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I am FINALLY debloating from all the salt/carbs/sugar in Santa Fe. Mom shipped 2 boxes to me (cheaper than a checked bag) since she is still down there. I cracked open the artisanal local mustards she got me as souvenirs. OMG! Made amazing vinaigrette with the pinon vinegar my sister got me. It's apple cider vinegar infused with pinon pine needles. Bitter and yummy. Several people ended up joining me for lunch yesterday with BYO salads and they sucked down my vinaigrette. The recipe: 1T mustard, some olive oil, some vinegar, some pepper. Put in jam jar, close and shake. I am thawing some elk meat to do sliders so I can compare all 5 different mustards soon.

The chickens are kind of laying eggs. One is laying soft shelled ones. Either the youngest or the oldest...if it is the oldest then she may have to be retired. To the soup pot. Soft shelled eggs get pecked and then they start pecking all the eggs and eating them.

Had a cold snap last night so I stoked up the stove, but then the wind died down and though it was cold...I roasted. 65 in there all night but I had blankets and jammies planned for 45.
 

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The mustard and vinaigrette sound amazing. Enjoy them and the elk.

Weather around here has been crazy. It was up in the upper 60*s/low 70*s at the beginning of the week, relatively mild for most of the rest of the week, and we're going to get 1-3 inches of snow tomorrow (Saturday). Sigh. March is weird.
 

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All the food was good! I am getting more eggs and the hens are back to eating bugs and laying off the feed a little bit.

Got sad news that my ex professor and mentor died this last week. He and his wife were traveling and visiting kids and grand kids. So while it is sad, he was with family and his wife has good support.
 

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Found out the funeral will be streamed Thursday morning. I will attend but have to be at work. Won't be the first person, or 2nd, streaming a funeral at work. The in person funeral is 1500 miles away so I'm glad I can at least virtual-attend. I got a card sent to his wife...a thrift store blank card with a nice note. I needed to restock on sympathy-worthy cards. Too many losses this year.

In less sad news...chickens are stupid! I got home after a 12 day in town yesterday with errands, and 2 radio shows to find only 1 chicken out, the aging barred rock, Porky. I thought "oh no...predator debacle!!!" But it was just that someone, probably Porky, knocked the stick that keeps the chicken door open down and the door blew shut. THe other chickens were all in there bored. Apparently they spent the day jumping on the hanging feeder because they managed to break the rope that held it up. It was still light so I opened up. I used a 2nd block today so it will not totally close. If it blows shut it will blow open again.
Glad they weren't dead.
Once they were all out they hurried to get to chores...Houdini, the rooster, jumped on all tall things and crowed his head off. The hens went to the strawbales clogging the erosion issues and dug through it in a frenzy picking out bugs. Then, an hour later at sundown they RAN into the coop and dogpiled on the roosts. Fun to watch. Especially the banty, Flora, who is half the size and operates at twice the speed of the others.
 

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Thanks. It was a nice service. Then I switched to an online meeting with a state agency and finally to an in person meetings between work staff and lawyers fighting a federal issue. It was a long day

The chickens are back to laying pretty well but...today I found a pecked egg! Dang it. Will need to figure who did it. Clearly a chicken but there is a strict no peckers rule in the hen house!!
 

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So Bianca is in solitary confinement since Sunday and so far in the main coop I have no more pecked eggs and no more soft shelled eggs. No signs of any eggs over in solitary (the old coop with a fence around it and Bianca in it). Either Bianca isn't laying at all and the soft shelled for her act together and is laying real eggs, or Bianca is both the pecker and the soft layer and she is eating her own eggs including the shell. Gross.

I made a chart to track daily egg production, sorted by color so I have some idea who is laying and how often. Flora, the Banty is still a strong layer. Pru, layer of blue-green eggs, is laying. I am pretty sure Helen and Gertrude are laying the brown eggs and Porky is laying a brown egg of a slightly different shade. That leaves Beatrice, a blue sapphire Plymouth Rock who might be the one laying little tiny darker brown eggs. She is young and just coming up to the egg production age. Bianca is the same age as Beatrice so I would expect her to also be laying soft shelled eggs.
 

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6 eggs again yesterday still 1 tiny one. Beatrice needs to hen-up and start putting yolks in those!
Yesterday was technically 7 eggs. Bianca (aka Blanca) is still in the chicken prison and laid a thin shelled egg that she pecked and ate. So...the mystery is totally solved. She is the pecker.

For now, she will stay in solitary confinement (she does have outdoor access, a rain-proof-ish coop, food, water, etc) so she doesn't teach the rest of them to peck eggs. If in a month she's still a pecker, she may need to go to a "forever home"...either a friend who wants a pet or, more likely, my belly.
 

