Wednesday, March 5, 2014

ALL COOPED UP...

Tonya's adventures in raising chickens


This is excerpted from Tonya's blog   www.tonyalemone.com

Twenty six years ago we moved to Utah to experience the “country life."  Our children were young so having the country experience was something we thought would be good for everyone and living on a half acre seemed like a dream come true.
                                                                       
pictures from... http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-mid-life-crisis-coop
The “right of passage” to owning a piece of ground in our area was to buy a goat. All of our neighbors had them, tried them, then got rid of them. We seriously considered a goat so we could fit in with the rest of the city folks who had come to the country but instead we chose chickens.

A month before my birthday my husband stretched a large blue tarp between the two English       
walnut trees in our back yard and gave me very strict orders not to peek.  For weeks I heard hammering, sawing, pounding and an occasional “shoot” come from behind the tarp.
When the masterpiece was unveiled there stood the most incredible chicken coop I have ever seen. Every extra hour of daylight had been spent in creating this new home for the “girls” ... that would be the chickens, not our daughters.

When you purchase baby chicks there is no guarantee you won't be raising roosters. There is also no guarantee that your neighbors are going to enjoy the sound of your rooster before daylight. These are two lessons we learned early on. 

Then Leroy senior came into our life... a beautiful French coco Maren rooster with black and white feathers and a comb that stood up so bright and red it looked artificial. A gift from my brother.
      
Turns out...Leroy senior was not a very willing participant in the egg fertilizing process. It took a year before we finally got 3 fertilized eggs. 
I placed them carefully in the incubator and impatiently waited. Pecking their way out of their shells was a long process and to my great disappointment they were the ugliest creatures I had ever seen. 

Thankfully, days turned to weeks and the new baby chicks feathered out and joined the rest of the flock. As luck would have it, one of the three was a rooster... we named him Leroy II. He strutted an "attitude" that quickly let the rest of the brood know that he was in charge of the coop.

 When I say everyone I don't mean just the “girls” and Leroy senior, he also took control of those that fed him. That would be my husband Lynn 

One afternoon Lynn came home from work with some rather bad news and when he went to feed the chickens he was in no mood to do battle with Leroy. The moment he stepped into the coop Leroy flew and my husband grabbed a pitchfork. 

As pale as a ghost he came running through the back door to report poor Leroy's demise. Shaken and a bit remorseful, Lynn returned to the yard to give him a proper burial and THERE, strutting around as though he had been magically reincarnated and was back to continue his reign, was Leroy, King of the Roost.


Fortunately for Leroy II the tongs of the pitchfork only grazed his neck, not one drop of blood was shed and if you know chickens... they fake dead when they are frightened. 

On that fateful day Leroy II had an extreme attitude adjustment. He never crowed again, a good thing for the neighbors, and he never attacked his keeper, a good thing for my husband. 

We love our “little bit of country”

Chicken coops for sale...
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-mid-life-crisis-coop

LEMON THYME COOKIES

A favorite at Perennial Gardens


1 cup butter softened (don’t cheat)
1 ½ cups sugar
2 ¾ cups flour
2 eggs
2 Tablespoons lemon thyme

Mix butter and sugar together ,add eggs, flour, lemon thyme,(if using dried lemon thyme use 1 tablespoon).Remove leaves from stems and chop fine, add to mixture. Roll in small balls the size of walnuts, and then roll in sugar. Bake 400’ for ten minutes. After cookies are cool you may or may not add a lemon glaze made from fresh lemon juice and powdered sugar.