Hey, everybody gather round, for I, have just laid a magnificent egg !", because they are content, because they are being picked on by the Bossy Mcbossy Bee in her Bonnet Betty, to express their sheer joy at being given the freedom to free roam, or just because they can. That's good enough for me. I revel in their chick-chat ! 
   Rumor has it though, that in an all girl flock, one of those pretty little peeps may begin to crow. Yes, I said crow ! Apparently, when a male lead is missing, a leading lady may attempt to take his place. Such is the case with my little backyard flock- my most vocal hen, Abigail, a Black Australorp, LOVES to talk !  She literally gets up on her milk crate soap box and tells it like it is. She's not at the tippy top of my flock's pecking order, but she is definitely the spokes-chicken, so crowing was just a natural progression for my dear "Gabby Abby" ! Abigail has perfected the art of the "almost crow"- while she doesn't quite sound like her professional counterpart,  if practice makes perfect, she'll undoubtedly be crowing like a pro in no time at all.  And not to be out shined by the men, Abby has created her own unique version of crowing- she belts out a squawk and boy can she hold a note ! Pavarotti himself would be impressed ! Applause, applause ! 
   I first became enamored by chickens several years ago and avidly read everything about keeping a small backyard flock of chickens that I could get my hands on. I researched breeds, chatted with friendly nearby veteran chicken keepers, read about the care of day old babies, the care, feeding, bedding and housing options for the ladies once they graduated to the great outdoors, the how to of predator proofing their new abode, and daydreamed, daydreamed, daydreamed of THE day !   That day arrived on March 16, 2010 !  I got THE call from my local post office that my peeps had arrived and I was ecstatic. My son, Jeremy, likes to retell that moment in history, about how I shouted out, "They're here !!!!!" practically loud enough to be heard in Alaska ! I asked to open the box at the post office, just to check on their general well being, even though that was quite obvious by the all the peeping. From that very first peak, I was absolutely smitten and madly in love with these day old little balls of fluff. 
   On a beautiful, warm, cloudless day in May, the girls moved in to their new digs- my amazing husband, David, designed and built an equally amazing dog house size hen house. It couldn't have been more perfect. We added a nice enclosed run around it, propped it up on cement blocks so the ladies could enjoy cool shade on hot days, and we introduced them to their home sweet home. They settled in nicely and pecked at the soft spring grass. Then, came the BIG wait...for the first egg, of course. With the approximate date marked on my kitchen calendar, I waited as patiently as I could. Well, surprise, surprise...one of my more advanced egg laying students, popped one out a couple weeks early. I carried that EGG-ceptional egg around my neighborhood proudly showing all who would look and they shared in my joy ! They of course "Oooohed and Ahhhhed" and congratulated me on this magnificent milestone. 
   And the rest, as they say, is history !!!
I'm linked up with  the Clever Chicks Blog Hop !

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Graduation Day !


    Well folks, Graduation Day is here ! Our daughter, Emily, is officially a graduate of Moravian College !  Congratulations, sweet Emily ! And, it doesn't stop there. Emily just eats up all the education she can get. She'll be off to graduate school in August to attend George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia where she will study for her Masters and PhD in Developmental Psychology. Wow ! Go, girl go !!!
   Days like this one are dear to a mother's heart. I feel so blessed and I am. As I sat there in the crowd overflowing with other proud parents, siblings, grandparents, and extended family and friends reveling in the joy of the moment, Chaplain Clennon caught my attention as he reminded  us in his invocation, that it is indeed easy on a day such as this to see that it is good. And, yes on a beautiful,sunny spring morning, in the midst of a celebration of accomplishment, surrounded by family and friends, it is easy to see that it is good. Most days, however, are just ordinary days that we fill up with work, chores, errands, appointments, studying, cooking, laundry, family and stuff. Other days are just plain rainy. It certainly isn't easy to see that it is good. So, arm yourselves. Seek the one who is good. I believe that if we commit ourselves to spending regular quality time in God's word and in prayer we will be well equipped to take on any type of day. 
   "But they who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles and soar; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."       
                                       -Isaiah 40:31
God bless,

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Good Morning !

