Skunky at One Week


Skunky is a week old. What a fun week it’s been. I can’t watch Skunky without getting a smile. Once Skunky’s feathers start coming out in another week or so, we’ll have a better idea what colors and patterns Skunky will eventually have. It would be great if those long stripes streaking from Skuny’s eyes remain.

And let’s hope Skunky stays safe. Running around outdoors, even with a vigilant mother, can be dangerous. Kestrels, Goshawks, Merlins, and other sundry raptors would love to snatch a little chick for a snack. It’s a moral dilemma raising chickens this way. Do I keep hens and their chicks locked up for four to six weeks until the chicks are much larger, or do I let them run free? If I tried to keep them locked indoors, the hens would go nuts. They would try to scratch their way out of any enclosure. That would be crueler than letting them take their chicks out into the wild world. And so I set them free to explore this wonderful world, dangers included.

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Before the Sun Climbs Over the Treetops


Before the sun climbs over the treetops, Lucky is in her nest, getting ready to lay an egg.

Before the sun climbs over the treetops, the tulips huddle in the morning cold.

Before the sun climbs over the treetops, the fruiting cherry blossoms wait their first bee.

Before the sun climbs over the treetops, chickens leave their footprints on a frosty bridge.

Before the sun climbs over the treetops, grosbeaks gather at the bird feeder.

Before the sun climbs over the treetops, wakeup.


Single Source Eggs


It’s Friday, time to take eggs to Slough Food in Edison. This week one of the cartons is extra special. It’s a carton of single source eggs. This may be the only carton of single source eggs sold anywhere in the country, maybe even the whole world this week.

The eggs in this carton are all laid by Lucky. The past few weeks she has been faithfully laying eggs early in the morning in one of the nests in the woodshed. I’ve been checking every morning between eight and nine to gather her eggs so I could make a carton of just her eggs.


One lucky customer will be buying this carton this week. Maybe they’ll make a single source omelette or single source soufflé. Lucky raised a brood of chicks last fall. The picture below is from September 20, when her chicks were five days old. When I’m weeding in the garden, she is the first hen who will come to lend her claws. She’s really after the worms I dig up, but a little scratching here and there doesn’t hurt.


A “Skunk” in the Chickenyard


It’s not the disaster it sounds like. The “skunk” in question is one of the new chicks. It’s striped like a skunk. I’m tempted to call it Skunky, however, as its feathers come in, the stripes will disappear. The colors and patterns on baby chicks often change dramatically as they grow up.

The black stripe streaking out of its eye makes an impression. When it’s outside, this chick is easy to spot.


An End and a Beginning


It’s the end of the word burning season. This may be the last load of firewood we bring in for this season. The warmth of a wood fire is so comforting, there is always a bit of sadness when the wood burning season comes to a close.

But it’s also the beginning of fresh, garden herbs. Today, the lovage is large enough to pick a stem for supper’s soup. Last year, this lovage plant towered seven feet tall. It’s leaves will flavor many dishes this year. One lovage plant will feed a household through spring and summer.