Saturday, February 16, 2019

RIP Pong

Welp, just two weeks shy of officially becoming the World's Oldest Living Chicken, Pong, our white frizzle bantam Cochin/Belgian d'Uccle mix hen has passed away from old age. Rather then write it out again, here is Pong's story:
Three Months To Go

We hatched her in 2003 and she was the last of the chickens we brought up from southern California when we moved here to Nevada in 2011. Here she is as a chick in 2003:

And at 9 months old:

And last month at age 15 (she'd been eating grapes, pardon the dirty face fluffies).

She was a sweet old lady and we'll miss her.
Also, now my husband has to dig a hole in the back yard, which is under 4 inches of snow. And it's snowing again...

Monday, February 11, 2019

No, That's Not What I Meant...Aw Damn!

Look winter--I was *kidding* about the Game of Thrones thing, OK?!

Last night, after I padded through the kitchen around midnight and looked out the window...and actually yelled, 'Oh, come ON!'

I had to go outside to see if I was seeing what I *thought* I was seeing.

Today, and daylight isn't helping.

I'd call this 'the view from my kitchen window' BUT THERE ISN'T ANY VIEW.
 It's like being in Icicle Prison.

If you look close you can see Nora the rooster hopefully eyeing the salt on the walk I'd just shoveled, hoping for his very own Fun Trip To The Vet or alternatively, Horrible Salty Death. To be fair, the stuff is the size of chicken crumbles and glitters so prettily...
The next storm is due tomorrow and they are calling for flooding. So yeah, a whole new joy.

Oh, and husband just stalked out to glare into the closet the furnace squats in..."It's making a weird noise."

YAY.  That MFer breaks and right hand to God, I'll take my wood-chopping ax to it. And I've got a good one, too.

2/12 UPDATE: SOMEBODY GET MY AX. Furnace igniter is dead, and our next storm is due tonight.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

We Come From The Land Of The Ice And Snow...Ah-Ah, AH!

Another snowstorm yesterday into last night...and this morning the view from my kitchen window is straight-up 'Game of Thrones'.

Looking out the sliding door...


The rest of the yard looks like the World's Worst BBQ/Beach party.

Venturing outside, seven inches of snow overnight. The icicle crop has gone all Icicle Armageddon.

The kitchen window from the outside.
The big one has nearly made it to the ground.

Out in the chicken yard, the kid has been busy making snowmen.
Cthulhu on the left, a nod to Calvin & Hobbes on the right. The one on the right ripping it's own head off still needs a face, she had to come in to warm up a bit first.

A snowCthulhu...*wipes away a proud tear*

OK, I'll go shovel the patio and walk...wait--where the #@&* is the snow shovel?!

Ah. OK, so I need a snow shovel to unearth the snow shovel.


Thursday, February 7, 2019

Weird Food And Winter

So...it's been snowing. And snowing. And icing up. And so flippin' flappin' cold we have chosen to hunker down and bake cookies to have with our coffee as we watch the snow fly. The dogs are asleep in the corner and Pong naps under her heat lamp.

Meanwhile...I've been noticing things, cooped up in the house as I am. Like when I opened a new jar of peanut butter and realized it possessed a...belly button.

And an outie, at that.

The next day, lunch surprised me with...a face.
Heh...cabin fever is FUN!

Now to be fair, this is what it was like outside.
It got to be a proper two-day blizzard and laid down about a foot of snow, complete with whiteout conditions making the houses across the street cease to exist and black ice everywhere.

The back yard. Even though the coop and run were open, the chickens refused to come out. Snow must NEVER touch chicken foot, after all.

I leaned out the back door and called, 'Chick-chick-chick!'
Predictably the response was a universal 'Screw you' from the grumpy poultry. They wouldn't even come out of the coop.

Meanwhile, the next morning, the 2019 icicle crop was coming in nicely. This was the view from my kitchen window.

The next day, and now we're talkin', baby.
 Ignore the cobwebs, the spiders took a hankering to this side of the house recently, way up I can't reach and before I could get out there and remove them the bad weather hit.

