Hopalong Hollow....

Hopalong Hollow, where the Blueberries grow sweet, and the moss feels soft beneath your feet.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Chickens, birds and More birds

Chickens are a funny lot.

This morning I heard a loud hullabaloo emanating from the barn and went up to investigate. Two roosters stood on the railings above  the nesting box, crowing their little heads off, one cackling red hen was standing on the ladder leading up to the box and another perched on the edge of the nesting box, soothingly clucking and cooing.
 With all the commotion, you would have thought a marauding fox was sniffing about in the barn, but no, all of this racket, in unison, was directed at a very young hen, sitting inside said nesting box.  The little white hen, "Tess of the Du'bervilles", (TESS for short) was the object of much attention.

 The deafening cacophony continued for at least 45 minutes after I left the barn. A few hours later, observing all the chicken folk in the garden, I decided the way was clear to see what they had been so upset about this morning and trudged back up to the barn, peeked into the nesting box and found the object of all the morning's ballyhoo... this... tiny, tiny egg.

  It is so small... and cute.. and, more importantly, this young hen's first egg ever!
Now I know what the chickens were clamoring about this morning, and I also know what the expression "egging her on" means. They weren't upset. they were cheering the little hen on... That's right, "PUSH! PUSH! "You can do it!" C'mon little gal! Lay that egg!" HURRAH! YOUR FIRST EGG! GOOd job!
 Isn't that funny? I love those chickens.

more birds...
Every day, I gather the fallen pears from the grass neath the pear tree. They are not for our consumption because they've already been partially consumed, as you can see below.
I've been placing the blame for all this plunder, squarely on the shoulders of the countless bees, wasps and butterflies that gather by the hundreds on the pears. Like this guy below.
I assumed we had inebriated bees flying into one another, having wild parties and acting foolishly from devouring SO MUCH fermentation. Then I discovered the truth,
When James called me outside to listen to the song of a bird....this bird.

There he was, a Downy Woodpecker, sitting in the pear tree, joyfully singing and pecking away at the pears. As he pecked, the pear fell, and he flew to another pear, enjoyed it for a few moments until it too, fell to the ground and he moved on to the next.
Mystery solved,
 and the grateful bees and donkeys reap the benefits.
                                                             "We loves pears!"
The woodpecker is forgiven, for he is my FAVORITE bird, along with Chickadees. 
At the moment, the studio is filled with little fuzzy birdfolk.
They are awaiting their wings and tails
 I am going to make some of those extremities from hand-made felt, a method called Wet Felting.
On the recommendation from a friend, (thank you Penny!), I learned this easy process of felt-making and it was quite fun. I love the texture!
I made these five pieces in less than 2 hours. They can be cut and sewn into anything from purses to hats and hand-warmers. But mine are to be wings and tails.
I thought the above piece would make a charming little dress for a rabbit.
There are countless tutorials on you-tube for wet felting and I just combined a few of the lessons to create my own "recipe".
You know, with a little effort and time, one can learn how to do almost anything!

Fondly from the Hollow, Jeri


  1. I love the goings on in the Hollow, Jeri. That's the sweetest thing --all the older hens cheering the young one on! There's a lesson in that one! How interesting that the downy chooses to eat only the pears in the tree---I guess it's easier and safer for him that way. Your wet felted piece looks like a wildflower garden--so pretty. The box of birdies are just the cutest. I always enjoy visiting Hopalong Hollow. xo ♥

  2. That is very interesting that the other chickens and rooster behaved that way. Very interesting, indeed (sounds like a good story!) I am loving your felted birds. They are quite charming.

  3. Your fuzzy birdfolk are so amazing Jeri ~ just love seeing your creativity and wet felting does look like such fun, must give it a go ~ what's one more technique in a lifetime ~ lol ~ Rae

  4. I guess laying that very first egg could be a bit scary so it's nice the Tess's friends were there to encourage her in her efforts.

    You say that with some time and efforts someone can learn to do almost anything but to learn to do it well and with a minimum of frustration a person needs to have a lot of talent and good observational skills. You obviously have those in spades.

  5. Chickens are a hoot. I've enjoyed the commonplace expressions that refer to them. So far, most of them make perfect sense (I love "egging her on"!) with the exception of "madder than a wet hen". Mine seem to either ignore rainshowers or wade into puddles happily while they forage!

