Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Bird House & Barn

It's time for a Farm Report!
7:19 am...

Hang on! Ada's here to say Good morning, and as soon as I get the morning rolling, I'll be right back here at the computer, with a cup of tea {I hope}. Then I can show you chickens, and goats, and talk about the shade plants where the hens dustbath, and tell you about how much goats love to get their chins scratched. I am looking forward to this... back soon.

8:43 am...

Part one of errands and duties accomplished, now happily stationed at my desk, and editing photographs. It feels like a long while since I share the latest news from the barn. I wonder if you could tell the spring chicks from the old guard. Our newest girls are full fledged hens, and we've even got an egg to prove it!


The goats are well. Of course they don't read the news, so they aren't fretting over the dire warnings of record rainfall forecasted to come in about a month. We welcome the rain, but Tasha and Ada are going to be forlorn and dismayed, come rainy season. If I wasn't sure they'd chew them to bits, I'd get them rain slickers and galoshes. If Ada has a single unsettling thought in her goat head, she only needs to be scratched on her hairy chin to be assured that all is well in the world... her world, anyway!

In Emma Thompson's world, though, things are quite ruffled and flustered. It's a terrible case of broodiness. She thinks the eggs she hoards will hatch, if only the farmer would stop stealing them from under her. Poor Ms Thompson chose the goats' hay trough for her labors of love, and she won't get off the nest. The goats, gingerly, eat around her, taking care not to get their noses pecked. And even during this heat wave, with the nest in full sun, Ms Thompson pants her way through the day, in a metal box. No rooster, no chicks, I assure her. But she'll have none of it, and sits in broodiness and discomfort.

Kamen, older and wiser, knows that while the sun shines, life is better enjoyed free-ranging, scratching, pecking, and dust bathing. Chicken facts, tried and true.

And if it's evening time, and everyone is on the loose, the joy is quite evident. Oppressive temperatures have waned, a breeze is up, the brightest rays of the sun are dropping below the trees, and everyone (except poor Ms Thompson) is out for a stroll and romp. I love this time of day, too. Dinner made and served, homework wrapping up, the boys are usually strolling, too. Geoff and William in the shop, seeing to a dragon head.

Solanum crispum. I've grown rather fond of this plant. I never would have planted one myself, because they're poisonous. My planting policy is make it edible, or terribly beautiful, but never poisonous. The goats, fortunately, are clever enough to leave the potato vine off their menu, and the chickens only peck at the flowers, which doesn't seem to do them any harm. The plant has become an enormous shrub, and the shady refuge of all the hens.

Here you see Ada in front of the vigorous vine. Branches just hang in long arches, making an open canopy beneath, where all the hens rush when they're let out of their run. Beneath are their dug out dust bathing tubs, and loosed feathers.

One of the spring chicks, an Ameracauna. The new chickens love to get up onto the roof of the run, and if I don't coax them down before sunset it's a major undertaking getting them down!






Have you guessed? I love the Wyandottes. I love all the chickens, but these girls... oh my! They're gorgeous, and pretty, and attractive. They posses an air of sophistication, and I guess I've been trying to break into their clique... you know, be one of the girls. It's not happening. You can see they're poised, confident. They have that thing. That self possessed, confidence thing. When I feel like they're too much, I just look at their feet, the funny turn of them, and it makes me feel less humbled by their beauty.

Tasha is stunningly beautiful, too, but she's a girlfriend, she hangs out and keeps it real. Ada, too. Ada gets a little too real. She always has a little belch for me. She nuzzles real close to my face, then erppp-p! She's adorable.

Thompson? Thomson? Tamsyn? This might be Liberty. Only the Opringtons and Kamen cannot get over the 6' high fence. Orpingtons are a bit heavy, and Kamen is a bit small, and old. You'll always find a Thomson or two cruising the garden beyond their own yard, and Mako, too.

The lovely thing about Mako... she loves to be friends, and will come in for a snuggle. Last night I taught her about selfies.

Selfies, I explained to Mako, are 'a kind of self-expression, a chance to reflect on what you project to the world, show a little You. Too many selfies and you may get labeled something bad, and too few and people might wonder what you're hiding from. Something in between is nice. I like seeing my friends play, travel, express their selves, and sometimes we have to take these matters into our own hands.' And she nodded, amenable to giving it a go.

Mako's selfie. I told her about duck lips, but she thought that was ridiculous.

Chicken lips, everyone. Chicken lips are the new duck lips.

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