Ginger Hen Genetics

I couldn’t remember the breed of chicken our new brown one, Ginger, was. I knew if I just saw it, I’d remember, but it wasn’t listed on the Bird and Bee Farm website.

Not only am I cute, I’ll lay a bunch of eggs.

Chicken-loving friends to the rescue! Cheryl pointed out on Facebook that she is an ISA Red. I got her so that I’d have at least one high producer, and they are fine looking gals. Here’s what Cheryl posted:

Such pretty ladies! I think Ginger might be an ISA Brown. Great egg production, but not as long-lived as many other breeds.

Facebook

I wondered what ISA is and why they are short lived. I looked it up! Tractor Supply said:

ISA Browns are one of the top sellers in the industry because of the number of eggs they lay and their calm demeanor. Their eggs have excellent shell quality and texture. This especially sweet, docile, gentle bird, is extremely easy to work with and are great birds for new chicken owners or young families. ISA Browns produce almost an egg every day and do well either in confinement or free ranged. Hens begin to lay around 4-5 months of age with adequate daylight hours. When they are hatched, the pullets are red and the cockerels are white for this color sex-able sex-link.

https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/isa-brown-chicken-sold-in-quantities-of-

What is ISA?

She’s figured out the coop!

ISA stands for Institut de Sélection Animale, the company which developed the crossbreed in 1978 for egg production as a battery hen. They are very popular in large egg production places. Glad Ginger is a free bird!

Longevity

As always, the high egg yield is detrimental to the long-term health of the hen. The ISA is one of several breeds developed for high egg yield at the expense of longevity and natural reproduction.

https://www.thehappychickencoop.com/isa-brown/

Well, she’s pretty and reminds me of our old red chickens, who were also sex-linked hybrids. Long live Ginger!

She and Bertie have the feeder figured out!

Yearly Chicken Adventure, 2020

You may remember that last year, after I’d lost a lot of chickens to an owl, I went and got seven new ones at Bird and Bee Farm. I was surprised to realize that was almost a year ago. Things continued to get my poor birds, and now I have only three left, Buffy and the reds, Big and Little.

A Rio Grande turkey.

We decided to let those birds stay at the cabin by the old easily infiltrated coop, since they have figured out how to stay safe and enjoy their free range lifestyle. Our renters at the cabin like them anyway. I’ll just give them a chicken cube every so often.

We have been working on a new coop for a while, and finally decided today was the day to put some young hens in there.

Guineas and turkeys free ranging.

My sister, Canova, loves to look at chickens, and niece Kathleen loves all farm animals, so I brought them along. After stocking up on chicken treats and such, we headed off to the country between Rockdale and Milano.

We had a great time looking at the turkeys, guineas, and of course the plants in the wildscape.

Wildscape progress.

It was fun watching Canova and Kathleen when they saw just how many types of hens there were! There were really some cool ones!

Continue reading “Yearly Chicken Adventure, 2020”

Great Little Things in a Little Texas Town

Happy Lunar New Year!

Like I was talking about yesterday, I’m trying to take notice of little things that bring joy. I think it’s important, even when you know perfectly well that the bigger things require attention. I just don’t want the scary stuff consuming me, because that would paralyze me and I’d get nothing done.

So, here are a few things that have sparked joy in me over the last day or so.

Lee’s future office. Ahh.

Of course the Pope Residence renovation is bringing joy! We have master masons working to shore up the brick on the interior, and the rest of the walls have been revealed. Want more pictures? I put some up on the Hearts Homes and Hands blog.

There are a couple of small town signs that I enjoyed yesterday, too. One was put out by the local bank. It’s so smart of them! And still, it has small-town charm. I edited it to say “office” and deleted “drive-thru” and hung it on our office door.

Keep our town healthy!

This one has to be my favorite. Kathleen and I walked to the Bistro to get our Friday wine, and I glanced over at the Italian restaurant. I thought, hmm, someone must be hanging out there and annoying people. Then I looked on the bench. I had to take THAT picture!

Bad kitty. Can’t you read?

It’s Ricky, the town cat, owned communally by all the downtown merchants. According to my friend Jean, he’s not only loitering, but soliciting pats! There’s a happy Cameron kind of thing, right?

Other things that have kept me perky are just things. We got new sticky notes and magnetic clips to give to clients at Hearts Homes and Hands. I think they came out great, which is always a relief when you pay money for things.

I didn’t make any typos!
There’s a hand that’s been working on stuff.

And the last thing is I got my nails done and honored Imbolc, my favorite time of the Celtic calendar. I put Brighid’s sacred flame on them. That will make me smile for the next couple of weeks. It wasn’t easy for Tina to do this, so I appreciate the effort, even if I’m the only one who really knows what it’s about.

