Monday, November 30, 2009

a homesteading truth - try as one might...

homesteading truth

be you a good farmer, a kind keeper, careful and attentive to your creatures needs and wants, there will be days when one's efforts fall short of nature's cycle.

little girl appenzellar spitzhauben passed in the night. sweet little girl now free.
she will rest beneath a live oak tree near enough to her sisters as to never be lonely.

dear sweet little girl you are and always will be loved. our hearts ache...

*the vet has confirmed that little miss little girl passed from wet pox

hippychick's victory chicken chat parts 7-8-9

wow folks - thank you for taping the event! just a bit more about feed, predators, training for indoor and outdoor living, brooders and winterizing your coop.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

dark days week 2 in the hippychick universe

it is sunday and the sky is turning from clear to overcast as the clouds thin and wispy slowly move in. there is moisture in the air. i have covered the hay. i have covered the chicken run. i have collected the morning's eggs, harvested greens, basil and garden grown edibles.
the birds are chattering brightly, possibly making plans for cover from the big rain forecast to fall later this afternoon and evening. fingers crossed it falls.

i walk about with cushy cozy socks and slip on shoes. i am wearing the comfortable jeans and a shirt i don't much mind staining while busy at work in the kitchen. there was much to clean and put up this morning and i'm not good about keeping the splashing and cleaning in the sink at all times. one could say i get into my work and i do.

so what's all this about dark days?
ok ok i'll tell ya!

the dark days challenge is the soul child of laura at (not so) urban hennery in an effort to encourage folks to eat one local meal per week. it's a good challenge and one i fully support. for me, local eating is now close to second nature, for others it may be a new path yet to be discovered. i hope with the blogging of all of us folk taking part that you too might be inspired to make a local meal a part of your weekly meal planning.

if you are interested in taking part in the 3rd annual dark days challenge, stop by and visit laura at (not so) urban hennery. the specifics about the challenge can be found here.

we are also thinking on the level of foods that come from sustainable sources, are organically grown, can be sourced from local farm folk and were raised with ethical standards.

now back to our regularly blog-ed hippychick universe...

this morning has been a scent and textured filled one. the homegrown lemons, now juiced fill me with delight. i froze a good deal of the juice in iced cube trays over night. the little cubes of goodness are now that much easier to portion out. i need only to thaw that which i need. the storage is simple and they are a joy just to look at.

this morning's basil harvest has transcended mere leafdom and moved to the higher bliss filled place of pesto. the mix included - homegrown basil, homegrown lemony juice, homegrown garlic, real italian pecorno cheese and olive oil. yummy! i could not help but to dip a few leafs of greens into the mix. the pesto bowl is a bowl i prefer to clean out on my own with fingers and all. it would be a shame to waste any of that more than good flavor.

never have i been so careful with the munching of cheese as i have with my own. this above is 1/2 of the very first home crafted sharp cheddar cheese. it tastes divine. i do not think i have thought deeply about the true flavors of cheese before setting out to make my own. now i slowly chew each bite while i search to identify the flavors within. i enjoy feeling out the texture and grain. this cheese is not for squandering.

tonight's dinner greens will include
  • beet greens
  • borage
  • comfrey
  • red greens
  • leafy greens
  • kale
  • oakleaf
  • coriander
  • kohlrabi
  • soft boiled eggs
  • locally processed bacon
all topped with a homemade dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and vinegar. i can hardly wait

i am making efforts to and cycle through eat those items frozen and/or stored in the past year. being a huge lover of homemade soups, i will often make a bigger batch of a soup than i could possibly eat in a week. i then put up and/or freeze the remaining half in two or three serving sized batches. it's a great way to use, save and enjoy fresh grown goods all year long and when thawed, they are none the worse for the ware.

lunch was just that, a spring chicken soup made from my own home raised meat chickens and home made broth along with homegrown veggies - carrots, wee squash, tomatoes, peppers and onion. also in the mix, home grown red amaranth grain. there is enough left yet for a dinner sized portion tonight. i don't mind eating the same thing twice in one day, not when it tastes this good.

back outside i go. time to check the chicken waterers, feeders and creature comforts. there are bags of leaves down the road to collect for future chickeny bedding. best to pick them up before the rain.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

out of door season at the hippychick universe

hard to believe a week has passed already. time moves forward, suns rise, moons rise. tasks are completed while others move up in rank. thanksgiving here now past and we are off and running toward the fall/winter holiday season.

i could not be happier.

the victory chicken chat went off without a hitch outside of my faulty pronunciation of "appenzeller spitzhauben" and my hole in the head inability to remember the words "chain link". amazing how the simple things go when up before a crowd working scriptless off the top of the brain. all in all i am thankful that the few clinks were so few indeed.

the attending folks were amazing - conscientious - excellent listeners - asking good questions and knowledgeable in places where my depth of experience fell short. it was a true collaboration of folk, an event i feel fortunate to have been a part of. i learned as much as i shared - one cannot ask for more.

the days are now mild, the sun sheds light from a lower stance in the sky but the rays are as welcome as ever. the world of central texas is greening. it is browning too. we have been blessed with nourishing rains of late and there is the possibility of a future shower tomorrow.

twenty-seven victory chickens were delivered to an austin farm just yesterday - egg layers - to a haven where they will live most happily. it is a pleasure knowing the hand that will feed and care for the girls as they grow to maturity. it is a pleasure to see the grounds they will wander upon and the shelter they will roost in at night. the keepers of chickens i have met have to date been not only interesting but beyond any expectation of kind i might have ever wished for. chicken keepers - smaller time chicken keepers - we are a loving bunch.

