Earlier this week, in the midst of the blizzard conditions, I e-mailed my college roommates to say I was "snow down". Blue due to the white. Ailing while it's hailing. Suffering. I knew people who'd gone to Bermuda, and Mexico, and South Carolina, and the Florida Keys. Me, I was stuck in the muck with the duck.
You get the picture.
For a while, a resounding silence. But then my girls came through with encouraging words to help sustain me. Today I got home from work to a box of flowers. Secret admirer? No secret, my friend Cheryl sending some floral sunshine to brighten my dark time.
Aren't friends great? It's a good thing they are, because it went downhill from there.
I let the dogs out and went to check in on the hens. Scooped up a container of scratch to toss for them. They all gather at my feet when I first go into the barn, I toss scratch to make them move. Then I can peek in the nest boxes for eggs. All this went fine, but as I turned to go I realized one of my gold hens was being pecked as she scratched. She has a big sore on her back (for the uninitiated, this is not unusual when young roosters are around taking enthusiastic liberties with their favorite hens). And she was limping. And the other hens were pecking at her sore. (You may remember that my chickens are cannibals.)
Egglebert needed to be sequestered behind a door before I could pick up the blond. As she nestled in my arms, Ari Duckass ran into the dog kennel I planned to use as the hospital ward, so I had to kneel down with Blondie and shoo Ari out, quite a trick with sixteen other birds racing around screaming bloody murder, and one majorly p-o'd rooster crowing behind the door. Finally I got the kennel closed and came back to the house for supplies.
And that's when I smelled it. As did Ulani, who raced into my bedroom to clean up the evidence. As if I wouldn't know that Abe pooped on the bed. This happens sometimes. Normally after I feed the cats I close the bedroom door for half an hour so that if he gets an urge, he needs to take it elsewhere. But I was distracted and forgot. Now I have laundry to do, not my favorite Saturday night activity. I threw open the bedroom windows and closed the door to keep the offensive offender out.
Catching my breath, I pulled two gallons of water, grabbed a bowl and a chick waterer, and returned to the barn. First I gave Blondie water, which she received gladly. Good sign. Filled the general waterer, then gave Blondie a bowl of food. She was glad of that as well. But when she sat down for a moment to rest, the other hens gathered on the outside of the wire walls and started pecking. So I found a couple of boards to put on the outside of a corner of the kennel to give her a bit of privacy and healing space. Just call me Florence Nightenchicken.
I thought I would share a photo of her with you. Took out my camera, turned it on, and discovered that the display seems to be blown out. It's a white screen with little lines on it. Picture doesn't change whether it's in the "take pictures" or "view pictures" mode. I brought it inside and was able to take a picture of the flowers, just can't see what's going on -- and isn't that kind of the point of a digital camera? I've only had it since September or so, it's a Nikon Coolpix S570 -- anyone know about cameras? Is it a lost cause? Will they replace it? No funds hanging around for a new camera. Big fat drag.
The next 24 hours will show if Blondie is going to rally or throw in the towel. That's how it is with chickens. I'll give the camera overnight to decide it's going to revive. Of course that's kind of an empty threat. I can just see it flapping it's little lens cover: "Whatcha you gonna do about it, anyway?!"
At least there's a little, albeit vegetative, sunshine to cheer me.
Sunday -- Blondie seems much perkier this morning. I think a couple more days in isolation and she'll be ready to reintegrate. And Nikon says "send the camera in." So we'll see how that goes.