   Good morning ! And, oh what a beautiful morning it is !  I am most blessed to have a day of sunshine,blue sky, a gentle breeze and graced to be wrapped in His Sonshine. 
   So, I've been thinking about getting a rooster. Yes, a rooster. I know what you all may be thinking...roosters spell TROUBLE. Well, even after mentioning this to one of my very learned poultry pals, and listening to his warnings, I am still considering it. David on the other hand, is not so keen on the idea but I'm working on him. Roosters do come with pros and not just cons and some I've heard are actually quite gentle and friendly. Who knew ? First, a rooster will protect my sweet flock from predators. Secondly, my little farm just doesn't seem complete without a rooster prancing around strutting his stuff.  Third, I do like sound of a great cock-a-doodle-do ! David does not.  And, finally, as I mentioned in my welcome post, I would like to raise Delaware chickens. It is my absolute favorite breed and is considered to be threatened by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, an organization which provides information on livestock and helps to protect over 180 breeds of historic livestock and poultry from becoming extinct.  They are working to conserve these historic or heritage breeds and their genetic diversity. When I began keeping chickens in the spring of 2010, I got six day old chicks, one of which was my beloved Delaware, Cordelia.  She was the friendliest out of the flock and often sat in my lap, liked to nibble at my hair, was my constant shadow, and  complained a bit when I attempted to photograph her. Unfortunately, she died when she was just over a year old this past summer. 
   Anyway, to get a rooster or to not get a rooster...that is the question.  Stay tuned for the answer.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Welcome to Mamabirdy's Country Chat!

   Welcome ! I'm glad you stopped by today. I've been playing around with the idea of beginning a blog and as I pause each day to read my friend, Celeste's, blog, A Perpetual Jubilee, I feel inspired and hopefully ready. So,ready,set,go !

   On my blog, I hope to chat about the things that are dear to my heart such as my faith walk, God's creation, my family, healthy eating and living, gardening, bird watching, keeping chickens, reading, cooking, fishing, homeschooling, and living in the quiet countryside of Wassergass, Pennsylvania.

   So for starters, I'd like to take a moment and introduce myself to you. My name is Karen Doll and I am married to my bestest friend in the whole world, David. We've been married now for 24 years on the twenty-first of this merry month of May. We live in the countryside in a small area known as Wassergass in eastern Pennsylvania. We have two children, Emily, who is 21 and Jeremy who is 18. Emily is a recent graduate of Moravian College and will be pursuing her Master's and Doctorate degree in Developmental Psychology at George Mason University in Virginia  in the fall. Jeremy will be graduating from high school this month and although he has no immediate plans to go to college, he aspires to work on a farm and has been learning the ropes by volunteering at a local farm, Flint Hill Farm and Agricultural Center in Coopersburg, Pennsylvania.

   As animal lovers, we have a variety of pets- one dog, Pip, a Bichon Frise who will be 10 in July, two rescued cats,Kitty and Boo,and a flock of ten laying hens ! Over the years we  have also fostered mother cats about to give birth, orphan kittens, Greyhounds, Bichons, and most recently, a male goat kid whom I affectionately called "Little Goat Man."   

  My husband, David, is a self-employed remodeler/handyman. I have been spending my days as a stay-at-home mother and homeschool teacher. However, now that my son will be graduating from our homeschool, Countryside Academy, I find myself pondering over what I will do with all of my free time. Oh, the joy of so many possibilities ! Perhaps I'll become an entrepreneur. Perhaps I'll put pencil to paper or rather fingers to keyboard and record all of my original educational enrichment ideas into a book. Or perhaps I'll try my hand at raising Delaware chickens as this breed is considered threatened and they are one of my favorite.

   So, as our school days come to an end, I will be spending time in prayer, seeking His will for this next stage of my life. 

   "For I know the plans I have for you,"says the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."- Jeremiah 29:11
 Thank you for stopping by and I hope this will be a place to meet new friends, chat with friends already dear, share stories, tips and tidbits, pray for each other, celebrate together, comfort one another, and just revel in the joy that is found in being created by God for God !

   "I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are your works and my soul knows very well." - Psalm 139:14
                      May God bless your day !