Thursday, February 23, 2012

Still Awesome

Sixty seven years ago today, Joe Rosenthal took this iconic photo.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Maximum Production

A beautiful sight..

Giving credit where credit is due...
Top row, left to right: Red, Princess Laya, Cream
Bottom row: Wedge, Rocky

All of my girls produced today, Wedge and Cream for the very first time. I don't expect five eggs every day, but it's pretty cool that it happened today.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Ruckus Central

As usual this morning the Flockers have been chaotic and loud. Not as loud as when Peaches was a part of the group, but loud nonetheless. I released them from their coop around 7:15 this morning, put them up for a few minutes around 8:45 (to let the dogs out), and then re-released them around 9:15. A few minutes after being re-released all hell broke loose out there. So I went out.

It turns out that two of the girls, Red and Princes Laya, had decided to use the same nest box this morning. They do usually lay their eggs in the same box, just not usually at the same time. So this morning there were two fat chicken butts in a one chicken butt box. And they were both determined that they weren't leaving. So I did the only logical thing I could think of in this situation, I got my camera.

Now, they have settled down in the above picture and are kind of "purring" to each other. Not sure what that exactly means but it sounded much more positive than the previous ruckus.

And of course nobody can do anything without Miss Busybody herself sticking her beak in to see what's going on.

All chaos, all the time. Welcome to my world.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sunset in Sedona

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

An Image of Love

I was going through a bit of cleaning last week and ran across the remaining supplies from my photography class. I had bought paper the week before the end of class and still had thirty pieces left. This is paper that is strictly for use in a dark room, not the kind I can use on a regular printer. It's also ridiculously expensive.

Not wanting it to go to waste, I emailed my teacher and offered it to him or any member of his class. Instead of taking it, he asked if I had anything I wanted to print and told me to come in to class and do so. How awesome is that? Because during the class I was doing very specific projects but when it ended I still had film left that I could use however I wanted. And you know how I wanted to use it, on the ones I love. So heck ya, I went in to class last night and after several hours finally got the print I wanted. Then I reproduced it several times over so I could give a copy to both sets of grandparents.

Master J

I did attempt to print out a picture of Mister C and Master J together that I really liked but I couldn't seem to get the contrast right and it just looked flat to me so I finally gave up on it (sorry Mister C, that was supposed to be your Valentine's Day gift.) But at least I got this one.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Peaches, but not Cream

So I had to find Peaches a new home today. She had major issues with vocal volume control and I was afraid of offending the neighbors. After checking to see if I could pawn her off on my parents or their friends, I placed an ad on Craigslist.

About an hour later I got a response from a gal named Lori who lives less than ten miles from us. After speaking with her briefly I knew she would be the right home for one of my animals. You guys know all I have are weird, odd, unnatural acting animals in my household. Everything that comes into this house or yard is abnormal. I'm also one of those whose animals all seem to get along, cats and dogs sleeping together and the like. Even Izzy, who still tries to poke the cats into running so she can chase them, was supposedly not able to be homed with any other animals at all. I guess we're just lucky that the cats are too damned lazy to run. But I digress...

Well, I think I found my kindred spirit in Lori. I got to her home to drop off Peaches and was greeted out back by two sweet dogs, alpacas, emus, a miniature horse and a rather large flock of mixed chickens and turkeys. Which, total side note here, dang but it never occurred to me to have turkeys! Of course as much as Mister C loves turkey I suspect I'd have to keep a good eye on him to prevent any premature basting of them. I'd hate to come out and find my turkeys covered in butter. Yeah, I think I'll skip the turkeys for now. Having said that though, I think Peaches found the absolute perfect home at Lori's little farm and I'm glad for that.

After I got back home I made a point to go out to the coop where the rest of the gang was getting ready for bed. I did a head count and then explained to the girls how the new number was less than the previous number. I went on to mention how if we had any additional issues with loudness that the number would likely change again. So, if they like their living accommodations, my suggestion would be for them to quietly lay eggs and behave themselves.

I think they understood me, they cocked their heads at me a bunch. Several of the rebels gave me the stink eye though, I'll be watching them.

So anyway, thanks to Lori for taking on my problem child, I'm sure Peaches will fit in much better with her flock where she won't be in trouble for doing what's natural.

The ad is below...

Loud Hen, Low Price - $5

One exceedingly loud, obnoxious, domineering white leghorn hen needs to be re-homed today before the HOA comes and kicks the whole flock out. She is named "Peaches" but I'm fairly sure she has absolutely no clue what her name is. She will come running if she thinks you have oatmeal though.

For a few days I was concerned that "she" was a "he" because of the noise. But no, she's just the loudest damn hen I've ever run across. She complains about everything, it's constant and it's LOUD! Her gender was confirmed today when she laid her first egg. Her egg laying consisted of a long preamble about how she was going to lay an egg, five minutes of quiet while she did so, and then a loud and long broadcast about how awesome she was at laying an egg. I can't take this on a daily basis and I'm sure my neighbors are even less inclined to do so since they won't have the benefit of fresh eggs.

