Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Update on mama hen a.k.a. Ruby

When we first got the Barred Rock hens, we had picked out names for them. But, we soon realized, it was very hard to tell them apart. So, we dropped the names.

Now that there is one which is singled out, by sitting on eggs, we've decided to name her. 

Ruby is the name of our friends' dog and Natalie has loved it ever since she heard it. Plus, it is just so darn cute to hear her say it. "Wooby."

So today, Ruby took her little break for eating, drinking, and the other. I was watching her and taking pictures, so I'm not sure when the following occurred, but another hen (Barred Rock) got up on the nest. I discovered it when I opened the door trying to see how many eggs there were. Ruby was in the yard, but here was another on the nest. Hmmm. What's going to happen now?

Ruby came back, hopped up on the platform, and went in the door. No feathers flew, no crazed clucks sounded, just some sounds of a hen settling down. I peaked in, lo and behold, both hens were cuddled up on the nest. 

Now,  I don't know if that's going to be a problem. For one thing, the other hen may just be laying an egg. If so, she should be out shortly. But if she is also broody, I don't know what we should do. Can two hens 'share' a nest? Or do we need to separate them?

One book we looked at talked about giving hens their own set-apart place to sit, otherwise you could have as many as three piled up on the same nest.

How crazy this is, to have waited years for a broody hen and now to have two on the same nest?!

Well, I'm going to check on them now.

Then I've got to get the Focaccia pizza crust baked. Mm-mmm.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Baby chicks on August 12th?!

We are so excited to announce...we have a broody hen!

Nathan went out Friday to gather the eggs. He found one of the Barred Rock hens sitting on the eggs he needed to gather, which happens occasionally. He thought maybe she just happened to be laying an egg when he went out there.

But, Saturday, she was still sitting there. She even went into attack mode.

Sunday-still there.

And today, I went down there to investigate. I was the one taking care of the chickens the other time a hen went broody. I thought I might recognize the signs. And sure enough, we went down there and she came out and ran at us! Even her clucking has changed to a different sound. I wish I could see how many eggs she has. Mom thinks it could be about 6.

So, 21 days, the incubation period, from Friday the 23rd is August 12th. Will have updates as they happen : ) Maybe even pictures.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Foster care conference at Banner Elk

May 14-15 our whole family was able to go up to Banner Elk, to the campus of Grandfather Home, for a Foster care conference. As Foster parents, there is a required amount of training per year, and with this weekend conference, you can get all your hours in one big chunk, and get a little family vacation in.

Grandfather Home is the Agency that my parents are licensed with.

As you will see, the campus is huge and gorgeous.

Originally, we thought we were going to have to stay in a hotel nearby, which was disappointing, because we know that they have very nice apartments there on campus. But, there was a cancellation at the last minute and we were able to get an apartment. An apartment next to the Fowlers!

So while the parents went to the various meetings and lectures, we older kids (Me, Nathan and Blane jr.) took the little kids down to the playground area and the lake.

Christiana on the playground.

Nathan looking introspective.

Natalie loved the water and stayed in it practically the whole day. Kiki didn't love the water quite so much.

Best friends.

The beautiful lake.

I'm not sure how Ben-jo felt about that sand...

Just begging for a canoe and paddles.

Blane Jr. was great watching out for his siblings.

Nathan and Gabby were too.

3,757 ft above sea level.

All the girls...
(we traded sisters for a while)

"What's that?"

Ben-jo trying to eat grass. He never was successful.

Who says you can't play in dresses? Huh?

I just adore Natalie's little mouth : }

She was quite timid, at first, about going across the bridge. But that didn't stop her!

Perfect-sized swings.

There were tons and TONS of tadpoles along the edge of the lake. Gabby loved catching them.

One of the two bedrooms in the apartment. Quite a rustic bunk bed. There's no mattress on the bottom because I took it off. Why did I take it off? Well, it made me incredibly claustrophobic to think of sleeping under there. Well, why didn't I sleep on top? Because I couldn't climb up to the top, seeing as how there was no ladder. I just pulled the mattress off onto the floor and slept like a baby. : )

Natalie liked it up there...

Gorgeous view from the window.

One of the best play things for kids is a pile of dirt!

Canadian geese.

Finding good skipping stones. Those guys can really fling 'em!

She's so proud of her big brother!

"Where to, sir?"

Look at their serious driving faces. : ]

View of part of the campus as seen from our apartment.
Just a question... do you see God's fingerprints anywhere in this picture? Because I see them all over.
"The earth is the Lord's and everything in it."

I was so thankful that we were able to stay so near the Fowlers. For one thing, I didn't love the idea of me, Nathan and Natalie being alone during the day. So I was comforted to have Blane Jr., Gabby, Kiki and Ben-jo next door. It also made the days go by quicker and easier, since Natalie had some playmates.
But I think my favorite thing about staying near the Fowlers was having our family devotion with them. It was simply beautiful. Nathan and Blane Jr. had their acoustic guitars and we sang a couple worship songs. Then Blane shared with us a preview of he sermon for the following Sunday. Just a really great bonding time for part of the body of Christ. Hallelujah!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Isle of Palms, wrapping up

I have taken far too long in blogging about our beach trip. So without further delay, I'll do my best to wrap up and move on. : )

I had wanted to be sure and see some sunrises with Karen, but also I thought it would be special to walk the beach by the full moon. And the timing was just right. The moon reached it's peak while we were there.

Saying 'hello' and 'goodnight' to the moon as it begins it's journey across the sky...

Saying 'hello' and 'good morning' to the sun.

Finished this huge puzzle the last evening. It's our tradition to assemble at least one puzzle. A wonderful way to relax and to encourage conversation. Well, we don't really need help in that area...

Natalie-Rose loves her Uncle Tony. Getting some snuggle-time in before heading down to the beach for the morning.

Karen had to get in there too.

Later that morning, down at the beach...

I love those bikes and being able to ride on the beach. I could go on for ever, if only the wind stayed at my back.

Nathan finally warmed up to the cold ocean and even did some boogie-boarding! I'm proud of him!

It helped that daddy got out there too... I did go swimming, but unfortunately, no one got proof.

Natalie didn't eat her sandwich, so I thought it would be fun to throw it to the two seagulls hanging around... Well, two turned into 20 or maybe 40 in the next 3 minutes! AH!

"Sunny? Am I okay?"

A beach scene...

The drip-method for sand castle building. Very elegant.

Sweet picture of daddy and daughter.

Heading back to the beach house for the last time.
So hard to go!


Good-bye Isle of Palms! You've been just as wonderful as I remember! See you next year!