all twenty-seven had formerly been living in the metal shed. three now remain - an ancona rooster and two ancona females. a breeding trio possibly. i have winterized the run built off the metal shed. i have placed a heavy plastic cover over an outdoor roosting and feeding area. the sides in this location are protected from wind and wet and i have shut the screen door to the metal shed separating the inner shed and the outer run as the inner shed will currently play the roll of brooder for the next generation of victory chickens. the ancona trio will do just fine out of doors for a while and the weather down here is not yet so bad as to worry for their comfort. the ancona trio is fully feathered out and i have set in a good 5" layer of cushy leaves in the run for snuggling and nestling at night. i have also set up several roosts if they should decide to sleep above. i do plan to once again open the door to the shed once the baby chicks are of a little larger size. then the trio can mix with the babes and each will then be able to share the inner shelter and the outdoor run. the wee victory chickens are yet too young for outdoor living so for now they view each other through the screen door, neighbors they be for a while.

the pecan trees have dropped most of their leaves. i usually mow over to mix and mulch the leaves into the ground. this year, no. i will allow them to breakdown on their own and serve as a protective mulch for those trees and bushes that i rake them around and under.

the bees are still flying each and everyday. both hives are looking strong. they collect pollen yellow and some looking more white, daily. one hive tends to fly east to forage, the other choosing a westerly path. i enjoy a good set in front of a hive. i observe and watch and sometimes count the number of bees in and out per minute. one minute i count those flying in another i count those flying out. i doubt my count correct on either end.

wee ailing chicken girl is showing signs of improvement. she is still in what i would call rough shape but the pox are drying up and falling off which is exactly what we need to happen. today a large enough pox fell off so as to allow her to fully open an eye that has been partially shut for weeks. once open the eye looked healthy and bright like the ole' girl i remember. she is eating more exuberantly on her own. she still sleeps much of the day, head beneath her wing, but that's what we folk do too when we are ailing. i visit with her at least twice a day and she, i believe is becoming fond of her daily attentions. she and i will share a special bond once through all this i am sure. i remain hopeful. she is a tough sweet gentle girl.

i wonder if i might plant some peas tomorrow. a neighbor gifted me with seeds. she said as she handed them to me "i don't like peas, i have never liked peas, i gave my mother hell when she tried to serve me peas, there is nothing that would ever make me like peas". i wonder how she came upon the seeds. i would imagine that she did not purchase them herself. tis' the season for planting peas in central texas so why not. in my book, peas are fresh and sweet and beautiful. i love the tender shape of the flowers and shoots and the delicate tendrils that reach out.

it might be time to plant up the eggplants, peppers and basils in pots that can travel inside when nights are too cool for their taste. frosts may soon be on their way. so far all plants survive. i'm thinking it might be time for another round of pesto, possibly the last round for the outdoor garden. i have yet to overwinter plants down here. the die hard gardeners i know have and many with great success. the basil this year has been plenty, the pesto stores are good. i do go through the stuff, i must admit like water. i use it on most everything. pesto and horseradish a favorite combo of mine. the horseradish i must buy as this climate is not friendly to horseradish - too hot too soon - too humid for too long - it is a root i must cherish from afar. i have tried three years now to grow horseradish and rhubarb to no avail. one cannot have it all. and so when enjoying either - they are all the more special.

there is a breeze today, as i sit out of doors typing, wandering in thought. the sun sits just about 50˚ above the horizon, the brightness is soft. i am comforted by the sound of rustling leaves and the clarity and freshness of the air. several roses - pale pink - catch my eye, pansies of yellow and violet, okra red still fruiting and greens of varied shade. butterflies and birds and squirrels move about and bees whizz by like clockwork. today is a bit of natural perfection - autumn - my season of choice.

to dinner i now go - with friends just down the way. i am blessed in this small town, in this neighborhood with these fine neighboring folks, surrounded by natural creatures. life, i can honestly say, is good.

*photo credit for this entry to cary j. tetrick*
thank you cary!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

fantastic chicken care site!

doctor peter brown - dr.peter brown chicken doctor of the universe shares his knowledge and offers expert chicken care advise on his site - first state veterinary supply

he has several areas specific to chickens and poultry

the below is from doctor brown's site - it's exactly what i've been looking for FOR DAYS for my ailing girls.

thank you doctor brown. we chicken folk very much appreciate your generosity in the sharing of information. note for folks you can purchase most goods at his online vet supply store open 24 hours, 7 days a week. EGGCELLENT!

* * * * * * * *

Directions for treating sinusitis with swollen eyes

nasal flush using Tylan 50 or la-200

* * * * * * * * *

I would Nasal Flush the bird using Oxine or Tylan 50 with sterile water. I would then apply either eye drops or eye ointment to the eye several times daily.

using 12 cc’s of sterile water add 2 cc of Tylan 50 or 1 cc of la-200 and then flush each nostril( using a syringe with the needle removed ) with 3 to 4 cc’s twice per day for 5 to 7 days. The birds head should be held down so as not to swallow to much of theTylan solution.

Follow the flushing with vet-rx squirted liberally into each nostril. Do this after each flushing.

Using the eye ointments is a critical part of getting the swelling to go down. Use the eye ointment every 2 to 3 hours during the day if at all possible.

You should use it at least twice per day. Start in one corner of the eye and lay down a small strip of the eye ointment from one corner of the eye to the other corner of the eye.

It may also be helpful to flush the eye once per day with an over the counter human eye wash that is boric acid based and then proceed with the nasal flushing as described above.

The eye washes are readily available in all drug stores.

