I've been meaning to have a post titled 'Spring is Here!', but it has been so long since I've posted last that it is now summer. Some parts of the world may consider our weather still spring like, but not in Fairbanks Alaska. Eighty degree temperatures equal summatime! We've set record high temperatures over the last few days. I am sun kissed. I had forgotten the unique sun on skin smell. I can't describe it; salty but sweet... pleasant, sunny. I would not be inside now if my kids were not sick. We spent most of the afternoon on our south facing deck. It is a little tricky trying to stay in the sun while at the same time keeping the kids in the shade - it was that hot! The juxtaposition of snow and heat is delightful. On my evening walk tonight the air was a balmy sixty degrees, all around I could hear rivers of water, pouring off the hillsides. The light breeze was warm but would change to cool when the wind blew over large areas of remaining snow. Here in the interior we generally don't see eighty degrees while there is still snow on the ground. Yesterday there were just a few bare spots of ground showing, mostly on our trails and driveway. Tonight there is more earth showing than snow remaining.
So I know you are wondering about all these cute chick pictures... where do I begin? Well Honey (our broody hen) was due to hatch her clutch of eggs on Sunday. We were beginning to think the worst when finally on Monday afternoon there was a little hole in one of the eggs. I kept checking on it and was growing impatient. Most chicken authorities agree it is best not to help the chicks hatch out of their shells. Well, I couldn't resist. In a desperate desire to see at least one chick hatch I gently enlarged the hole from the size of a small bean to that of a quarter, then set it back under Honey. Within a few hours the chick was completely out and dry. Tuesday morning there were three chicks hatched. I opened the two eggs that had not hatched and there were chicks inside that had died probably just within a few days of hatching time.
Here is our first chick of the year and our first chick ever hatched here on the farm by a broody hen.
Honey is pretty thorough about keeping all the chicks rounded up and underneath her at most times. The picture above is from Tuesday afternoon, so the chicks were barely dry. I pulled them out. She looks a bit overwhelmed, "whats that?!" It is her instinct to protect them and care for them, but she is a first timer and feeling them under her and seeing them moving around in front of her are two different things I'm sure.
I got a call on Monday letting me know that half of our chick order from Whitmore Farm was on its way. By Wednesday morning they still had not arrived so I was getting a bit worried. They finally flew in on the Wednesday afternoon. Thirty Welsummer chicks. Four didn't make it, so that is a little over ten percent. Not bad considering what they went through to get here. So below are a couple photos of the Welsummer chicks.
In the right hand corner are four red sexlink chicks that we had purchased from the feed store last week. They seem to be getting on alright. Tommorow a friend is coming over to help me sex and divide up the Welsummer chicks. We are only keeping about ten for ourselves.
Weathering the drought
2 weeks ago