Monday, January 23, 2017

Meanwhile In Nevada, My Poultry STILL Hates Me...

...but what else is new--inexplicable chicken 'tude is one of the joys of Winter.  Nothing for it but to arm yourself with chicken goodies.

This morning we had our heaviest snowfall yet.  Which was very pretty, as usual!

It iced the neighbor's trees...

And our patio set.

Out back I slog to go free the chickens from their snug, heated coop so they could stare in disbelief at this fresh Hell.  And throw blame where it obviously lies, with me.

The snow out back was a bit deeper and came up halfway to my knees (But I'm quite short, so take that into consideration, it's possibly not as impressive as it sounds at first blush).  The walkway had disappeared...

And opening the gate to the chicken yard required me having a go at the snow with a shovel first.

In the chicken yard I plonked down the ruler I'd brought along...
Yup, 7 inches of snow fell overnight.

The chicken yard, for a change, looks uniformly pretty.  Bonus:  the snow covers all those eternally present damned rocks.

My future vegetable garden area sealed off by snow.

And the neighbor's trees were gorgeous!

By now the sun was coming up and it was time to release the pissy poultry.

The backyard weather station says, 'Snow!'
 Yup, chickens not happy.  This is as far as they venture out of the coop all day, because God forbid a chicken foot *ever* touch snow.  Goodies are promised for later.

Back into the back yard near the house to let Dusty out to do her thing.

Which due to the depth of the snow combined with her short stature, she is understandably reluctant to do.

But in the end she dutifully slogs through the snow to pick her spot.  A full bladder cannot be denied.

She compromises when the snow becomes too deep and abandons her regular pee spot, instead squatting *very* carefully behind the tree.   I feel for ya, dog.  Hovering so your lady bits do not contact undesireable surfaces is an art all we ladies eventually learn.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Why My Poultry Hates Me

...in a word, snow.  And lots of it, at least for our area.

The snow started at dawn--giant, fluffy chunks of it.  After two hours we had 4 1/2 inches down.  It's the type that sticks to everything and looks *so* pretty!

The back yard, the walkway has disappeared...

...and the coop looks like Superman's freakin' Fortress of Solitude.

But Hell, the dog is loving the snow!

She snowplowed around in it for a bit.

Back to the chickens, it's time to let them out of the coop where they've spent a snug night.  Since they've been closed up for the night, they don't know about the snow yet...

I have a feeling they aren't going to be too happy.

But yeah--very pretty!  The Curly Willow tree looking cool in the snow...

...all 4 1/2 inches of it.  Bantam Cochins, beware.

The Poultry Ice Palace. Reminds me of scenes from Dr. Zhivago.

OK, first to open the door to the run...


OK, now the snow piling up on every little thing is getting kinda ridiculous.

BUT--anticipating poultry unhappiness (and subsequent blaming of the humans for yet another snowstorm), I had come prepared--with cabbage!  Food bribes work wonders in poultryland.

After I opened the coop (and endured the whining/grumbling/hairyeyeball from 30+ chickens), I tried to get someone--anyone--to come out into the snow for a moment for some yummy, yummy cabbage.  I placed a lovely chunk of cabbage *just* outside the run door.

Bowie spots it and thinks about venturing out, Pele watching from behind.  I guess if Bowie disappears, that lets Pele know that the snow is too deep.  Although to be fair, using bantam Cochins as snow yardsticks isn't the best idea.

Bowie thinks about it, and decides...

...NOPE.  Screw you *and* your cabbage, bowby human.
Pele refused to come out, either.  No one else was even remotely interested and they all just shot me disdainful, hate-you-Chaka looks, so the cabbage was redistributed and passed out in the relative muddy comfort of the run & coop.

Luckily we thought ahead (and watched the weather forecast), and went to the store yesterday for chicken goodies to keep them occupied for the weekend.

Because *this* storm is just the precursor to the BIG one tomorrow!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Hey, I'll Be Damned, It's Still There!

Welp, it was one heck of a week, lemme tell ya!

This week we had screaming winds for days on end, a flood AND a whole bunch of snow.  And the flood and snow were within a day of each other!

To give the weather service credit, everyone was amptly warned, given the standard 'Be prepared to be on your own for 3-5 days' instructions, etc.  And the weather service, the local government and emergency services were fully prepared and communicated and meshed well together.  It really was a fine example of handling a not-too-fun situation in the best way possible.

So we had a solid week of heavy-duty weather, everything from high winds to 'catastrophic' (the weather services' word, not mine) rain/flooding to MORE high winds just for fun (weather service missed that 48 hour episode though), then a blizzard that has and *still is* dumping snow on us.  Oh, and meanwhile, the earthquake swarms in our area continue.