Also, the one icicle on the left outside the kitchen window is busy forming A HAND.
It'll be the perfect murder when it strangles us all in our sleep, melting away and leaving no trace of itself.

Lordy, things need to thaw out so I can get out of the house again. Meanwhile, off to make zuchinni bread...
Oh, and look on ebay for hatching eggs...Chickam in April!

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Highways 395 & 95 And High Weirdness

Another road trip to southern California, the kid and I set off down highway 395. It's pretty sparsely populated with a series of small towns threaded the length of the Owens valley.

One of these is Lone Pine. Lone Pine is apparantly home to several wits. Their 'welcome' sign routinely 'gets damaged in the weather' (wink, wink) and ends up looking like an opening scene from a Blumhouse movie.

This time, the 'Welcome' sign was, sadly, intact.  But never fear, some wag had set up a bit of public art!

Lone Pine is home to a special tree, grown from a seedling from England in 1900. You can see it behind the sign, on the left.
OK, cool little public interest thing...

Then we see what's lurking under the tree. It scared the Hell outta the kid at first, she thought it was a real person.
Haha. OK, we walk past the sign for the tree to check it out...

But wait...under the sign for the tree people have hung...things.

You know...things.

The kid spots this stuff and slams to a halt, her instincts perfectly in place. She's already unhappy with the fake frozen guy and this weird shit isn't helping. "Mom...why is that stuff hanging there...?"
I don't know, I tell her.
"But...wait--is that a ROCK?!  Why did someone hang up rocks?!" Sounding decidedly freaked out. I turn and her eyes are practically spinning around in her head.

I still don't know, but I'm thinkin' next time we go by I'd better be ready and leave a fetish of our own. Meanwhile we skirt the tree to get a closer look at frozen guy.

It was marvelously creepy and we heartily approved.  As we left some people in a van screeched to a halt and exited their car laughing and pointing at the thing. We left them to discover the weird hanging junk display.

On the way home, weather on 395 demanded we detour up through Nevada on highway 95, which is wonderful and chock full of desert weirdness.
When you leave Bishop and fling yourself out on highway 6, the gateway to highway 95, they *warn* you.
Gas up, babies.

From there you cross the White mountains, say a prayer to the gods of your choice and get on highway 95, traveling up through Nevada. There is *very* little out there...except mining towns and brothels.
 Hey, here in Nevada we have STANDARDS.

Sue's motel. I looove this sign...
Sadly the motel is derelict.

Again, Nevada.  Weird is kinda what we *do* here.

Among other things, Hawthorne has a military museum, a dog park adjacent is home to these wind sculptures made from surplus military bombs and other cool stuff.

These flowers turn in the wind and are a real eye catcher.

Some day when we have more time (and it isn't either the dead of winter or height of summer) we'll go back for a more extended trip to explore!

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Three Months To Go...

With the new year clicking over, it's nearly official--Pong, our bantam Cochin/Belgian d'Uccle Frizzle mix whom we hatched in 2003 will turn 16 in March, becoming the World's Oldest Chicken! At that time I'll contact Guinness to make it official.

Because she's gotten so frail and our icy winter weather is here, Pong has been living in the dining room for the last few months in an enclosure I made for her--it's just like our springtime brooder boxes, complete with a hardware cloth window. When the dogs are outside Pong gets the run of the house, though. Not that she does a whole lot of running.  Mostly she likes to sit in the sunny spot in the living room, because old ladies do love 'em some sun.

 And mealworms. Here she is irritated with me for interrupting Mealworm Time.

Yup. Busy, mom--can't talk, MEALWORMS.

Pardon the dirty face fluffies, she'd been eating grapes before the mealworms and chickens do not do such things neatly. She also needs a pedicure, because she hasn't been able to scratch around in the dirt as much as she should.

Such a cutie! She's almost 100% blind in her right eye, but gets around just fine.

Hang in there, Pong. March is almost here!

