Posts Tagged ‘chickens’

Work in Progress

We are getting back to normal at the Bass household these days.  Our visit from Glenda has come and gone already.  That is hard to believe.  The following weekend was a visit from my husband’s brother.  Both he and his wife were down, but wife was at a class reunion and brother got to have some free time.  So the brothers enjoyed a morning of kayak fishing in our sweltering heat.  Still, the water was beautiful as always.

Meanwhile, I am working on a new blogging project that I will share soon.  I’m making some changes, but this time change is good.  I can’t wait to fill you in.  So for now, I’ll just share a few pictures/sites that I love.

You know we love our chickens.  Owning chickens (or CHOOKS as they are called in Australia) has become a popular hobby.  Anytime I see someone’s coop and yard, I have to save the picture.  I love our set up and will look for some pictures I already have on hand.  In the near future, I will take some pictures of all the upgrades that have taken place in our yard and house.  It all looks so great!

This is one of my favorites.  I’m not sure where I found it, so unfortunately I cannot give credit where credit is due.  Love, love, love the roses and chickens together.

Then there is this entry from Heather Bullard’s site.  Heather is the senior editor of Flea Market Style magazine.   Check out their new blog at the link.  She is also an accomplished photographer, so all the pics are her own.   She and her “man” visited Santa Monica and found this set-up behind a store they visited.  So charming!!  She says that the children of a family come in daily to tend to the hens.  How sweet is that?.  Click on the link to see all the pictures from her post.  You will want to add her sites to your favorites to visit often.  I have!  We have said that our next coop (when would we need a next one?) would be a walk-in type and this is great inspiration.


I had intended to show our own pictures next, but I believe they are saved in my other computer.  So I will wait and take current pictures to share instead.  While you wait, here is our kitty….Gracie Allen Bass.  She is sitting on top of the opened chicken coop door, but appears to have her eye on something in the distance.  She is our miracle cat who survived a near fatal dog attack a few years ago.  She has even had one of her hind hip sockets removed as a result, but seems good as new these days.  When we have had a few rainy or chilly days she looks to maybe have some arthritic pain there though.  She is a beauty!

If I hadn’t started painting, I would have raised chickens. ~ Grandma Moses


Paint and Worry

I felt Martha Stewart would have given an approving nod in our direction this past weekend as the shed was painted Martha Stewart Saguaro (MSL092).  The house will soon follow suit.  Eventually, the hen houses will be painted the same (very Martha-esque!).  I glanced out to see a freshly painted wall and a chicken walking past.  It was as if I had opened an issue of Martha Stewart Living and was pleased it was actually my very own back yard I was seeing.  The trim is my favorite Ultra Pure White from Behr (the brightest white in my opinion), and back to Martha Stewart for the doors: Kerry Blue Terrier (MSL161). 

It looks like this coming weekend will be an exterior paint fest.  Calling in all favors from all those for whom we have ever helped paint (or other such projects)!!!  Yes, I know it will be hot, but I will keep the liquids flowing.  We have a small house….won’t take long at all!!  

Meanwhile, worry is filling my mind this afternoon.  Yes, I know how fruitless this activity is.  It is not about the painting of my home, but of other things I cannot control.  In an effort to contain it, I did some research on clever quotes. 

“People gather bundles of sticks to build bridges they never cross.” – Author Unknown

This conjers up a vision of a bridge so grand that even my bridge engineer brother would be impressed.  I feel that at least something constructive would come from my worrying.  But if I never get to cross it….wasted energy.  Point taken.

“That the birds of worry and care fly over your head, this you cannot change; but that they build nests in your hair, this you can prevent.”  Chinese Proverb

I laughed at this one as I instantly saw a FLOCK of birds trying to build a nest on my head.  I liked that it brought me to laughter, which has always been a great anxiety reliever to me.  It also made me see the nonsense in this activity…this worrying thing.

“For peace of mind, resign as general manager of the universe.” – Author Unknown

BOINK!  Hit right on the head!  Right….I am not in charge.  Okay, I quit!!

Check out these nests.  Maybe I could wear these as earrings to match my bird nest hat!

Fake It Till You Make It

Someone said that to me years ago and it just stuck.  Today I will fake that I really don’t have a nagging sore throat; that the projects I always have on my list each night will really get done; that I really am not worried how my son will make it in this life and that his son and daughter will grow up to be perfect and well adjusted; and that I really don’t want to just be out in my garden up to my elbows in dirt instead of where I really am.  There – just writing all that down seemed to unload it all just a bit.  There isn’t much there that I have control over, so why let it continue to stew?