Plague of toads must be backordered.

But anyway, this morning when I got up the chicken coop & run was still there...

As far as the yard goes, it's either covered in snow or supremely muddy.  Ya gotta watch where you step though, since the yard had about 6 inches of floodwater standing that froze overnight and then got snowed on to the tune of about 6-7 inches.  When I took this pic most of the snow had melted away.

The coop doors were damaged pretty heavily and we'll have to replace them. Unfortunately we haven't been able to check the house for wind damage yet since it snowed so quickly and thoroughly.  But they say it will melt off in a few days, then we'll know what--if any--damage there is.

At lease the chickens had a genuinely great time ice skating on the frozen lake-that-was-once-a-yard before the snow came!

Plus they had their own Japanese zen garden pond!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Chickmas!

You know, it's very telling that when you walk by a holiday display in the store your first reaction is to laugh and say, "PERFECT.  The chickens can wear it!"

But by this time the chickens have lived with us long enough for all of them to start to look nervous and grumble under their breath when they see me coming with the camera and some demeaning object for them to model.  Especially my long-suffering rooboys.

Because, you know, roosters being so impressive and grand all the time just look funnier in silly hats.  Cam put his foot down and outright refused, so he caught a break this time

 Marshmallow is the first to fall under the spell of the dapper lil' pimpin' hat.

Then it was Milton's turn.

OK, so Milton actually dug the hat.

Burger...ah...not so much.
"If you value your life, get this thing off my head NOW."

But to be fair that is a Brahma's facial expression 24/7, so you really don't know *what* irritates them.  Although I think the little red hat is in the running.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Howlaween!

This year our little werewolf is evolving!

The furry sleeves were easy enough to sew and are elasticized at the top, the handpaws I made from a pair of white knit gloves and added paw pads ("Human ones, mom!"  "Huh...?"  More than just 4 pads, more like finger paw pads, you know?  "Oh. Okay, got it.").  The plastic claws were painted black, then I just snipped a tiny hole in the end of each glove finger, pushed the claw through from the inside out and hot glued it in place.  More fur hot glued to the tops of the glove makes them furry while still being able to use your hands.

Because long about midnight on Halloween Eve, the culmination of working with monsterous fluff-producing fun fur for three days pretty much ceases to be any fun whatsoever, the articulated mask was purchased (I'm not out to lose my sanity, after all).  Watching the thing move when she talks pretty much makes me giggle every time.

Because masks aren't allowed at school, for school she simply wore her little ears.  The vest may come into play tonight since it's supposed to get down into the low 30's.

At any rate, the kid is happy and looking forward to trick or treating with her friends tonight!

Update:  It was really dark tonight with no moon tonight and -zero- street lighting.  The costume was great, except about 30 minutes into trick-or-treating, she had to ditch the mask. When I asked her why, she said:  "I ran into a mailbox."

I couldn't help it, I laughed.  Bad mom.  BAD.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

House Hen Of The Week...

...is Rocket, one of our gray Giant Cochin girls.

Rocket has injured her thigh, which I've noticed tends to happen with the heavy breeds once in a while.  They'll jump down off of a roost (even though we purposefully keep all of the roosts low) and tweak their leg somehow, then when they try and sit and heal, the damned roos won't leave them alone long enough for their leg to get better.

So...Rocket is currently hanging out in the house, being a chicken puddle (nothing can puddle like a Cochin), eating cut-up grapes, live mealworms and other tidbits, watching TV and bossing us around by calling us whenever we dare leave the room.  She especially likes to hop over and sit on my foot and purr (she's very talkative), effectively pinning me down so I'm forced to flock.

So far she's being a good girl and staying sensibly on the ground, not trying to hop up on anything and reinjure herself.  She'll likely be OK to return to the flock in a few days, meanwhile she's having a grand time getting spoiled!

Saturday, October 8, 2016


So we're off to Virginia City again, this time to attend their annual Redrun!  This is the fourth year they've done a zombie run, and this year they had two courses:  a 3.33 mile and a 6.66 mile run.  A portion of the proceeds went to The Comstock Cemetery Foundation which works to preserve and maintain the collection of cemeteries in the area.

They really worked on the backstory this year.  Every runner starts out with two red flags (just like flag football), and the goal is to make it to the end of the course with two flags in order to collect 'vaccine' and save humanity.  Runners can share flags in order for the group to collect as much vaccine as possible.  Along the course there are not only obstacles and a grinding run through the hills of the area (at 6000+ feet in altitude!), but you have to dodge zombies (some staggering, others quick) AND a group called 'The Living Insane'.  Revival stations along the way (where you could stay as long as you liked) served either water or beer, just to keep things, ahh...interesting (can you say Drunk Zombie Run?).  In addition to the run there was a pre-run zombie parade and a BIG party afterwards.

