Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Neurosis of the Lily Livered Chicken

I have had chickens now for about two years and everyday I learn something new about them. Chickens do better when they have moms is a biggie as far as lessons go. I have one hen we call a torpedo chicken because of her shape. Her name is Azzie and she's very neurotic. She runs away from other chickens, but lays down for the rooster and smashes herself to the ground when danger is near. She showed up on our farm one day with no mom and I put her in a cage for her own protection. My belief is that this caused her to be even weirder than most chickens. She has five absolutely normal offspring, but she runs in terror from them now that they are almost grown. She is Rhode Island Red by appearance, but her long shape causes me to believe she has something else in her DNA.

Chickens have weird behaviors. When a chicken finds a bug or is given a treat of some sort they make a weird noise that lets all the others know they have something special. It sounds like they are bragging and rather than keeping hungry pecking competitors away, it draws them. Oddly though they all do it so I guess it balances life out for them. I tend to throw tomatoes out for my hens and when I do I am greeted with a chorus of silly hens announcing their goodies as they run off to eat their prizes in solitude. They never get to eat in solitude because all the other hens follow the noise. They are smart enough to recognize bragging, but not smart enough to suppress the urge to cackle with delight.

I have one hen that isn't afraid of anything. I've seen her attack a skunk that was killing her chick and almost destroy and devour a dove that was competing for food in the chick nursery. One day I will chronicle all the weird behaviors I've witnessed. For now I guess I should go check their water and food.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road!

When I was a teenager there was a song with this title. I remember singing it with my friends as we drove around an old race course in Montana. Tonight I'd really like to see a dead skunk in the middle of my driveway. Last night it killed one of my baby Auracauna chicks and tonight it got another. I now only have one baby chick left and I plan to protect my last baby. 

Around 4:20AM this morning I heard a horrific screaming sound. It was a sound I had never heard before. It woke me from a very sound sleep. I made myself get up and investigate. When I got outside I saw my black cat "Freckles" corralling two baby chicks out of the carport. I thought SHE had eaten the missing chick and was going after the last two. I was very angry to say the least. I locked her up in the house all day and refused to give into her pleas. I couldn't decide if she had done the dirty deed or she was the heroine of the moment, but I wasn't taking any chances. 

Well tonight I was working on my laptop doing business and I heard that horrible screaming sound. I raced outside to hear my mama chicken attacking a skunk and then saw the skunk licking the blood from the head of the chick it was killing. I freaked out. Hubby wasn't around to help so I was on my own. I ran in the house and grabbed the shotgun in its case and opened it. I blanked out. I couldn't remember a thing about how to load and fire it. I grabbed the 22 and the same helpless feeling came over me. I simply froze and couldn't remember a thing about using them. I'm sure that happens to more people that care to admit it. I returned to the carport to hear the last baby chick chirping and mama chicken having a conniption fit. The skunk was nowhere to be seen. Yay for that little bit of revelation. My next thought was the neighbor. He had caught a skunk in his live trap and my live trap was standing against the wall. I recovered the dead chick and called the neighbor as I had NO idea how to set the trap. He came over, threw the dead bird in the cage and set the trap. He told me he'd been averaging a skunk a week. I remember seeing one trapped in his live trap in the front yard of his property. The animal control guy came and disposed of it. 
I hate the death part of farm living. I realize skunks have to live, but I'd rather they eat eggs as opposed to my baby chicks. 

I then decided that mama and baby needed to be in a safer location so I escorted them with my broom into my wash house for the night. Mama was not a bit happy with the process, but settled down immediately once she knew it was a safe location. With a few puppy pads on the floor, some food and water and a quiet corner she can remain in my "witness protection" safe house until I clean our small hen house and prep it for her. I have another mama hen and single baby in the big hen house. I think they will be joining Miss Princess and her baby in the house with a fence and netting over it. No more skunks dining on my babies. 

Dead skunk in the middle of the road and it's stinking to high heaven...now how did the rest of the song go?  I will be singing my own rendition soon.

