Category Archives: Mama Hen

Lesson 1216 – Using a spoon

We got another 4 inches of snow last night, flurries are expected this afternoon, and there’s another big storm heading our way for Sunday.

This is our poor dog,  Pippin’s run – at this point, it’s kind of like holding the ocean back with a spoon.

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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

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Lesson 1214 – Baby it’s cold outside

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Boy this has been a tough winter. I’m hearing accounts from all over New England of people who are losing chickens.

In the winter, it’s common to lose some of the older or not quite as strong members of your flock. Last winter we lost 3 birds. They were alive and well one day, frozen solid the next. It’s a way for nature to ensure that the most fit will survive.

It happens, but you don’t have to like it.

As of yesterday, we haven’t lost any of our flock to the winter weather, but with continued snow and record low temperatures in the forecast, I fear, it’s only a matter of time. We do what we can for the flock and hope against hope (and Mother Nature) that we will all come out on the other side intact.

Some things you can do for your flock in the extreme cold: Continue reading

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Lesson 1210 – Hold on, my lovelies

No controversy today, just chickens.

I’ve got bad knees (they’re not really bad, more like just a bit naughty) which means that when we have a significant amount of snow and ice in the yard, my husband is the one who goes out to the hen house to tend to the flock each morning. (We’ve found it’s a less expensive solution than going to the Emergency room for a knee sprain.)

I end up gazing longingly at my pretties from the safety of our living room while they look with cocked eye at my silhouette in the window – all of us waiting patiently for the warmth of spring to reunite.

Even our dog, Pippin is having a tough time. This is what is left of his dog run: Continue reading

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Lesson 1209 – Doing the best I can

Note: if you are looking for The Food Babe Way book review, you can find it here.

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This is our front porch and there’s more snow (possible blizzard conditions) in the forecast for this Thursday/Friday and Sunday.

Yesterday was *another* snow day for the kids. I decided to pull out that herb infuser I had received as a gift and made a double batch of this awesome Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup.

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When I posted this photo on my Facebook page, several people accused me of putting a Croc shoe in my soup. Ha, ha, very funny, but nope, it was a nifty little device that kept those razor sharp bay leaves and rosemary twigs out of my mouth. It worked well and cleaned up quickly (and definitely added to the conversation at the dinner table.) Continue reading

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Lesson 1208 – The Food Babe Way – book review

food babeLet’s address the elephants in the room right now. Vani Hari, author of the blog Food Babe and the book The Food Babe Way is not a scientist. She’s also not a science writer, as is evident in several places in the book where she lapses into bloggerese like – “I can totally relate…”

And she does make some sweeping political statements like – “Later, when I read Vilsack’s speech, I was reminded that he is a bureaucrat and not a man willing to go against his financial ties to protect the rights and health of American People.”

But to be fair, Hari never claims to be a scientist, or a medical writer, or an unbiased political reporter, in fact, she very clearly states up front- “I’m just a regular person who got tired of being a victim to big food companies and got the courage to speak the truth.” She uses her own personal experience of literally getting sick from processed food as the inciting incident for change.

So while she does not have “official credentials”, (or at least the credentials her attackers are saying she needs) it doesn’t mean that her message is wrong. We know chemicals in food are bad. We all do. It’s common knowledge, and yet we *still* stop by McDonald’s or Subway (if we’re in the mood for something healthy) for meals. We still buy our kids snacks and candy that contain an alphabet of chemicals, sodas that include preservatives, and meats that are filled with antibiotics and hormones. Continue reading

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Lesson 1206 – Guess what? (and it’s not chicken butt)

photo credit: Marc Nozell

photo credit: Marc Nozell

Oh hey, guess what? It’s snowing.

Enough for a 2 hour school delay, but not enough to cancel school (as it is, it’s starting to look like the kids will be in school until mid-summer.)

If you look at our local forecast, the weather man is predicting *more* snow on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday of next week.

*sigh* Continue reading

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Lesson 1204 – Little doggies and snow

Yesterday a reader called this most recent snow storm a good reason to stay at home in your pajamas.

A little on that.

I actually have a pair of pajamas I pull out when I’m very sick or incapacitated. These are not the jammies I sleep in, instead these are the traditional two piece, button down top, plaid (they have to be plaid), very New England (or cold weather, same thing) jammies that were simply made to wear with a bathrobe on miserable days.

A timeless classic

A timeless classic

The problem with these jammies is that I have become quite the Pavlovian dog while wearing them. If I put them on, my brain gets the signal “I’m sick.” And so without even trying, I act sick. I start slowing down. I don’t move from my chair. A grey pall falls over my world.

See? Ring the bell and I salivate – works every time.

When I knew we’d be buried (not exaggerating here) in that recent snowstorm that dumped 20 inches of snow in our area, I put those jammies on. We never lost electricity or the internet and I *could* have done work, instead I spent the day under a blanket, drinking coffee, and reading. While there’s nothing wrong with doing that once in a while, it’s not how anyone (me) is going to get their work done. Continue reading

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Lesson 1203 – I give up

It is currently snowing and the forecast is for the snow to continue until tomorrow morning.

The kids are home for yet *another* snow day cancellation.

The college where I teach has cancelled classes again. Continue reading

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Lesson 1201 – Necessary Winter Equipment for Backyard Chickens

Minus 10 this morning. More snow is predicted for later tonight and tomorrow with a total of about 4 additional inches expected to fall. Yesterday I picked up two blocks of suet (with berries and nuts) for the flock, if ever there was a time for an energy/calorie boost, I’d say it’s now.

I’ve spoken many times about cold weather care for a backyard flock. The birds need protection from the wind, bars on which to roost, thawed water, and a bit of extra fat calories. After years of writing about this, it comes to mind that I’ve forgotten to mention a very important piece of equipment essential for winter backyard chicken care. Continue reading

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Lesson 1200 – Peregrine Falcons and Gas Pipelines

Quick update. The snow has stopped and now comes the task of shoveling out. School was cancelled and my kids think it means *another* day of staying in their jammies and getting caught up on Downton Abbey.

Not so fast, my little poppets. Oh yes, we have plenty of snow plows in our family, we have 6 strong sturdy ones. Suit up kids, hot chocolate and TV rewards only after your work is done.

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As many of you recall, this summer we were visited by a large bird of prey. I found it sitting in our yard twice and then one day, I saw it flying off with our beautiful Sebright bantam – Isabelle.

In the past I’ve seen plenty of hawks in our wooded area. In fact, over the years, we have watched a family of Red Tail hawks grow and mature (it turns out that adolescent hawks, much like adolescent humans, tend to be very mouthy, making quite sure all know that they are around.) Hawks are beautiful and definitely have a kind of majesty about them, which is all well and good, as long as they keep that majesty away from my chickens.

But I didn’t think that that was what we had here. Continue reading

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