Over this past weekend, when my sweet little Kloe fell asleep in her swing, I ran out into the backyard in the hopes of planting a few new plants:  Russian sage Pevovskia and Powderpuff Mimosa strigillosa. 

To me the sage almost looks like lavender with stalks of lavender blooms.  I think two more will create the drift I am hoping for.  They only go to Zone 9, but I often have good luck with that still.  It is planted in a semi-shaded area under a tree that I wish I knew the name of.  It is a tropical tree native to South America (I think), with beautiful yellow blooms in the winter (which was why I wanted it) and BIG thorns (which is why I was asked to please not plant it a couple of years ago).  I planted it anyway.  I cannot fully stand under it yet so I am on my hands and knees digging a hole with my small hand trowel while trying not to get thorns in my back. 

The pink powderpuff mimosas are native to Florida.  I planted them in and amongst some other groundcovers…a creeping jasmine and dune daisies.  I like the idea of the pink powderpuffs popping up their little bushy heads there.  All in keeping with the backyard color scheme of purples, whites, pinks, and yellows (and shades thereof).

 Any gardener knows that when you are out there on your hands and knees (or finally just sitting there in the middle of the bed), weeds seen have to be removed.  I have a pesky weed that likes to invade everything in the yard….grass included.  As I was pulling it up and flinging it into a pile, I turned to look over my shoulder and saw our chickens feasting on them.  First of all, I didn’t even realize they were out.  It is a different view to be sitting on the ground when they are having their walk-about.  They look so much bigger.  Secondly, it was pretty cool to just watch them pecking all the leaves off the weeds I had discarded.  My pest was their feast. 

Out of nowhere, these lyrics popped into my head:

To everything: turn, turn, turn;
There is a season: turn, turn, turn;
And a time to every purpose, under Heaven.

I guess seeing the chickens eat what I had considered to be trash reminded me that everything has a purpose and place in this world.  And since I basically think life is one big musical anyway and that in certain situations one should just break out in song, I was not surprised that a song came to mind.  However, that particular Byrds song had not entered my mind in forever.  And right then and there, I felt peace.  I enjoyed just sitting in the middle of a flower bed, under a thorny tree, watching a chicken dance, and humming a song in my head.

Next scene, my husband is walking out of the house with our granddaughter, who is now awake.  He sits down in the grass so she can see the chickens up close and I can finish getting my few plants in the ground.  Here Comes the Sun, the James Taylor/Yo Yo Ma version, is next on the In Carol’s Head jukebox.  Truth be said, there is almost always a song going on in there.  Kloe mostly bears the brunt of my constant singing and often looks at me quizzically.  The other day I made up a little ditty that almost made her laugh.  She goes to sleep every night listening to Jewel sing lullabies.  I have no idea if it helps or if she likes it.  She seems to.  It makes me feel better anyway.

In my Fake It Till You Make It world, I often don’t have to fake it for long.  I just break out in song and everything seems better!

“I miss my singing career very much.”  Elvis Presley

“The only thing better than singing is more singing.”  Ella Fitzgerald

And finally….

“If your lifeguard duties were as good as your singing, a lot of people would be drowning.”  Simon Cowell

Show and Tell Day

It’s picture day! 


These are the two plants I got at Giverny for the soon-to-be finished sunroom: a moss and a maidenhair fern.  I wished I had saved the actual name of the moss, which I have never grown before.  I have to get better about that.  And yes, that is dust on that shelf.  With construction still in progress, I can’t seem to stay ahead of it.


This is the top of our 6 foot high fence in the background of the picture below.  I have never had a rose thrive as much as this one has.  That is the plus of investing in Fortuniana rootstock.  It is adapted for our tropical climate.  It is worth the extra $5 or so.

“The Fortuniana Rose is a natural hybrid apparently developed from the two species roses, Rosa Laevigata ,”The Cherokee Rose” and Rosa Banksia, “Lady Bank’s Rose.” Both of these varieties, as well as Fortuniana, thrive in the southern climate and sandy soils. Fortuniana rootstock not only allows the rose to grow faster, it will also greatly increases the plant’s vigor and the size of its blooms.” from (a local rose nursery).

Confederate jasmine…..busting out and smelling pretty!  It is growing amongst honeysuckle also.

This beauty, oddly enough,  is called Golden Dew Drop….not for the showy purple blooms, but because of the seeds.  If you wait to deadhead these, and let them go to seed, you will be rewarded with a string of golden berries….golden dew drops.  If it gets unruly, you can prune it down to about a foot and it will start again.  It is very hardy here.  I LOVE purple flowers in the garden which is what attracted me to this in the first place.  I believe there is a white flowering version of it as well.  It can be trained to grow as a shrub or a single tree. 

