Family Photo Friday

Family Photo Friday

I thought it might be good to share this photo of Amelia today since yesterday’s post was all about her. Of course, this only shows one side of her very dynamic and adorable personality!

This is a photo of Amelia on New Year’s Day. You can see a little of Bessie there too. While Bessie has her head buried in the breakfast salad, Amelia is giving me “the eye” and trying to figure out just what is going on. Amelia keeps me on my toes, and she doesn’t miss a thing.

When I’m filling their dry feed holder in the morning, she is the only one who will fly up to the shelf I use and inspect everything. She will even help herself to her favorite items in the mixing bucket before it’s all poured into the holder. Her most favorite? Sunflower kernels.

Sometimes I move my chair into their run area so we can all sit and enjoy time together. Amelia is the first (and often only) one to claim the chair when I go back into the house to find a treat for everyone.

Yes, she is bold and adventurous! I’ve been told when she was just a little chick, she was the first to make it to the top of the water container, the first to make it to the top of the brooder box, the first to reach anything! This is why her original Chicken Mom and Dad named her after Amelia Earhart.

Yet with such an independent spirit, she still has a very sweet side which she shows only to those she knows and loves.

You can read more about all of my chickens on this page.

I will do my best to post each Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Every “Like,” “Follow,” and “Comment” is truly appreciated!

My Life With Gracie…But Is That Enough?

But Is That Enough?

There are times when I wish my life was very different. Some sorrow comes with such awareness to be sure, but there is a much greater sorrow in thinking my chickens might wish their lives were very different too.

Yet the life they have is the only life most of them have ever known. Only Amelia and Emily ever had hours upon hours of free backyard time out in the country to explore and fly together with their original flock mates. They were magnificent.

Zoning ordinances forced them to find new homes because even though they were in a rural area, they didn’t live on at least five and a half acres of land. Now, here on less than a quarter acre city lot, they are legal and safe, and those things must count for something.

Even though they can’t fly freely like before and even though they don’t understand how their fate might have been otherwise, they do have a life and a home. But is that enough?

When Amelia and Emily came to live with us, my greatest concern was they might come to hate life here in the city compared to their relative life of freedom in the country. As beautiful as they are, it would be so selfish if my happiness was obtained by their sorrow.

I worried about Amelia the most because more than anything she loves to fly. Then one evening, I realized there just might be something she loves more than flying.

The days were growing shorter then because it was the fall season. I had less and less time after work to sit with my chickens before they went up into their coop for the night.

Gracie would always be first because she is the leader and may also have the weakest eyesight. Amelia would always be last. Perhaps that is because her eyesight is the strongest, but I think it also may be because she loves adventure and doesn’t want to miss anything.

Eventually there would be no daylight left when I got home, and they would all be up in their coop, waiting patiently to be “tucked in” for the night and secured against nighttime predators.

We would still say all of our sweet “good night” wishes the way we always did and talk together just a bit before saying our evening prayers, but it always felt different with only the twilight darkness.

Then that one evening, the unexpected happened. There was a little daylight still left when I got home. I turned off the truck engine, opened the door, and heard the sweetest and most innocently hopeful little sound ever. It was the sound of two chicken feet softly landing on the ground.

My heart knew who it was before my eyes saw. Of course, it was Amelia. She had jumped down out of the coop.

By the time I got to the backyard, I saw her pacing quickly back and forth at the front of their run. At first, I thought there was some type of problem which had alarmed her. Had there been a predator stalking them? Would I need to settle a dispute because someone was in her favorite nighttime roosting spot?

When I got in the run, Amelia gave me that look which only Amelia can give me. Then she pecked and pulled at the legs of my pants the way she always does when she wants to be picked up and held.

So I picked her up and held her close in my arms. It was the sweetest of sweet “good night” moments I have ever had. It seemed to last forever.

As much as she loves her freedom to fly, Amelia loves being held just a little bit more. She doesn’t have to say it. She just lives it.

Now I know there is probably more I can write here about how sometimes life turns out differently for us than what we expect and about how sometimes we give up some of our valued freedom to obtain something much more valuable. But right now, I just want to rest in the moment and believe it really is enough…for both of us.

My Life With Gracie (and especially Amelia) showed me the beauty of a sweet “good night.”

I will do my best to post each Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Every “Like,” “Follow,” and “Comment” is truly appreciated!

But Is That Enough?

Family Photo Friday!

Family Photo Friday

While I normally say “Hold onto your hearts!” for the photos shared on Fridays, this one is more like “Come and get it!”

This is a photo of one of Blanche’s first eggs. You can figure out which one is hers, right? Just as a refresher, you may remember from the last “Family Photo Friday,” I told you about Blanche’s plan to eat until she became to largest chicken ever. Well, that is just about the largest chicken egg ever! And it turned out to be a double yolk egg too!

Double yolk eggs happen most often when hens are just beginning to lay eggs while their bodies are still getting accustomed to the whole process. After all, there is a lot involved they need to get right! Plus it takes about 26 hours from start to finish to produce just one egg.

Since they lay later and later each day with this 26-hour cycle, eventually a hen will lay so late in the day they won’t start the whole process again until their body clocks sort of does a “reset” based on daylight. Then they begin laying early in the morning again. In the meantime, the get a well-deserved “day off”!

Blanche really struggled with this egg for an uncomfortably long time, and I’m sure you can see why. Not only was she still very new to laying eggs, but this one was huge compared to the ones beside it laid by Gracie and Bessie who were still larger than Blanche at the time. (But no longer!)

One of the things I always try to remember to do when I’m collecting eggs is to be thankful. I’m sure there are plenty of other things they would rather be doing other than laying eggs for me!

Once you have collected a still-warm egg from a hen’s nest, you may never look at at chickens or eggs the same. Both are gifts and treasures.

You can read more about all of my chickens on this page.

I will do my best to post each Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Every “Like,” “Follow,” and “Comment” is truly appreciated!