Fa la la… And a Princess Chicken Leia

My chicken has an ear infection.  MY CHICKEN HAS AN EAR INFECTION!  People, you read that right.  Twice.  Why twice, well, because she has two ears.  Can you believe it?  Thankfully, it’s only one chicken, but it’s so gross that one is enough.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy New Year!  It’s that time of year again…isn’t it funny?  It comes the same time every year, but every year I wonder how it’s already this time of year!  We have had Thanksgiving Turkey in paradise, have our tree and decorations up and I am making cookies for all of the Clerk’s offices in my district.  Since I haven’t written a post since October, I have a lot to catch you up on!

Princess Chicken Leia.  She has had an ear infection in both ears for a little while now and I didn’t do anything about it before we left on vacation because I didn’t want our house sitter to come outside to a scene from the Texas Chainsaw massacre one day.  What?!  What the heck am I talking about?  How did we go from an ear infection to a bloody massacre?  Here’s the deal:  Chickens are not very good change ambassadors.  Meaning, they simply don’t like anything different.  They weren’t paying any attention to Princess Chicken Leia (you’ll get it when you see the pictures) so I didn’t want to cause them to pay more attention than necessary by cleaning out her ears without being home to monitor.  If I had, they might see the two gaping holes on either side of her head and peck her and draw blood which would cause more pecking and more pecking and could result in a bloody mess or even a dead chicken.  Hence, I waited until we got home to do an initial cleaning.  It was disgusting.  I won’t make it more so by describing it, just suffice it to say it included Hydrogen Peroxide, tweezers, Q-tips and a wound and skin care gel bought from the Co-Op.  I anticipate I will be cleaning it out again but so far it looks so much better.  She will remain Princess Chicken Leia for now or really until her ears go back to normal.  No, I don’t actually know that they will go back to normal, so she may be and always remain, Princess Chicken Leia. The first picture shows how she should look, the second is how she did look and the third is how she does look.  Granted the third doesn’t look a ton different in the picture, but notice how pink rather than red it is and it actually has much less gunk in and is more of hole again. I know, yuck.  No idea what caused it…could be mites, could be bacterial infection, viral infection…who knows. It’s healing and limited to one chicken so, at this point I am fine with not knowing definitively what caused it.  That’s right, I am burying my head in the proverbial sand on this one.  I have learned more about chicken issues than I really ever cared to learn.  Somehow, I’m sure that learning isn’t over.

all good chicken

Not so good chickenbetter chicken

On a much happier note, we have eggs again! Wahoo! My fridge is full of eggs from MY chickens!  Our beautiful young ladies started laying the second week of November and we are getting about 6-8 eggs a day!  I do believe some of the old ladies have started laying sporadically and they seem to be finished with their molt.  We have the light coming on in the house about 5 a.m. so hopefully they will get a move on!  As they are pretty old (over 2 and some over 3 years) we probably will end of selling them rather than eating them since they will be pretty tough and will require stewing to eat.  But we’ll see…maybe we will cull a couple just to make some chicken noodle soup or garlic chicken!  The ladies seem to be getting along with each other for the most part and have established their pecking order with little to no fanfare.  They loved the pumpkins we threw into the runs once we took the fall decorations down.  We now have four feeders and three waterers in the runs to accommodate the 38 birds we have now.  That’s a lot of birds….especially when most aren’t laying! Them girls sure aren’t earning their keep!

The bees are all tucked into their hives for winter and I believe have enough stores to get them through.  Out of the four hives, we have one pretty weak one that I hope and pray will make it, but only time will tell.  It’s the one that swarmed this year and while they had a nice big fat beautiful queen and she was laying well, going into the end of fall, it wasn’t as big of a colony as I had hoped. We shall see.  They each have one super on full of food in addition to the stores in their bottom box where they start out.  Eventually, they usually will move up and end up in the top box by the end of winter as they follow the food.  The fall/winter thus far has been pretty warm and up until a week ago we have been in a drought.  So, the girls had been out flying around right up until the end of November.  Their entrances have been closed down to a small opening and the screened bottom boards closed.  Some people don’t close up the entrances or bottom boards, some do.  I did. Hive inspections won’t happen until around the end of March and it needs to be above 55 degrees or I run the risk of chilling the girls and we don’t want that.   Send the girls some happy thoughts so they will come out swinging in the Spring and I can get some fruit in the orchard!

The garden is just a mess.  Horrible.  We still have the broccoli and two lettuce plants in there but on that’s it.  The broccoli hasn’t produced yet, but the lettuce is still doing ok.  I still have lettuce in the fridge so I am happy!  We still have plans to really get in there and improve the soil.  We just need to do it.  Did I mention the garden is a mess?  Yikes.

Remember when I told you I started some peppermint extract?  Well, it’s still stewing.  I think I might have added a little too much vodka to it, so I think it will take a bit longer to get where it needs to be.  I hope.  Apparently there really is a situation where there can be “too much vodka”.  I’ll check it again at the end of the month and see where we are.  I also tried to grow an avocado tree from an avocado seed.  So far, that’s an epic fail.  Nothing.  Maybe it’s the type of avocado.  I’ll have to go back to the drawing board on that one.  I still plan to try my hand at butter.  I will keep you in the loop!

The canines are happy as clams!  They thoroughly enjoy sleeping all day, a lot of the evening and the whole night.  They do run around outside periodically, but they are quite content to just be lazy.  I think they know something we don’t….

Ri Abby Jake

As you are aware I am sure, White Collar Homestead is in the Smoky Mountains.  Unless you don’t watch tv, listen to the radio, have internet or talk to people, you know that we have had serious wildfires.  Over 1,000 structures destroyed including iconic buildings and people’s homes.  We have been getting a lot of much needed rain, thankfully, so that is good. It has been a very difficult time here, but I am so very thankful for my wonderful community and people from all across the country that have come together to support those in need.  The support has been overwhelming and impressive and, well, humbling.  Thank you to those of you who have donated time, money, food and things.  If you still want to donate and don’t know where to go, let me know and I will help!

It’s that time of year again and that means you are still searching for that special gift for that special someone or even just stocking stuffers for that special someone!!  I am happy to take orders for lip balm!!  That’s right, lip balm is available again!  Just let me know how many you need and if you want honey or honey mint and I will get them to you as soon as possible and before Christmas!  Also, don’t forget about Rodan+Fields!  Give the gift of beautiful skin! It’s the gift that keeps on giving!

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy New Year everyone!  I hope your holidays and your new year are all you ever dreamed!

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