Eggs, Hawks, and Hatching Babies

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We had our first 18-egg day this past week! The most we’d ever gotten before was fourteen, so this was a big jump and meant that at least six of my pullets had laid. Sure enough, if you look at this carton of loveliness, you can see that the six eggs on the far right are smaller, representing the early efforts of some of my new girls. The tiny egg in the front near the middle is from my little OEGB, and of course, all six white leghorns laid as well.

We had a visit from this beautiful red-shouldered hawk a few days ago. Just a day earlier there was a good-sized Cooper’s hawk sitting on the chicken tractor (and sending the chickens into a brief panic), so I’m very glad we have the run pretty well covered. One of these birds has built a new nest in the top of a pine tree just behind the chicken coop, so I guess they plan to stay for a while. Hopefully, since the hens are inaccessible, they’ll pick off some squirrels for us.

Tons of work has been done in the nursery recently. My mom and sister came over on Tuesday and helped finish the painting so that we could start moving furniture into the room. Once it’s fully put together, I’ll post before and after pictures so you can see just how dramatic the changes have been. I would have a hard time believing it’s the same room if I hadn’t watched the transformation unfold.

My Boy is especially excited about his new room and about the fact that he’ll be sharing it with his baby brother after said baby brother “hatches.” (This is how he refers to the process of the baby getting out of my tummy.) He fell asleep on the sofa the other night with our sweet old cat, Dickens, sprawled across his legs, purring. Shortly after Ben took this picture, Dickens “freed” himself from the embrace so that he could curl up more securely in his Boy’s lap. All of our cats are incredibly patient and gentle with his energy and enthusiasm, but Dickens clearly adores him.

We’ve been enjoying what will probably be Ben’s last weekend off for a while as he prepares for the craziness that is life as a retail store manager between Thanksgiving and Christmas. He built a huge toy box yesterday that he’s been trimming and painting today. It should hold all of The Boy’s toy collection, but if he falls in, we might never see him again!

We also had our first hay delivery of the season for the horses today. This resulted in several broken fenceposts and some quick repairs after the truck rubbed one of the gateposts on its way into the pasture. Let me just say, they do not make fenceposts the way they used to. The last pasture fence stood for fifteen years and required very little maintenance during that time. We built this one using the same materials and methods about four years ago, and despite multiple “fixes,” it’s practically falling apart. We’ll be lucky to get a couple more years out of it before replacing it with steel T-posts and welded wire.

Overall, it’s felt like a productive week. I think I’m even caught up on laundry for once. It’s folded, too, and some people who know me (like my sister) will recognize just how surprising that is. The energy burst and desire to get projects done feels a little bit like early nesting. Hopefully this isn’t a sign that I’ll be completely exhausted and useless during my third trimester, because that’s not far away, and there’s still a lot to do before this baby hatches!

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