It may be necessary to use more powerful antibiotics to cure this swollen eye problem if you are not making progress

Tylan 50 or la-200 - 2 to 3 drops directly into the eye twice a day followed by the eye ointment twice per day for 5 to 7 days

Ciloxan eye drops given at the rate of 2 to 3 drops in the affected eye 2 to 3 times a day for 5 to 7 days

Ciprofloxacin Eye drops or Chloramphenicol Eye Ointment available in the online store on this site.

Monday, November 23, 2009

chickenmama's homesteading creature care

on sundays when all feed supply stores and vets are closed one must buck up and rise to the occasion of caring for one's own homesteading creatures. for me, it's two ailing apenzellar spitzhauben girls and once brown speckled sussex girl. they are suffering watering eyes and stuffy beaks due to the effects of foul pox gone too close to their seeing and smelling places.

the spitzhaubens are much worse off than the sussex as i believe i caught the sussex early early. the spitshaubens each had one eye crusty and closed completely for a good 24 hours. their nasal passage was also crusty - the babies were looking rough and had difficulty finding their way back into their house at night. the sussex, she has a single eye watering and should recover in a matter of days.

i must admit - i was feeling on edge yesterday. i was not the coolest cucumber. i spent a good while researching like crazy. i knew instinctively it was a result of the foul pox the flock had been going through. these girls just took it harder than the rest, a whole lot harder. i knew i had limited time to act. luckily i had some good goods in the chicken first aide kit. so i turned to self and said to self...

if you were all crusty and stuffed up, what would you do? sounds simple doesn't it? well maybe so but when one is worried for her loved ones, one does not always turn to simple at the start. once i got there - to the simple - the cool cucumber self kicked in and chickenmama docta got to work.

here's what i've been doing to help my girls
  • i prepped a steamy inhalant of eucalyptus oil in hot water - this loosened up their nasal passages. i gently dobbed away the gook with a q-tip as it drained. this has worked well for the ladies. i do this every evening and morning.
  • i found a saline eye spray prepared for children. it emits a fine saline spray. i use this to cleanse the area before and after the compress.
  • next is a warm compress of water with eucalyptus oil - i hold this over the crusty eye area *make sure it's not too hot* - this has been a miracle worker - their eyes are now open and no longer crusted shut - they are still watery but i keep an eye on them and if necessary place a compress in the eye area several to three four times a day. the compress has also been helpful in the removal of pox - they have started to fall off on their own.
  • iodine - using a q-tip i place itty daubs of iodine on the pox - this helps to dry them up
  • vet rx for poultry - this is a natural oil based treatment for poultry - i drip this over the beaks of the birds and place a few drops under each wing. the mix includes menthol and helps keep nasal passages open.
  • neosporin (do not use the neosporin with pain relief on birds - just plain old neosporin) - i daubbed a bit of neosporin around the eye area and under the chin. anywhere i saw any pox action.
  • cod liver oil - 1ml for each girl - more is not better - too much can harm the bird
  • b12 liquid - 1 ml for each girl - more is not better - too much can harm the bird
  • spoon feeding of crushed blueberries in natural no sugar added applesauce - they gobble this up quite well once their nasal passages are cleared up.
the girls know what's going on. they know i'm doing all of this to help and do not fuss or squack or meddle. they are excellent patients, each and every one. chickenmama could not ask for more.

this process seems to be working. i am going to check in at the feed store to see if there is any other process or comfort i can offer. the recovery is slow and the getting there requires a good deal of my attentions but i love my girls so i will do whatever it takes. it looks as if they'll pull through, each day is a little bit better. fingers are crossed. i've got a couple a three trooper girls - love my chickenygirls xoxoxoxoxoxox

