A pair of fine days

I’ve been going through my share of physical challenges lately, but the past day-and-a-half have been really good ones. I started an increased dosage of my Armour yesterday and was feeling well enough to tackle some outdoor chores before the heat built up.

Clean chicken coops? Check. Pick up dog waste in the yard? Check. Mow the lawn? Check. I was so happy that I could get through all of that and still have time to sit on the porch and enjoy the relatively cooler weather, too.

B came over about mid-afternoon and seemed disappointed that the lawn was already mowed. He offered to do it when we talked Friday night and I had gratefully accepted the offer. But it kept looking like it may rain throughout the morning and I was feeling so good that I just went ahead and did it myself.

Today I slept in quite late (well, technically I was up early for chores, but then went back to bed), had a light breakfast and then decided to do some cooking. I defrosted two small ducks, put them in the slow cooker and started a loaf of bread in the bread machine before heading out for a late lunch/early dinner with B. (Real deli flood at The Bagel in Skokie…mmmm!)

When I got home, I cleaned out the entire refrigerator, washing all of the shelves and drawers and tidying up things a bit.

Such productivity makes me really happy. Let’s face it: I hate being idle. Even when “resting” I feel the need to be reading something, knitting something, or…well, just plain doing something. During comfortable summer days on the weekends, I love to sit on my back porch, sipping a cool beverage and enjoying the fresh air. But I find that I can only sit still for a short period of time. I need to get up very 20 or 30 minutes to pull some weeds, prune something, or mess around in the compost.

Ah, well. At least no one can call me lazy.

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Betty the hen has been very productive lately, too. I was worried about her last month. Neither she or Selma were eating much and I was getting no eggs at all for at least 3 weeks. Betty is quite thin under all her feathers, although Selma seems well fleshed out. Selma very rarely lays an egg,  while Betty was one of the heavier layers. I think that is why Betty is so much thinner.

Laying eggs takes a lot of energy and doing so very frequently seems to make the hen thinner fleshed and finer boned. So when Betty seemed to be eating very little, I got worried. She wasn’t interested in her normal feed nor was she interested in the weeds and greens I offer them from the yard. Frankly I was concerned that I’d have to be burying another hen soon.

During that time we were also having a lot of heat and humidity, but the hens have lived through a few hot and humid summers without their eating slowing down so much. Eventually I started trying to feed them a few different things. In the freezer I found a loaf of stale “health” bread one of my neighbors had left for the hens to eat. (I had put it in the freezer as there were too many other breads to feed them at the time, and it’s not good to give them a lot of bread anyway.) I defrosted the stuff and found that it was one of those heavy, dense, brick-like “health” breads.

I broke off a chunk and offered it to the hens, but it was so dense they couldn’t peck much from it. So, I crumbled up a portion in a dish with some water and let it sit to get soft. I also mixed in some oyster shell and some food grade diotomaceous earth (DE), which is supposed to be good for helping to eliminate intestinal parasites when ingested. I offered the hens this “mush” and they eagerly ate it down. They got a serving of this “mush” over the course of several days and always dug right in.

Next, I found some dried soybeans in my pantry that I’d had sitting around for several years. I soaked them overnight and then cooked them plain the next day. I offered these beans to the hens and they gobbled them down, too. After that they started back on their regular feed quite eagerly and Betty resumed laying again. I’m not sure if it was the DE, the oyster shell, or just the temporary change in diet, but it seemed to work. Betty has laid an egg every day for the past 6 days, and she’s eager to eat up any of the weeds I offer her. There’s been quite a bit of wild amaranth popping up here and there and that seems to be one of her favorites.

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Having a 2 good days under my belt is very good, but I know better than to start pushing myself too hard too soon. If I can have another 2 or 3 days like this, then I’ll try going back to the gym and doing a short work out. Until then, I have work to do for my job and odds and ends to do here at home that will keep me productive and occupied.

But it sure feels great to be perky again. 🙂

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One thought on “A pair of fine days

  1. Glad you are feeling better 🙂

    Um . . . how long do chickens live? Are they like dogs and cats?

    And I think when I finish with The Great Clean Up of 2010 in all the other rooms, I will tackle the appliances in the kitchen. The fridge at my house, although pretty empty, could use a good wash!

    Like

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