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woohoo! The 6 primary hens are laying! Well, at least 5, probably 6. Got 6 eggs yesterday but someone COULD have laid after 7pm the night before.
Bianca is still in the gulag hoping the governor will commute her sentence...but really, the delay is just weather and time.
I thought maybe Beatrice, the youngest, was hiding her eggs. I stopped getting the small dark brown eggs. But maybe she is now laying fullsize eggs.

my builder called up and has material that is good cedar from the "butt" end of phone/electric poles. Apparently the dude who makes the poles gets the longest he can, dries the pole, essentially a whole log with the bark off, and when he gets an order he cuts off the fat end, the "butt", to meet the length ordered. my builder man likes to salvage and so he has those, dry, debarked, and he will cut to length. It costs more than getting someone to cut trees and bring them to me, but(t) saves me cutting the lengths and debarking and transporting to my place. I also like the salvage aspect a lot.
Right now I"m trying to figure out how much of my 1st story walls will be made of this rather than being doors/windows so that is complicated.

Since I dropped the wifi...price went from 20$ a month to 70$/month for MUCH less service (the 20$ deal was aparently a mistake by a not bright ATT store worker at the beginning of covid that ATT noticed mid-day April 15 and shut that stuff down...even the higher priced service didn't work for the 4 days I tried it, no service at all happened. So, I called and "karened" all over the customer service until they canceled it and refunded the 4 days of "better" service that was zero service. I'm not working from home anyway and need the 20$ I used to pay to use for gas or whatever)...ANYWAY...Since I dropped wifi, I am getting more done and will have the next few evenings open to work on that.
 

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Found a soft shelled beige egg...or the remains there of...in the gulag exercise yard today. SO...my friend with all the hens was, dare I speak it...WRONG that white chickens always lay white eggs. I shan't tell her because I suspect she is right like 90+% of the time. And it doesn't matter because Bianca is a goner anyway.

I tried to keep the others in the big coop for the day to get a better egg count on those layers but one made it by me and got out while I was feeding them and putting water in. IF I left her out all day, Helen...she's a skinny little nosy chicken who is always underfoot, she would start laying outside and then they all get on that band wagon. so, I conceeded defeat and let them all out. Trying to get her back in the coop by Chasing a her around a frosty slippery acreage in rubber boots, long johns, an old t-shirt I slept in and a thrifted Dale of norway sweater was just too strange even for me. And I"m pretty strange. Not worth the risk of a busted up knee or knocking a tooth out when I inevitably fell down. I had just stepped out in that ensemble to feed the chickens, not be in a poultry rodeo
 

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Well....the rooster actually IS named houdini because he escapes the coop sometimes...and then can't get back in. He's a stupid houdini. If I get a dog, definitely doing a better job with gating/fencing. The chickens are totally free range, just shut in the coop over night in the hopes of limiting raccoon and weasel access to them. There is an outer door into the storage space, and then an interior door, human size, for me to access the chicken portion of the coop, but I don't have a spring or inside latch on the outer door yet and thought I could just quick slip in to put water down and add a scoop of feed. NOPE. Helen was OUT OF THERE. This was on me.
 

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He'll go in at the end of the day when the door is open, he just likes to break out. whatever!

He's a good rooster though. Helen and Gertrude got in a kerfuffle out on the hill the other day. Houdini was far away, like 200 yards and came RUNNING over and broke it up without hurting anyone. When I was throwing treats yesterday, slightly squishy squash cubes, he made sure everybody got one and didn't get any for himself. Some roosters eat the good stuff first and beat up the hens...I should market "wife beater" shirts for roosters who are mean!!!
 

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MAN! I have been BUSY and with no wifi at home, not on line much. Went to a friend's house to water plants and poach wifi...but they got a new service! dang. So I haven't been online. I'm sleeping better and yada yada yada but not getting random info or able to check in here much. I have 15 min before a work meeting for a coffee and to check in with the frugals.

Planted a very few potatoes the other day and am planning the garden a bit, for crop rotation. Simple stuff. Behind on EVERYTHING and have other stuff to do. Good thing we are having long days so I can hope to catch up eventually.
Donated blood yesterday and used that trip to blend with errands. Got a most done, then got a call that an aunt in hospice had passed to had to stop and pass on that info. It's sad but she was ready to go. I'm in charge of the family flowers for my nuclear family. As soon as her obit is posted I will do that. Since she isn't speaking to us due to something that happened years ago and has nothing to do with me, we shan't be attending in person but do want to memorialize her and do our own grieving. Don't want to complicate life for her kids and our attendance would do that.
Anyway, I had stocked up on sympathy cards and those go out today to the kids and the closest grands/greatgrands.

In other death news...a 2nd chicken, the beautiful Beatrice looks like she will never be a good layer. nearly 1 year old and still the tiny eggs. My chicken mentor says that must be a life long problem. Need to decide if she and Bianca the egg pecker die the same day or if I want to butcher twice.

MUD!!!! Mud everywhere at the land. We need the rain and mountain snow. Yet I am sick of wearing knee high rubber boots and my feet are getting sick of it too.
 
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