Friday, September 05, 2008

Creature comforts

When we travel, I usually go through animal withdrawal. I miss all my critters at home, and there's often nothing furred or feathered at the other end of the trip to fill the void.

This time was delightfully different from the start. When we arrived at Rick's cousin's Friday night, I heard plaintive bleating. I found a pen in the dark and was happy to oblige the two resident goats' desires for attention. What is it about friendly animals that warms my heart so?

After two days away to see the Passion Play, the Shepherd of the Hills drama and have fun in Silver Dollar City, we drove back to Rick's other cousin's to stay two nights. There I got a small "sheep fix" from two friendly Dorpers and a big "feather fix" from a variety of chickens. I was delighted with my first "face to beak" encounter with a Welsummer hen; a very pretty bird to go with the "chocolate" eggs!I also liked these Barred Rock bantams. Just as the standard Barred Rocks are large; the bantam variety are on the large side - which means they are just right! There were many more varieties as well, some of which I recognized (Silkies, Turkens) and a lot that I didn't.

Before we left for the airport on Wednesday, we stopped by Rick's uncle's place. Their pup Happy is a Mountain Cur, a breed I hadn't heard of before. Brindled like Rosie, with wolf eyes, a greyhound face and hound-dog ears, she was an irresistible bundle of energy (both of Rick's cousins also have a dog). After Rick looked at his uncle's horses for him, we made our way to the nicest chicken facility I have ever seen.A large landscaped and fenced yard surrounds a beautiful "chicken barn" (top), built over 40 years ago by Rick's grandfather and uncle. There was a cute little side building as well. Rick's aunt confided to Brian and me that she currently has 70 birds, 40 more than she's ever had before. There were Rhode Island Reds, Buckeyes, Delawares, Welsummers, and lots and lots of my favorites, a rainbow of Easter Eggers.
It was fun to see both hens and roosters of all the varieties she had, and Brian got to see what hens are SUPPOSED to do - lay eggs in nest boxes!

Notice the grey day? Rain from Hurricane Gustav had moved in the night before; 8-10 INCHES were predicted! How thankful we were to have had nice weather for most of our trip, especially for all the outdoor stuff we had tickets for Saturday night through Monday.

That's it for now from . . .

9 comments:

Wrensong Farm said...

I was bit with the dark egg layer bug last year. I added Welsummers and Barnvelders to my flock. They have beautiful plummage too, an added bonus! I'm anxious to get some of those chocolate brown eggs....hopefully they choose to use the nice nestboxes we have built!

Corinne R. said...

Oh My! I think I have a bad case of chicken coop envy!

Kathy said...

Is there something "magical" about the number "70" with chickens? That's how many we had when I dsold eggs out the door and couldn't keep one in the house.

I am so glad to see you having fun...

Tina T-P said...

Well, what the heck! I miss ONE day of reading your blog and your posts are full of fun and exciting things! And what beautiful pictures - I think I have a little case of chicken coop envy too. How great that you got to meet Tammy & Alena - Isn't it just the best to meet your "virtural" friends!!! T.

kristi said...

I enjoyed the travels! I might do okay in the NW as the only meat I will eat is chicken (not mine of course:) & fish....oh & I am a die heart bacon person but there is a no go on the red meat factor. Its so neat to have "friends" all over the U.S. & to see what others are up too!

Alaska Shetland Shepherd said...

Lucky you! I've always wanted a lap dulcimer...maybe it's time to finally get one myself! I love them!

Tammy said...

That is seriously one fine chicken house---or should I say palace? Wow.... The last picture of the chickens, did you say those were Ameracuanas too? While they have the muffs and look like them, I have never, ever seen them in that color, and I reallly like that color! ha...
Tammy

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Yes, those beautiful girls in the last photo are indeed Easter Eggers, and I think they are stunning! Rick's aunt managed to get some eggs from a hen who "bred true," although that's not a given for Easter Eggers, I guess.

And thanks to Tammy, who said she would be willing to part with one of her Welsummer hens, we will be adding one of those beauties to our tiny flock come the end of the month!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Thanks for sending me to this post, Michelle. What a beautiful barn and area for thos chickens. And what a varied and lovely array of EE chickens, too.

Now I want to learn more about those 'chocolate egg' layers.
I've seen the dark chocolate eggs of the cuckoo marans, but had no idea there were other hens who laid eggs just as yummy!

~Lisa