Sunday, September 28, 2014

Black Magic

I cornered Black Magic (Mags) and held her for a few moments, this morning.
Her crop was full and tight.
She felt healthy and alive. But, did a minimal of squirming
All the banties have a soft whimper, sounding a lot like a puppy.
Nothing like that loud-mouthed Goose. Who, by the way, has said nothing since her molt started. However, she's filling in nicely now and has begun to lay again. 
Always looking for trouble. Running wildly down the fence. Pacing back and forth. 
 Oh, there were 2 banty eggs in the nest yesterday. Chatty is no longer the sole provider of the little egg. I'm pretty sure Mags is laying now.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

A Brisk Sunday Morning

The rooster says, 'cock-a-doodle-cooool'. Most people would say 64 is a glorious temp to have. I suppose if there was some heavy manual labor happening, I'd agree. But, just walking around Out Yonder or, standing watching the chickens and listening to the sounds of suburbia, it's rather nipply. Of course, I'm a warm weather type of feller and relish the heat. I'd rather try and cool off than attempt warming up. I reckon the winter of 1980, on the flight line, in South Korea has a lot to do with it - single digit temps with double digit winds. Endless hours of frozen rain and snow blowing in your face. Fingers hurting so bad you pray they don't fall off from frostbite.

To go along with that 64 degrees, up yonder, is an easterly wind, I'd guesstimate 5 - 10 mph. I'm not a fan of wind, either. Fan? Wind? Imagine that. We also, have an abundance of shade trees which chill things down quite a bit on this type of day. On a positive note, the sun has started to shine bright and the skies are clear and blue.

I noticed the mater plants are on their last leg. I've already removed one that had since given up flowering. I had some maters in the house ripening, only to find them split and drooling on the counter. There's just a few maters left and I'm giving the majority of them to the chickens, now. I'll soon be clearing and tilling everything under. I've already gotten a spot ready for my winter garlic crop.

Goose isn't looking, or feeling, her best, lately. The molt has a good hold of her and she really looks pitiful, this morning. Did you know, the poorest laying hens usually look the worst while losing their feathers? While the best layers tend to rarely show any signs at all. I read that somewhere and Goose is definitely not known for her egg production.

Alice laid a deformed egg the other day. It's the first one, in all our years here. Could've been from the helicopter scare the other day. Or, molting will cause it, too. Not that she's showing any signs of the molt but, she is a terrific layer. It must've been a fluke. Yesterday's egg was back to normal.

Mags gives a disgusted look when she realizes my hand is empty of a snack.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Happenings Out Yonder

The other day I mentioned to the whoa-man about not seeing any vermin hanging around. I told her by saying something about them, they'd soon show some sign. The very next morning as I was opening up Out Yonder, I saw one scurrying away from the feeder and out of the run. Later, I saw a pile of dirt under a wagon I had parked next to the fence. Of course...Time for Victor.

A butternut squash from the garden all cooked up and awaiting the squawkers in the morning. 

Nothing like new straw to entice a chicken (Chatty) to rearrange some furniture. 

That time of year. Goose is first to show. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Bean Experiment

Beans, beans, good for your heart...

I planted bush beans last year and harvested, next to nothing. They grew good but, not having the room in my ground garden, I couldn't plant enough to make it worthwhile. This year I decided to give some climbing green beans a try and picked the unused clothes line as the runner. This being an experiment, I only planted a handful of beans. I installed some string for the plants to climb to the top and it's worked out well. But, I'll not get enough beans to write home about. Next year, I'll dedicate the entire line to beans.

Yesterday, I noticed the end plant was reaching for the trees behind. I thwarted its travel and rerouted it around the clothes line toward the pole. This morning I went out for a picture for this post. That plant had unwrapped itself from the wire and was IN the tree. I snatched its happy little green butt out of the tree, gave it a stern talking to and rewound it, again, around the wire.

What will tomorrow bring?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Found Some Pictures

Spa Day

Goose is molting. Alice is showing some signs but, Esther remains intact.

Morning, Glory

These morning glories just popped up along the fence. I could've thrown some wild seeds at some point, but I've heard other folks saying they have them all around their yards. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Naming of Mr. Ewell

Mr. Robert E. Lee Ewell.

Does the name sound familiar? Comes from a book written by Harper Lee.

If you've read me before, you know I name just about everything. If a name jumps into my head for any particular item belonging to me, I'll use it. Anything. Not just the living. I've named vehicles, yard equipment, and a few goldfinch feeders. Our feeders took on the names from the same book as Mr. Ewell (he came after) We had one hanging high in a tree and 2 below it on a metal hangar. Atticus, Jem and Scout. Another one hung in a different tree across the yard. It was named Boo Radley.

Jem and Scout Finch
Mr. Ewell has been around a few years. He lives in an abandoned shed belonging to my elderly female neighbor. She has a couple kids that stop by once or twice to check on her but, don't seem to do much of anything else for her. The same kids that moved in on her and bred pit bulls. At one time there was 13 of them. Dogs, not kids. Thank God they moved out. But, that's another story.

After hanging the finch feeders, we would find them on the ground in the mornings. I knew it couldn't be a squirrel, they sleep at night. We hadn't seen Mr. Ewell in a long time so, I thought maybe/perhaps a possum. Out Yonder has been used as a super highway for them, in the past. Then we started seeing the old boy. One night, the whoa-man spotted 2 coons searching the yard. They are so brazen, or used to the sounds and activity of our urban area, we can shine a flashlight on them from the house and follow them around the yard. Doesn't faze them a bit. Why, even once, Mr. Ewell grabbed his top hat and cane and did a little soft shoe, Vaudeville action in the spotlight.

One morning Jem and Scout were down. Scout was close but, Jem was dragged further out in the yard. His bottom plug was removed. (sorta like the book when Jem's arm was nearly wrenched from his body) That's when Mr. Ewell got his name. We try and bring Jem and Scout in every night, now - else we find them scattered around the yard. Atticus was removed from his tree one night and torn up. I now have a mini-me Atticus hanging in Nicholas, as an extra attractant for Mr. Ewell.

Who's Nicholas? Nicholas Cage. The live trap I purchased just for Mr. Ewell. No luck, yet. However, we watched one night as Mr. Ewell entered, grabbed a piece of apple and left Nicholas. (undisturbed) I have 2 Victors set up inside also. He never touched either of them nor did he hit the trigger to Nicholas. Lucky or smart?

Nicholas with the 2 Victors resting on top, awaiting tonight's mission.
I gave up the surveillance. The whoa-man continued and watched as he came back, entered Nicholas again to check out mini-me Atticus. Unimpressed, as he turned to leave, the Victors sprang into action. Traps were flying everywhere while Mr. Ewell made his escape before one of the Victors landed on Nicholas' trigger - activating the trap door. I'd say 'LUCKY' that time.

After the action, Mr. Ewell turned around and rechecked Nicholas. Really? At least we know he isn't too big for the trap. One day, my boy. One day.

UPDATE: Last night we watched as Mrs. Ewell entered Nicholas and was caught. Hurray! But, wait! She pushed at the bottom of the trap door and, just like a mouse, flattened out and slipped between the door and cage bottom. WHAT?! Unbelievable. So, I remodeled the design a bit. We'll see what happens tonight. WE WILL CATCH these 2. (hopefully)