Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Supermoon Show September 2015

Tonight was the big showdown of the Supermoon September 27, 2015, and  we were able to get outside with beautiful clear skies, and watch the moon rise, be eclipsed, and then watched the eclipse pass.  It was amazing! I had my telephoto lens, and tripod with me, and several of our close friends were able to come and hang out with us as we watched the moon rise.  It was an event all of us will remember.

I took a lot of pictures of the moon, and some turned out pretty good.  I'll share the better ones with you, and then below you can see the collage I made with the pictures of the moon as the eclipse progressed and waned.

You can see that the moon was fully eclipsed at this point, which was pretty amazing to see.

Now, as the eclipse is passing, you can see the light of the moon returning slowly, a little at a time. It was hard to capture this with my lens, because of the contrast of light and dark.  I was happy to get this picture!

Finally the eclipse had passed, and the bright light of the moon shone clear again.  In fact, the moon was shining SO bright, I could not get a clear picture of it at all!  Usually my lens will pick out features on the moon, but not tonight.  It was indeed a supermoon!

Here is a collage of the best pictures I took tonight so you can clearly see the phases of the lunar eclipse over the supermoon.  It was an incredible experience, and one that we were all very excited to witness.  :)

Hiding in Dark Places

Since my last post on finding lost chicken eggs... I spent some more time with my chickens early in the morning.  In the morning, one of our family members usually opens the chicken coop for me to let the chickens out for the day, as I am usually in the kitchen making breakfast and getting our day started.  However, yesterday I made my way out to the chicken coop early to let them out myself.

One thing I discovered right away was that Mr. Rudy was intent on doing his rooster "duties" to his girls, even going so far as to chase after them while they were in the coop preparing to lay their eggs.  I watched from a distance as he went into the coop, while the banty girls were scratching around and chased them out to do his "thing".  If you have never seen this happen, well, let's just say the ways of nature can be rather raw and graphic!  lol!  The banty girls don't like his attention, and squawk like they are dying when he gets his chance.  On more than one occasion I have come running outside to see if one of my chickens is being killed by something, only to find Mr. Rudy doing his "thing".

And as I further investigated and watched the banty girls early in the morning, I saw them running from Mr. Rudy and trying to find dark hiding places from him, and he followed them wherever they went.

With the egg-laying problem being a recent one, (and being that Mr. Rudy has just recently discovered his "manhood") it was becoming quite clear that this may be the clue I was missing with the lack of eggs being laid.  Mr. Rudy has chased the girls around until they couldn't hide from him to do their job, which is laying eggs.

So, I began to think what I could do to remedy the problem.

I found a stapler, some material, and in just a minute or two, I was onto a problem solver!

I stapled material to their nesting boxes, and left an opening so the hens could see out if they wanted to.  I also planted an egg in each nesting box, and marked an "x" on it with a sharpie so I would know which egg I had planted.

Not very fancy, but in my quest to get my egg production back up to par, it would hopefully work!

Then I went outside and called the banties to come in and check it out.  But by this time, they were more interested in staying outside, so I just left them alone, and hoped that later they would come and find the dark hiding place.

Yesterday was an incredibly beautiful day with bright sunshine, brilliant blue skies, and fall colors abounding in the forest.

I absolutely adore fall weather!  After our hot smoky summer where we couldn't even see the skies... oh what a joy it is every day to go outside, breathe deeply of the fresh cool air, and enjoy the colors of fall!

Sometime later in the afternoon, I ventured back out to the coop... and whoppee!  Look what was waiting for me!  Five eggs (minus the planted one)!   Oh happy day!

So... in this case, creating a hiding place for the hens where Mr. Rudy cannot see them was the key to solving my missing egg case!  I've talked to my husband about making some better nest boxes for when our other baby girls begin laying (which should be within the next few weeks), and that is a project we will be getting busy on soon.  But for now, our banty girls have a hideout from the rooster, and I will have my eggs... a win-win for all of us... well except maybe for Mr. Rudy... lol!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Detective Work.. I'm Not Good At It!

I've been having to play detective work around here the past few days... and it hasn't been going well.

Something has gone missing....

... and it's not my chickens that are missing...

Thank goodness after poor Rusty's mishap, we still have one very sweet rooster, Mr. Rudy... and he has been doing just fine...

