Friday, August 15, 2014

Sage's First Egg

I had some nice break from the watering duty in the past several days as the monsoonal moisture paid the desert a visit with a generous amount of precipitation. :D  It's not fun for the kitties and chickens to be cooped up all day, and the amount of mud that gets tracked into the house is no joke.  Still, rain in the desert is much more than just the much-needed water.  It gives us relief at a much deeper, psychological ... probably spiritual level.

After an overnight rain and cloudy morning, I went to open the chicken coop doors for the girls a little later than usual after the rain had stopped yesterday.  Much to my surprise, there was a speckled brown egg inside the younger girls' coop!  I knew it was Sage's first egg since she's the only brown egg layer of the three (Vanilla and Mocha are Easter Eggers, and their eggs will be green to blue.).  For a first egg, it was not weird like "membrane without hard shell", "malformed", or "puny".  Sage's first egg was maybe a little on the 'slim' egg shape, but evenly shaped with a nice hard shell!  The pullets are roughly 14 & 1/2 weeks old right now, so it's rather early, but they get to free range all day, eating lots of greens and whatever bugs they catch.  They seem happy and definitely healthy, so it's not surprising that they would start laying early.

Pullets outside of their run, but staying close to their coop.

We started letting the girls free range with supervision at first.  Dorito was a little aggressive at first, followed by some challenges made by Fiona to Mocha (because Mocha is physically largest of the younguns).  The establishing of the pecking order is natural and nothing was excessive.  No aggressive pecking to cause any kind of injury.  So we kept lengthening the amount of time the pullets stayed outside.  In about 5 days, we were letting them out during daylight hours.  Aggressive behavior by  the two grownups have subsided.  Now, on a good day, we see all five of them foraging in the same area of the yard.  But for the most part, they are in two groups of two and three in different parts of the yard doing their own thing.

Pullets venturing out in the grassy area of the backyard.  Now they move around all over the backyard.
The other day, I saw Sage catch a grasshopper.  She immediately started running away from Vanilla and Mocha.  Before Sage could make a getaway, the others started off running after her.  There it was!  The chicken football.  LOL  So much excitement and commotion.  It's a delightful sight to watch these girls run as fast as they can.  In the end, Sage successfully outran the other two (She has always been the most athletic, most curious, and most brave of the three.), and munched on the grasshopper happily.

Now the pics from the garden. :D

The fruits of the Goliath tomato plant have started maturing nicely.  My first crop was used to make one of my favorite summer dishes of all time - tabbouleh.  The tomato from the garden adds so much flavor to this all fresh, simple dish, I always feel it's the best thing ever. ^^;

Ichiban is my favorite eggplant.  It's the skinny Japanese variety.  I think the flavor is sweeter and smoother than the big fat Italian types that are prone to grow lots of seeds inside.  This is one vegetable I grow year after year and never get tired of.

I've spotted dozen ore more LARGE fruits ripening on my German Queen tomato out back.  The plant is over 4 feet tall now. ^_^

The sunflower fence is producing lots of blooms now.  The tallest plants are probably somewhere between 9 1/2 to 10 feet tall now.  It is at least as tall as the garage's eaves.  The Mammoth Russian sunflowers are still growing and I finally see them forming buds, but no flowers yet.  They're still growing. :D

Took this close-up of one of the blooms.  Isn't it mesmerizing?  It's almost like staring into a mandala...

August's Super Moon.  I love full moon in the morning.  I love the crisp cool air, the gently hazy sky with pastel tones... just so peaceful.   ^_^