Monday, October 26, 2009

Chickie Bedtime

The babies are growing up! Mama Hen has tried a few new places to sleep -- apparently the nest box just can't contain them any longer. Actually, Mama can't contain them any longer, either, as you see on this short video.

Indeed, their inquisitive natures have kicked in.

Mama's begun leading them outside for fresh air. They still stay pretty close to her, but each day they grow bolder. Then, at bedtime, they get a little snack of baby food...

Pose a moment for the camera...

...and pop under warm Mama Hen for a long night's sleep!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Searching for gold!

If you're lucky in the country, you'll see both pots of gold!

Today brought us gorgeous sunshine for hours, but late in the afternoon a sudden downpour came down the lake, headed straight at us. I rushed the dogs and cats in from the yard, catching a glance down the driveway of this glorious rainbow, so I just had to pop back outside to capture it. It was just what I deserved after a busy day at Busy Solitude Farm!

Cleared most of the vegetable beds today, putting them to bed for the winter. I left the kale and cabbage -- the chickens just love them, so until they've been eaten, their beds will be full. And I did not have a chance to build the final raised beds. Maybe tomorrow.

Inside the house, I worked on my craft room, changing the above to the below.

This wall will have shelves on it. The blue will peek out from behind whatever it stored there. As is evident from the boxes stacked in the middle of the room, this project is really pressing! I am eager to have a place to set up my sewing machine and leave it in place, and to be able to find my tools and supplies without digging through fifteen boxes each time.

In the barn, Egglebert's challenges have grown more frequent and aggressive. Look at that spur on his foot -- he can do damage. Part of the reason is that the vision in his left eye is totally gone (wounded by Tweedledum in the fight that ended Tweedle's stay with us). I think the young adulthood of this year's chicks has also tweaked his testosterone.

In any event, he is wearing on me. The two chicks that hatched this summer show potential to be roosters as well. If that is fact, then I have a difficult decision approaching.

But for the time being, I'm going to enjoy the rainbows in my life!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Movin' on up!

The chicks and Mama Hen have moved upstairs! Last night I went to turn out the chicken light and was surprised to hear peeping from the laying boxes. There I discovered this happy family snuggling in for the night. I'm not sure if it's warmer there than in their dog kennel on the floor (probably is) or if Mama is getting the urge to begin laying again. Or maybe it's just because the little ones are big enough to fly up that high now. In any event, they made themselves quite comfortable in their new penthouse digs!

I was at home all day today. Often when that's the case, the chickens stay inside because the dogs are outside with me. I distracted them by tossing them a cabbage from the yard, roots and all. This is what remained at the end of the day -- rather like a cactus! Lots of entertainment for confined birds.

Oskar partook of his favorite sport this evening. Need I say more?! Bye for now!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Loss in the Yard

Ari Duckass and Dick the Duck

I don’t know what happened. That might be one of the worst elements of the whole thing. I’ve lost someone who amused me greatly. And I can see that the survivor feels the loss. But I haven't a clue what happened.

Something killed one of my ducks today while I was at work. The body was barely violated, lots of feathers off the neck. But chickens peck at everything and it’s likely that at least some of that damage happened after the fact. Whatever the fact was.

In the short time they’ve been here, these ducks’ personalities have impressed me. They are pushy, loud, bossy, and they want to have fun. Lots of fun. As soon as they learned to negotiate the in and out ramps to the barn, they daily pushed to the front of the line to race to their swimming pool. And it’s no lazy swim when the ducks jump in – they splash and dunk and, uh, have boy-girl fun in there!

Thinking about boy-girl, I’m not certain if it was the male or the female duck that was killed. Only their voices differentiated them for me. But their swimming pool antics assured me I had one of each, and I’d already begun to anticipate more fuzzy yellow ducklings next spring. Now there will be none.

The surviving duck has been largely silent. But is that a trait, or is that because she has no one left to talk to?
The survivor.

Addendum, Wednesday morning. Lots of quacking in the barn, and I found a duck egg. I think it was the male who died.