Monday, October 26, 2009

Rain, Rain GO AWAY!

It started raining here in the DFW area in mid-September.   I think we've had about 5 days of sunshine since then.  The ground is saturated and there haven't been enough sunny days to even come close to drying out.  My chickens stopped laying eggs when it started raining.  The girls are from Arizona and the worst rain they've seen before had been one or two big monsoon days in 2008.  They've been hiding out in the hen house but not producing any eggs.  That wouldn't be a big deal except I finally have a few regular egg-buying customers.

So, we decide to buy some more hens - 14 to be exact.  We make a 45 minute drive to south of Ft Worth on a rainy, dark and gloomy Sunday night to get these "good layers".  Well, they must be homesick, cause they haven't been laying any eggs here.  Now we have 25 hens, eating 50 pounds of chicken feed every couple weeks and I have no eggs to sell.

The new girls are a variety of breeds and some mixes.  This one is very pretty with her gold markings.  If you look, you can see a lot of feathers in the background as some of the hens are molting now - probably due to the days getting shorter and colder and lack of sunlight for the past month.  When chickens molt, their reproductive system shuts down and they produce no eggs.

The AZ girls were very stressed when the TX girls moved in.  They were like 2 rival gangs.  The AZ girls all huddled together as the newcomers took over their turf.  There was a quite a bit of fighting and posturing to determine the new pecking order.  The TX girls were pretty sassy about taking over the chicken yard.

I guess patience is going to be the key while we get through this transition time.  I've read that the molting can take up to 3 months.  Hopefully we'll have some sunshine back by then, too!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

October, getting settled in TX

I can't believe it's October already.  The days are definitely getting cooler here.   It's supposed to rain for the rest of the week and I'm not looking forward to that very much, although I understand we need it. I am missing the desert.

Chet's been working so hard around here.  We're dividing the pasture areas so we can keep the camelids separated as necessary and Chet has been fencing almost continually for the past month. 

Because of all the rain, the grass is in constant need of cutting.   This photo is of the front yard.  Chet bought a used tractor when he got here that only works for short periods of time before it overheats.  He hasn't taught me how to drive it yet, but all the ladies in the neighborhood do their lawns on the riding mowers, so I'll have to learn soon.

As we're making some good progress getting all the boxes unpacked, I'm finding some time to work on spinning and knitting, which I've really missed.

I don't know whether the colors will come through on the blog site, but this is a very pretty batch of roving from Unique Designs by Kathy in Tucson AZ -

Kathy is an awesome fiber artist and a very patient teacher.  I was able to have a few spinning sessions with her this summer before I moved and really learned a lot.

From this roving, I'm spinning a single ply yarn and making a lacy shawl.  I'm almost finished with it, but don't want to post photos until it's all done.

I'm very excited that I was invited to a spinning group this weekend.  I'm sure I will learn a lot from these ladies who also have alpacas.

I got my TX driver's license yesterday.  I guess it's official - I'm a Texan (or as much as a Yankee-by-way-of-Arizona can be).