baby picture above of the girls at just 5 -6 weeks old - ahhhhhhh

* A good online board for when you need help fast….like the EASY CHICKEN for instance, haha!!
* Alcohol
* Apple Cider Vinegar
* Auromycin/terramycin-tetracycline type antibiotics-follow label directions. Use if the whole flock might have the sniffles.
* Baby shampoo- for chicks, when they get wet on the bottom and get that sticky chick start gunk underneath. Just be sure to hold their little heads above the water.
* Bag Balm - for leg mites, also use on comb and wattles to aid in frostbite prevention.
* Ball Pickling Lime-for wounds. It dries it up and deters infection and flies.
* Betadine Solution-for cuts and scrapes
* Bleach-use for cleaning every thing, including visitors
* Blood Stop Powder (Quick Stop),Sugar, (it also helps in fighting infection.),Styptic Powder or flour to stop blood flow.
* Boots, coveralls, or coats that you do NOT wear anywhere but to the coop. Sanitize the boots with Lysol (or other disinfectant virucide) once a week.
* Camphophenique- topical antiseptic
* Cat Food-Dry, 30-40% Protein, used to increase protein to ward off feather eating & cannibalism. Usually protein problem, use only a couple of times a week when necessary. Dry cat food can also be used during molt to up protein levels to aid in new feather production.
* Cat Claw nail clippers for trimming toe nails
* Cayenne pepper-natural wormer-also used as feed top dress when birds are sneezing or turkeys present with sulphur yellow poop indicating blackhead or similar bug.
* Colloidal Silver-added to water to help fight off infections.
* Corona (small yellow and black can) for any cuts, bruises, or other injuries.
* Cotton balls, Cotton swabs and/or Q-Tips
* Diabetic syringes-used for giving injections. Can also be used without needle to administer oral medications.
* Digital Camera
* DE Diatomaceous Earth
* Dubbing shears-sharp (1 pr each, curved and straight)
* Epsom Salt - flush for botulism
* Eyedropper
* Eye ointment with saline solution
* First Aid Tape
* Fish oil gel caps-for general good health. Squirt it on feed. Can also use tuna as a healthy treat.
* Fishzole - for blackhead (turkeys & pea fowl)
* Gallamycin injectable- A 1/2cc dose will cure a sick bird over night, cool stuff!
* Garlic-feed additive
* Gun powder/for attitude, camp ax/for too much attitude
* Hydrolyzed garden lime in powder form for treating runs & surrounding areas if blackhead is prevalent in your area. This changes the PH & helps remove risk of blackhead.
* Iodine stuff w/tea tree oil in it. Good stuff for wounds
* Ivomec Eprinex Cattle Pour-On-1/4 cc for bantam and 1/2 cc for large sized fowl. Use a syringe with needle removed and administer directly to the chickens skin (not feathers) at the back of the neck, right behind the head.
*Levamisole- (tetramisole) treats Capillary worms, Gape worms, Wide variety of nematodes-10 ml per gallon of water-1 day only. Affects the nervous system of the parasite, paralyzing the worm.
* Molasses - flush for botulism
* Neosporin-cuts
* Oxine for treating birds & coops in event of any nasty outbreak. Also use it to clean the brooders & incubator.
* Oyster shell-crushed, available free choice for added calcium
* Pam cooking spray or some other spray on oil, olive oil for leg mites and scale problems
*Panacur - general wormer-follow label directions
* Pedialyte-used to restore electrolytes and hydration to dehydrated chickens
* Penicillin - injectable
* Pipe stem cleaners - for making shoes for chicks with curled toes caused by incubation problem & for treating splay leg.
* Razorblades
* Red Cell-small bottle (*Red Cell should be available at any feed store that sells stuff for horses and cows. Red Cell is a blood fortifier and should be used very sparingly as too much is bad, but for an injured animal it really gives a boost.) .
* Rifle with a long distance scope for sneaky dogs and raccoons!
* SAND play sand, very important for them to dust and help keep down the buggies! Chickens need to dust bathe to get rid of “stickies” on their feathers.
* Sevin Dust 5% - over Bag Balm when treating for leg mites. 5% Sevin is also 'lightly' added to sand for dusting & after coops & nestboxes are cleaned before new shavings. Sevin dust is an effective parasite control.
* Sewing needle & cotton quilting thread, for administering stitches
*Sulmet - coccidiostat to treat coccidiosis-use exactly according to label directions. (various brands:Albon, Corid, Corid Amprovine, Di-Methox, Sulfaquinoxoline, Sulmet Oblet, Bovatec Premix, & Deccox) –Only treat for Cocci if fecal exam warrants. Coccidostats are very hard on the chickens system.
* Surgical gloves - makes cleanup easy
* Sweet PDZ - this helps in runs & under raised cages. Neutralizes ammonia smell fast. It's bio-degradable & non caustic unlike lime.
* Terramycin eye ointment
* Tweezers
* Tylan - powder form very effective
* Tylan 50-injectable- reserved for pets only when all else has failed & culling the next step
* Vaccinate for Coryza and ILT if you exhibit your birds at shows
* Vet Rx-for colds, sniffles, congestions, general respiratory aid
* Vetwrap
* Virucidal cleaner-Use for cleaning every thing, including visitors
*Vitamins & Electrolytes powder (or Gatorade)
* Vitamin K tablets- tablets are given 1/2 hour before dubbing to minimize blood loss, and K and Colloidal Silver (a great antibiotic for people and animals, both internal and external) is available at health food stores or vitamin shops.
* Wazine 17 (piperazine) - wormer for Round worms-follow label directions
* WD 40-spray the coop with it for buggies.
* Wonder Dust – Antibiotic dust-the first thing I grab for injuries, usually nothing else needed once I use this and I've treated some very nasty injuries.

In addition to the helpful list of items to keep on hand, here are some general words of wisdom from The Easy Chicken Folks.

*There are some things on the list I wouldn’t bother keeping on hand for the small poultry farm. For example Tylan 50, its very expensive, expires, must be refrigerated, and is an injection in most cases. If you were too need it you could buy it, or improvise with a different product.

*Back up food and water! Most people forget about this! I keep a weeks supply of food in the garage, also don’t forget to keep swapping it for fresh feed so it will not go bad. I also have 50 gal drums that are already filled with water serving another purpose, but if I ever need to get water I would have plenty.

*Add a little vinegar to waters to keep algae and other critters from growing in the water-1 Tablespoon per gallon. It also helps with the digestion and calcium intake.

*Also sprinkle garlic powder over food and use colloidal silver in water to help fight off infections.

*I use apple cider vinegar with 'mother' in it. Besides cutting down on algae, 1 Tablespoon per gallon helps the chickens absorb nutrients, like calcium, easier.

*I do add both cayenne & garlic to my feed along with Red Cell for horses (selenium) 2 Tablespoon each per 50lbs. Be careful using the Red Cell. Too much can build up toxicity in the birds.

*Meds should be stored in a cool, dark, dry spot. (basement) When opened some things have a very short shelf life. Most of the powder forms V&E will last around 7-10 days once the pkg is opened. I no longer use these, I've switched to pedialyte

*I keep track of who is treated for what, how, why, length of treatment and any reoccurrences. If a bird has recurring problems then I will cull it and I don't mean cull as in sell to someone else. If you hatch eggs even for entertainment then you are in essence breeders and have responsibilities. You do not want a sick bird procreating chicks for you. No matter how pretty, it does not belong in your gene pool to be passed on to neighbors & customers when you sell extra chicks & birds. If you have a favorite that has problems then do not allow it to breed.

