Friday, September 3, 2010

Life Around the Ranch

Here is a carton of our still small eggs as compared to
a store bought large chicken egg.  See the two
blue eggs in the front? Cool, huh?
We went from four eggs to eight eggs a day within 4 days so the hens are really starting to lay --- and we are getting BLUE eggs too!!! So that means the Easter Egg chickens are starting to lay too.  8 eggs per day adds up fast!  I am looking for egg cartons and will be giving the eggs to friends. The fresh egg yolks are lovely in color (deep orangy yellow) and tasty which makes this all worthwhile. You know that very fresh eggs are not good for hard boiling because it is difficult to peel off the shell. I will have to save back a few eggs to age a bit whenever I want hard boiled eggs.
The Dots had fun exploring the hay bales

The Wyandotte chicken is such a beautifully designed chicken.  They are big hens, solidly built with a very gentle nature. Our chickens are so healthy, their eyes, combs and feathers reflect their health. We went to the Nebraska State Fair last weekend and the chicken exhibit was the most interesting with all the varieties and the gorgeous roosters. We don't have roosters here at the ranch because hens are calmer without them plus contrary to common belief, roosters don't just crow at sunrise but many start at 3AM and they crow all day. Most annoying. I must say that the Dots are as beautiful as any of the show chickens that we saw at the State Fair.

Three hens enjoying grazing in the front yard.
Here is a closeup of one of the Easter Egg chickens. Their heads are so small and their faces look like an owl --- they are funny looking. They are so curious, they often lead the Dots all over the yard checking out something new.

We have the original adult guinea pair that roams the yard and pastures--- all that is left of the original adult dozen. The dozen young guineas that we raised have gone native too. (boo hoo) I was mowing last Friday and watched them graze the lawn and then the garden and then saw them move into the high grass and I had a sinking feeling...and they haven't been back to the guinea shack since. Oh my, this is the part that is so hard.  I don't want to lose the guineas. Mark is confident they will come back...I hope he's right. He says he sees bird trails through the tall grass.

And check out this bucolic picture of the miniature cattle. Mark has the patience to catch these fabulous animal pictures.

These picture were taken through the screen door this week, but I had to include them since these are the first turkeys we've seen this year --- this is a wild turkey family, a tom and hen and five young babies. Click on the pictures to enlarge so you can see them better. Isn't it great to see these remarkable birds lounging in our front yard? It is still amazing to me. I can't get enough of watching them.
On the right, the turkey hen is sitting in the grass and the tom is standing.  If you look closely you can see his beard at the bottom of his neck. There are 5 young birds - some sitting in the grass and some eating. They stayed in the yard for about 30 minutes. The Dots didn't bother them at all even though at times the hens mixed with the turkeys.
Remember the apples we picked last week? Well I made 2 apple pies, one to freeze, and one to eat and froze 4 quarts of sliced apples. Tonight Mark and I picked a little over 15 gallons of apples from that old tree and we put them in the root cellar for this winter. I don't know what kind of apples these are but they are sensational tasting both fresh and in pie.

And finally, another beautiful Nebraska sky. The weather has definitely cooled and there is the tinge of fall in the air. I love every season and it is so great to be back where I can experience all four seasons. I have to admit that I wasn't up early enough to see this in person, but Mark captured this sunrise one morning this week. Isn't it full of promise?

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