Sometimes it’s important to just stop and rest. Please join us in celebrating the arrival of our baby chicks! If you don’t want to see a lot of nauseatingly repetitive “proud parent” photos, just skip this post!

This is where the chicks live. I painted the window sash a pale gray to complement the weathered door that Jim insisted remain unpainted. I’m very happy with the end result, even though compromise isn’t usually so rewarding!

In order to protect the glass from hail damage (and to protect the chicks from predators — including cats), I installed galvanized hardware cloth. Most people just staple it to the face of the window frames because it’s easier, but after we spent so much time resurrecting the structure I just couldn’t do that. I did not want to mar the window frames so I cut the hardware cloth to fit each opening and stapled it to the edges of the casings (for maximum visual acceptability).

I know; go ahead and say it: “Anal retentive”.
This is the box that the chicks (twenty-six of them!) arrived in. Their close proximity allowed them to stay warm during their journey to our place.

Their pen was already set up, awaiting their arrival. I made it out of an old box to a recommended height of 12 inches. As we removed each chick from the transport box, we dipped its beak in water so that it would know where the water source was. Here, Jim admires the new arrivals as they get settled in their new home. A heat lamp keeps them warm.

The pen as set up in the chicken coop. The fresh newspapers will not remain fresh for very long! They go through newspapers like you wouldn’t believe! They also have pine shavings below the newspapers and are getting slowly introduced to them.

Adorable! Just 3 days old.

Soon they discover the larger world. Places to eat and places to climb.

Baby chicks drink a ton of water!

They are also sometimes confused as to whether or not their food is for recreation, waste elimination, or nutrition. It’s just they way they are! It’s a constant struggle to keep a clean environment for them.

As night falls, they gather beneath the heat lamp for their first night at home.


A scant two weeks later, they’ve grown and are becoming assertively independent. Oh, no! I’ve flown up here, but now what do I do? There have been many attempted jail breaks, but soon their walls will come down and they will have the run of the place. They grow up so fast. Way too fast. Soon, I fear, they will be smoking and drinking.

When the chicks are a bit bigger, they will have access to a spacious run which is enclosed with various types of wire to keep them in and predators out. The ramp still needs some fine-tuning to make it usable. Note that the corner post of the run is made from an old telephone pole cross arm. We have a five-gallon bucket filled with old telephone pole insulators and will eventually pepper the perimeter of the run with these glass gems for whimsy (and as a tribute to Bruce Goff’s fondness for blue glass cullet).

Inside their new run. We’ve created a variety of environments for them; fallen tree branches to climb on, barren and scratchable dirt, bushes and tall grass. A “roof” of chicken wire will also help to keep them safe.

The first of many insulators to be installed as architectural bling. OK; enough chicken talk! Let’s look at some other critters that have made their presence known recently…

An elderly turtle, cleverly camouflaged, slowly plods across the yard. Tail at left, head at right.

When a young and distressed cottonwood tree (near the door of the chicken coop) failed to fully revive this spring, I blamed the cats for using it as a scratching post. However, the truth was revealed a few mornings ago when I stepped out of the bunkhouse to find this intruder munching on the tree! I zoomed in from the porch to get this incriminating mugshot.

Proven innocent! Patches celebrates by grinding her face into a concrete block wall and marking it as hers.

Mr. Toad enjoys a pan of water on a warm day.

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