*New birds are quarantined for a minimum of 1 month and that is not a guarantee you won't have problems. But it does help.

Sunday, November 22, 2009



check in tomorrow for as the compost piles turn

we will be flipping the fall piles
don't touch that dial

Saturday, November 21, 2009

a big ole' chickeny smooch for ya!

thanks to all the folks who stopped by the minifarmstead today. it was a lovely time from my side of the haystack. i hope it was nice for you too. the chickeny girls miss you already.

company comin' to the hippychickenfarmer universe

the big day is here!

today, hippychick, she being me, shares a bit about her experiences with raising chickens, raising bees, living with creatures and urban homesteading. i can't say i know much but i do know some and i'm willing to share at least that much. good morning to all you austin backyard chicken folk - i'm looking forward to your visit.

it's been raining in these parts for a good two plus days which makes me happy and proves quite positive for the health of the garden. the condition under feet is mushy so i plan to head out real soon and lay another 10 or 20 barrows of wood chips around.

recent news from around and about
  • a local tree trimming company dropped off a good 10-12 yards of chipped trimmings - for free! i am now on their map when working in and around town. they trim another's trees, they check in with me and if i've got space they drop off the trimmings for no charge, it's great! *warning - make sure you are working with a certified and recognized arborist - you do not want chippings from diseased trees in your pile. and even if they are certified and recognized, ask the question. if you do not - you might yourself harm your own micro-environment.
  • the meaties have arrived - 26 in total (the extra 1 was a bonus!) and are now happily nested in a cozy brooder located in the garage barn right next to the victory chicken baby chickens in their own cozy cozy brooder.
  • the chicken coops have been decorated with seasonal lights - the garage barn coop is cheered with glowing red lights and the original crazy coop caper coop is decorated with multi-colored l.e.d. energy saving lights. the coops look festive yet lovely.
  • i am treating three little chickeny girls with bothersome eye infections. i noticed their eyes watering a week back and kept a daily watch on the girls. *this is a good reason to look your chickeny chickens in the eye when declaring your early morning salutations. The weeping eyes continued and i then noticed the development of sleepy eye crust about the edge of the eyes. so i thought it best to take action. i have treated their eyes with neosporin once a day (morning) for three days now and their eyes are showing great results. one of the three is fully recovered. one is a day away from recovery and the third might have one or two more days of treatment before i feel comfortable claiming full recovery. all three have displayed a liking of the daily love and cuddling.
  • how did the eye infections start? i am not sure but i suspect that it might have been triggered by the round of foul pox traveling through the flock. foul pox is transmitted by mosquitoes and it's been a bad mosquito season down here - part of the reason for my mulching efforts which helps to control mosquito populations by removing open water areas and by supporting microorganisms and insects that eat mosquitoes and mosquito larvae. foul pox once in a flock transfers quickly from chicken to chicken by contact. it moves through the flock in a matter of a few weeks. most chickens survive quite well as the virus rests primarily on the exterior parts of the chicken. one will notice dark wart like lesions on combs and wattles. the virus can kill a chicken if the virus travels inside the chickens' mouth and/or throat and lungs. your chicken will show signs of asthma type wheezing and slow lethargic movements. it is hard to bring a chicken back when this ill. i keep b12 on hand and at the earliest sign treat all water the chickens are drinking with b12. i have not lost a chicken to the virus and the good news is that once the chickens make it through the virus they gain immunity to the virus. so hang tight but pay close attention and do not hesitate to seek the advise of a professional veterinarian if you feel it best to do so. your flock should be clear of the pox in a matter of a few weeks, if you see the foul pox lingering, you should seek the advice of a specialist.
Dry pox starts as small whitish foci that develop into wart-like nodules. The nodules eventually are sloughed and scab formation precedes final healing. Lesions are most commonly seen on the featherless parts of the body (comb, wattles, ear lobes, eyes, and sometimes the feet).

Wet pox is associated with the oral cavity and the upper respiratory tract, particularly the larynx and trachea. The lesions are diphtheritic in character and involve the mucous membranes to such a degree that when removed, an ulcerated or eroded area is left.

  • what are the effects of foul pox? there are several and they vary. foul pox may slow down egg production as the infected girls are using their body energy to recover. foul pox may send some girls into molt which in turn will slow down egg production. foul pox may not effect egg production at all for others. foul pox, if the wet version may cause your girls and boys to fall ill which in turn will require quick response on the part of the chicken keeper.
in other news
  • the eggs are selling. it has become common for the doorbell to ring in the evening when i am at home and i have learned, when i am not at home. some folk left a note asking about the eggs but did not include a return phone number or email or any way for making return contact. i will begin delivering eggs to a local market next week which is very exciting. there are new egg cartons on the way - as soon as they arrive, we will be in the market business. the egg cartons are nothing schmancy, recycled pulp cartons of which i will place my own designed hippychickenfarmer stickers on and a sticker claiming that the eggs are ungraded and of varied sizes.
time to get things together for this afternoon - looks like a mornings work in the rain as it has yet to clear out. i'm not complaining. it would be nice to have sun this afternoon - fingers are crossed.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

victory chickens - last chance for 2oo9

The following are my newest and last group of hippychick victory chickens for the year of 2oo9. The wee pullets will be available for pick up six weeks from hatch date.

