Friday, October 26, 2012

The Windy One

The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing...that's what I think of when I hear all the intense reports about the stormy weather headed our way.  They do this for every storm, I have arrived at the point that I don't really believe what they are telling me.  Sure, it looks huge on the weather map,sure it could be bad, and sure they could get everyone wound up just to increase their ratings.  It will be a very long windy rainstorm, probably a tropical storm for most of it.  I bought my batteries before they  ran out and I have made sure the staples are in my pantry and bought extra soy and almond milk. I picked up objects that could blow around in the yard, tomorrow we'll tackle that downspout issue that we've ignored.  Okay, I'm ready--I don't need the intense music played before each weather report--it's like the movies, when the exciting part is coming up the set the mood with music--they are playing a game with us--"Let's see if we can wind them up!"  They have the audience gripping their seats, but nothing has happened yet.  Stop it!

I was in the hardware store this morning, the contractors were there, all very jovial.  It seemed like a party, I realized the occasion when I overheard and exchange as one headed for the door.  One said, "Good luck to you!  Time to make some money!!"  The carpenters, plumbers and assorted other folks in the housing industry have had pretty lean times in the past few years and they see a giant, windy rainstorm as a humongous business opportunity.  Understandable.  I just never really thought about it until today.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Eating like a Bird

Never tell anyone that they eat like a bird.  I know from having a parrot for over a decade and now starting my second round of chickens that this really means you throw your food every where and poop in your water, also, the quantity of food is staggering, if only because half to three quarters of it gets tossed about and wasted.  Our new chicks have been with us for five days now, the box they came in seems inconceivably small ("The Princess Bride" always pops into my head when I say something like that).  The girls are all named:  Austrolorp is Kiwi (so we missed by one island)-she has an elegant look; the Silver Laced Wyandotte is Amelia since she is already attempting to fly; the Buff Orpington, mellow and sweet, is Sunshine, Sunny for short; then there are the ducks Olive is the big bossy one, Lily is the less assertive female and Sebastian is the drake.  It appears that the Golden Laced Wyandotte is the one chick that didn't survive the trip.  Eight broilers filled out the rest of the order, after studying images of the hatchery's stock, I have concluded that they are Barred rock cockerels.  Time will tell.

So we ordered seven babies, ended up with six keepers and eight extras that we need to house at least temporarily.  They are growing like gangbusters, so they will end up out in the coop sooner than planned, with their heat lamps, of course. Time to go cut some lumber, the run is not finished.







Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Chick and Duckling Power

Our new chicks and ducklings are set to arrive within the next 72 hours.  Like most other babies, we are expecting a call in the dark of the night announcing their arrival, but this time it will be the US Postal Service asking us to take the little peepers off their hands.  According to the postal worker I spoke to, the sorting room is rather echo-y and it doesn't take long for the peeping to be rather distracting and slightly annoying.  I also have the feeling that they don't want any dying from a chill on their watch.  So, we'll relieve the USPS as soon as we can.  We will all have a set of clothes next to the bed ready for the 4:30 AM call, the camera battery will be charged and the feeders and waterers filled.  We'll click on the heat lamps before we head out so the brooder will be nice and warm for when we return with our box filled will fluffy beings.

My daughter has begun to invite every other child she knows over to the house to cuddle the chicks and duckies, by the time they arrive we will have an entire elementary school and soccer league camping on the lawn.  This brings me back to my last post about lack of community in the suburbs, this will be a "building" experience.  I'll invite parents in, provide snacks and generally be the hostess.  We found pet chickens to have the magnetic power, years ago when our last batch of chickens were little. We often came home to find neighborhood kids in our backyard looking at the pullets, so much so that we had to put a lock on the coop, because they would take them out to play, but forget to put them back and leave them vulnerable to predators.  There was also the issue of flying.  I repeatedly told the kids that the chickens didn't fly, but it seemed that every little boy in the neighborhood had to test that by throwing the chickens high in the air only to see the the panicky  chickies struggle, flap furiously, and plunk back down on the ground, so the coop had to be locked to prevent the girls from suffering from these indignities.

One challenge this time will be  that the company that is sending them will put in extra cockerels to help keep the chicks we ordered warm for their journey, heat packs won't last for three days, but body heat does.  The issue of what to do with the cockerels afterwards has been something I have pondered in my red chair.  What the family has decided is that they will be called broilers and we will do what our grand parents used to do, learn how to eat our own home raised chickens.  These boys will be farm animals, the girls will be pets.  Since we would rather not have cock fights in the back yard and know that our land is abutting other properties whose owners might not appreciate an early wake up call from a rooster, this is the way it has to be.  From my experience living in a community that had roosters years ago, is that after a few weeks, you don't really hear them--they become part of the background, but then never annoyed me in the first place.  I'm afraid that someone in the HOA-type neighborhood that abuts the back of our property with their professionally landscaped lawns, etc. might not take too kindly to farm sounds.

Ducks are new for us.  We've done our reading, spoken to folks with ducks, prepped as best we can, now it is up to trial, error and further research.    A new adventure!!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Too quiet in Suburban-Land

It has been about six months since moving into our new home, and a year and a half since moving into this state hundreds of miles from anyone we knew.  We're in large lot suburban-land, you may or may not see the neighbors for weeks.  I'm not working at the moment, so I thought I would putter around for a bit and get to know folks.  One problem, I'm meeting very few folks.  One way I have met lots of people through the years is through my daughter's activities, those obligatory events and practices that chop up and chew up any parent's schedule.  It isn't working well here.  During soccer practice the parents who come and decide to stay, sit in their cars messing with their iphones and ipads.  At the events, everyone seems to pretty much walk in, watch the event and leave.  There doesn't seem to be as much, "Hi!  Haven't seen you in ages, what are you up to??" sorts of conversations about me.  Then I realized, I'm living in commuter land.  This town is where folks live, but it not where they work, socialize, eat out or shop.  You have to leave town to do those things.  It seems to be a community with little community, it's pretty, it's quiet, it has wonderful schools, low crime and comparatively low taxes, but does it have a soul?.  My mission, to either discover the bits of community that there are or create my own little community in the vacuum. Wish me luck!