Monday, October 23, 2017

No. 22 In The Series, 'Things You Do NOT Want To Touch'

Apparantly, 'Fall' to our chickens sounds a klaxon that screams, MOLT NOW! MOLT NOW! MOLT NOW!

The chicken yard is awash in feathers, and while most of the birds are --eh, kinda molting--while others refuse to...

Some take things way too far.

Tonight I went out to pass out some goodies and nearly screamed at Cluckadorkle--normally a fairly fluffy girl.

Yeah, right now she's a beige pincushion.

Then there's Pele, who molts heavily every single year.
She's working on her usual: molting out white feathers and growing in lavender ones.

When she realized I was taking pictures she ran and hid behind Milton.

Then there's nearly 10 year old Beauty, whom I swear has NEVER molted. Her feathers wouldn't dare fall out.

Although she looks pretty irritated to have everyone's molted feathers stuck to her feet like the rest of the chickens do...

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Attack Of The Giant Chicken

Just now there was a fat housecat half-heartedly stalking birds in my front yard...

The sparrows were barking, alerting everyone to his presence.  Then the quail decided this was bullshit and really started after him, chasing him down...

Then my kid, who is home sick today and never got out of her pajamas, stepped out onto the porch dressed in a chicken onesie.

Once the giant chicken got involved that was it, that damned cat ran for the hills.  Doubt he'll ever be back.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Odds & Ends...

The kid worked her magic on a claw machine the other day at the grocery store and ended up with this guy...
Whom I promptly dubbed, 'Gotta Pee Duck'.  Although going by his shocked, glum expression of regret, it may already be too late.

Driving down highway 395 recently, I decided that this perfectly displayed how I felt:

Me on the left driving through the Owens Valley...me on the right when I discover it's on fire AGAIN.
This was one of those 'management fires', but they still make me uneasy--it's so easy for these to get away and out of hand.

Lastly, just wanted to let everyone know that Pele is holding with her own personal tradition of molting during summer while it's hot...and then taking her sweet time growing *new* feathers, waiting until the cold weather sets in.  And meanwhile looking like a Chernobyl victim.

Lordy.  Forty miles of bad road, right there.  Silly chicken.

Fun With Groceries

OK, now they're just fucking with me...
I'll admit when I picked it up in the store it broke my brain for a second.

In other news, I picked the entirety of the crop off my McIntosh apple tree the other day...

And it was *tiny*.  Oh well, the thing wasn't supposed to be old enough to produce yet, so more power to it!

Friday, August 25, 2017

I Have Pears!

After only two years in the ground, our Bartlett pear tree is producing, yay!

Tonight the kid and I harvested 16 of them.  Growing pears is a first for me.  Other than soap spray for bugs/disease in the Spring, we didn't use any chemicals, so of course we get some wonky fruit in there...but for the most part they look OK.  To check and see if they are aready to pick, you cradle the fruit in your hand and tip it horizontally to the branch--if it comes off easily, it's ready.  There are still another 10 or so pears on the tree.  Now to wait for a few days while they finish off ripening--you don't want to allow pears to ripen on the tree or they get mushy and mealy.

So in a few days, we'll see!  Can't wait!

...and YES, we had an anxious chicken audience below, praying we'd drop just one....

Friday, July 7, 2017

Here Fishy, Fishy!

Took the kid down to visit her cousins in southern California, on the way we stopped at the historic Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery in Independence, California.  That link is the official CA link, there is another maintained by the hatchery today, here.  I'd suggest reading both to get the full story, also to talk with the volunteers in person.  The tale of determined locals vs. state government, betrayals and victories they've told me could be a movie of the week!

The hatchery has been around a long time.  After severe flooding and mudflows destroyed the fish-rearing ponds, four buildings, filled the fingerling raceways and killed all the fish in 2008, there then followed California's budget woes that forced it's closure.  It would have disappeared if it wasn't for a stubborn group of volunteers that saved it.

Today it's no longer a hatchery but is instead an interpretive center/museum--but with fish!  It has odd days and hours of operation, so it can be difficult to catch it open.  But it's well worth it! They specialize in raising Golden Trout, the stunning California state fish.

The pond out front is home to some truly huge, pretty damned tame Rainbow trout...

...and several kinds of dragonflies!

This one just climbed right onto the kid's fingertip.

 The trout just kinda hang around certain spots near the shore...

The reason why they hung out in these particular areas?
Old coin-operated candy machines that give you a big ol' handful of trout chow for a quarter to cast upon the waters!
Which promptly causes a fish riot. The pond was calm, so the little kids standing near us as we tossed in the food were shrieking with excitement.  Pretty soon all the adults were shoving quarters or trout chow into any kid nearby's hands so they could feed them, too. Didn't matter if it wasn't your kid, here have a quarter and get some trout chow, it's awesome!

Fish riots are cool.
They swim over each other and bonk into each other as they go after the food; Hell, they don't care.

I like this pic for the beautiful tail sticking out of the water.

After this we went inside.  The volunteers have been working hard to improve the place, installing a video monitor with seating so you can watch a show on the hatchery's history, plus a bunch of exhibits with old-time fish stocking equipment from the days when it was all done using pack trains of horses. There is also a small gift shop and another room with a few odd 'yard sale' items people donated to help raise money for the site.

But also--Golden trout fingerlings!

Pretty sure this sign was from last year, but heck, it still works.

Golden trout babies!!!
They zoomed up and down the raceways clearly wanting us to feed them, but alas we had no fingerling chow.  As lovely as these little guys are, their colors are nothing compared to how bright the adult Golden Trout are.

After this it was time to wash the trout chow off our fingers and wave goodbye to the fish.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Bowie In The Bathtub!

...and I *don't* mean the singer. 

This Bowie is a naughty little bantam Cochin hen who insists on scratching around improperly in any mud she can find, until it coats the tips of her toes & claws and forms these weird little hard balls the size of peewee marbles.  Then she walks around with little rocks on the end of her toes angling to land at the vets' with some funky new dumb chicken thing I have to stand there and explain to my poor bewildered vet.

Ha ha, NO.  The kid hauled her into the house, where Bowie walked around the dining room floor, her toes clicking like castanets when I ran some warm water into the bathtub.

Time to soak a chicken.

We just put her in a few inches and closed the tub enclosure door and waited for the warm water to work it's magic to the tune of indignant cackling.  We stood outside the tub with arms crossed, yelling back at her that maybe now she'd learn not to make mud castanets on her toes.  Took about 20 minutes.  Mind you, this is the second time Bowie has done this.

After that, I got to scrub out the tub.  As you can see, Bowie was kind enough to jump up on the tub edge several times to really spread the filth.

Criminy, the dumbest things happen around here...