Sunday, September 21, 2008

Happenings Around the Barn


Praying Mantis

In late summer and early autumn, I usually see quite a few of these "honeys" as I am mowing. Saturday, I spotted this one flying across the yard and followed it. I called Ruth to come with her camera and she snapped this photo after it landed on the Scotch Pine. While she was looking at the photo, Ruth noticed that the praying mantis was missing most of its left arm. While googling for some info on this interesting insect, I found a National Geographic article with a photo. Check out the left arm of the photo at the link! (it appears to be missing its left "hand.")



Field Trip

I took the Japanese Bantams to school on Friday. We had them in our classroom and learned a little about the life cycle of chickens. Later in the day, we shared them with our Kindergarten Book Buddies. The kids really enjoyed having them in the school. I had a steady stream of students, parents and teachers parading in to check them out. I gave them an 'A' for good behavior! I'm planning on hatching a dozen Light Brahmas in my classroom in the Spring.

Bantams waiting to enter school in the morning.

Looking a little tired after a long day at school

A good day's work

Here is a typical collection of eggs from my flock. I have heard about a plum colored egg layer and am going to try to find some next spring.

Eggsellence!

Can you see the difference below between my eggs and the store-bought egg? I have read many studies that talk about the nutritional differences between free-range eggs and battery eggs. I linked some web sites for you in case you are interested. I highly encourage you to buy eggs at a farmers' market, or directly from a farmer.

20 comments:

Sandy said...

Nice post and that poor preying mantis! I hope he can spontaneously heal, grow back an arm...those arms come in handy.

Enjoyed seeing your birdies today...

have a great evening.

Amy - "Twelve Acres" said...

Nice mantis. He likely lost his left "arm" while mating. He's lucky he didn't lose his life. I love finding huge females around the Twelve Acres. It lets me know that nature's insect control is at work.

You have such pretty eggs! There's a nice contrast between the Marans eggs and the EE eggs. Do you find that your girls lay light eggs on one day, then a darker one the next day? It seems mine vary in color intensity when they first start laying, then the color becomes more consistent.

I don't think I could go back to store bought eggs now that I've had free-range eggs. What a world of difference! And isn't it nice to know that they're better for us too? I love the fact that my hens are providing such healthy food for my family.

What fun to take chickens to school! I want to take some ducks to school. Turn them loose in the halls and watch what happens!

Don said...

Sandy: alas, I think he is doomed to live out his days as a one-armed mantis.

I hope you have a nice evening out west. It is still bright and sunny where you are and the sun set an hour ago here.

Don said...

amy: You're probably right about this boy losing his arm to a lover. I looked around and found that males have wings that go past their abdomen and females wings go about half-way.

I like the variety the different breeds give. I have found variations in the coloring of the eggs, but don't know if it is the same bird or not! The ameracaunas seem to be laying a lighter shade of green lately.

I too love the fact that we are eating eggs from our own chickens. I'm no conniseuer, but they sure seem to taste a gazillion times better!

I like the idea of a brace of ducks waddling through the school halls.

jen @ J&J Acres said...

I think praying mantises are so neat! Last year we had one that worked his way around the house. I'd see him in random spots each day.

If/When we get more chickens, I want to get some dark brown egg layers. I think the dark brown eggs are so pretty!

Hot Belly Mama - taking it all back said...

Absolutely beautiful photos. I am enjoying following your blog. Wonderful!

Berthddu Suit said...

Don those eggs are amazing!! I wouldn't want to crack them, just have them on display!!

warren said...

Great pics and I am so glad that you are showing things like this in schools! We used to see neat stuff in schools but it hardly ever happens any more I think. I take bees to my kids' school each year and everyone loves it. Keep up the great work!

Loring Wirbel said...

As for the "looking a little tired" photo, it seems that bantam is saying "Cute? Human kids? I'll show you cute. Sheesh."

Farm Chick Paula said...

Very strange about the mantis.... when his relationship went sour, instead of losing his car and mortgage, he loses and arm!! LOL

I'll bet the students loved the Japs!! They are so small and dainty, but have so much personality!! We have one named Duchess, becuase she EXPECTS to be carried everywhere! I think I'll hang a little purse on her wing and name her the Queen! LOL

laura said...

Your egg yolks are a beautiful rich orange--they must be more nutritious. Praying Mantis's make me cringe--so weird looking; but then all bugs make my skin crawl: my one and only "girly" trait.
It's a sweet and universal trait--children's attraction to animals!

Ginnie said...

I have noticed in Europe, Don, that all the egg yokes from the eggs I buy in the store are more deep orange in color than yellow. I've always know there was a reason but was never for sure. It makes sense!

Bob Johnson said...

Cool shot Ruth, interesting article about the eating the mate during mating, man if I were a mantis, I'd be thinking twice about populating our species,lol also interesting about it missing it's leg as well.

Lol, those Bantams look like I look after a hard day at the office, good shot.

Country Girl said...

Cool looking eggs! I have read some articles about the nutritional value and I couldn't believe it...I vow not to but store bought eggs again. I will read what you have posted too.

warren said...

Hey, I meant to tell you. I liked the old "header pic" you had but this new one is very nice too...Nice to have it change with the seasons!

Stiggy said...

Busy, busy busy Don!

I bet the kids liked seeing the hens at school! We never had anything like that happen!

I love seeing all the different eggs that our ladies lay - at our place it's so cool to have a box of normal size eggs, then one little white egg at one end of the box.

I'm amazed at the preying Mantis - I'm so jealous of you peops in different countries with your interesting wildlife!

:D

Gwen Buchanan said...

So glad you are sharing your love of farm birds and the chickens themselves with the children from school.. this is such an important way of life that gets forgotten in the fast paced world... where our food comes from...

I am still living my love of chickens through you...

Juri said...

I stopped by to read your blog and I am so glad I did....great posts and great pictures, I have enjoyed every minute I have spent here! Just thought I would let you know! And I agree about the eggs....our chickens stopped laying for a bit and we bought some eggs at the grocery store....there was definitely a difference in taste!

Juri

Shellmo said...

Interesting to see the eggs - I definitely need to buy from a farm!
P.S. I'm from Mich too!

Anonymous said...

This is a cool website,I like your pictures and your comparison with store bought eggs and fresh eggs.
By!