The Chickens – Close-Up

  
My Austrolop chicks are now just over two months old and when I see them together in the yard they all look very much the same – little bundles of black feathers.  Except two are just beginning to hint that they might be roosters, (let’s hope there are only two males in this flock) and of those two, one has little sprinkles of copper on his wings.  They are barely distinguishable ….. Unless you get Close Up (WPC).  Then you can see that the feathers are not all black after all, but a shimmer of teal, mauve and copper. He’s gonna be handsome dude!

  
This little one is a Silkie chick.  I have two of them (also about two months old) and there is absolutely no way I can tell them apart – no distinguishing marks at all. I’m assuming they are both hens, but who knows?  One thing is for certain, though: they are sooooo cute and fluffy – right down to their toes! 

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Wet Paint

  

  The rain on the window this morning was a welcome sound, bringing with it permission to linger a little. That’s what happens after a very busy weekend.  Just as we have done for the past four years, an artsy friend and I participated in the our local community art gallery’s annual fundraising event, Paint Sea on Site.  That’s kind of an awkward title for a wet paint sale.

  
If you are not familiar with a wet paint sale, it works like this:  artists (from near & far) sign up and spread out around the town to create art.  The artwork is collected throughout the day, and often whilst still wet, the pieces are displayed at a central venue for the public to enjoy and bid on, silent auction style.  At the end of the day, the highest bidder walks away with a piece of original art.  Fifty percent of the proceeds go to the art gallery and the other fifty percent goes to the artist.

  
It’s a two day event and is so much fun!  My friend and I have a longstanding date to spend the weekend together.  We use the opportunity to catch up, while supporting each other as we rush to get some work done.  We talk, we paint, we eat, we entertain friends, acquaintances and tourists who stop by.  The time absolutely flies!

  
It is usually one of the hottest weekend of the summer, which can produce some challenges to keep the paint from drying too quickly. And so, we have learned to seek out a place with some shade.  (We also try to be near some public washrooms – but that’s just because we like our comforts)  Heat and drying paint was not a problem this year, not by a long shot. Saturday was cloudy and cool – a little too cool for me – and on Sunday it absolutely poured rain!  

  
The smart people moved inside to work, but not us! No! We stuck it out, finding shelter under a generous person’s deck. It worked pretty well for the morning, but by afternoon, everything was so wet including the canvasses, it make working very difficult, indeed.  The above daisies were in our host’s garden, the blue sky was in my dreams.

 
  
At the end of each day, we went back with our last pieces to watch the auction close, tally the results and compare notes of the day with all the other painters.  There were around 70 of us this year. The gallery provides us with a nice salad supper and some social time.  In spite of the weather, I’m happy to say that all seven of the pieces I produced this weekend sold. (I forgot to take pictures of the last two – no surprise, there). 

But perhaps more significantly, by bedtime last night, my body was tired, my eyes were blurry and my heart was full of the companionable friendships – some newly made and others warmly renewed. 

Garden Share – July

Oh July!  Full-on summer time!! Thanks, again, to Julie of Frog Pond Farm for introducing me the Garden Share Collective.

Here in Nova Scotia, it seems that we have gone from winter to summer in a week!  A week ago on Sunday I reached for a heavy coat to go out and run some errands.  Today it is 25C and sunny!  It’s a bit of a shock.  We have also been getting healthy dose of rain about every three days (and usually in the nighttime, which is nice).  So, the grapes,  the herbs, the veg and the roses are all catching up after a slow start.  And the weeds?  Well!  They are loving this!!

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Here is a little taste of the strawberries, which are in full production:

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Besides the weeds, it is my little flock of chickens who are my main concern.  On May 1, we had a visit from a fox.  Yup!  You know how that turned out.  She (I suspect it was a mama fox with a family to feed) took out the entire flock except for one sweet Silver Phoenix hen.  It didn’t help that it was the very day we were leaving to go on holiday.  There was nothing we could do, but leave her here alone in the coop under the care of my father who dropped in twice a day to check on her. Immediately upon our return I set about sourcing some chicks.

 Introducing…..our new flock:  6 Austrolops, 2 white bantam Silkies, and 2 Houdan. Here they are on day one:

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The Houdan were about a month older than the others, so I kept them separate for a couple weeks before introducing them the our one remaining hen.  They were very skittish.  One kept hiding under the other and seemed to be in constant panic mode.  I’ve been worried for weeks about how to best introduce the chicks to these three.  I placed them in a self contained dog kennel inside the coop for 4 days.  This way everyone could meet each other without contact.  They are growing as fast as the weeds in the garden and their small space was getting crowded fast! Last night I took them from the kennel and placed them on the roosting bar.  They settled immediately. All that worry!!  This morning I went out to open the coop up to the run and watch these babies explore their new surroundings.  Here they come!

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So far, so good. They are about 7 weeks old now.  My poor Phoenix girl doesn’t seem to know how she got herself into this mess.  It must feel like an invasion every few weeks.

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Mademoiselle Houdan is just in a constant state of confusion, anyway.  But she’s certainly a looker!!

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But my real concern is her sister.  The second Houdan chick, who is now about 11 weeks old is unable to stand up properly.  Her legs just don’t seem to support her and spread out in opposite directions.  We first noticed a problem about 10 days ago, and the issue has continued to get worse.  I separated her from the coop before introducing the chicks as I just didn’t want to add to her stress.  I also wanted her to be in a small space with easy access to food and water.

I don’t know what has caused this leg issue, and I don’t know if there is anything I can do to help her.  If she can’t support herself, she may not be able to stay clean and access the necessary food & water. So I’m really at a loss. If anyone has had a similar experience, or have heard of such a thing, I’d be very interested in learning more.

 In the meantime, I’ll keep her quiet and safe, while I enjoy watching those little chicks grow and explore.

Permission to Come Aboard?

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This door leads to the cabins below the deck of the Bluenose II, a replica of the original fishing and racing schooner.  The original schooner Bluenose was purpose built in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia in 1921 in response to a losing an international race off Gloucester, Massachusetts.  And win she did!  The Bluenose held the title for 7 years.  She was also a working boat, fishing cod on the Grand Banks off of Newfoundland until fishing schooners became obsolete. Sadly, in spite of efforts to keep her in Lunenburg, the Bluenose was sold to the West Indies where she worked as a freighter until she struck a reef off Haiti in 1946.

The story continues in 1963, when Olands Brewery commissioned a replica be built by the same Lunenburg shipyard and using the same plans as the Bluenose.  The brewery used Bluenose II to represent their Schooner brand of beer until it was sold to the Province of Nova Scotia for $1.00 (or 10 Canadian dimes) in 1971.  This beautiful vessel then became our “sailing ambassador” and a great source of pride for the people of Nova Scotia and all of Canada.  In fact, her image in on the Canadian ten cent piece (the dime).

After almost 40 years and several refits, the Bluenose II was decommissioned and a “reconstruction” was ordered.  Happily, several weeks ago, the new Bluenose II received the green light to sail and she is ready to work. She was a beautiful sight earlier today, in the morning light, with her crew polishing and preparing to welcome visitors. It feels like a long lost relative has come home….. and after surviving an illness.  We are so happy to have her back.

The name Bluenose comes from a nickname given to the people of Nova Scotia.  We are called Bluenosers.  Is this because of our cold, damp winters? Or, as some say, from the dye rubbing off the fishermen’s mittens as they rubbed their noses in the cold and wet North Atlantic while fishing for cod?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Door.  Also, my entry for Norm’s Thursday Doors.