This is my “cracker” rose purchased from Giverny last spring.  I had two.  They were not thriving in their first location, so I pulled them up and pruned them way back in the hopes of giving them a new life.  This one made and is covered with blooms and buds.  I have to think the manure compost has something to do with it.

 This is all that is left of my morning glories.  They have gone to seed.  I have just started actually gathering seeds from plants such as this.  I emptied the little pods into a jar and will keep them until next season.  Each pod had four seeds, so next winter I’ll have them in abundance!

A passion vine growing on top of the chicken coop and intermingling with the cedar tree.  I’ll have to trim it back before it chokes the tree.  It was once a little cedar sapling that my grandmother hid in her purse and brought back from Alabama on a plane.  It made her feel like a renegade!  The tree is now over ten feet tall and still growing.  If I ever move, the tree will have to come with me….no matter how big.









 “Hey, Mom….you didn’t really want this rosemary branch, right?” asks Levi (the almost two year old Beagle).

Dog day afternoon…Jasper takes a nap wherever he can find a cool spot, even if it is in the dirt.  Great…

Three of seven chickens asking if I have brought them a treat.  They are a little spoiled.

Five of the Dixie Chicks partake of a scratch grain treat from Dad.  In this picture….two Ameraucanas, two Barred Rocks, and Lucy…the Rhode Island Red.


Rainy Days and Mondays

A bit of melancholy settled in yesterday morning when my 4-month-old granddaughter, Kloe, left with her mother.  For reasons inappropriate to divulge, she and her daddy–my son– have been living at my home for the past two months.  In that two month period, I have run the gamut of nerves, anxiety, sleeplessness, anger, helplessness, and hopelessness.  Not one bit of that matters when I walk into their room each morning to see her face smiling up at me, legs and arms flailing in excitement to see me.  I believe yesterday I even heard her first giggle.  It’s not really as bad as I make it sound here.  It is very good that she spend time with her mother and maternal family.  If all goes well, she’ll be back in two weeks for another stay.  For all of the turmoil, it seems a modicum of peace and civility has risen to the surface.  I will survive.  This is just me feeling sorry for myself.  I’m allowed to wallow for a few minutes. 

After a trip to the feed store for chicken feed, my husband surprised me with a trip to my favorite nursery, Giverny Gardens.  I had been saying how much I wanted and needed to get out in my own garden.  With a baby in the house, moments were not always my own.  So for something positive to do and think about, plants and flowers always do the trick.  While this is a beautiful picture below (from their website) it really does not do justice to their nursery.  They were chock full of spring flowers.  I could have easily spent hundreds of dollars (or more) and still wanted more.  They even had foxgloves and delphiniums….just gorgeous.  Even though tempted, I did not get either as their lifespan is so short here.  I did enjoy seeing them in person though.  It may have been the first time I have ever seen a real foxglove.  It was beautiful.  I do have my eye on a few rambling roses though.  I am not sure they are on Fortuniana rootstock though.  They probably are not, but I will have to give them a try anyway.  It says to prune them every 3 to 4 weeks.  They must really take off.  At 20 bucks a pop, I’ll have to wait a couple of weeks and hope they are still there.  Is five of them too many?  I think not.



I did get a few things though and happily went home and puttered.  The trip there was absolutely worth it.

My mom used to have several orchids growing in a mahogany tree in our backyard.  She said God took care of them because she would just put them in the lower branches of the tree and they were on their own from there.  They thrived in the dappled shade, slightly moving air, and humidity.  I feel the same way about how my garden looks right now.  Flowers are busting out all over.  The Confederate jasmine is covered.  Roses are in bud.  I cannot take credit for it as it has been months since I’ve been out there.  However, yesterday, it felt wonderful to do even just a few things.  The compost tumbler was emptied and its contents spread about.   The plants reap the benefit from the kitchen scraps plus “leftovers” from the rabbits and chickens.  I took out my past-its-prime ornamental kale, planted my new plants, and even some seeds.  It might be a bit late in the season for that, but I have this mentality that in Florida we have a year-round gardening season and I can do whatever I want, whenever I want.  I may get a surprise or two when those seedlings don’t thrive in our already warm spring.  Still, it felt good to do it.

I don’t get to do whatever I want, whenever I want.  None of us do.  No matter our age, we still keep trying though.  I was reminded of that when I gave Kloe her millionth kiss goodbye yesterday morning.   The young have the luxury of having a tantrum.  My tantrum will be in the energy I put into my projects for the next few weeks.  Still, there is a peacefulness to knowing I don’t always get to have my way, that I don’t have control over everything, that I need to let it go.  I will change that to let it grow instead and see what happens.

~ ~

Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity.  ~Lindley Karstens,