Saturday, March 30, 2013

Hedgehog Fun

I am not sure how it came about but my husband and youngest daughter decided that we needed a pygmy hedgehog to add to the menagerie of critters we already have running amok around here. Just for the record the menagerie includes 2 dogs, 2 cats, 4 fish, 1 rabbit, 12 hens and 2 roosters.
And now 1 african pygmy hedgehog baby named Basil..

In case one is not aware you can't just run to your local pet store and pick-up a hedgehog. At least not around here. After a little research we found two breeders online, one of which promptly replied to our online inquiry. As with most animal adoptions the breeder wanted to ensure we would provide the hedgehog with a good home and within a week we found ourselves invited to an open house in the breeders home to learn about hedgehogs and to finalize our adoption. We learned a lot about the cute and quirky little creatures and soon we were on are way home with an 8 week old hedgehog!
One thing we learned is that despite being prickly hedgehogs love fleece(who doesn't?) and love to burrow under it to sleep. After seeing several products online for Hedgehog sleep sacks I decided that despite my limited sewing experience I could manage to put one together, ...maybe..... IF I could remember how to use my sewing machine. At least it was an excuse to go to the craft store! So off  I went to Joanns to browse through the colorful cloth. Imagine my surprise when I came across some adorable hedgehog fabric!

  It wasn't fleece but it would make an adorable cover for the sleeping bag and I could make the lining fleece. Cute pawprint fleece.
 So I grabbed the cute fabric and went to the counter to get it cut. "So what are you making?" The nice man at the counter asked.
Hint-if you want someone to stare at you like you have three heads tell them you are making
a sleeping bag for a hedgehog.
"Um like a real, live hedgehog?' he asked skeptically.
As opposed to a  dead, squished one? I thought to myself,"Yup a real live one." I smiled.
I guess I never thought that much about it being unusual to have a hedgehog as a pet but I have found that we have gotten similar suprised responses, it's been quite amusing!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Egg-cellent Deal!

I enjoy  getting a good deal, doesn't everyone?  Especially when that good deal adds a bit of whimsy to our Easter decor with little expense.  Kenzie and I found this cute egg holder 60% off and decided it was a really cute way to display our colored eggs.

The eggs really love it too.  Especially this one!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Colorful Eggs

Easter is fast approaching and we've been busy coloring eggs.  This is the first year that we've colored brown eggs instead of white.  In the past, when all our eggs came from the store, I would buy the white ones for coloring because they take color the best or so I was lead to believe.  This year with an abundance of eggs there was no way that I was going to buy eggs. We would just have to see what happens when you try to color brown eggs.
Different chicken breeds lay different color eggs-white, brown and even blues and greens.  One thing I have learned while raising chickens is that even though you may have all of the same breed their eggs will not be exactly the same color.  Our chickens are black Australorps, except two, but all are brown egg layers.  We get several shades of brown, some dark, some light but most somewhere in the middle.  Of this variety we chose the lightest brown eggs to color.  Here you can see what they looked like before coloring-


They came out beautifully!   Orange took the longest to color.  As you can see from the picture above we placed some rubber bands on some.  Also you might notice that the egg is floating.  We blow out our eggs instead of hard boiling them so that we can keep that out on display.  But this also means that you have to keep turning the egg or push it down with a spoon so that it gets colored evenly. An interesting observation in blowing out the fresh eggs, I didn't crack one.  I always break at least one of the store bought eggs, usually more.  Now that I had plenty of eggs to spare not one little crack.  I believe it is because my hens have stronger shelled eggs.  I give them ground up oyster shells for extra calcium, plus they get to free range when the weather is nice and they get leftovers that include fruit, veggies and pasta.

The colors were more earth toned than we would have got with white eggs but we all love the way they turned out!

Friday, March 22, 2013

It's Finally Spring

It's finally spring here but you can't tell from looking outside.  Fourteen inches of freshly fallen snow currently grace the yard. Our whole family is pretty much done seeing the fluffy white stuff and that goes for the chickens too!  Our chickens hate snow, actully I believe most chickens hate snow.  Their scrawny little feet aren't really made for snow.  I open the coop door everyday knowing this (unless it is really cold) and they all scramble out the door. Then the first few notice the evil white stuff covering the ground and a fourteen chicken pileup on the off ramp ensues.  Wings flap, feathers fly and the quiet morning air is filled with a chorus of excited squawking as they all scramble back inside. This is extremely amusing. Inevitably, one of the two roosters sticks his head out the door and gives me a dirty look as if to say 'how dare you upset my girls?'

I do try to at least keep the snow packed down and that part of the yard gets lot of sun so it doesn't take long for the snow to melt now that the days are getting longer.  The nights have dropped below zero this week though, which means we don't get the around the clock melting that we normally would this time of year.  It won't be long though before it all melts though, right??