Saturday, October 30, 2010

The bobble-heads get a boyfriend

Punkster (the gold laced Polish above) kept picking on Brangelina the Ameraucana until Bran would shriek and run at the mere sight of the Punk, who would dash after the fleeing object, corner her, and peck at her amid even louder shrieks and squawks. Dartmouth (silver laced, top) joined in the bully-party but only after Punk started it.

For several days and nights I confined Punkster and Dartmouth to the hutch where they paced back and forth, complaining constantly about not being allowed out to play. Meanwhile, Brangelina's missing feathers were getting a chance to grow back in but bare spots were still visible. Maybe the pecking was due to the sight of bare chicken skin? After all, it's not pretty stuff.

Years ago the late spouse and I solved a similar problem by coating the offending area with black, tarry stuff. Not having any, I went for the next best solution. I got out a black Sharpie pen, pounced on Brangelina, and drew on the chicken. I didn't draw pictures; I just dotted the Sharpie wherever bare skin showed. It worked as a disguise but when I let Punkster out of the hutch, she made straight for Brangelina and jumped her. I grabbed Punkster by the neck and popped her back in solitary confinement.

Fearing nobody would want hens whose best laying days were over, I put a notice on my chicken list anyway. Through a complex series of somebody who knows somebody, I found a lady with a lonely rooster. She did not care if the hens laid eggs; she enjoyed looking at them and she knew that a single rooster is always in want of a flock. (Class, get out your copies of Pride and Prejudice and turn to page one.)

Punkster and Dartmouth are settling in to new quarters with a small rooster and a big yard and people to admire them. The two hens could decide to gang up on the rooster, who is apparently a very mild-mannered type; but I believe he will rise to the occasion and assert himself.

I'm down to three hens who have forgotten there ever were two others in the flock. Peace reigns, though it still looks moth-eaten.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday, October 22, 2010

Limericks Littering the "L"

People on the Airedale list are posting silly limericks about their dogs. I'll show you mine if you show me yours. I hope to read limericks about all sorts of dogs.

MirĂ³ and Alanis, with me,
walk nicely on neighborhood streets
but when it’s time to trim nails,
I see tucked-under tails
and the tips of their ears as they flee.

I once flew an Airedale named Miro
across the US from Ohio.
He fit on my lap
while taking a nap
but now he’s the size of a rhino.

Alanis arrived from Alberta
where she had her very last litter.
She was happy to be
an only-dog with me
until I added a bitey-faced critter.

Now he nags her incessantly
to play chase and sweep the yard free
of squirrels and cats
and now I think that’s
why she tries to hide behind me.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Chicken Altercation

The innocent victim

The lighter patch shows the innocent victim's feathers growing in.
Birds moult at the end of summer but not all at the same time or in the same way. Little Edna, the Modern Game bantam, went without a tail for a while. Brangelina, Americauna shown above, dropped a pile of wing and back feathers, leaving her looking half-plucked even while they were growing in.

Punkster, below, fancies herself in charge of everything. Seeing a strange-looking hen in "her" run, she started picking on Brangelina, chasing her out of the coop or just out of the way. She corners the larger hen and beats on her while Brangelina cowers and squawks with head tucked down. When she can, Brangelina hops on top of the old hutch and crouches in the space between the overhead netting and the hutch top.

Punkster the evil-doer

I got really tired of the noise and fighting one evening at chicken bed-time when Punkster was trying to force Bran out, so I hauled Punkster out of the coop and tossed her in the hutch, closing the door. All the other hens settled quietly on their roosts in the coop while Punkster paced back and forth, very unhappy about being alone in a different place. When it grew completely dark out, I fetched Punkster from the hutch and put her in the coop with the others.

Chickens are disoriented in the dark; even with the aid of a flashlight, Punkster didn't seem entirely awake. She made the high-pitched humming noise that sounds like "huuuunnnhhhh?" while stepping cautiously inside. I waited for a while, shining the flashlight for her, while she stood around--you wouldn't call it thinking but I guess something was slowly revolving in her head. I think she spent the night on the coop floor.

The next morning when they all woke up, there was that strange moth-eaten chicken and the bullying started all over again. When Brangelina's feathers finish growing in, Punkster will go, "Oh, I know you; you're part of the flock." Or I hope she will.

P.S. Blogger is really messed up today. I had to revert to the old blogger in order to upload photos and back to new to fix the spacing because the new one suddenly wanted me to sign in again in order to upload, and then it wouldn't recognize my user name or password. Anybody else encounter, and possibly solve, that problem?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Powered by ADT

That's the look of a dog outside the kitchen who knows there's cooking going on inside.

Tonight's dinner turned out awful, right down to the dish broken in the sink when the jar I was trying to open fell on it. I have time to eat or I have time to cook, not both. The only good part was chopping up the overcooked hunk of meat in my new mini food processor, meaning the processor worked well and the meat tasted just as awful as before the chopping. (After over-cooking it, I had ideas about shredded beef and sauce but there was nothing, absolutely nothing, with which to make strongly flavored glop to put over the meat; and I did not intend to mix it with a can of chili because my son and I ate chili yesterday or maybe it was the day before.)

I started making cornbread and discovered I had polenta-type ground corn, not cornbread type. I made crunchy cornbread. The chickens and parrots will love it.

While Alanis barked at the back door, Miro stopped in front of the window to tell me to let him in. Instead of letting him in, I did what any sensible person would do--let the food burn and run for the mobile phone camera. In the photo he's up on his hind legs behind the sign that lets all wanderers know there are Airedales (ADT's) in the house, as if he's saying,"I don't care what you did to it; I'll eat it."

With dogs in the house, you never really cook a bad meal.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Wimpy dogs

There's Alanis refusing to go to the back yard and pee. It has been raining steadily since yesterday. She did not want to go out in the dark last night, nor out in the dim morning. Miro wasn't too eager, either, but he followed me to the yard and "emptied the tank," as one writer put it. Alanis simply walked out to the patio, turned around and went back to wait at the door.

They will happily walk around the neighborhood with me in the rain while I get soaking wet. But go out to the wet yard? Alone? In the dark? No way!

It's lighter out now, as light as it will get today, so we'll try again. Meanwhile, the chickens emerged from their house, looked around, railed against nature with high-pitched whines, and retreated.