Monday, July 18, 2011

In Denial

I totally refuse to let my head know that is could be Monday. I don't want it to be Monday. Not that Monday is much different from the other days of the week, but today I don't care. I want it to be Sunday Part II. Hey we put up with movies Part II and they are rarely worth the film they are printed on. Sunday is NEVER long enough for most of us. So I've summarily decided that I'm going to extend my Sunday into its sequel and have a really great day.

My daughter posted that she didn't want any drama today. Sundays are rarely dramatic, so perhaps she should enjoy Sunday Part deux as well! We could really make life more enjoyable if ALL of us would participate in this new thing. Less commuting for millions of people! Less stress! Fewer people experiencing "road rage"! Hey, fewer postal workers going postal! We'd all start the week with a better outlook knowing that rather than 24 hours of peace we'd be expecting 48 hours.

I'm not sure it will catch on, but I've decided to make a go of it. Let's all start by saying, "Hope you have a great Sunday" to someone grouchy. If they look at you funny, just smile and walk on knowing you're going to have a better day than most of the 6 billion+ people on the planet. If we pass the word on via FB or Tweeter or one of the many other social networking channels we might be able to dump Monday entirely. I think it's worth a try.

"Hey, hope you're having a beautiful Sunday Part II too!"

Monday, July 11, 2011

Happy Camper Chicky Mama

My mama Auracauna has many voices and many postures that tickle me. She has four baby chicks and she is one fired up grizzly mama when anyone (including me) comes too close. Yesterday I heard a new sound come from her. It was a happy sound, much like the sound a two year old makes when you give him an ice cream cone. What caused this new song to exude from "Princess"? Chopped up corn tortillas. I had taken two corn tortillas and chopped them as fine as I possibly could. When I put them in front of her and her beebers she chattered with delight. I wanted to see if it was a one time fluke, so this morning I repeated me experiment. I chopped up tortillas and put a handful down in front of her and her tiny quartet. Voila, she made that same happy camper chattery sound! She actually sounds like she's feeling sneaky. I don't have the heart to tell her I gave chopped tortillas to all the hens. She doesn't need to know. She feels sneaky and special and every new mom needs that from time to time.

On another note, my poor cat Freckles, better known as Frek is making doleful noises these days. We forbid her from going outside for the same reason "Princess" needs spoiled. Frek is one awesome huntress. A baby chick would be too big a temptation for her. They are easy pickens. It's obvious to me that Frek is housebound by the number of doves that are congregating around the chicken feeders. Enjoy it while you can birds, once the chicks are a little bigger you will be easy prey for my hunting starved black panther of a kitten.

There is a good side to Frek being stuck indoors. She is so clean and looks so healthy. She's mad as a wet hen (my hens like to wet themselves, but not have you wet them). Frek is doing her best to adjust, but she does send lamenting cries out when she thinks she might get to go out. Poor gal. Soon baby, soon.


Friday, July 8, 2011

Teensy Tiny Lives

It's day two of living for our new
baby chicks. It's so inspiring and hope building when new babies arrive on our farm. Princess is my favorite hen and this is her second time to go "broody" and hatch out a clutch of little ones. This time the chicks were all out if green eggs so they will be more like her than her last bunch. She sat on a bunch of Rhode Island Red eggs last time. This time they will be half Auracauna and half Red as our rooster is a Red.

God sends life in the midst od sorrow, suffering and death. Yesterday I saw an infant girl in a grocery cart smiling from ear to ear. After hearing so much bad news on the TV earlier in the day I felt a smidgen of jealousy that the little girl was so oblivious to the junk in the world. I am not jealous now because I've lived so much of my life already and she has to grow up in such dark times.

It's nice to have new life show up from time to time. The cycle of life seems unending and well within the hands of Abba. I am thankful for that. For that reason I will work just that much harder at being optimistic about what God has in store for His children. "If God be for me who can be against me?"

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Kit Kats, Pretzels and Lemondade

Have you ever worked so hard that your brain acted like thoughts were completely foreign to it? Right now all I can do is sit here, munch on the above mentioned junk food and wait for inspiration. I'm in a house turned upside down. We had a flood a couple of weeks ago, and what is normally a nice and tidy space where I can come and create, is now a crowded and cluttered uninspiring mess.