  6. Dear Jeri,
    There is always such excitement going on in the Hollow.. Boy, those are tiny eggs!
    I know this is going to sound strange, but the fallen pears are beautiful.. They looks as if they were painted with watercolors.. I know, I am an odd duck.

    I have very fond memories of woodpeckers in the beautiful mountains of Crestline.. We vacationed there every summer when I was child.. I would hear them in the mornings. Almost as if they were saying, get up! Speaking of birds..... I love your trunk full of birdies! And look at what you have wet felted... I think my favorite piece is the one you intend on using for a little dress.. They turned out great! Now all I need to do is get off the dime and make some.. I am so happy you did.
    Looking forward to seeing the birdies with their ~ wings and tails~
    Wishing you a beautiful weekend
    Love ya!

  7. I just love your posts, Jeri and look so forward to them. Your chicken stories are delightful and how sweet that he first egg was so tiny.We have many downy woodpeckers here on our little property. I see them mostly in the colder weather. I had a Northern Flicker here on Thursday and it is a member of the woodpecker family. So beautiful. Your drawer of critters is so adorable I just can't stand it. Makes me feel like I'm a kid again just looking at them. I see there is a chickadee there. Aren't they the sweetest bird of all. :) Deb

  8. Charming story and a big Congratulations to Tess!
    The first look at your box of birds, I thought they were real!
    Thank you for another beautiful post

  9. JERI LANDERS! I can always count on YOU to make me laugh and cluck and chuckle, like a hen! teehehee......I love your storytelling. When animals are involved, YOU'VE GOT ME!

    There is so much richness here. Let me begin. What a fun, front row seat you have in the show of nature. Animal behavior is a field that had always interested me, but then again, so was architecture, nutrition, theatre, dance, writing, etc....but there is nothing quite as lovely, rhythmic with our own hearts as watching animals communicate. How interesting and wonderful to learn that those chickens were CHEERING ON that young mummy! CONGRATULATIONS, TESS! teeeheheheeeee

    We discovered more farmland here just minutes outside the metro area. Last weekend when we were in search of a specific seasonal antique shop, we drove 35 minutes west to find beautiful farmland. At this great antique shop, she had chickens. It's been a long time since I've seen any this close, and I took some photos. They seems pretty friendly, came up to me and gently clucked...teeehee...and of course, I got oodles of photos of my favorites: HORSES.

    NOW, your donkeys are TOO CUTE FOR WORDS! I love the way their eyes are circled in white. You just want to squeeze their white muzzles!

    AND THEN YOUR FELTED CREATIONS......dang woman, between you and Penny, I think I shall have a zoo! I can't have enough of these...those birds Jeri, what in thee Sam Hill....how on earth do you make so many, and so PERFECT???????

    That little piece you made for a rabbit's dress. YOU'RE killin' me over here!

    OH! We had some wrens nesting in our yard all summer. It was a delight to behold, and the mum bird (I named her FLO) was very protective, of course. Every time we'd go out to garden, she'd be there clucking and growling at us! OK, one day, I went outside to through the front door and here comes Flo. She seemed to have a few other supports with her who also were chirping and complaining. I was on the landing taking some photos when suddenly Jeri, SHE DROPPED TO THE GROUND and died. I felt sick. I called Ruben out to come and take her away....I know, you see it all the time, but this city woman just can't see that.....she gave it her all, she flapped about, then expired.

    WHEW, that was a reminder of how beautiful life truly is. I think her babies are gone, for there is no more song in my garden.

    Until next summer.....

  10. I love your box of birds!
    What fun hearing about your chicks and other critters on the farm!

  11. Replies
    1. Anita, My Donkeys are the sweetest little ladies ever, they would never bite nor kick me. But in play, they will bite each other on the butt...just for fun!

  12. Oh Jeri, I didn't know you were creating birds. How precious they are. Isn't it funny how hens react to each other. A red wasp like the one on the pear nearly cost me a toe this summer. I kid you not. Everyone kept saying that wasn't a wasp sting but a snake bite and I told them I saw it, crushed it.

