Backyard Olympics

Monday, July 30, 2012
We had our second annual (is it annual if it's every four years?) backyard Olympics yesterday and it was a blast. My mom spends hours organizing this event and pulls out all the stops. We were assigned our teams a few weeks ago so we had time to properly prepare.

I was selected to be the captain for Team USA and my number one priority was getting our team uniforms together. You know what they say, "It's not whether you win or lose, it's how awesome you look doing it." I whipped up the tees and actually had to fabric paint the socks. Who knew that the striped tube socks of our younger years would be so freakin' expensive now!? I blame the hipsters.

We had four teams representing in our Olympics: USA, Great Britain, France, and China.

The events ranged from shot put, shooting, diving, relays, etc. (These terms are all used very loosely).

Look at Jason's form!

Despite the storm that blew in in true British fashion, it was crazy hot so we moved on in for some diving and shooting.

We finished the games off with anthems, medals, and Cornish pasties. 

Yes, we are big dorks. And yes, we totally embrace it. Looking forward to our games in 2016!

My New Friend

Sunday, July 22, 2012
I went to LA last weekend for an architectural photography workshop and came home with this little (big) guy. Meet Johnny.

Johnny is a 7 month old doberman who was rescued from a high kill shelter a few weeks ago. He had pneumonia, a severely deformed leg, and some battle scars including a hole in his ear. My best friend who is out to save the world one dog at a time, had been fostering him through an amazing rescue the past few weeks following his rescue. She knew that we were looking to adopt a new dog for our family after we had to put my mom's dear old dog down a couple of months ago and suggested that Johnny (a.k.a. Brownie/Dobie) would be a perfect fit.

While he was being fostered, he had his leg amputated. It's only been three weeks and he is getting along like a champ. I'm absolutely amazed at how gentle and trusting he is considering what he's been through in his short little life. He's only been with us for a week now and we are all absolutely smitten with him.

Johnny is a super snuggly guy and the boys and Sodapop can't get enough of him. Sodapop was particularly depressed over the loss of her dear friend so Johnny has been a welcome addition for her.

I am so grateful to West Coast Animal Rescue for saving sweet Johnny from certain euthanization. Dozens of people donated to help Johnny on the road to recovery including my amazing BFF and we are so incredibly thankful. This guy is such a gift to us and we promise to give him the life he deserves.

{A missing leg definitely isn't slowing this guy down}

Keeping Chickens Cool

Friday, July 6, 2012

I have been getting a lot of traffic lately to this post from last summer about how I keep my chickens cool so I thought I'd put up a quick little refresher for everyone. I am not a chicken expert by any means but have come across so many great tips and tricks from other chicken owners that we have incorporated for our girls. Because it is always in the triple digits here during the summer and early fall months, we strive to keep our girls as comfortable as possible.

Our chicken essentials for summer:
  • Plenty of shade. It is important that chickens have lots of shady spots to enjoy during the heat of summer and our coop and chicken yard is shaded throughout the day.
  • Plenty of fresh water. Our girls have three different water sources available to them. I don't know if it's true but I have been told that chickens don't like to walk through direct sunlight on a super hot day to access water so we've got water placed in all of their favorite hangouts.
  • Ventilation. Our coop has plenty of ventilation to help keep air moving. We also ran electrical to our coop last summer and installed a fan in the ceiling that is now on 24/7.
  • We have 4 large terracotta plant saucers in their "chicken yard" and fill them with fresh water each morning and afternoon. The girls love to stand in them and wet their feet. We also like to freeze milk cartons and large plastic bottles with water and place them in the saucers to keep them cool.
  • No scratch. I don't give the chickens any scratch treats in the summer no matter how hard they beg for it. Their bodies have to work too hard to break scratch down which causes them to heat up.
  • The best investment we have made in keeping our girls comfortable is a $10 dollar portable mister from the local hardware store. It attaches to our hose and we keep it on during the hottest parts of the day in their chicken yard. The girls love it and spend the majority of the afternoon hanging out underneath the mist.
  • Occasionally we'll make the girls veggie popsicles. We'll chop up leftover veggies from the garden and place them in a tupperware container filled with water. Freeze and then let them enjoy. 

If you have any tried and true tips you'd like to share, please do. We're always looking for new ideas to keep the chickens happy and comfortable.