The Beacon Hill Farm

Who we are?

Farmers M and H McTruong – East meets West to make our own style. We are weights and yoga, Pinterest and ESPN, soy and nonfat, Superbowl and Puppybowl. We are flip flops, puffy vests, dining out, eating in, George Strait, Snoop Dogg and jammies all Sunday.
Our farm: modest urban with big plans, set on my hubby’s childhood home’s lot in Seattle. Our hearts care for a rainbow of creatures: chickens, honey bees, hummingbirds, canines (preferably those with visual handicaps), worms and few more “disliked” occupants squirrels and snails. We grow things both with intention and happenstance: Asian pears, plums, cherries, lavender, artichokes, blueberries, daylilies, moss, daisies, poppies, lemon balm, borage, dandelions, euphorbia, clover

The Ladies

Chores: food, water and checking for eggs every few days

  • Water: don’t use those overpriced chicken waters – just a plastic bucket that you top it off with water in the old vinegar jug and then maybe every 4-5 days empty out, rinse and change the whole bucket
  • Optional chore: shoe out the chickens from the nest box at night
  • Let them range around in the yard in the afternoon after work or during the day on the weekend, make sure gate is closed
  • To put them inside 1) they will go to bed when it is dusk 2) use the useless Asian handwoven broom to herd them in (you can do this with one person…usually) – task is always good for a laugh, broom is a joke for anything else.
  • Eggs are finders keepers.
  • Note – no real mention of cleaning out the coop. It happens, but just changing out cardboard under roost and a twice-yearly full clean. we do the deep litter method. More some other time.
  • Coop – we started with an A-frame tractor but upgraded to a more permanent and larger structure. Garden beds were gladly sacrificed for this space. We use the tractor for new girls and temporary enclosures. all are heavily modified kits…

And like every good pet owner: Advanced Directive – if a chicken appears to be suffering (floppy, limp, look of agony), here’s the permission to take them to Dr. Coffin to be euthanized (pun not intended – he is an excellent vet). There isn’t all that much you can do. They may be easily transported in the dog carrier (hoses clean). If the Farmers are gone, the babysitters do not need to bury the chickens, they can be left at the vet. If it just injured but not really bad, see if Dr. Coffin can fix (or the exotic bird vet on Stone way)… If you find one dead, just remove (quickly to avoid cannibalism) place in a paper bag and respectfully place in yard waste can with a few kind words.

The Ladies:

Bella

  • Breed: Australorp, large black eyes
  • Came to the farm in 2009 as a feisty pullet from Monroe, one of the Amigas
  • Named after Twilight
  • Lays a small brown egg, unreliably
    • Notes: GIGANTIC black chicken, more interested in career, loves baguettes as a treat, is the bully of the flock, but not Head Hen
                                • Claim to fame: appeared at our back door one night after being locked in, waiting…. [insert Psycho shriek-shriek-shriek]

Roxie (the little black one below in the corner)

  • Breed: Rumpless Bantam (“mini”) Americana
  • Came to the farm in 2010 with Frankie, from Auburn
  • Named after Roxanne, after the song popped into my head while remodeling coop for more hens
    • Lays a small blue green egg
    • First to go to bed every day
                                • Notes: small but scrappy, molted more than her fair share, will lay eggs but prefers to dig in the dirt, almost impossible to photograph and had a bout with scaly leg mite, gnarly feet

Buffy – Rest in Peace

  • Breed: Buff Orpington
  • Named for pretty obvious reasons (see photo above)
  • Came to the farm in 2011 (?) from another urban flock in Wallingford
  • Buried on the south side of the fence by Lulu’s pagoda
  • Egg: Large brown egg
  • Notes: Impossibly friendly, died of natural causes way before her time

LilliHen – Rest in Peace

  • Breed: California Grey (mix of CA White and Leghorn)
  • One of the original Three Amigas, see her “Ode Post”
  • Buried along the North side of the fence, near NoBe Hive
      • Notes: was an egg-laying machine (everyday!), laid Eggbert, our first

Frankie – Rest in Peace

  • Breed: Barred Rock
  • Came from Auburn with Roxie
  • Named after a little old lady that was a family friend in DL
  • Never laid us an egg….. had to be taken from this world to end some apparent suffering
  • Notes: while on our planet, was “special”, enjoyed staring into space and standing on one leg

Goldie – Rest in Peace

  • Breed: Rhode Island Red
  • One of Three Amigas, but the first to pass
  • Large Brown eggs, prolific while with us
  • Notes: had a soft spot for American Gothic, see opening photo (posing in 2010)

Betsy Ross and Harriet Tubman

  • No profile photos, bad mom (i’ll get some today)… but these girls put the chicken in to chicken, talk about scaredy cats
  • Breeds: Americana
  • Eggs: Green – Blue (distinctly different from Roxies)
  • Joined us in July 2011 from West Seattle
  • Sisters that look almost identical. Harriet just has a little bit more black feathers and Betsy has more of the Americana beard.
  • Notes: Harriet is always trying to make a run for it. Self-fulfilling prophecy

Bees

  • Chores: Bees know – let them.
  • Main concepts: shelter started with Top Bars, now also have Langstroth; spring and fall feed with lemongrass sugar water, powdered sugar treatments
  • Honey Harvest: take only what you need, leaving for the bees. I do the crushed comb method and strain to gravity
  • Breed: Italian and Carnolinians. I think Italians are my favorite

The Canine:

Hi! My name is Mason, also known as Mr. Peebody or Barky McPhearson (previously Sandy). Before I found my forever home in January 2012, I wasn’t sure anyone would adopt me. I was really shy and blind in one eye due to a birth defect (my vet calls it micro-ophthalmia). However, my new family thinks I am (imperfectly) perfect. Ok, maybe not always – like when I chase my step-sisters, the Chickens. Life is so good now – I spend my spare time chewing on squeaky squirrel toys, going for walks and lounging on the sofa with Mom and Dad.

Advanced Directive – Just like the hens but will 100% be buried beneath a pagoda or other noble yard object. Dr. Coffin is on point.

–       Bee stings – try to remove the stinger without squeezing the venom sack, you can ice it and/or create a baking soda paste (bottom drawer just to the right of oven). There is some diphenhydramine that if he appears to be having an allergic response you can give 1mg/lb, so about a 25 mg tab. Just like with people, stings in mouth or multiple, trouble breathing etc à go to vet. I had to google it the first (and last time) it happened ….. Mason is a bee biter.


Ms. Lulu Devine – Rest in Peace beyond the Pagoda.

Words cannot even begin to describe Lulu. One of a kind. Came to us June 2006. Eventually went blind. Gone from the farm, forever in our hearts, still making us laugh.

Now you know a lot more about us and our creatures, some about our “farm philosphy and hopefully not so much you won’t come back for a visit.   Feel free to share your stories!

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