And what else?

What the heck! From @stephenrx7 via Twenty20

We are going to go get CHICKENS for the new coop today! And food for the old chickens, who get to stay right where they are. As you can guess, the ladies in my family are pretty darned excited.

Let’s hope they get along with the dogs. There will be some training involved!

Why MUST I Blind People with My Brightness?

Today I’m a vision in yellow and pink, with sparkly shoes, a shiny necklace and earrings and my crazy sunglasses. At least I washed my hair, so it’s not mega-coral/pink.

Since I hit the big 6-0 with a splat in 2018, I’ve gotten brighter and shinier. My hair has been flaming red, orange, pink, and all colors in between. I have quite a collection of sparkly shoes. I have shiny nails, shiny jewelry, bling-y tops, and some pretty interesting glasses. In some photos, I stick out like a heavily bruised sore thumb.

The response, at least to my face, has been surprisingly positive. Random people at work tell me I always cheer them up, or that I’m their outfit coordination role model. I get shouts of, “Love Your Hair” from people I’d never have suspected would love my hair, based on their appearance.

Why, Suna, Why?

I have always enjoyed choosing clothing and putting together outfits, which conflicts mightily with my urge to wear a t-shirt and jeans every day (I just coordinate accessories, I guess). I’ve found that looking at my happy clothing cheers me up when I’m in long meetings, dwelling on how ill all my friends seem to be, or listening to the news.

No doubt my love of fire, hearth and home and my attraction to the Celtic goddes/saint Brigid has something to do with my love of shiny.

If I look deep in my heart, I’m sure a part of it is enjoying the positive attention, because, let’s face it, short, chubby, mousy women with graying hair and a tendency toward sarcasm tend to not get a lot of it. But, I’m inevitably surprised by attention, because really, the brightness is to help ME keep positive, look on the bright side of life, and share my internal peace and joy with the outside world.

My bright yet windowless office.

My Austin home is also really colorful, and it makes me happy to be there. My book club members and friends who see my photos often comment on how the bright colors reflect me and Anita and make the Bobcat Lair house feel so homey. All the color in the ranch house is in my office, but I make up for it at my office. I like to be around things that are bright. They remind me of how much inner light I feel shining within.

Really. The last two years I have felt so much more at peace with myself, at home in my body, and secure in my place in life, that I just want to show it. Sure, I get upset occasionally by world events or situations beyond my control, but I’m doing a lot better at focusing on things I CAN control, surrounding myself with people who DO care about me, and letting other things sort themselves out. Not trying to save the world, help others fix themselves (unless requested), or sending all my energy OUT has helped me find a lot of inner peace.

It shines through.

What Helps You Shine?

You don’t have to dress like Elton John on a worldwide tour to project a blinding shininess to the world. Just taking the time to notice what makes you happy, and perhaps sharing it with the world is a good start.

For example, today I woke up to more sparkles in the world, as the sun shone on heavily dewed fields. As I was driving out of my driveway, my breath was taken away by the color of the bare river willow trees along the arroyo. Everything looked shining and orange (like one of my outfits, ha). I didn’t get a picture of it, but I found this one that really evokes how I felt:

Peace among the orange willows, by @loreke76 via Twenty20.

Share how you shine, how you would like to shine, and what makes you happy. Give me a comment here or on Facebook, share on Twitter, Instagram, or email. Just walk around and be your shiny self. THAT is something we can all do to make the world better, inside and out.

Little Yellow Puffs of Cheer

Thanks, Folks

Here’s what I have for my supportive friends, readers, and even critics: Love.

I got great comfort from all the people who came up to me in person or wrote on Facebook to say “Wow” about my post from yesterday. I’m really grateful to the original author of the explanation of political liberalism in the US, Lori Gallagher Witt, who wrote it a couple of years ago. It just struck a nerve in me yesterday. I just want to be clear that the part at the bottom of my post was not written by me. And no, it was not written to convey any implication that if you have different beliefs from mine, you are a bad person. If it made you feel that way, examine your belief system.

Welcome Rain

You can’t keep a happy person down, though, and yesterday brought me many reminders that all is not gloom and doom. The best thing was that we finally got a GOOD rain, after many days of fog, drizzle, and damp. I can’t wait to see how the tanks/ponds at the ranch are looking.

Our bird tree now is full of Valentine hearts, which brightened up the rainy day!

