Spring?

There are signs all around Faith Acre that indicate spring is imminent…except for today’s weather.  It is rainy and icky and cool.  I’m not complaining.  We need all the rain we can get to make it through our dry, hot summer. Cool weather is definitely better than cold or hot.  It’s just the kind of weather that makes me want to take a nap.  Well, honestly, I can pretty much be in the mood to take a nap no matter what the weather, but you know what I mean.

Nonetheless, I know that spring is here for two reasons. First of all – remember last year when the bird tried to move inside the house? https://wordpress.com/post/faithacrestudio.com/461

Well, he’s back.  Maybe not the same bird.  It’s hard to tell.  They all look alike to me.  Building in the same spots as last year – above the kitchen cabinet and the ceiling fan light fixture in the dining room.  I cleaned the nests out this morning.  They are being rebuilt this afternoon.  I’ve closed the door.  I’m letting the dogs in and out every five seconds.  Maybe every five minutes.  A whole, freaking lot anyway.  Definitely doing a doggy door this year.  Of course, I’m not sure that the bird won’t figure out how to use the doggy door before my dogs do.  They’re not the brightest pups in the pack.  I know the raccoons, possums and field mice will figure it out.  Maybe letting the bird live inside is the best option.

And last night we forgot to lock the chickens up in their coop at dusk.  The ladies go into the coop on their own, but we’ve still got to secure the door to keep them safe from predators.  We got home around nine and there was one of the chickens running around the front yard braving the dark and stormy night.

When we headed towards the chicken yard, she followed close behind vocally letting us know that we had failed at being competent poultry farmers.  As we approached the yard, it became evident that something was amiss.  The other 12 hens were running around flapping their wings and generally raising a ruckus.  When my daughter pointed the flashlight into the coop we saw a pair of glowing eyes.  A very pregnant possum had taken up residence in the dry shelter of the chicken coop.  She was reluctant to leave.  My oldest daughter tried to shoo her out.  She hissed.  I suggested that she push her out.

I received the “glare of death”.  You know the one I’m talking about.  The one that daughters learn about the time they turn 11 or 12.  The one that silently says that you are quite possibly the stupidest thing that manages to survive on the planet.

“You want me to poke the possum?”

“Well, yea.  She doesn’t seem to be listening to you when you tell her to get out.”

“You want me to poke the hissing possum?”

“Yes.”

“You want me to poke the hissing, possibly rabid, sharp-toothed possum?”

“Maybe you could use a stick.  Possums are almost blind.  She can’t see you to bite you.”

This went on for a while as we stood in the pouring rain.  Finally, the possum was removed from the coop.  The chickens were placed in the coop. They weren’t excited about it.  We put one in and two came out.  They didn’t like the smell of the possum.  Forty-five minutes later the job was complete.

I wonder how many babies that possum is going to birth?

 

The Great Chicken Massacre of 2015

Sigh.  Yesterday was a really hard day.  I didn’t share the tragic event (not sarcasm) because I wasn’t sure if it was something to share.  But it happened and it sucked and it relates to my circle of life posting and to my life as a parent.

We shall refer to this event as The Great Chicken Massacre of 2015.  (Great as in large and not awesome.)

Yesterday morning I went out to open up our chicken coop and to let our eight chickens out for their day.  It was pretty quiet.  That’s unusual.  I don’t get up as early as chickens do and they are usually not happy about that.  I opened the door and only two flew out – Raptor and Savage.  (Yes, they all have names courtesy of the children)

It took me a minute to figure out what the hell had happened.  I even poked one of the chickens to wake it up.  Chickens don’t lay down to sleep.  Sometimes we just don’t want to believe what we are seeing.  Two alive.  Two dead.  Two missing.  Two injured beyond the possibility of recovery.

I hate raccoons.  I understand the whole circle of life thing.  I understand that chickens will be chickens and raccoons just gotta be raccoons.  I hate them.  I’ll never understand killing for killing sake.  Just because.  Not for hunger.  Not out of need.  Just because you can.

By the way, the pacifist in me was quashed by the maternal, protective instinct in me.  Said raccoon has gone wherever dead raccoons go.  Around here it’s an open field away from the house where he can become part of the freaking circle of life and be buzzard breakfast.

The coop has been fortified.  Chickens have short memories.  The surviving two are no longer looking for the rest of the flock.

And, after having to explain the whole mess to my twelve year old who spends time reading to, talking to and hanging out with her birds, we ended up with 15 chicks.  In the house.  At the beginning of winter.  Chicks who won’t be able to go outside to live for months.  Chicks that chirp – all the time.  Chicks that eat all the time.  Chicks that poop even more than they chirp and eat.  Chicks that have to be under a warming light that warms up said poop.  Probably sufficient explanation of the insanity of getting chicks in November.

They are really, really cute though.  The naming process has begun. I have no idea how the kids can tell them apart to know which is which.  Chickens aren’t very good at responding to their name when called so it’s probably a mute point.  Come to think of it, kids aren’t very good at responding to their names and we name them.

On the decluttering front for today:

  1. 3 shirts that do nothing to make me look like a supermodel.  (I’m aware that none of my shirts have the ability to make that happen, but these three are serious fails)
  2. an inflatable cowboy costume that includes a horse that you appear to be riding on.  No explanation for the declutter really needed.
  3. a sweater that has more pills than my medicine cabinet
  4. a fitted sheet.  I already have two sets and although I can fold a fitted sheet (thanks Mom), I don’t want to so I just wash ’em and put them right back on
  5. an oscillating fan that doesn’t oscillate.  It just sits in one place and clicks incessantly as it tries to move.  Annoying to say the least.

As I read back over this list, I wonder why I ever kept these things to begin with.  Sometimes I have no words.

And if you are better at math than I am – 6 chickens gone and 15 coming in means that I actually now have more today than yesterday.  I’m coming to realize that the numbers aren’t so important.  It’s having only what you need and want that counts.