Black Minorca - developed in Spain, Single Comb Clean Legged, white skin. The Minorca is an excellent hot weather bird, early maturing, is a layer of large white eggs. Largest Mediterranean, extra large eggs. (3 available)

Silver Laced Wyandotte - Silver Laced Wyandottes are a wonderful example of American breeding. They are beautiful, productive, and a favorite amongst backyard flock owners for their dependable egg laying, easy going nature and cold hardiness. Each feather is silver edged in beetle blacks. The hens look as if they're decked out for a night on the town! Wyandottes have a heavy body and small rose comb which makes this breed perfect for cold climates because they are not prone to frostbite. The hens are hardy, energetic and faithful layers. (1 available)

Easter Eggers - are not a breed per se, but a variety of chicken that does not conform to any breed standard but lays large to extra large eggs that vary in shade from blue to green to olive to aqua and sometimes even pinkish. Easter Eggers vary widely in color and conformation, and are exceptionally friendly and hardy. Since they are usually quite friendly to children and humans in general, they are a great choice for a family flock. (2 available)

Production Red - The Production Red is the best of the brown egg layers. This hybrid bird is a cross between Rhode Island Reds, Leghorn and New Hampshire. (5 available)

Australorp - Australorps are the Australian take on the Orpington breed. They are calm and friendly, and excellent layers of light brown eggs. The Australorp's exceptionally soft, shiny black plumage has hints of green and purple in the sunlight. Peaceful and dignified, Australorps are an absolutely delightful bird which we highly recommend to anyone who wants a pet chicken that lays dependably. (4 available)

Hatch date for all but the Australorps november o7 2oo9
- pick up date december 19 2009

Hatch date for the Australorps november 14 2oo9
- pick up date december 26 2009
(exact date dependent upon hippychick's holiday travel)

$15 per bird
all sales cash only
limited numbers available - claim your babies now
$5 deposit required to reserve your girls
please email your breed preference to

the art of the garden path

the art of the garden path

no longer are garden paths simply a way between rows
be they muddy, be they slim or be they full of weeds and grass seeds

the art of the garden path is now a further expression of natural beauty that i wish to explore

garden paths will prove a focus for hippychick this winter

brick-lined, wood chipped, logs for setting upon, logs for marking edges, logs for creatures to forage in and about and paths that assist with mosquito control.

at present,
i have prepared verdant paths of clover planted for bees

paths of acorn for squirrels
paths of thick and cushy chipped wood easy for kneeling
nice for wormie populations and beneficial buggies deep below

how to?
the goal is to purchase nothing - to use only found objects

winter is the time for successful foraging of necessary goods around these parts of central texas. trees are trimmed, some are felled, leaves are raked and bagged and folks - some folks - set them out for collecting by folk like me - i make efforts to beat the garbage folk to them. this requires daily runs and/or walks about the neighborhood which prove not only fruitful but as peaceful bits of time spent out of doors.

i am the countryside dumpster diver - though my dumpster generally comprises of goods set along the side of the road. the key is to keep the back of the outback as empty as possible through this season because you never know what you'll find or where you might spot it.

in order to succeed
one must be
- always at the ready - always at the ready -
i am ready

Sunday, November 15, 2009

rooster lives!

i decided to walk the neighborhood and take a pole in regards to welsumer rooroo. - my instincts were off - rooster lives! this is good as i have become smitten with the young fellow.

away goes the axe - away goes the pot of water - aside goes the stump and happy roo will stay with his ladies nineteen.

in other news - the girls in the garagebarn have begun laying seemingly all on the same day five eggs today! i have been collecting a one and a two but this is a first for five. yeehaw

bastrop producers market will soon be carrying hippychick's super-d-lovely eggs. i thought maybe just prior to or just after thanksgiving. good to be on track. woohoo

rise and shine with dark days home grown goods

rise - squeeze fresh juice - jar the juice
- waking to a most fragrant scent is never a bad way to start the day -

this is dark days week one
the dark days folks make efforts to produce at least one local grown and/or raised meal per week. i thought i would give the challenge a go this year since. i'm starting out simple with fresh home grown lemons.

seasonal lemons = seasonal lemon-aide

how to:
squeeze your lemons
fill a glass with ice
pour in 3 tablespoons of fresh juice
fill the glass with fresh cool water
sweeten with honey if you like
i thank the hippychick bees for my honey

this will keep me cheery throughout the day's work

we are having a most productive weekend here in the hippychick universe
  • moving wood chips for pathways - lots and lots and lots of wood chips - 5 yards so far with 5 yards to go - you should see the garden now - the pathways should help reduce the bug population too - no more puddles for mosquito brothels
  • weed the vegetable garden - the whole garden!
  • painting the house - one area at a time
  • painting supers for the bees
  • feed the bees - sugar water with beneficial essential oils
  • moving the bunnies to their winter southside of the coop location
  • bake up a peach cobbler with our own home canned peaches
  • play with the tigger a.k.a. ms darla kitty
  • looks like i may be putting up a rooster today too - he's about the right size and definitely a bit more chatty than i think folks around here prefer. me, i like his morning song but i must be wise to the fact that i live with neighbors close by.
monitoring one's rooster population is part and parcel of an urban homesteaders existence. you have to. my neighbors are incredibly understanding but the moment i feel the possibility of a tension i act. i find instinctual lingerings are often right on target and i no longer throw them out to the wind. i act. so i have spent much of the morning while working on chores, prepping myself for the event. i like my roosters and i know better but i like them just the same. so it's time to buck up and take care of the deed. i think first, i might move a few four or five barrow loads of wood chips first.

am i putting off the deed?
will i do the deed?

it's not easy folks.
not everything in a homesteader's life is easy.
especially when this rooster was suppose to be a girl chick in the first place.
so it goes...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

waxing poetic

waxing cheeses this morning
two rounds i hope will marble blue

the process is simple
melt your wax in a double boiler
i re-use a food can set atop two canning rings in a shallow pot of water
the wax melts

paint the wax onto the rounds
thin layer over thin layer over thin layer
until your cheese rounds are thoroughly sealed

- notes -
  • it is important to use the double boiler method to melt your wax as it is a flammable product and may catch fire
  • keep a small paint brush specifically for this purpose of cheese waxing. then store the brush with unused wax in the melting can together.
  • do not melt the wax in a pan you wish to use for cooking - the wax is difficult to remove/clean - i learned the hard way.
  • DO NOT pour used wax down the sink - you will be very sorry and may have to pay big bucks to clean out your plumbing - the moral to this story - don't do it

Friday, November 13, 2009

hippychick chats

ok folks this is your chance to see hippychick in her wee-tiny urban homesteading element. the big day is november 21.