... and my sweet chickens love me as much as always, but still... something is missing...

While I love my chickens dearly, and spend as much time with them as I can ...

And they bring me never-ending entertainment with their antics..

By the way... Mr. Rudy has begun showing love to his ladies... now that is quite, well... natural behavior let us say... but somewhat unnerving when you first see it happen!

Mr. Rudy has been doing his job, and keeps his girls close by him but still....

My 6 little banties, my egg-laying girls... are up to some tricks... and I'm not happy about it.

Because one of two things has happened.  Either they have quit laying eggs, or...

... they have found a really good hiding place from me, and that, my friend, is why I got into detective work today.

Egg detective work, that is.

And I came up EMPTY!  No eggs! NONE.  Zitto. Zilch.

I followed my chickens around in the yard for the better part of an hour or two.  We climbed tree branches together.

Goldie pecked my shoes to see if I brought any food with me.  She knows I always bring treats when I come.  She was perplexed because I didn't bring food.  So, she pecked my shoe instead.

I adore Goldie.  She adores me.  She is the first one to come running when she sees me coming.  Or maybe she just likes treats.  But I like to think she likes me {smile}....

So I climbed trees with Goldie to see if she would show me where the eggs were.

And I talked to Rudy and asked him if he could help me find the eggs. No luck.  Blank stares! Everyone was innocent, and no one offered any information.  And all my 6 egg laying banties happily pecked away as we walked, without a care in the world... or any interest in showing me where their hideout might be.

And then we met this cute little guy.

He followed me through the trees happily chattering.  The dogs weren't with me, so I didn't have to worry about any bad language... lol!

He found a treat on the ground, and climbed up high on the branches of the pine tree to sit with his back against the tree and enjoy it.

He didn't seem to mind getting his picture taken either.

It's not often they stay in one place for very long, so I was lucky to capture these shots of him!

He took off and peered at me behind another tree branch.  Was that a wave? lol!

In my trek through the woods with the chickens, I gave up on my detective work, and instead just enjoyed the walk with them.  I found this old tree stump full of old acorns and pine needles, and suspected my chipmunk friend probably had many a lunch right here!

All the chickens were happy and content to munch on bugs, leaves, dirt, and whatever else the forest floor offered up.

Our neighbor's horses wondered what was going on across the fence.  The hens stopped at the fence line, looked at the horses and then turned around and went back into our woods.

Our neighbor's place.  I just love the striking red barns against the backdrop of the sky, trees, and grass.

I stopped to just look up.  The contrast of the blue sky, and pine trees was incredible.  Such beauty abounding in all directions! I was enjoying the moment, in spite of the circumstances behind it.  God has a way of doing that in our lives, I've found... and I've learned to just enjoy the moment... it usually comes in the midst of a difficult set of moments... but it's meant to be enjoyed anyway.  And, so that is what I did.

Our introspective Mr. Rudy... who offered no clues as to what his girls were doing with my eggs.

But I forgave him because he is so sweet, and kind, and is not the kind of rooster you have to be afraid of.  I'm so thankful for that!  He even enjoys getting his picture taken!

At the end of our walk, look who showed up... Mr. Simba.  I think he had been secretly stalking us through the woods.  Cats are like that.  I'm glad I know this cat, because he loves me too.  I just hope no other cats were following us.... lol!

Mr. Simba thinks it is fun to chase the chickens and hear them squawk.  Such a bad boy, but he really looks innocent, doesn't he!

I went to the house to get some treats and brought them out for the chickens after our walk.  Goldie came running to see me.  She thinks I always have treats.

And after all that detective work, and even treats... I still came up empty.  And so, I figure I'm not a very good detective.  I think I'll quit.  Turn in my resignation.

The mystery continues.  I'm stumped.  And breakfast with my daily freshly laid egg may be on hold too.  I hope they feel sorry for me soon, and clue me in.  :)

But... I got to enjoy a beautiful walk in the woods with the chickens, climb trees and tree stumps, and walk through thick brush, and got to visit with the chipmunk too.  All was not lost!  Perhaps I'll pick up my detective work another day.  But for today, I will be thankful for the sweet moments I enjoyed with the "girls" on such a beautiful day.  :)