Posts Tagged ‘Silkie Bantams’

h1

Missing Miss Boo Boo

January 11, 2012

On December 30, after I got home from tending errands in town, Ralphie and I went into the backyard to play ball. It was then that I noticed my pet turkey, Miss Boo Boo, lying oddly still in the chicken pasture. When I opened the gate, only one hen greeted me. I ignored the absence of thirteen other clucking hens at the gate and rushed over to Miss Boo Boo. She was belly up. Dead.

A foot away lay a gathering of small feathers. I walked the large pasture, suspicious that coyotes had been here, dreading each step that I took. Sure enough, there were seven different feather clusters and one body—all young layers. Four of the older hens were inside the coop, one was wandering around, and another hen was hiding behind the running pen beneath the eucalyptus foliage. She had a scuffed back, yet she laid an egg the next day. There hasn’t been an egg in the henhouse since. At three years old, hens produce only occasionally.

Miss Boo Boo didn’t have a mark on her. She must have fallen while trying to escape the violent massacre and suffocated from the weight of her large chest, or simply died of terror. I miss her most of all. She followed me around the pasture like a puppy. When I made a certain sound, she would fluff up her white feathers and mimic my call. She honked a friendly hello when she heard me working on the other side of the hedge in the perennial garden. Always wanting to be at my side, before she was heavy and slow, Miss Boo Boo followed me from inside the pasture fence as I walked along the driveway.

Two weeks have passed and I still miss the two Black Australorp beauties, the three fast-running Buttercups, and their amble egg supply. I miss the friendly cooing of two cute little Silkie Bantams—they were adorable. I miss the loud squawks after laying an egg, and the cackling, clucking of young hens.

Mostly, I miss the sociable fondness of a three-year-old turkey named Miss Boo Boo.

h1

A Weekend of Celebrations, Pullets, and Gardening

April 18, 2011

It was a busy weekend filled with outdoor activities and a couple of celebrations. Ralphie turned two years old last Friday, on the day of my wedding anniversary. He enjoyed a new doggie treat, and my husband, Joe, and I had a good meal out, a gift from a high school friend. Thanks Irene.

Saturday, I volunteered at the Amador Master Gardeners’ first spring workshop. Several MGs (master gardeners) shared tips on a variety of topics from how to make different tomato cages to growing “not your ordinary vegetables,” to eatable lilies and recipes for an impending bounty. Afterwards, I joined fellow MG’s Barbara Dahlberg, Kathy Freeman, and Glen Johnson at the demo garden. This year’s major projects are building a tool shed and deer fence. Saturday, we focused on the fence. Glen used some sort of hydraulic post driver and within an hour, he completed the job. A few dozen T-posts stood vertical without the aid of human hands.

Sunday, I planted cucumbers, squash, tomatoes, and melons, painted vegetable signs, mulched a flowerbed, and worked in the perennial garden. Joe finished grouting the tile in my garden house,  then got busy with outdoor chores with Ralphie by his side. Mid-day, Joe and I decided to buy a few pullets (chicks). Usually, we get new pullets every other year. But we’ve learned in order to keep a steady flow of eggs, we need to add to the flock each spring. After a short drive to Lees’ Lockeford Hay Station, we made our selections. We now have two Silkie Bantams (these are for fun as they are a petite breed and produce tiny eggs), two Black Australorp, and three Buttercups in a small cow trough here in the garage. They are safe and warm under a heat lamp with feed and fresh water to nourish them along. When they’re old enough, I’ll house them in the coop (separate from the layers) and later in the running pen. The goal is to eventually let them free range, when they’re bigger and have common sense to return to the coop at night.

As Sunday wound down, the power went out. Forced to stop activities, Joe and I had to find our way in a dark house for flashlights, matches, and candles. We brought the pullets inside where warm logs were burning in the fireplace. Once the pullets were calm, we snacked by candlelight on sandwiches, applesauce, and chips. Our home was filled with the sounds of little chirps, crackling logs, and a barking dog. The weekend was active, even into the twilight. I was tired, after working at a gardening workshop, fence building, tucking seeds and seedlings into the earth, sign painting, tending to perennial plants, adopting pullets and celebrations honored. But it was a tired that felt good. That’s how productive, long sunny days are in and around the garden. Copyright © 2011 Dianne Marie Andre

%d bloggers like this: