Monday, May 30, 2011

Huge Egg Demystified...

Turns out it was an egg-within-an-egg!

The inside egg was normal in all respects except for that it was a soft-shelled egg--not hard-shelled like normal. It had gotten another coating of albumen & membrane in addition to it's second shell. These egg-in-an-egg oddities occur when an egg hangs around in the hen's system a bit too long and and get a double shellacking in the shell department.

The kid was properly intrigued/disgusted at the same time.

Friday, May 27, 2011

...And Chicken Bliss

After a tough morning's work of handing a hawk it's ass, what better way to unwind than a good dust bath?

At least Phoenix thought so...

Of course, God forbid he get a moment to himself to relax, he immediately had hens crowding in with him.

Fran, the buff Frizzle, was being especially obnoxious, stepping on his head and pulling his tail. Phoenix, of course put up with it gracefully but did shoot me a long suffering look.

They just kept coming until he had quite the adoring hen audience.

The Chickens Have An Adventure!

Today has been eventful, to say the least.

This morning as I was brushing N.'s hair for school, I heard a HUGE commotion the chickens were raising out in the yard--literally ALL of them were screaming. That could only mean one thing--a predator in the yard, attacking and/or eating one of them. Likely a hawk, and likely it was attacking one of the new chicks--they are the most vulnerable right now.

So out I run...just in time to see a gigantic dust-up in the middle of the yard, involving about ten of the adult birds, including 4 broody hens and all three roosters. There was a huge dust cloud, so thick I couldn't see through it, and battling chickens, all thrashing whatever they had in the middle.

Which at that moment burst free and took off outta there--a Sharpshin hawk. Jesus, they were curb-stomping a hawk!

Bear, her two daughters Voodoo and Moxie, Boots and Silver were so upset, they turned on each other and kept fighting. I had to wade in and seperate pissed off hens. The babies were sensibley stowed under a large bush, hunkering down and being quiet. I figured that the hawk had seen the three broodies out dustbathing, figured they were easy pickin's and dived on them. Or had landed thinking to walk in after the babies.

Big mistake.

I hope the hawk was OK and has learned his lesson after getting an ass whoopin' he'll never forget--DON'T mess with broody hens!

Lordy, Someone Is Bucking For Hen Of The Month!

I was helping the kid gather eggs from the nest boxes tonight, as she drew this one out from under a broody hen she said in an awestruck tone, "Wow!" My reaction was 'Oh my GOD!' and to instantly check my hens to see if anyone had injured themselves producing this monster.

It is literally the size of a large goose egg, and for a minute I thought someone had slipped it in there for a joke.

Which does not belong?

We congratulated the girls & boys. I suspect that either Betty the buff Orp or Gloria the Brinkotter brewed up this beast. Yoya the Giant Cochin is broody and so isn't in lay, so she isn't a suspect. Despite all the drama by Bug & Scott the other day in that dumb trash can, it couldn't have been her since she lays green-blue eggs. Tomorrow morning for breakfast we'll crack it open, I'm willing to bet there are at least two yolks in there! Pity the incubators aren't running!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Weird Nesting Spot #...Oh I Give Up!

This morning the Spot Of The Day was the three spare trash cans I had stacked near the garage. Scott and Bug started it, with lots of pop-eyed, erect tail cackling on Bug's part as she perched on the rim of the can, shortly she was joined by Scott, who thought that a nasty trash can was the perfect choice over the lovely nest boxes where lush amounts of fresh straw waited. Pretty soon all this hollering and burbling attracted Bug's sister Voodoo, who climbed in and joined the unholy cacophony.

By the way, chickens cackling from inside a plastic trash can sounds really strange, and was hilarious.

By the time I got the camera one of the bantam hens had climbed in there, too, but sadly only Scott and Bug remained when I got out there. Scott giving me the 'Hey, YOU aren't supposed to know about this, no fair!' look:

Although for the life of me how he expected that this was 'stealthy' in any way with all that noise is beyond me. And here's Bug:

Bug and Scott both grumped off since I'd spoiled the surprise, but were back to it pretty much immediately. As I type this Bug is finally quiet, actually laying her egg in there now.

Geraldine, who was sunbathing after a breakfast of rose petals, smiled and took everything in stride.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

We're Out!

Looks like we're FINALLY leaving southern California, yay! Looking at northern Nevada to move to, out in the country a bit without neighbors RIGHT next to us. Now we just have to figure out the logistics of moving the animals...

As a California native, I always swore I'd never leave here. But things have gotten SO dramatically worse here--especially the school system, it's lack of funds and the state's budget falling apart--that we feel the bad heavily outweighs the good.

J. is stressed out but I think once we're away from here, he'll realize just how Hellish life has become, especially for him. He really needs to step back and take care of himself NOW.

Before the move will come the fundamentals of cleaning out the house, disposing of unwanted junk we don't want to have to move, arranging for the new school for the kid, etc.

It's going to be quite the project, no matter what.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Latest Origami!

Spent some time coaxing the old book paper into some models...

A flurry of bunnies! This simple fold is kinder to the old paper since it doesn't take a lot of handling.

Some bellflowers, I still have to make leaves for them and group them together. This was about as complex a fold as I could get out of the old book paper, that stuff wanted to tear so bad--!

And a couple of fun spirals made from the frenetic glossy color ads from the manga phonebooks.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Today was hot, so I turned the sprinkler on out in the yard for the chickens.

"Mud, you say? No...I haven't seen any mud."

"It's a bird! It's a plane! It's..." It's me, dangling a tidbit over their heads.

Smokey in mid head shake...

And Moet, our Frizzle Cochin, from the back looking like a firework chrysanthemum. You can really see the white tips of her feathers here.

It's Art Time!

Another drawing from the kid, this time featuring a close call for Poof, our White Crested Black Polish hen. The thing on her head is her enormous feathery headdress.

I love the expression on her face and her jaw hitting the floor in dismay...

Monday, May 2, 2011

I Feel Pretty, I Feel Pretty...

Cruising the TV listings the other night, saw this straight from the DirecTV thinktank & brain trust:

Up next: Wacky, hilarious hijinks occur when the Pope goes to the beauty parlor! Say it with me, DirecTV, beatification, NOT 'beautification'. The man is not an urban renewal project.

Bag of idiots.