Tuesday, September 30, 2014

New Origami!

A few new models, first some turkeys all decked out with little bows for Thanksgiving.

And a new fold for me, what I call a Compass Rose design.

Some double-layered four pointed stars...

And some spirals and single four pointed stars.

Doily doves!

Most of these were made as little door prize donations for my mom's Lion Club big annual BBQ shinding they hold every year, I made up a few bags of 5 assorted models each.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Fun With Bad Signage

So today we went to a local craft fair, and found something interesting...

I love the ever-popular 'Bisquits', but the'Pot Salad' was surprisingly reasonably priced.  I mean, considering...

Friday, September 19, 2014

Mushroom And Olive!

So I get an email from the kid's Agriculture class teacher:  they have a bonded pair of bantam Cochins they need to rehome, and do I want them?

Well...YES, of course.

So off we go to the school, pick up the kid at quittin' time and head to the Ag class, where another student helps round up the banty couple, one rooster and a hen.  They are about 4-5 months old, super tame and sweet.

On the way home, we're trying out names.  Paired names seem cute since these two really are VERY bonded.

"Peanut Butter and Jelly!" the kid offers, saying it loud to try it on for size.  Uhhh....no, we all decide.
"Pizza and Beer!" My husband says.
"NO."  From me right away.  "NO NO NO.  I'm not naming some poor chicken 'Beer'."  Everyone laughs, and we continue to toss out names but haven't really decided before we get home.

Once we get home, we turn the two new chickens loose in the house for a bit so they can meet us, and us, them.  It also helps for us to gauge how tame they are and how they feel about us. They will be getting a wing clipping regardless, despite being Cochins they are still young enough that they haven't yet gotten too heavy to fly.

They wander the kitchen and dining room, craning their necks at everything.

Surprisingly, neither one has any idea what to do with people food.  The diced grapes and raw corn on the cob I offer, even after I shave off some of the kernels to give them the idea that it's food, are politely tasted but refused.  Poor chickens have clearly never had anything but chicken feed.  Of well, that will change eventually once they are out with the others.

Meanwhile, my husband pops off with another name set:  Mushroom and Olive--Olive clearly being the little gray hen, since Olive is a girl's name and she's the right color to boot.  Plus the little roo is kinda mushroom-colored...

As if to settle the issue, Mushroom jumps up and perches on the pizza boxes that we had set next to the trash can earlier.

OK, ok.  We get it.  Mushroom and Olive they are.

They settle in pretty quickly and jump up onto the couch, where they spend the next few hours watching my husband play Destiny on the XBox and getting cuddled.

They fit right in and behave as if they've lived here all their lives!

Saturday, September 6, 2014


Now that we no longer have to struggle with an Internet cable for Chickam, we are able to move the cam around more freely.

So last night I had an idea for today's Chickam.  I checked the logistics with my husband, who agreed that we'd try it.

It's always good to give the chickens new and interesting things to stimulate them and keep them curious and happy, and if it involves food it's REALLY good...at least to a chicken.

So off I went to Wal-Mart, where I'd noticed the day before a large bin of pumpkins.  A couple of the employees spotted me with a pumpkin in my cart and had stared at it like it was killing their soul while sighing, 'Pumpkins already?'

I agree, too early for Halloween.  When I explained that it was a treat for my chickens, they'd kinda give me the polite smile/nod and back away from the crazy chicken lady.  I did get to explain it more fully to the cashier ar least, who laughed.

I hauled my orange treasure home and today got busy carving.  These ARE really cool, classic pumpkins, I'll give them that.

Carve out a big hole in the top, gut the gourd, then turn it around and cut a rectangular hole in the bottom, opposite the big hole.


The next step involved placed the webcam so that it's peeking into the pumpkin via the small rectangular hole.  The cam is first wrapped in plastic to keep gobbets of pumpkin out of it.  The cam is also anchored to a 2x4 to keep the chickens from knocking it over.

Add the prepared pumpkin...

Sora the white Leghorn provides the vital chicken supervision.

A lot of the chickens are molting, some quite drastically.  Bug ran by and looked so bad that I had to chase her down and check her out to make sure it WAS just a molt.  
She is otherwise healthy and is growing feathers like mad, so I let her go on her way.

Ready for this week's Chickam broadcast--live, from inside a pumpkin!

 Rocks are added to brace the pumpkin and keep it from rolling away with poultry inside and convincing the chickens that humans are assholes out to prank them.

