the chicken who sits

I have a chicken who forgot how to walk.  She waddles around, and sets her tail on the ground.  It’s very strange looking, and came on quite suddenly.

This chicken took sick a couple weeks ago.  Comb went blue and floppy, she stopped eating and hunkered down into the pre-death chicken trance. I was sure she was done for.But she came out of it, as quickly as she went in.  Comb red again, although still floppy. Appetite back, hanging out with the other hens, even dust bathing.    Just one side effect.  She walks really funny, like it’s raining all the time.

I’ve looked it up.  She’s an old hen, past laying, so she’s not an internal layer or egg-bound.  It’s been over a week, and although it looks so wrong, she seems otherwise fine, not struggling or suffering.   Just sitting around.

Back down to two

Only two guinea chicks running around today.  Life is brutal for latecomers.

They’re so funny!  Little bitty chicks, the size of ping pong balls, scuttling around on their orange legs right in the middle of the big flock, like they belong there.  They’re hard to even find in my pictures.

It’s a big rain day.  The rain is thundering down; I caught 300 gallons of water in an hour off two roofs.  Everything is puddled and the hens are mostly huddling under their new tents.

Wet chicken

New additions!

Already!  Two little guinea chicks showed up at feeding time in the middle of the guinea herd!

Only two?  She had about ten eggs in her nest even after the close call with the tractor, but I checked it out, and there were two empty shells, and four intact eggs.  Maybe something happened, she rolled out a few eggs or something stole a few.

Then HW came home, discovered the new additions, and said “did you see the three new chicks?”

Three!?  Sure enough, there was a latecomer.  Easy to tell which one.  Just a few hours made the original two old hands at life.  The late arrival was shaky and slow and having a hard time navigating uneven terrain and obstacles.

Mama isn’t as crazy as she used to be either.  She let me pick one up.

Everybody’s long necking today

I got six “new” hand-me-down layer hens last night.  They traveled quietly and stowed easily into the coop.

This morning, they came down the ramp looking around with their necks at maximum extension.  What? Is this where we live?  Where are we?  They walk around slowly, lifting their feet high and setting them down cautiously.

And the home girls are long necking at them. Who are THEY?  Where’d they come from?  Harumph.

Everyone is very suspicious, and the roosters are very busy taking charge.

Mouse in the house

I’ve had the sunflower heads in the house drying, and seeds spread out.

Enter the mouse.

One large advantage of the tiny house, free from the usual punctures in the envelope for plumbing and wiring, is that it’s almost mouseproof.  Mice can’t get in from underneath.

However, because the soffit isn’t done, mice can get into the walls by climbing the house and going in through the roof, and occasionally, a very enterprising or highly intelligent mouse does.  Not often.  Every month or two, long enough for us to forget where we put the mouse traps, a mouse with heightened problem solving skills appears who finds its way in.

Then there’s the sound. 

Crinkle….crinkle….scritch scritch! that makes our eyes pop open in the night – MOUSE!  Then HW rises to find and set traps, and that’s the end of the mouse of superior intellect.

But this mouse is surviving much longer.  Why would I want peanut butter, out of a jar, when I can eat plump organic sunflower seeds?  It’s a smart mouse, after all.  I’ve spread traps around and among my spread out seeds, hoping he’ll run across one by accident.  He isn’t.

This mouse is not necessarily eating the seeds either – how much can a mouse hold?  Instead, he’s relocating them.  I find little piles of seeds, so far: under my socks dropped on the floor, in the dishtowels, in the laundry basket, and in the kleenex box.  He’s keeping those seeds cozy.

I just cleaned up all the seeds, though, so the end is nigh for Mensa mouse.  As soon as he gives peanut butter a try.

Bee Bizarre

The bees are doing the strangest thing.  They are obsessed with the chicken food, groups of them buzzing and crawling over it all day.

The chickens are a little nervous about this, but they eat anyway.

It started as soon as I opened the last bag of chicken food, so the only thing I can guess is that this particular batch has a lot of pollen in it.  If there was some weed in the field or one of the grains in flower at harvest time, pollen might have come to be ground into the feed, and the honeybees are scavenging it right out of the chicken trough.

Every day, the bees are in every chicken dish, all day, working.  I’ve never seen such a thing before.

These are the phones I’ve had, I’ve had, These are the phones I’ve had.

When my phone slipped out of my hand and the screen shattered (exhibit H, lower right), becoming instantly useless, I scrambled to find an old phone that would work in the meantime.

I went to that box (the “someday, I’m going to be glad I saved that pink flip phone!” box), and found almost all the phones I’ve ever had.

The clutch of old phones got me thinking about electronic waste.

I resentfully entered into cell phone ownership in the late 2000s (pink flip phone), and, like cars, used my phones until they expired (which didn’t bode well for my current project), and with no hunger for cutting edge technology (as might be apparent).

So even with a very non-disposable attitude towards phones, I’ve gone through 11 phones.  Three are not pictured.  There was a silver LG flip phone (best phone ever!) that was impervious to all kinds of abuse, and I passed on to someone else for whom it continued to go and go.  Oh, the days of T9 texting.  The tenth was another LG, the chastity belt phone, that refused to unlock for any coercion and became a camera.  And one got lost in the woods.

I started charging phones.  Two of these don’t take a SIM card, so although they function, they were obsoletized, alas (someday…that pink phone will have its day, again).  Which would be the one that could get me through this pinch?  Maybe a blackberry?  Between the two of them, one complete blackberry is present, but it doesn’t talk to the network.  The iphone was hopeful.  Elegant phone, totally functional but for a broken internal antenna – garbage.  First LG touchscreen – total digital screen failure – kaput.

The Samsung on the end worked like a charm, yay!  The reason it got retired has not yet become apparent.  I’m about to buy phone #12.

I (self-identified resistor of phone consumption) am at an average of a phone every two years, which is about average (my attitude affects nothing).  All those pounds of waste!  Times billions of people, times all the years to come that we will continue to consume cell phones!

I’m also not doing anything useful by keeping my phone collection other than hoarding precious metals in an inaccessible form.  I need to get these recycled.

 

Little leafeaters

I wonder why my pepper plants have no leaves?

Maybe it has something to do with these little scamps.

Who, us? Surely not!

It’s also a mystery why they enjoy pepper leaves so much.  They must be sweet.  The hot pepper plants don’t get defoliated (the eggplant leaves are ragged too).  Doesn’t bother me.  They leave the peppers alone, and the plants will be out soon anyway.

There are 12 chicks in the GH, with two Silkie moms.  They have they’re hands (beaks?) full.

They’re at this point where the Silkie chicks (coming into fluffy tails), are the same size as the Chanticleer babies, who are eventually going to be huge. 

They all mostly get along.

Tomato abundance

It’s probably time to can tomatoes.

Some are rotting on the vine in the greenhouse.  Many are hollowed out by the resident chicks, and still, the tomatoes are cascading down the vines.

My favorite way to can cherry and grape tomatoes is to jam them all in a jar whole, and pack them with water with a bit of vinegar and salt (proper canning procedures, blah blah).  They come out cool as refreshing as when they were picked, softened, with a hint of tang.  I can eat a pint of them straight. 

Walnuts

The walnuts are dripping off the big tree, indicating they’re ripe!  Hopefully none of the chickens get beaned by the windfalls.

I haven’t even picked any off the tree, but the number that I’ve picked off the ground already exceeds the amount the squirrels have ever allowed me to get before.

I’ll have to look up how to treat walnuts; how to get them out of the green wrapper.