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Applesauce & Anniversaries

In our travels the other day we ran across a neigborhood sign...'Free Apples'. Cue Bat-Turn onto the street to follow the signs!

The man handing out the apples had two trees that had produced a truly gargantuan number of apples, he had them in large brown grocery bags lining his driveway--Red and Yellow Delicious varieties. Most were smaller because he said he hadn't gotten to thinning the fruit off the trees that year (been there, done that), and combined with a bumper crop year he was anxious to get rid of the things while they were still good.

After we got done petting his cool old Basset mix dog and visiting with him, we bagged up a bunch in exchange for a promise of more bags (he had run out and still had a ton of apples to bag up) and some eggs from our hens. So we trucked home the apples and ran back over with the eggs and bags...

Next was to set to work making applesauce! It came out great--I peeled and cored the apples and popped them into the slow cooker for about 6 hours with a few spices and a bit of vanilla. The house smelled wonderful! We kept some of the finished products out to eat and froze the rest of it, applesauce is terrific for adding to cookie dough to sweeten and moisten it. Yay for neighbors who share their windfalls!

Also this week was the 20th anniversary with that darling husband of mine, double yay! I wanted something a bit special and unique for an anniversay gift this year (anyone who hangs with me for that long deserves a prize) so the kid and I went shopping and found ourselves at Cheshire Antiques, a cool multi-seller antique shop here in town. After wandering around the store a bit I got an idea--to create a '20' out of various objects, kind a build-it-yourself 20th anniversary gift!

I scavenged a large number '2', a road sign number set with reflectors...but could find nothing to serve as a '0'. The staff pitched in to help me--the store has a second story that I cannot access since I can't climb stairs due to chronic gimpiness. Two employees went up there and one of the ladies came back down with several objects and I settled on a HEAVY glass and brass porthole cover.

Great, I've got my 20!  Hmmm, now for something to mount it on...a bit more prowling and I discovered a box full of fruit crate end pieces, including one with a 'Pure Gold' paper label on it--perfect! To top it all off I had a gift certificate in my purse that I'd been hauling around for about 5 years--in the past everything I've wanted at Chesire has been either $4 or $400 so the certificate had gone unused. Today was it's day to shine, and I ended up paying 35 cents out of pocket. Thanking the store staff for their awesome service we left.

Now off to Meek's hardware store, also here in town, to put it all together! Luckily the number 2 and the porthole cover already had perfect mounting holes in them, I figured if I bought the hardware, the folks at the store might be kind enough to drill a couple of holes in the fruit crate box end so that I could take the parts home and assemble them. Figuring out the hardware we needed was a bit tricky since the '2' was MUCH thinner than the '0' so would require shorter bolts. And the brass-and-glass porthole cover for the '0' was MUCH heavier so would need beefier hardware to hold it on...The kid and I were standing in front of Meek's wall 'o hardware bits juggling parts when one of the employees happened by and asked if we needed help...boy did we ever! I knew what I wanted but couldn't reach some of the stuff--their display had been designed for people taller than I so OF COURSE I couldn't see the exact parts I needed...ain't that always the way?

It was a slow time for the store, so by now several employees had appeared. One of the guys kind of took over the project and hauled all my stuff to the front of the store where he spread everything out on a worktable so we could assemble everything. I'd asked if they could just drill three holes for me, but the guy ended up actually building my 20th anniversary gift to completion! Once they started and ran back and forth getting the right hardware they got so enthused I didn't have the heart to stop them, they got so into it...plus they know their products best so I went with their recommendations. They even had lovely brass hardware to match the porthole cover! The Meek's folks were so kind, I explained that because my hands were messed up I couldn't hold a drill any more so they just charged me a few bucks for the hardware--small towns are wonderful!

But damn if between all of us if it didn't work out, go together in the end and turn out AWESOME!
And here's the finished gift!

It was just one of those times where fate smiled on me, people I didn't even know went above and beyond the call pitched in to help me and everything just kind of weirdly fell together.
J. likes it, now to hang it on the wall!