I raised her from a few days old so she is pretty easy to handle. She will come to me when called, and to anyone if they have food. Because of this, I would prefer she was being adopted for her egg laying abilities (or as a pet) and not as tonight's dinner. Having said that, as obnoxious as she is, she probably won't put up with wearing knitted sweaters or any such thing if you tend towards that.

Born on or about 9/2/2011 so she's just over five months old. Eats Purina brand Layena, most fruits or vegetables and, as mentioned above, adores oatmeal. Bugs, spiders and flying insects are also game. Leghorns are some of the best egg producers out there, they lay an average of 280 eggs per year (and can go as high as 320 eggs a year) so almost daily. Since she just laid her first egg today, she should have many years of laying in front of her.

This girl needs to find a new home, most likely on a farm or acreage and preferably one with no close neighbors to disturb. Producing hens generally cost at least $20, but she needs to go today so I'm only asking for a re-homing fee of $5 (cash). I need to get her out of here before the neighbors figure out which house has the chickens.

Bring a small kennel or some other method of transport.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


One of my girls finally started producing eggs this week. She gave us the first one on Tuesday and has laid three more since then. At least I assume it's the same chicken laying eggs since they look the same and I keep finding them in the same spot. I'm not sure which one it is but I know I can positively rule out the two leghorns and the two Easter Eggers since the eggs I'm finding are brown. Which leaves either Red or Rocky. I thought for sure it was Rocky because I'm finding the eggs where she tends to roost. But then yesterday when I found the egg, Red had sand on her back. Which brings me to the other part of my situation, whoever is laying is doing so in the dirt. We have four perfectly good, hay-filled nesting boxes in the coop. Minimum standard is one box for every four birds, so we definitely have enough boxes. But this bird lays her egg in the dirt, behind the food dish. On the one hand I'm thinking whoever it is might be a little dumber than her flock-mates, the boxes certainly look more comfortable. But on the other hand, from where she has to be sitting to lay her egg she can most likely just reach over an grab some food. Having gone through the birthing process myself I'd say she's actually pretty smart. So anyway, somebody is earning their keep out back and hopefully the rest of them should be starting soon.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Designated driver

On Monday, my friend A had her gallbladder removed. Anyone who has had to go through the process to figure out that they needed this surgery in the first place knows it isn't fun. It's usually months, if not years, of discomfort and pain. It's often enough to be miserable, but not often enough to go to the doctor and get any kind of concrete answer. I had this very same particular surgery done two decades ago when I was young. Mamoo, my older sister and most, if not all, of my aunts have had this same surgery. My family is either genetically predisposed to this particular problem, or we all eat the same crap that can contribute towards causing it. I'm betting it's a 40/60 split with the preference towards our diet. But I digress.

I took A in to the hospital Monday morning around 10:45. I'm not sure when her surgery was technically scheduled for but we needed to be there by 11:00 so I'm guessing around noonish. They didn't take her back until almost 1:00 at which point I went out and got myself a cheeseburger and a coffee at a nearby strip mall. Good thing I did since it was a long while before I ate again.

A's doctor came out to the waiting room to update me after he finished the surgery. This was around 2:15, about the amount of time I would have expected. He told me she had done well and was in the recovery room. Evidently she found the recovery room to her liking because she spent a good amount of time there. Usually time in recovery is 30-45 minutes before they ship you back to outpatient. Three hours and fifteen minutes later I was finally called back to outpatient. To their credit, the liaison nurse from recovery did come out frequently to give me updates. Most of them were along the lines of "Well, she's still in a lot of pain, it's going to be another 45 minutes to an hour." The final update was "She's back there discussing the superbowl commercials with the nurses." So I knew we were close at that point.

Finally at 5:25 they called me back to the outpatient area, which by the way, is exactly the same place as the inpatient area. So anyone coming in for surgery can get an inkling of the fun they'll be having after they wake up from their surgery. Probably not good planning if you think about it. But anyway, I head back and there's A, laying in her bed and not looking very happy. She was still in a lot of pain.

As a total side note here, everyone has a different pain threshold. Some people, myself included, have an exceedingly high pain tolerance. This is great for the fact that those people tend to have a really quick recovery time and be up and going about their business soon after surgery. Some people have an exceedingly low pain tolerance. In the case of A, per the nurse, she has "zero pain tolerance." So, they had to give her more medication than someone with a higher threshold would require. I tell you all of this just so you can have a better understanding of the rest of this story.

By the time I showed up in outpatient, A had had several doses of whatever they give you in the recovery room, but she's still exceedingly uncomfortable. About thirty minutes after I get into the room they give her two Percocets. She got a little sleepy so I got out my book to pass the time. After about fifteen minutes of quiet we get the following (out of the blue mind you)

A: You're my buddy!
M: (laughing) yeah, I know.
A: Seriously, you're so nice.
M: Yup. How about you rest for a little while?
A: Okay. But you're still my buddy.

We have quiet for a few minutes.