I spent my morning at the local big box DIY store getting our written estimate for the repair of this "mess of a house" redone. Instead of calling our bathroom "the master bathroom" on the estimate they labeled it "the laundry room". How many laundry rooms have no washer and dryer, a toilet, a shower, a garden tub and a fifteen foot vanity with a fifteen foot mirror over it? So I got that done after two hours of joking with the guy in the flooring department. We were waiting for the service guy that came and measured my "master bath" turned laundry room to call and give us some figures. He never did call. The guy in flooring finally used his brain and past estimates and came up with some totals for me. He changed the estimate and I left! It was pleasant, but in my estimation a complete waste of one hour and forty five minutes. It shouldn't take that long to get such a simple job done.

Lunch was next. I had my standard Wednesday fare; a chicken taco salad and a non-alcoholic pina colada! Yummo. It was so relaxing. I have no idea why. I haven't done a thing I set out or needed to do today. Ok, so I made my bed and ate breakfast, got dressed and fed the chickens, ducks and goats. I watered the pecan and apple trees and then turned the watering over to hubby. (The veggie garden needed a good soaking.) I didn't even make it to my bank with my little deposit. So much for making "to do" lists. Today that list was simply a practice in futility. Ok, so I have tomorrow's "to do" list already done. Shift and touch your toes, you're going to get flexible whether you want to or not.

The good news is that all the estimates are in. I can now fax them to our insurance adjuster and get the process going. I need this house. I have all sorts of things scheduled in the future that require the use of neat spaces and not everything from the other room crammed in them spaces. Maybe that's what's going on in my head? I have too much to do, not enough time, and my brain is like me and doesn't function well in a mess. Could be?!?

Well, my Kit Kat is gone, there is nothing left in my pretzel bowl but a salty skiff and my lemonade is slowly being sipped away as I finish these few words that are fighting to be squeezed from my overworked and overcrowded cerebral space. My gray matter is balking and has chosen to be very black and white today. I can almost hear it saying, "I'm not working and there's nothing you can do about it." I can't say it isn't completely on strike. I think it's quite adept at being sarcastic and non-compliant. Both of those require work. So "Nanny nanny boo boo" brain. You're working whether you want to admit it or not.

Enchante my dear readers and may you all have a productive tomorrow. I'm hoping I will. Bon jour.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Black and Pink

Do you ever wake up and just feel "bruised" all over? You look at your body and there are really no signs of abuse, but you feel worn out in body and soul? I have to deal with that on a regular basis. Why? Because I'm over 50 and every day that passes draws me closer to 60. I'm in good spirits however because it's a sunny day, God loves me no matter what and I make myself crawl out of the "ouchy" place I was in.

Why is it that we get so excited with sensory overload? I was driving down our sandy road headed to the other house when I realized how silly I was. I walked down the Main Street in Disneyland just two short weeks ago and was so thrilled to be there. It was a sensory overload to be there. Our grandkids were with us and their excitement was so contagious. We walked, we laughed, we danced and played but what was the big difference between Disney's main drag and my dirt road? Color, organization and texture were the main differences. There is color on my street, there is organization and there is a LOT of texture on our lonely caliche road. Just add some sound, wait there is sound on my road. It all boils down to a different place with music and sensory overload bombarding our souls. If I were stuck in Disneyland it would end up being a monotonous nightmare of a ride. Could I survive if stuck there? I believe so. Why? Because God created us with the ability to adapt to our surroundings.

Life is an amusement park ride. I should have said life on this side of eternity is an amusement park ride. We look for moments of peace, moments of excitement, moments of rest, but it all boils down to the body and mind and how they relate to given stimuli.

I remember hearing a preacher tell of his childhood. He told us how he would get so excited when his dad would take him fishing. He'd go to bed with his clothes on so he wouldn't miss a moment of the time. He also told us that the same dad he loved to go fishing with would tell him, "We're going to clean up the yard in the morning" and he would stall and drag it out as the worst thing ever. His father has long since passed from the face of the planet and he longs for the days when his dad would say, "Let's clean out the garage tomorrow."

So today when I'm washing my laundry and doing routine and mundane tasks I shall think of Disneyland and instead of ending up black and blue, I will be black and PINK! "It's all in how you look at it", said the Mad Hatter to the March Hare.