She’s the last of the original three – her and the Grandpa – the big boss of the greenhouse. He’s not showing his age at all, but Granny is obvious.
She’s tiny, she moves slow, she’s not very white anymore, her head tips forward, no one bosses her, and her poof of hair feathers overhangs her eyes in a way that makes her look wizened.
She is the progenitor of half of all the Silkies in the greenhouse, but I think her hatching days are over. Every morning she eats with gusto but then toddles back to the coop, hops on the ramp, and goes back to bed. One of these days she won’t wake up in the morning.
HW just happened to remind me “remember when the rooster didn’t crow? Because he was a beta rooster?”. He’s right! The big rooster learned to crow after he arrived here, when he suddenly had to “man up” to his promotion to big cock on the block.
Now, he is deafening! He puts his whole considerable body into it, and throws his voice like a shotput. When he hops up on top of the coop, perfectly ear level to me, and delivers a cannon while I’m in the greenhouse, oh it makes my head ring! I can’t imagine sitting in a small, echoing box with him firing off multiple volleys, every morning. Maybe all the hens are hearing impaired.
Actually, he was probably a delta rooster, very low in his flock of origin, voiceless. I’m a big fan of secondary roosters, and promoting them. They’re so nice, appropriately frightened of people, and so appreciative of the job, it seems. They take it seriously and do it well.
I was commenting on the cocks of both flocks being both so good, it’s a shame they are aging and will soon need to be replaced. The red rooster lost all his accent feathers from his tail last year and they haven’t come back. Aging. And rooster choosing is dicey. A bad rooster can be a real dick. We are blessed with good rooster fortune on both sides of the haybales at the moment.
HW said “No… roosters can be really old and still be good roosters. You know, like in Chicken Run, the rooster’s a beat up old veteran.”
Me: That’s an animated feature! You can’t base your livestock knowledge on a cartoon!
The apples are coming! One of the big, old, stately ancient apple trees (when we come up with the perfect name for these wizened empresses of apple trees, it will become the name of our farm) by the old farmhouse is loaded with fruit, weighing the branches down to the ground. I picked up about 5 gallons of apples just off the ground, lobbing many of them directly into the pig compound. Oink, oink. Happy pigs.
I numbered all the fruit trees, and tagged them all with numbers I cut out of yogourt tubs and lids.
This is so that I can keep notes about health, pruning, fruit, etc, variety! when we figure out what the heck any of them are… and generally talk about them with better reference points than “that tree that used to have the hawthorn beside it but we cut it down”.
“You mean the one by the big rock?”
“No, closer to the well.”
“Oh, by the trail, where the rhubarb is.”
“No on the other side.”
This can take a while.
It turns out we have more than 60 fruit trees, so the above scenario for describing them is not very practical. Numbers are a good idea.
All are in various ages, stages, and health, but there are far fewer seedlings among the total than I expected. Half a dozen at most. Most are in “dire emergency” and need release, pruning, and more.
But some are big, majestic beauties that have been quietly living away and making apples without us here, and will go right on doing so.