At first everyone is leery and steers clear, even though they have had pumpkins before and love them.

Sora is very food-driven, and is the first to approach and give it the one-eyed distrusting stare.

Sansa does too, although she prefers to crane her neck to look in while standing offsides a bit, ready to run away if the thing attacks her.

River joins in with the 'staring into the orange abyss' thing.

Baby joins in.  Criminy, they are all as sober as judges and way too serious, no one has taken a peck yet.  The staring thing is getting ridiculous.  Time to break out the big guns.

I get the bag of live mealworms and start hucking out handfuls all around the outside of the pumpkin.  Live mealworms being like Crack to chickens, caution is thrown to the winds and the entire flock comes running to get 'em some bugs. 

I toss a handful into the pumpkin.  Baby isn't shy, she dives in and eats them.

The others hang back until they realize that I'm not throwing out any more mealworms, then they finally join in and relax, and the pumpkin starts being eaten.  The constant pecking sounds like rain on Chickam.  Only about 4 of the standard-size hens could get their heads in there at once.  In this shot you can really see the wholesale molting going on.

Finally they are satisfied that the pumpkin is food and a Good Thing, so we are able to go back inside and leave them to it.  We recorded some of it, so we should have a video soon.

The view from Chickam was hilarious.  Someone commented that it was like a weird James Bond movie opening.
photo by Inveigle
Frosty enjoyed it, anyway.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Technicolor Twilight

Sooo...just another Eastern Sierra sunset last night, you know...
"Goodness gracious hun, ain't the sunset over thet thar chickin coop purty tahnite, tho?"

There were no fires nearby for a change, just the lenticular clouds doing their thing.

Just gorgeous!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Ravens And Jam

 Well I must say that today was an odd day.

I'd stopped off at Jacobs Family Berry Farm for some locally-grown raspberries and blackberries for jam making.

Family sternly warned to leave them alone until after I'd measured out what I needed for jam, after that they could lay into them.  I must say, that was difficult because they smelled amazing.

But a small batch of each jam was made, yay!
Even better, I got to talking with Jack, the owner, and he and I have a 'swap fresh eggs for berries' agreement!

Later on that day, we got a visit from a neighbor, who used to work for a local pizza joint and had delivered to us in the past--he remembered Nadine yelling 'Hello!' at him when he had been here.

He told my husband that he had a very tame raven in his yard and was worried that his dogs were going to get it, and asked my husband if he'd take a look at it.  My husband suspected that it was the same tame raven that had wandered into our house back on August 18th and when shooed back outside, had allowed him to hand feed it.  So he grabbed a small birdcage and went back to the guy's house...low and behold, same bird.  The neighbor calls the raven into his pickup truck, then they are able to pick it up and place it in the cage.

My husband brought the bird back here, where we all take turns scratching it on the head and feeding it goodies--it's completely tame and was obviously someone's pet.  We decide to post some notices online, husband gets on Facebook and I get on Craigslist.

After about an hour we get two calls:  one from a very nice licensed wildlife rehabber/falconer in Yerington who offers to give the bird a home, the other from a guy named Joel a few blocks away from us, saying the raven is his--kinda.  Seems it was an orphaned baby that he raised and released, it's been hanging around for months.

Joel invites us over to his house, a 5 acre spread, so we grab the raven and go--we figure it'll be pretty obvious if it's his bird or not.

Well, without a doubt he raised that bird, they know each other well.  I ask Joel if the bird has a name and he tells us, 'None that can be pronounced in mixed company.'

Sounds like a raven owner, all right!

Ravenbuddy is released from the cage, and he walks around the yard begging from everyone as we stand there talking, Joel eventually giving him a Ritz cracker from his pocket. Ravenbuddy immediately goes over to a planter and caches it.

He's still a youngster and loves attention and messing with people, but is clearly healthy and able to hold his own, so we don't worry about him.  We suspect he will continue to hang around.  While we all talk the bird takes off and makes a beeline for the neighbor's yard, who Joel tells us own dogs that Ravenbuddy loves to tease--he sits in the trees and barks back at them.

We spend about an hour visiting with Joel, who is a cool dude with an awesome house that he partially built himself and has decorated with stuff from his travels around the world.  The kid is fascinated with his fish pond, and he tells her that she came back and fish in it for catfish and the like any time she wants.

I tell him I'll be back bearing fresh eggs and we say goodbye.

I'm sure we'll see our raven around again, and we let the pizza guy know that we found the bird's owner and that he should expect to see the bird around, too.