While we didn't officially sign up, we still wanted to go as spectators.  DEAD ONES.  We never like to miss an opportunity to zombie up and have fun, so out came the makeup & props.

By the end of the day my husband's bloody makeup had run to such an extent that he was earning shocked, guarded second looks from people.  The kid took along her fake arm as a zombie snack.

Since the course ran the entire town and the outlying hills, the entire town was a parking lot.  We eventually found a spot.

We did feel bad for this guy, who obviously hadn't remembered that wild horses had the run of the town.  I'm willing to bet he suddenly realized it when he stepped out.

The houses in VC are mostly quirky.

And the sidewalks stay in character.

They had really neat posters showing various stops/landmarks that were along the course.  Of course, Virginia City fairly drips with history anyway, but today they emphathized the spookier aspects.

The starting point of the run was in the center of town next to The Bucket of Blood Saloon.  Runners had a launch time for their run printed on their number bib, they launched fresh batches of runners every 10 minutes.
Also, I just liked the way her mask rode on her chin. :)

People had fun team names & outfits.  I got the feeling that some of them traveled around the country and did this kind of thing for a living.
'No Really...I'm Fine'

This trio of Living Insane girls was amazing.

And let's just say right now that this little girl WON the day.  She was a total hit with everyone, her doll was the clincher.

The loading area...

They'd enter here...

And each batch would be loaded into a cargo container.  Locals who every day dress in 1800's character worked the event.  The guns are real, loaded with blanks, and LOUD.  As the runners were loaded into the container, they'd yell things like "Get your ass IN there!" and sternly shout at them that if they wanted to survive, they'd better pay attention.  To add to the nervousness and apprehension of the runners, the people outside would shout, scream and bang on the container.  The participants got the whole treatment!

A countdown buzzer would sound.  The costumed westerners were taking aim at the waiting pack of zombies and would fire on them as sirens wailed, the doors opened and the runners emerged.  The two girls in red were throwing handfuls of red dust on the runners as well.

This is what awaited the runners.  A quarter mile of zombies and Living Insane at the start, then a left turn out of town and into the hills.  The spectators were cool and lined the streets and stayed out of the way, no barricades required.

Time to start running for your life...

 Lots of people in silly costumes.  But a lot of people came to run from zombies, dammit, and were totally serious and into the experience. The westerners would take, long, slow, careful aim at the zombies before firing and really played their parts well.

The Deadpool team was hilarious.  They'd run flailing their arms.

The Living Insane girl in the black dress & mask simply stood in the middle and stared at the guys with the guns, like a promise for later.

She was unsettling.

The westerners stayed marvelously in character the entire time and had their heroic posing down pat.

OK...you know how in horror movies there is always that *one person* who you know is a Star Trek Red Shirt?  They are zombie fodder in a huge way, and if you have the misfortune to be trapped by them, your ass is as good as dead, too.

I'm looking you, person in the orange shirt/white hat cringing and plugging your ears on the right, there.  The Zombie Apocalypse is NOT the time to wimp out over guns roaring in your ears, get your priorities straight and RUN, DUMMY!

But noooo, instead block the door and keep everyone behind you from surviving, forcing them to run around you.

Finally running, ears still covered though.  Oh well, you know what they say:  You don't have to be fast, just faster than the other guy.

The shooters do their job and a few zombies are felled...

...making it possible for most of the pack to escape.

As they get away, the zombies & Living Insane regroup for the next batch.

At this point we decided to relocate up the street a bit.  We stood behind a barricade where the course took a sharp left, so I could safely take pictures and we wouldn't get trampled.

Looking back down the street, the runners will emerge from the right at the far end.  The zombie gauntlet awaits as the siren sounds and shots are fired.

Here they come!

Checking to make sure he still has his flags...

Suddenly, a volunteer zombie lurches out of the crowd!

...and meekly lurches back again.

People laughed and ran around him.

We left the main street and drove around a bit to explore the course.  Red arrows marked the way for the runners.  Zombies & Living Insane spotted the course here and there, cheerfully waving to us.

As the course ran out into the hills, the rest stations popped up.  Free water/beer!

As the runners left this station, they had to run up the dirt roads into the hills, where we could not follow in the car.

Refreshments sounded good to us, so we stopped for burgers & root beer floats.  After that, it was time for us to leave Virginia City for the day.
But the kid has already decided that she wants to go next year and run with a group of friends!