Two months later…

Man, how time slips by, even if you aren’t having fun. We have been embroiled in our kitchen remodel, keeping up with the garden, tending the chickens, and doing a bit of travel. One thing I have NOT been doing is writing my blog. Oh, I’ve been taking photos, but I have not been processing them. Time to catch up.

Huevos Rancheros for breakfast today

Huevos Rancheros for breakfast today

Our two newest hens, Peep and Cheep (obviously named when they first arrived as downy chicks) are doing themselves proud. These two barred rock hens lay an egg every day. They are one year old this month.

Three of our hens. They refuse to pose so that I can get all five in one shot.

Three of our hens. They refuse to pose so that I can get all five in one shot.

Miss Hillary, our two-year-old barred rock hen, lays an egg at least every other day, usually more often. She likes to hang out with Peep and Cheep, who have  grown into handsome ladies.

Chicken Little, our Black Sex-linked hen and the largest bird in the flock, is four years old. She is still laying, but certainly not every day. She has finally settled down enough to let me pet her.

Henrietta, our Black Australorp, remains my favorite hen. She seems to enjoy being petted, which is one reason why I like her. She has a very sweet disposition. That and the fact that she is gorgeous. She is laying once in a while. Not bad for a five-year-old hen.

Most days we get four eggs, or at least three. It is rare that we have a two-egg day. So we are swimming in eggs. The girls had produced 465 eggs by June 30. That means that I have already exceeded my goal for annual egg production!

To preserve the excess eggs for winter, when egg production comes to a halt, I broke the eggs two at a time into a bowl, added a pinch of salt to stabilize the protein, broke the yolks and then lightly mixed the yolk and white. I poured the eggs into a small baggie and frozen them. I keep the frozen small bags in a larger plastic freezer bag so they don’t roam all over the inside of our chest freezer. I want to be able to find those eggs when I want to use them for baking in November and December, or make scrambled eggs or an omelette.

The hens enjoy daytime access to the new "Plum Run" that I built for them.

The hens enjoy daytime access to the new “Plum Run” that I built for them.

Another reason that I haven’t been blogging is that I have taken up woodworking as a hobby. I know, what am I thinking? A 70-year-old granny just starting in woodworking? What can I say? It’s fun; I like it; I still have all of my fingers.

Old fluorescent lights in the kitchen right before the remodel.

Old fluorescent lights in the kitchen right before the remodel.

When we had new recessed LED lighting installed in the kitchen to replace the old fluorescent lights (see above), the oak trim came down. I hated to see all that nice wood go into the dumpster. As a beginning woodworker, I don’t bother with new wood. I use scraps and recycled wood to practice on. I envisioned that nicely routed oak trim as a new cage door for the chicken coop.

It took some work to remove the metal brackets from the trim. Then I measured and sawed, using my new circular saw. LOVE power tools!

It took some work to remove the metal brackets from the trim. Then I measured and sawed, using my new circular saw. LOVE power tools!

I got out my new Kreg jig, drilled some holes with my new cordless drill, and joined the pieces of trim together to make a little door frame for the side of the chicken coop. I then added hardware cloth to the new door. I was so pleased with myself. The door functions very nicely.

A new door that I built and installed on the chicken coop.

A new door that I built and installed on the chicken coop.

I cut out a hole in the hardware cloth of the coop, installed hinges and a latch on the new door, and now the chickens can be let out into a fenced area under the plum tree. The overhang of the plum tree keeps them kind of safe from hawks. It will at least challenge a hawk. So far, that hasn’t been an issue. The girls go back into their coop at dusk all by themselves. I lock the door behind them so that rats, opossums, raccoons and skunks can’t get to them or their food.

Fox Squirrel

Fox Squirrel

Oh, and we have the occasional fox squirrel in the yard as well. They were introduced into LA, magically made their way to Costa Mesa in Orange County, and have spread to Huntington Beach from there. Non-native wildlife, like the opossums. They rarely find our yard from their home in HB Central Park, thank goodness. But I saw one this spring making off with apricots from our tree. Bad squirrel!

A pair of mallards visits our pond every spring.

A pair of mallards visits our pond every spring.

Other wildlife in our yard is a pair of mallards that visits our tiny pond in our front yard every spring. They have never nested in our yard, and stay about six weeks. It is so funny to see mallards in our very small, very urban yard.

That is enough catch-up for now. I still have LOTS of harvest photos to upload, the progress of our kitchen remodel to report upon (which still isn’t done), and yet a June trip to the Eastern Sierras. More later.

About Lou Murray, Ph.D.

I'm a professional writer/photographer, avid gardener, and active environmentalist living in southern California. I am retired from writing a weekly newspaper column on environmental topics in the Huntington Beach Independent, but I am still teaching at the Orange County Conservation Corps. This blog chronicles my efforts to live a green life growing as much food as possible for my husband and myself on a 4,500 sq ft yard that is covered mainly by house, garage, driveway, and sidewalks.
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3 Responses to Two months later…

  1. judismith@socal.rr.com says:

    How nice to see your blog post again. How is your neck problem? Did you go to the doctor about it?

    Judi

  2. Erin says:

    Taking on wood working at 70 years young is awesome! It is never too late to do anything your heart desires. Very inspiring! Just found your blog. Keep up the good work!

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