Monday, July 28, 2014

What A Drag!


Today was 'Drag the Yard' day, so we got some chain, grabbed one of the huge old railroad ties out back and strapped it to the Jeep.  Now that the Hell-begotten junipers and their stumps are gone, we are down to things like tumbleweeds, nettles, bullheads, etc.  Plus the requisite half a cubic ton of trash, some of which continues to surface after every hard rain like a gift from Satan.

So, around and around we went.

The weeds laughed and merely looked well-groomed.

Hmmm...OK, a few more rounds of dragging, doing our best to avoid the little orange cable TV flag markers.

Better...but we still had lots to contend with.

Not to mention the crap in the corners that the drag couldn't reach.

We also tried to avoid the white marker paint the fence guys had put down.  This is where the divider fence for my raised bed vegetable garden will go.

The railroad tie could only do so much, so we switched to a chunk of scrap chain link weighted with cinder blocks to try and rip the weeds out. 

The bag of chicken food in the back of the Jeep just gave it more traction.

The chain link finishes what the railroad tie started.  Kind of.

Round and round we go.
Vroomy vroom vroom!

MORE WEIGHT!  Time for some of those damned rocks to earn their keep.

The chickens were going insane because here we were scratching with another big autochicken and they couldn't join in.

Pretty soon we went full bore and used chain link, cinder blocks, rocks AND railroad ties.  This did the trick!

...except those damned corners.  I see some hand clearing in my future. But hey, at least the bulk of the ground is cleared enough so that the fence guys won't kill themselves.

What won't I not miss about the back part of the old field fence.  One stiff breeze and the thing is toast.

Especially the gate.  The gate is like the crowning joke.  Held kinda-shut by rusty baling wire, the rocks help hold it in place and we pray they keep the larger critters out.

Niiiiccee.....I especially like how the latch doesn't come within 4 inches of the gate.  Helpful!

The yard did it's requisite weird shit barfing.  This damned thing was ridiculously sharp.  Husband says it's a chunk of spiky metal that acts as a roofing cap.

It looks like someone's rototiller got ahold of it.  The kid said she could wear it on her fist as defense against bullies.  While I agree that high school can be tough, that might be taking things a *bit* too far.

New Origami!

A few new folds for the upcoming road trip the kid and I are taking next month.  Since we'll be going up Highway 1 on the southern and central California coast, seashells with pearls (I know I KNOW, scallops don't make pearls.  Artistic license, baby!) and a new fold for me--seals.  I altered the model a bit on the flippers and tail to be more seal-like.  The seals are a bit derpy looking since it takes me a bit to get new models folded smoothly and get my act together, but they'll do.

Also, another of my very own folds--leaves!  Kind of a modular stylized maple leaf in this case.  I plan on making one large and one small leaf in the same or complimentary paper and stringing them on cord so they can be draped over branches and whatnot.

The thicker paper was a bit of a bear to fold but sure looks pretty.  The thinner tissue tends to curl up a little so I'll have to figure out a way to reinforce it some.

Anyway, these will be left next month as we wend our way from home, down Highway 395 through the Owens Valley to southern California, up the coast, into Yosemite and then home!  I've been promising the kid a road trip all summer as a reward for all of the heavy work we've been doing around here so she's *just* about to explode with anticipation.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

2014 Chickam Chick Final Update!

Well, in a few days the extra rooboys from this year--Cattywampus, NotASandwich, Patches, Jerk, Ribbit and Ratchet--will be rehomed via a local poultry swapmeet, so here is the final update for our thirteen 2014 Chickam chicks!

Oldest chicks first!

Pumpkin the Danish brown Leghorn hen, now 4 1/2 months old.  We originally got Pumpkin as a companion to Alice.  Pumpkin came home in a dog treats box, while riding home and discussing a name for her I was reading the ingredients on the side of the treats box...and viola--Pumpkin!

Alice the Barred Rock hen, also 4 1/2 months old.  Alice was a freebie from our local Tractor Supply store when I discovered her in their baby chick brooder picked bloody on her backside and nearly dead.  Kudos to Tractor Supply for having a heart and giving her to someone who was willing to try and save her rather than just disposing of a dying chick!  It was touch and go for a few days for Alice, but she made it and seems to have no permanent damage.  Today Alice is healthy and strong...she is also VERY uppity.

We tried something new this year and ran three hatches, each staggered one week apart.  With the ReptiPro you can do that since you don't do the traditional 'lockdown' of eggs where you do not open the incubator for the final three days of incubation.  All of the chicks were from our own eggs--I had gotten some bantam Cochin eggs locally, but they turned out to be infertile.  We designated the three hatches A, B and C.

Hatch A, a little over 4 months old.
BadMrFrosty,  a rooboy who seems to have Cam (an Americaunas/Giant Cochin mix) for daddy and either River (New Hampshire) or Zipper (Red Star) as momma.  Frosty is very personable and friendly, so for now we kept him.

Cattywampus, a roo who appears to have Cam as a daddy and one of the gray Giant Cochin girls for mom.  Pardon his inner eyelid, he blinked.

NotASandwich, another roo, who looks to have Cam as dad and one of last year's Chickam light Brahma/Silver Laced Wyandotte mix girls as mom.

Hatch B, 4 months old.
Jellybean, a hen who is a bit of a mystery.  She is very pretty and striking-looking.  I would guess that Baby, our older Kraienkoppe hen or Pele, one of the chicks from last year is mom--dad is either Weedcat, our splash Giant Cochin roo or Cam.

Jerk, a roo who had Cam for dad and one of last year's light Brahma/SLW hens as mom.  He was being a jerk during picture time.

Patches, another rooboy who had Zip or River as mom and Cam for dad.

Pie, a hen who likely has either River or Zip as mom and Cam for a dad.  Although Bug, our Americaunas mix hen, is another mom possibility...time will tell!

Hatch C, all 3 1/2 months old.  All 4 of the eggs were green Americaunas eggs and only Rose lays the green eggs (turns out Bug, our Americaunas mix hen lays pink ones) so all 4 have Rose as a momma.  But for daddy we had a dark horse surprise us for two of the chicks!  Interesting variety of chicks from the same mom.

Cowbell...Cowbell is another mystery, but for a different reason.  While still in the brooder box, Cowbell crowed and displayed other very roosterly traits.  Once out in the run, all roostersign disappeared and Cowbell began acting and feathering out more like a HEN.  So for now the jury is out--Cowbell is still with us, if 'she' turns out to be a hen, she stays, if he matures into a roo, we'll have to rehome him.  Cowbell's dad is Cam.

Ribbit, a rooboy who also has Cam as a dad.

Ratchet, a roo who--surprise!--has Bloop, our MilleFleur Belgian d'Uccle roo as dad! 

Buzzard, another roo, my little peel-it-yourself chicken that I assisted the hatch of and he popped out of his shell into my hand like a little biscuit from a can.  So his very undignified nickname is, of course, Biscuit Boy.  As a consequence of his assisted hatch and him seeing me first so closely, he is very attached to me.  Another Bloop baby!

You can *just* see the tell-tale d'Uccle vulture hocks beginning to come in on Ratchet and Buzzard's legs, and they both are smaller, less stocky and more slender than the other chicks.  Neither is showing the MilleFleur spangles yet, but they may in time.

We have, for now, elected to keep Buzzard and BadMrFrosty even though they are roosters and we already have 3 adult roosters--Weedcat, Cam and Bloop.  Since very shortly the fencing of the property and the chicken yard will be redone but there is no landscaping for cover from hawks, the flock can use the extra protection the young roos will provide.  If and when it doesn't work out, the extra boys will be rehomed at that time.