The Chicken Chronicles

Our current count is 9 hens. We had 10, but something got one of the girls last month. We had no idea what. Whatever it was, it picked the head and neck clean, and got some good chunks of the body. The electric fence wasn’t compromised, and there was no predator inside the perimeter, so we thought maybe it was a hawk that could fly in and out?

A few weeks later, as Mike was closing up the coop, he called for us to come outside and see something. It was a possum, right in the coop! It was just sitting there on the floor of the coop, under the branch where the chickens hop up and roost for the night. Mike pushed it out with the broom, and then we discovered the sucked-out eggs. Our only experience with possums prior to this has been in books (“Um, they sleep upside-down, right?”) or seeing them dead on the side of the road.

We looked up possums and chickens, and it turns out, yes, possums are predators of chickens (apparently known for starting at the head, which helped answer the question behind our mysteriously killed hen). And for eating the eggs. When it left the coop, we saw it climb right up the tree, out of the enclosure, so that’s how it must have gotten in. Things have been fine lately, and we haven’t seen the possum since that night.

Mike jokingly accuses me that all of this poultry drama is my way of plotting for another dog. (I keep telling him that the scent of a dog would be a good predator deterrent, since we had comparatively few issues during our dog years with chickens.) Other good news is that our young hens are laying! We get anywhere from 2-5 eggs per day from our 9 hens.

Our movable electric fence is pretty easy to work with, but it’s a two-person operation, complicated slightly by the rugged terrain and the many trees and shrubs on the property. We rotate the fence location every month or so. Gives the hens new territory to explore, dig up, hop on, and walk around. We got the fence a few months ago after the weekly fox “tax” back in May.

Here are some current chix pix.

The position of rock-star-fence-post-positioner has been filled!

General position of chicken fence to side of house.

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Walkway Over The Hudson

After months and months of anticipation (and after years and years of planning and work by the people who made it happen!), we got to experience Opening Day of the new Walkway Over The Hudson! It’s the world’s longest pedestrian walkway, the old railroad bridge next to the Mid-Hudson Bridge, between Highland and Poughkeepsie. The festivities included musicians and street performance artists. The kids walked the entire span, 1.25 miles each way! For more info about this special place, visit

One highlight for the kids was taking the bus-shuttle over to the Walkway.

This magician was so awesome!! D was enthralled (blue jacket).

Funny clowns, too!

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Lake House

We enjoyed a wonderful visit with our friends up at their family’s Adirondack lake house during a gorgeous fall weekend. It was beautiful, sunny, and seasonably cool, but that didn’t stop our mermaid from taking a dip!

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This Will Get Your Goat

More apple picking at Liberty View Farm, this time with baby goats!

I got some Little League baseball gear off of Craig’s List, and Grandma sent us some gear, and we bring it with us to the playground for pick-up baseball games.

Quinn enjoyed her first gymnastics class – she especially loves the balance beam!

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Don’t Fence Me In

Declan did some fencing for the first time at his buddy’s fencing birthday party (he’s the one in the blue pants with the stripe). After some basic instruction, they got to spar with each other. Declan seemed interested and engaged, but something wasn’t clicking the way it usually does when he tries something athletic. I noticed everyone was using their right hands (no one asked who was righty/lefty), and it occurred to me that this could be an extra challenge to D who is left-handed. When I asked whether lefties were able to use their dominant hand or it it were simply a “righty” type of sport (the way musical instruments are usually just played a certain way), the instructors switched D’s gear immediately and he was off and running, re-learning the skills and he did great. I wish I’d thought to ask earlier, but oh, well. Live and learn.

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Different Doings

Daily life pics from September 2009

Declan’s been dying to get a pogo stick for a long time. We finally went in on it with him and bought one at the local toystore in town. He got the hang of it really quickly! Not to be outdone, Quinn appears in the shot as well, holding up her new little kitty cat doll.

It was the final baseball game of the season, and Quinn had her eye on the prize — “real life Dora!” Here she is, running to catch up with her.

Mission accomplished! A hug from Dora!

Meanwhile, Declan and his buddy reacted excitedly to the action on the field.

……How does your garden grow?

Making Rice Krispie treats with Emmy, Olin, and LB.

Playdate pancakes for lunch.

Caution — marshmallow construction site

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Apple Season

Some pix from the first weekend of apple picking from our tree we leased with Gemma and Papa at Liberty View Farm in Highland.

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So Long, Summer

Some final pix of summer life.

We’ve gotten really into Mancala this summer. Here’s D playing with a new friend at the annual NPR&G Club BBQ.

Here’s Quinn playing Ladder Ball at the same gathering.

Olin and D talk strategy at a local minor leagues Renegades game.

Princess Quinn in full gear — her “princess” flowers, tiara, kitty cat, and the all important Princess Dress (*any* dress). Everything’s princess right now.

Declan’s thrilled to have his very own library card!

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Took a day trip with some friends to Robert Moses Beach in Long Island. Awe.some. Perfect day, and we all had a blast.

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The Water Is My Sky

Both kids love swimming! D’s using the local waterslide for the first time this year, as well as doing big cannonball splashes and swimming underwater, hunting for treasure. Quinn loves swimming best with her floaties. But since so few public pools allow them here, she usually does other things, like runs through the water, jumps off the side into my arms, has me support her body as she “swims,” or holds onto my back as I swim.

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