Category Archives: Holidays

Lesson 1026 – Chicklit, I am

I attended a writer’s workshop this past weekend sponsored by the Romance Writer’s of America, New Hampshire branch. Most everyone there wrote Romance – you know,” chicklit.” The fabulous and talented speaker, Debra Dixon, spoke for hour, after hour, about the process of designing and constructing a story. I learned so much useful information. It was easily one of the best writer’s events I had ever attended.

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Deb looks like she is sleeping here, but she held her own and talked through an 8 hour workshop. Full respect to her.

And yet, I kept feeling that I needed to distance myself from most of those in the audience. I don’t write Romance (nothing wrong with it, it’s just not my genre) and so when the questions about plot ran to:

  • Girlfriend fights
  • Finding true love
  • Wanting to be independent

I kind of zoned out. That’s not what I do, I tried to convince myself – I don’t write Romance.

But then I’ve looked back on this blog where for the last 5 years, I’ve been recording such stories as:

  • The hens’ constant pecking
  • Finding love from a tiny chick who was given a chance at life, and
  • Pushing baby chicks out of the house into the coop

And I realized you know what? When you really come down to it, although I do not write Romance, there is no doubt, no doubt at all that I definitely write chicklit.

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Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.


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Lesson 1025 – Mother’s Day and Peas

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What a lovely Mother’s Day I had. It was filled with flowers, thoughtful gifts (including a Jack Sparrow writing muse), books, chicken earrings, humor, and friends coming to visit. Basically it was everything I hold dear rolled up into one day (oh, did I mention coffee?)

In the afternoon, after Emma’s soccer game, we took the chicks outside for some playtime.

At first we kept them in their crate out in the sun. There was a fair amount of interest from the flock as to what was making all that noise.

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After a while we set up our baby gate-like corral that we use to keep chicks (and injured chickens) safe from the big hens. The chicks got an opportunity to explore a little (in packs) and I also saw them nibbling on some tender shoots of new grass. Pretty soon, we’ll be able to move from Mash to crumbles. Continue reading

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Lesson 1023 – Chick Mix – product review

I always, *always* give my chick medicated mash until they are about 5-6 weeks old. It’s that ounce of prevention I use when I get chicks from mass shipments or other farms. Once they are off of it though, that’s it, they are done.

But it’s a conundrum – because I want them to be on medicated feed, but I also don’t. Trust me, as a Lyme Disease patient, I know what antibiotics can do to your system.

Recently a locally run company Luv Nest (Milford NH) contacted me to try their chicken product. The owner’s husband, Dave, came over to drop off four samples of their natural herb products for chickens.

This morning I pulled out the organic Chick Mix Blend. It comes in a 4 ounce bag and the retail cost is $14.49. A little goes a long way (especially with tiny chicks) you’ll get many “handful” servings out of one bag. Continue reading

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Lesson 1022 – Working with chicks

WC Fields once said “Never work with children or animals.” While he had intended that to be rather snarky Hollywood advice, (don’t work with anyone or thing that can upstage you) in the world of photography this also holds true.

In fact, I might add – “Don’t work with children or animals or chicks.”

As anyone who has tried to get good photos of chicks knows, it takes many, many attempts before you finally get that perfect photo.

Sometimes what you are doing is much more interesting than what they are doing.

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Sometimes they want to go to the right. Continue reading

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Lesson 1021 – Babies, babies, babies

Last Thursday I got a call. Our local feed store had gotten someone else’s shipment of 900 chicks and because you can’t return chicks in the mail, they had to move them out of the store quickly. I was on the list that was supposed to get 9 chicks the following week, could I possible come down and take some of these?

Does a chicken poop in the coop?

Apparently our feed store doesn’t really know me (or maybe they do and that’s why I got the call.) “How late are you open?” I asked. “For another half hour,” was the reply. I grabbed Addy and Emma, a cardboard box and we got into the car to go save some chicks.

They had tubs and tubs of chicks. All full of fluff and all doing that baby chick squeaking thing. Originally I had signed up to get 3 Buff Orpingtons, 3 Bared Rocks, and 3 New Hampshire Reds. They had some that I had ordered and they also gotten other breeds that hadn’t been listed in the order form.

We picked out 3 of the Rocks and 3 of the Orpingtons, the Reds were not in yet, and as a backyard flock owner in New Hampshire, I decided that I needed a few to round out my flock, so I decided to wait for those to come in.

I’d take 6 for now. Continue reading

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Lesson 1020 – A weekend in New Hampshire

This past weekend, I attended a Family support conference in northern New Hampshire. I wanted to give you a short picture tour of what I saw along the way.