A: Did I tell you how much I appreciate you doing this?
M: Yep, you did. It's cool.
A: I'm so sappy right now.
M: Yes, you kinda are.
A: Buddy!

Shaking my head, going back to my book we get a few more minutes of quiet.

A: Hey, I should call my mom!
M: Okay.

I hand her her cell phone and she slurs through a conversation with her mom (Hi Mellon!) Eventually phone call gets disconnected and A passes back out.

Repeat the above interactions several times over before we get the final go ahead to leave the hospital. This is around 6:45. I go pull my vehicle to the patient loading zone and the nurse and I help pour A into it. As we pull away, I have her prescription in hand and have dug out her insurance card and debit card to get it filled. On the way to the pharmacy the conversation continues in it's previously established vein...

A: I love you man.
M: (Laughing) drugs kicking in nicely huh?
A: Yep. Good stuff.
M: I'm glad you're not in as much pain.
A: Nope.
A: I'm still really sappy though, and I'm just gonnna tell you that you're my buddy.
M: Okay, that's cool.
A: (Breaking into song) Oh! And then I shot my foot off!
M: What the hell?
A: It's a song! Jeff Dunham.
M: Oookkkaaayyy.
A: Yup! Jingle bombs! Jingle bombs! Jingle all the way!
M: Oh dear god, this isn't good.
A: No! It's really cool! It's Akmed the Terrorist and he blows himself up!
M: Hahaha! Dude, I feel like the designated driver taking my drunk friend home from the bar.
A: (back to singing) I got through checkpoint A, but not through checkpoint B, where are all the virgins that were promised me?
M: (shaking head) We're at the pharmacy, settle down for a few.
A: Okay! (to the car in front of me) Hey! Move it! Blocking up the line. (to me) you should go to the next line over.
M: They one that's blocked off?
A: Oh yeah, I didn't see that.
M: Also, there's no speaker or anything over there. I'd have to yell over to the first line and get out of my car to bring them the prescription.
A: Oh wow, I didn't even notice that there's nothing there.
M: That's not really surprising.
A: Oh! Jingle bombs! Jingle bombs! Your soldiers shot me dead!
M: Good lord.

And so it continued until I had dropped off the prescription at the window. We had a twenty minute wait so I left her in the car long enough to go inside and get her some apple juice. She tried to convince me to take her debit card for the transaction but I could just see how well that would go. Let's see, I've just dropped off a prescription for a narcotic at the window and now I'm inside using a debit card that's not my own, and the owner of the above mentioned debit card is singing loudly in the parking lot about terrorists. Yeah, I'm not going to jail for a bottle of apple juice, I'll buy this round thanks.

I finally got A home and on the couch where she passed out for several hours before I left. She's doing better today, although still in a lot of pain. She has stopped singing songs about terrorists and calling me her buddy. And as promised, I did not videotape her performance. Although I should have. I could have gotten some really good mileage from it.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Yet another episode of the Keystone Cops

So yesterday I went out to feed my chickens. A pretty straightforward task that doesn't take a whole lot of thought, effort or time. Usually.

I had filled their feeder and was putting it back in the coop when somehow, I'm not even sure how, I whacked my head on one of the boards that holds up the roof. And when I say "whacked" I truly mean I whacked that sucker hard. Like, seeing stars hard. Instant pain shooting through my head hard. Ah awesome.

So I finish setting the feeder down, grab my head and start stumbling out of the coop. Now, just outside of the coop, Mister C had put a trail of stepping stones so I could walk from the coop to the grass without stepping on the gravel. The only problem is that earlier in the day one of the dogs had run through the area and knocked some rocks onto the the stepping stones. And as I stumbled blindly out of the coop, holding my head in agony, I stepped directly onto one of those stones that were sitting on the stepping stone. Barefooted. And it was like stepping on a Lego on the kitchen floor, the pain shot up through my foot and my immediate reaction was to try and get away from that pain.

So now I'm holding my head, trying to lean away from the sharp rock in my foot, and trying to keep my balance while blinded by pain from head to toe. And of course it's me, so there's no balance on a good day without issues and I started to tip over. I reached out to grab the nearest thing to try and catch my balance. The nearest thing happened to be the top rail of one of our raised garden beds. I caught myself and immediately felt pain in my thumb because somehow, I had managed to catch the rail at just the right angle to shove a splinter of wood deep into my thumb.

So now, I'm holding my aching head, limping from the rock in my foot and bleeding from a splinter that's so deep in my thumb that I can barely see it. Oh and the chickens are fairly traumatized as well by the all the flailing about and whimpering. Good times.

It took two attempts by me and one by Mister C before I could dig that stupid splinter out. By the end I was bleeding pretty well and it still hurts today as does my head. On the bright side, my foot feels perfectly normal.

The best part of the whole incident is the that I've read enough and seen enough of what chickens can and will eat and there's no way I'm going down in their immediate area. That's all I need is to be pecked to death by my girls. I suspect there would be no glory in that ending.

So, there you have it, yet another reason why I shouldn't be allowed out without supervision.