Yellow Puffs

And during a long day at work, filled with meetings, brainstorming, and thinking, I looked out the window. I had to mute my microphone and tell Craig, sitting next to me, to look out. There, in the bare cedar elm trees, was a flock of goldfinches. It’s not a huge surprise, given that this is the time of year we see them in Cameron, and I happen to know the area where I work is right on a migration path. But still.

Thanks, Jason, for the happy, if wet, birds!

Those yellow males and their flitting green-gray female companions literally brought puffs of sunshine to a rainy, rainy day. We watched them jumping around and fluffing their feathers for a long time (though I did go back to concentrating on my call). I looked a lot in iNaturalist for what exactly these could be, and I think it’s lesser goldfinches, due to the amount of black on the males. I’ll upload a photo and see.

Jen wondered if they could be yellow-bellied siskins, but they live mostly in South America. Goldfinches are siskins, also.

I’m sharing my coworker Jason’s photos, since his came out better than mine. That courtyard is just a whirlwind of bird action!

Ending on a Good Note

Last night we were the hosts of the neighborhood book club, in which we discussed Ragtime. It was great to see the neighbors who weren’t sick or out of town (about half of them). We’re all different, of course, but so supportive of each other’s ups and downs.

Vlassic had been cuddling with Ruth, but when the camera showed up, he had to show us his little tooth.

In addition to the book, we talked about how being “old” just creeps up on us, then suddenly doctors are taking your age into account before procedures, you’re needing to get things replaced or lifted. Everyone was in agreement that they weren’t old in their heads!

To me, community is what will hold me together during the hard times we’re experiencing. That’s probably what held our ancestors together for tens of thousands of years, too. Our neighborhood never wants anyone to move, even though we know some of us must. It feels good to feel a part of something warm and loving.

Bright Beginnings

And get this! Today dawned bright and beautiful. It was as nice to see the sun this morning as it was to welcome the rain yesterday. It’s all got its place. As I left to take Vlassic on his morning walk, I was enthralled by shining droplets of water on the “cedar” trees by the deck.

Beauty in the dreaded ashe juniper!

I hope you enjoy my pictures. Of course, by the time I got out the phone to take them, the sun had moved. But, it was still a shiny greeting for the day.

The view from the Bobcat Lair deck is always nice.

Go thank a member of YOUR community for keeping you sane!

Why Did I Post Some Long Liberal Snowflake Thing on Facebook Today?

Give peace a chance. J/K.

I’ve been quiet (for me) about political leanings since before the last US Presidential election. I find that people who call other people names don’t convince anyone to change their views. And I find that, depending on where you get your information, the same events can be interpreted in astonishingly different ways (Roshomon, anyone? Look it up.)

So, I’ve been trying to live my life according to the principles I believe in, and I have freely shared those. Basically, I want to live in a world where ALL people can eat, learn, love, practice their beliefs, and feel safe. That’s apparently scary to some people. But I’m not trying to push my beliefs on anyone. (And I LIKE many people who view things differently.)

Not something I usually write about.

I would like, though, to try to just ONCE share my beliefs about the policies and programs of the United States. If you read them, you might disagree on some points, or feel more strongly about one thing than another, but really, they are not all that frightening. They are, for the most part (dare I say) reasonable.

Actually, at least at one point in my life, there was a fairly reasonable explanation of what a more conservative viewpoint would propose on these topics, but I haven’t seen it in a while, just finger pointing, name calling, and jumping to irrational conclusions. I think a lot of people on all sides are, like me, keeping quiet and letting the name-callers just do their things.

I IMPLORE EVERYONE to step back, breathe, and work together to make the US a place where we can all live together without fear, despite our differences. And now, I will cease to write about my political thoughts until after the NEXT election, in which I shall indeed vote for someone.

Here’s what you can do, regardless of whether we agree or not.

The copied post from Facebook is below the read more.

Continue reading “Why Did I Post Some Long Liberal Snowflake Thing on Facebook Today?”

Life Goes On: Raptor Edition

Thanks for bearing with my rant yesterday. Today I got some good perspective as soon as I parked my car on the top floor of the parking garage (so it could get washed).

I opened the door and immediately heard a loud screech. Right next to my car was the elevator tower, where a red-shouldered hawk was watching me and letting me know about it.

Hey, human! Why are you up here?

Hooray, I thought, our little work green area has enticed the hawks back! They seem to be checking out their old nest and getting ready to raise more babies.

Jen and I enjoyed watching the pair for a while this morning. I was just so happy to see the urban wildlife supported by our corporate buildings. It reminds me that Nature will find a way, given time and a bit of luck.

We’re back!

I’ll hold on to this as my friends and I do our best to promote love, peace, and harmony with the world around us.