When you drive in New Hampshire, you see mountains. They hug the roads, they hug you. Mountains are what I miss most when I travel out in the “flat lands.”

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The Presidential range.

We have an amusement park in New Hampshire called Storyland. With 6 kids we never made it to Disney Land but we did manage to make it to Storyland every summer. It is hands down one of my favorite places – clean, safe, and tons of fun. The park is not open yet but I sent these photos home and my kids went nuts.

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The crooked house

At Storyland there is something called Grandfather Tree – kids love it. Parents get sick of the knocking and musical songs that come from it pretty darn quickly (but we patiently put up with it for the little ones.) Continue reading

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Lesson 1018 – Zucchini “Cheesecake”

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This is not a food blog but as a mom of 6 kids, like it or not, food is a big part of our lives – and when eggs start returning in the spring, we tend to celebrate with all things eggs.

I had had a very busy day planned (teaching and more than one writing deadline) and on Monday I asked Addy if she could make a recipe I had picked out from a cookbook. She’s on school vacation this week and has tons of time and with minimal grumbling (she is a teenager after all) she agreed.

I had to change the name of the dish from Zucchini “Cheesecake” to “Zucchini Casserole” to appease those picky eaters who still, will not try cheesecake because of the name (fine with me, all the more for us who eat it) but it was a small concession. Continue reading

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Lesson 1017 – Chicken nipples (again)

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In a recent Chicken workshop I held for our Adult Education Series, I was asked about using chicken nipples as a way to supply water to the flock.

We have used them. At first chicken nipples seemed like such a good idea – no waste of water and you get to fill the water from the top of a bucket. Not only that but, initially our coop floor was dry around the water, a problem that we always had trouble with – and a dry floor certainly cuts down on fowl foot problems.

But after time, the nipples turned out to be a bit of a pain.

We had our nipples secured to the bottom of a hanging bucket which was perfect for the adult birds – not so for our bantams and our chicks. For those guys we had to keep a constant supply of fresh water near ground level. Twice the work for our water needs.

And then there was the dirt in the nipples. Chickens scratch in the dirt all the time. This means that there can be debris on their beaks as they peck at the nipples. We’ve found a few nipples clogged with sand and dirt (it only takes a few grains) from either the beaks or mud splatter, which then let water constantly drip under the bucket.

Kind of defeated the entire purpose.

And let’s talk about winter. Frozen water is water that cannot be used by the flock. In order for nipples to work in the winter, we’d have to heat both the water and the nipples (which usually have a metal component that adds to the water’s freezing.) Compare this to putting our metal waterer on a heater base which solves the problem for us very nicely.

We’ve tried chicken nipples and we’re just not big fans of them.

Having said, that though, I know of many who use them and who think they are the best thing since sliced bread.

What’s been your experience? Love em? Hate them? Is water in a galvanized bucket good enough for your flock?

***

Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.


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Lesson 1016 – Lyme Disease update

Haven’t done a Lyme Disease update in a bit. I’ve been on antibiotics over the winter and other than the occasional nausea and vomiting, can’t complain, in fact, I can’t complain at all.

Photo Credit Mike Grauer Jr.

Photo Credit Mike Grauer Jr.

Even though I didn’t get out much this winter, I didn’t have the pain I usually have when the cold weather comes in. I also had no memory or “brain fog” issues.

But then the weather changed and I discovered a notorious side effect of being on Doxycycline.

You become allergic to the sun. Until recently I tried to describe it to people as getting a “bad sunburn”, but it’s more than that. When you expose your skin to the sun while on doxy, your skin hurts. It stings and burns and it hurts on a deep level.

I recently burned my face and lips (I knew I was in trouble when my lips started tingling and then I could feel them swelling), my lips turned bright red and peeled for the next week.

One of my sons who is also on doxy for Lyme got a very serious burn on both of his forearms and neck. All he did was spend an afternoon in the sun as he helped with yard chores. His symptoms were an itchy raised red rash with lots of swelling. Continue reading

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Lesson 1015 – When the chicks are ready

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A friend of mine sent me this advertisement from a local Freecycle site:

I discovered in my barn a hen who has been laying on a clutch of eggs for who knows how long. I can’t tell you if the eggs will hatch tomorrow or in 2 or more weeks (I’m guessing closer to the latter). I’m not interested in any more chicks but I can’t bring myself to take her eggs away from her and take her back to the coop. If anyone wants a half-made chicken family, she’s yours if you have food and long-term accommodations for her and her brood.

Someone who can’t bring herself to take a determined broody hen’s eggs away is my kind of person. I love that she is doing this, and I love the gentle, loving story of it all.

It’s what us mama hens do. Sometimes we push our chicks out of the nest and sometimes we let them stay a little longer until they are ready. Continue reading

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