- the condition -

there is limited space available so if you are interested, now is the time to join the austin backyard poultry meetup folk or shall i say flock
yeah yeah

you must must must register to attend via the austin backyard poultry meetup group. we will be checking names on a list - do not think that showing up on the date of the chat will be enough. you will have to join and register.

the good news, joining is - free free free - and the chat is free free free.

you can find the the meetup group's page here.

you can learn more about hippychick @ the following

michelle habeck

hippychick's garden

groovy urban homesteaders

the below is an example of an austin backyard poultry newsletter - this particular newsletter announcing the hippychick chat. there is a special event every month. do check out the austin backyard poultry meet up site.

Austin Backyard Poultry
The Chicken Scratch
Issue #22 November 12, 2009
This Newsletter is also available online under the Meetup’s Message Board under the “The Organizers Corner”.


Hey, everyone.
Hope you’re getting ready for the weekend. T-G-almost-I-F! If you haven’t signed up yet for the November meetup, we encourage you to do so. We have a good speaker lined up on Urban Homesteading. See the next section for details. Space is limited and capacity will be enforced. We do ask that if you signed up for the meetup and cannot go for some reason, please change your RSVP to “No” so that someone else may attend in your place. We’ll send out a reminder notice about attendance closer to the meetup. For fairness to our members, we will make a note of the “no-shows”. No-shows may be wait listed on future meetups that have maximum attendance numbers. As our membership continues to grow, members will need to consider how they want to handle meetups. We ask that our members proactively be part of a solution for any changes they would like to see. To get background on what has been discussed regarding meetups and membership or to add your proposes solutions for meetup numbers, go to:

*** NOTE:
While highly unlikely, meetup topic and location subject to change, based on unforeseeable events. Please watch the meetup board for any updates.

More info at:
Date: 11/21/2009 Time: 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. (shorter meeting time to allow for commute)

Hippychick's Gardens Bastrop, TX 78602

Join us for a field trip to Bastrop right before the holidays! We'll be meeting in Bastrop at Hippychick's Gardens. For reference, the drive to Hippychick's Gardens is approximately 35 minutes from Callahan’s General Store, directly down Hwy 71. We are meeting, though, directly at Hippychick’s place in Bastrop. Bring a lawnchair with you for this event. Carpooling is encouraged.
This will be a more informal meetup, with the trip and time at the speaker's place being the core of the meeting. Feel free to join us (optionally) at Shady Oaks for home cooking after the meetup.

Michelle Habeck will discuss Urban Homesteading. She will be choosing from and speaking about some of the following topics:
* Chickens for both eggs and for table.
* Chickens relative to the composting process - the scoop on chicken poop
* Methods for raising baby chicks - where they go, when they grow, and methods for mixing flocks
* Options and choices for bedding, for nesting and for chicken runs.

* Demonstration of wing clipping
* Winterizing a coop - yes our winters are not harsh but those week of wet rainy sleet and ice can and might prove problematic for smaller populations of backyard chickens without proper protection. ===================================================================== She will also have the following items for purchase:
* 50 gallon batch of compost tea available for sale by the gallon. Folks should arrive with a gallon jug, old milk or water jug for a fill. She will sell the compost tea for $3.00/gallon with jug & $4.oo without jug for as many jugs as she has available.

* Fresh garden greens available for $2.25 per gallon sized bag.

*Organic kombucha and kombucha starter kits available for folks who are interested - prices vary

* Chickens for sale. If folks are interesting in requesting specific breeds they can email Michelle Habeck at Note - no bantam breeds available.

In addition, Michelle teaches folks about canning and the putting up of food outside of all else. She also makes cheese and raises bees. Private/small group instruction to folks upon request for small fees.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

she's at it again - table birds 2oo9

chickenmama life keeps a girl busy and out of trouble that is for sure.

i pondered and pondered before making the decision to indeed go in on a fall round of hippychick universe table birds.
yup you read that right - chickens for eatin', no question about it.

i am making a go with 25 white cornish lady table birds. they are scheduled to arrive next week so i better get chickbaby brooder number two up and ready as chick baby brooder number one is currently home to 1o baby victory chicken layer babes with more victory chicken layer babes arriving tomorrow.

it's a nursery i tell you!
the wee ones are all about
peeping and peeping and peeping
wabbit wabbiting
you say
wabbit wabbiting?
wabbit wabbiting

there is a new wabbit wabbit in the hippychick universe. a wee itty boy - dark and sleek - cute cute cutie - wabbit is friend not dinner - more on wee wabbit boy to come...

back to the chicken babes

my plan is to raise this round of table birds a.k.a. the meaties in a temporary yard coop/run - once they are at size to travel out of doors of course - that i will fashion from re-purposed wood pallets, chicken wire, a tarp and scrap lumber. it won't be fancy but it will look respectable and serve the needs of the birds while providing plenty of space for roaming about. i will set the upcycled coop in the yard giving the girls the ability to forage about in the fine fine fine light of the sun. their residence will in turn provide the yard with a good dose of chickenypoopoopa-doo.

i plan to set down a thick layer of wood chips in an open area to encourage the natural poopadoopa composting process and to protect the girls feetsies from any wet/cold muddy days we might experience in the near future. i will construct a simple sheltered area for the evening snooze and for those delicate flowers seeking the comfort of shade.

weekend full up - check!
simple project - check!
taking responsibility for my own food - check!