  13. JERI! Thank you for answering my question! Oh how I love the equine folk and I do know you need to approach or rather ALLOW a horse to invite you into their space...ya see, I just want to run up to them and kiss their noses...eewh! teeehehee

    Anyhow, thanks for listening. Yes, I was super-bummed out about FLO bird, and I tell ya, the garden is silent. However, just minutes ago, I heard a new type of noise out there. It was two WOODPECKERS! I best shoo them away before the Mr. comes home. I fear he'll not like them pecking at his beloved Honey Locust tree!

    Oh how I wish we could chat over a tall glass of iced tea. BIG HUGS! Anita\

    OH! Good to know you have raised proper and kind donkeys! teehehee

  14. hello Jeri,
    i had never considered what: egging her on, meant.
    that is a cute little egg.
    all your felted pieces are entirely charming.
    The ground squirrels got ever single apple off my tree this year. I never saw them do that before. They are not tree squirrels either. thank goodness they have gone underground now. such a nuisance they are! even if they are cute.

  15. Yes! Darn...I went without you. If you were close I would have been knocking at your door. What a great time we would have had. I knew you would know if the stove was a repro.
    So I was correct... Oh Jeri, the details on that singer were just beautiful.. How blessed you are to have 5 singers!
    I am so sorry you are feeling poorly.. You take care. I went in to the Doctors last week because I was feeling so poorly. I have bronchitis, on antibiotics now, so should be good soon.
    blessings to you dear friend

  16. Jeri, I very much doubt that your little hen will have any interest in this comment on her first egg, but even so...I send her a bravo. And compliments to her fellow hens for all they contributed to The First Egg.

    I do learn so much from your posts, and wish to thank you for each and every one. The tale of the woodpecker offers another marvelous example.

    You've got all sorts of muses to encourage your wonderful art! xo

  17. Good morning Jeri! I wholeheartedly agree with you. Anyone can learn to do just about anything with enough perseverance. This has always been my motto. And when someone accuses me of having "talent"....I vehemently deny it. I simply can follow directions and copy what someone else has thought to do. I am more technical than creative. Now you....dear friend....have creativity oozing out of your pores and that is undeniably a gift!! So, we technical people look to you creative souls for inspiration....and this is one place that never disappoints. You are a deep well of creative inspiration for sure! Thanks for always sharing your projects with the rest of us. It is truly a joy to visit the Hollow!! Have a great day!

  18. Good Morning, Jeri. Good grief, I didn't know you were making birdies! There truly is no end to your talents. If only just a little would rub off on me...sigh. I'm still keeping my fingers crossed that one of these days you'll make a praying mantis or a goliath beetle or a luna moth or a click beetle or a fuzzy moth...I can think of a hundred wee bugs and insects that would just come alive with your wonderful imagination.

    I dearly love that the chickens were egging on sweet Tess. Kinda reminded me of being in labor with my first child. The wonder of nature never ceases, does it? And you are so attuned to its magic and we readers are the grateful recipients of your taking notice.

    Our pear trees this year are loaded the most I've ever seen. They aren't quite ripe yet, but I did pick a couple yesterday to ripen in the house. This year I've also noticed more butterflies and moths enjoying the fruit. Usually it's bees and wasps who seem to get drunk on the rotting fruit that is on the ground. I'll pay more attention to see if there are birds about. Most of the time we don't get very many pears from our two trees because the deer get to them first. A lot of years a doe and sometimes her twin fawns eat the bulk of the fruit. It just about brings tears to my eyes to watch the mother doe push against the trees making the fruit fall to the ground. Then the twins cautiously step out of the nearby woods and start eating, all the while watching for danger. Oh my goodness, does it get any better than that sight?

    Okay, I'm off to wash clothes now and get back to the real world. Thanks for making my day brighter with this post.

    Diane in North Carolina

  19. congrats to Tess for her first egg and her friends for cheering her on! Love your birds. I agree that with time and patience one can learn many things, but you also have artistic talent in spades - and that goes a long way!

  20. When I was a little girl, I loved finding the small pullet eggs, so Mom cooked them for me for breakfast. :-) I love, love your little feathered friends in a box!!!

  21. Hmm, I think I lost my comment. If I double post, I'm sorry! We're down in NC now, and where we're building our house it turns out that they're very anti-animals. So, once the kids are in college I think we'll look for another spot in the country where we can restart our coop and other stuff. I miss the family of nature :)

  22. Your chickens live a charmed life compared with so many farmed birds. How fascinating to learn about egging on! H


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