Monday, November 9, 2009

feeding fall garden goods

lemons cheer me - their look, feel, scent, flavor, shape size, texture and color.

lemons and me, we get along just fine.

the improved meyers are ripe and ready. i trimmed off a good number this morning then juiced half of the harvest which is now stored in a glass jar in the fridge for quick and easy use

two handfuls of key limes proves the full harvest this year. that's not bad for a tree planted within the year.

slowly but surely the homestead is showing returns in vegetables, fruits, eggs, honey, table chicken, compost and the joy of caring for it all. it is work but it's work i enjoy.

we had good rain yesterday.

got up early early early this morning in order to spread a thin layer of compost over the fall planted garden areas. everything is looking good. i am tempted to pull the eggplants out for potted planting so as to give space for winter growing goods. that may be a job for the future weekend. i may possibly pull a pepper or two to do the same. if i do it right, i may be able to overwinter them successfully.

in other news -
there is compost tea brewing away in the 50 gallon container. this round fed with humates, compost, molasses, comfrey leaves, fish emulsion and liquid kelp. already it's bubbling over the top of the brewer so i drew out a few gallons for potted plants. i am sure they will enjoy the special treat. i topped off the potted plants with fresh finished compost to keep the microbial action in high gear. i hope to give the brew a good 4 days to ready get cooking. this also allows the comfrey leaves to break down some and really lend their goodness to the mix.

greens planted from seed are sprouting their first true leaves. onions are showing growth in the girth of their above ground greens, garlic greens are healthy, tomatoes are setting while the broccoli begin to set heads. the clover planted for the bees runs 2" in height. so the season forward moves.

i ponder a round of meatie chickens maybe a small group of ten or so. i think so - maybe a round of dual purpose in the case for change of heart. pondering pondering still.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

dark of the morn milk n' honey

the summer honey has been jarred. the fall honey harvest need wait a week more.

there is cheese in the making - the curds cut. today's attempt is an inoculated blue. the inoculated curds are a beautiful golden hue. i have no idea how this round will eventually turn out. we are in pure experimentation mode.

the batch of whey produced a beautiful white pint of riccotta now chilling in the fridge.

morning eggs are in the laying while wee kitten conquers jumping leaping and climbing the full breadth of her universe. she like a babe wanting to be a part of each morning task - hollering out those moments my mind falls out and forgets.

the morning's fog was thick and hard in the early early hours of the day. the sun now shines through looking to be a beauty of a day.

i'll soon be heading into austintown to help another. one more task yet to tackle - pasta dough - which should take no time at all. the rolling out will need wait til' later this eve.

now to breakfast - a pot of warm milk with a dollop of honey before pressing the curds, washing up and heading out the door.

not a bad start. there are days when early waking pays.

Friday, November 6, 2009

weekend plans shift

this weekend will now be dedicated to helping my students move forward and to gain deeper knowledges in a time crunched process. deadlines call, the work is not simple and so i have decided to shift plans to that of mentorship.

not a one.

the payoff will prove far greater than the investment.

make your own pasta!

you will need - 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour ( i use whole wheat) - 3 large eggs - 1 teaspoon salt -

if using a food processor - place flour and salt in processor and pulse for 10-15 seconds. with processor on add in one egg at a time until the mixture forms a ball. if too dry add a bit of water. if too wet add flour 1 tablespoon at a time.

remove dough, pat out into a thick pancake sized patty and wrap in oiled plastic wrap. let is rest for 15 minutes minimum. i let mine rest for at least an hour.

once dough is rested - remove from wrap and cut into 4 equal parts. keep the parts wrapped as you work the others one by one.

take a 1/4 of the dough and roll it out to create a rectangle about 5" wide and 10" length.

set your pasta machine to the widest setting (my wide setting is 1). slowly send your dough through the machine three to four times at the widest setting. this kneads the dough and creates good texture.

note - you will find you will need to flour your dough as you move the pasta through - just rub a bit of flour to keep the dough from sticking to itself.

next turn the dial to the next widest setting (for me that is setting 2). run your pasta through. then move setting to 3 and run past through and then to setting 4 to run pasta through. I stop at setting 4 because i prefer this thickness for my pasta.

run the pasta one setting at a time until you reach the thickness you like. once you are at a thickness that you like you can then send the pasta through the pasta cutter of your choice. set your pasta out to dry for at least one hour - this again allows for flavor and tooth to build.

to cook - boil well salted water - drop in pasta - cook 3-4 minutes - drain and sauce or pesto or veggie it up! enjoy - you will not go back - it's sooooooooo easy and soooooo much better.

you can add chopped spinach, pepper, ground roasted red pepper, whatever you like in the early mixing stage if you wish to make specialty pasta. i suggest you try a plain version first to understand the moisture balance. one of my favorite add ins is pesto! home made of course.

i store my pasta in plastic containers in the fridge because i tend to eat what i make within a week. you may freeze it if you like for longer storage. i suggest you make what you will eat and always always make fresh if you are able.


tip - run the pasta slowly through - do not rush - this is the main reason hand cranked pasta makers are the way to go.