26 April 2018

Why, yes! It has been several years...

I'm not going to bring this up to date. It would take far too long. But I would like to refer you back to an entry in May of 2010. I was talking about our new chickens.

Two of the chickens were white Auracanas. We picked them specifically because they laid green eggs. Thank you, Dr Seuss. We started out with six hens, and over time have cycled through several sets. But we had one grand old lady, one of our white auracanas.

She is dying, I think. She didn't  make it back into the coop on her own tonight, and I don't expect her to survive the night. What a run she has had! She's over 8 years old. So this isn't a surprise, just sad.

Good night, mother hen. Sleep well.

27 January 2011

The Lost Blog Entry

Buried on my netbook, I found the following file, from 25 November 2010. Since we had the biggest storm of the season (so far!), it seems reasonable to resurrect it for your reading pleasure!

Well, it's November and winter is coming. If it's anything like LAST winter, we will spend a fair amount of time stuck in the house with the snow.

You remember, we have a 1/4 mile long driveway, and last winter we had to pay $500 to get it plowed. THIS year, however, we have a TRACTOR.

We purchased a second-hand 27 HP Cub Cadet with a front-end loader. We are shopping for a bush-hog mower, a tiller-cultivator, and a plow-blade attachment for the 3-point hitch. But we haven't even had reason to drive it around, which will make it more problematic when/if it snows. I don't think I should learn to drive it in the snow.

Of course, since we HAVE the tractor, we won't NEED the tractor. I predict the warmest winter ever, which will also give more fuel to the Anthrogenic Global Warming advocates. I don't particularly care about AGW--if we were reducing pollution in general, we would be reducing carbon in specific, which is Just A Good Idea. And the number 1 greenhouse gas released into the atmosphere? It's that hazardous chemical, dihydrous monoxide (DHMO).

In other words, water vapor.

If we were to move to hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, we would end up trading CO2 for H2O. We don't actually KNOW what the results of that would be. We only suspect it would be an improvement.

We might as well create legislation to restrict cow farts. Methane is another potent greenhouse gas, and grain-fed beef makes lots of methane. "Henceforth, all beef cattle must be grass-fed or fed a diet to minimize the output of methane. Furthermore, all cattle must be individually fitted with an Automated Collection and Methane Extraction (ACME) system, and each individual shall be indelibly tattooed with its methane creation license number, as issued by the Department of Homeland Flatulence, the Social Security Number or Taxpayer Identification of its owner, and the production records of each individual shall be submitted to the DHF. Overproduction shall be cause for termination of the genetic line. All costs will be borne by the owner of the cattle..."

OK, maybe not. But I wouldn't be surprised.

So that's the lost blog. I used the tractor this morning to plow that 1/4 mile driveway, and it has actually been a fairly COLD winter. Go figure.

20 January 2011

Still Alive!

This was a triumph!

I'm making a note here: HUGE SUCCESS! It's hard to overstate my satisfaction!

The bees (now that I'm done channeling GLADos ;-) are still alive and buzzing in BOTH our hives.

One hive hasn't even touched the sugar we put out, while the other (see the picture?) has carved away the mountain and taken the newspaper with it.

But they're still alive!

07 January 2011

TRAPPED! With the Chickens, Part III

OK, what were the alternatives? Walls. Floor. Roof. Windows. Door.

To get through the walls, he'd have to knock loose dozens of nails and whole sheets of plywood. The floor was even less likely--he was on the wrong side, he'd have to PULL nails, and there wasn't THAT much room under the coop.

The roof would be hard to get any force applied, and more expensive to fix--new plywood, new tar paper, new shingles. And the windows were already too small.

But the door...

The latch was only held by 2 screws on the door side, and 3 on the latch. If he kicked the door, HARD, something HAD to give.

1... 2... 3!

On the second kick, the door sprang open. He was free!

He inspected the latch. Sure enough, the string was wrapped below the latch. And now the latch was bent, too.

He inspected the door. Every screw on both parts of the latch had held. But the steel post, as thick as his pinky, was bent back 45 degrees. THAT impressed him. Either it was a very MANLY kick, or really WIMPY steel.

Probably wimpy steel.

"G'night, ladies!" he called to the chickens as he closed the door and leaned the ramp up against it. This one was going to have to go in the blog, no question about it.

No question at all.

TRAPPED! With the Chickens, Part II

What had happened? Steve's best guess was that the string, which was several inches too long, had wrapped itself UNDER the latch. So, every time he pulled the string to lift the latch, he was pulling it down tighter. He looked around. The walls were all attached, although he supposed he COULD break through one, given time. The windows were jalousie-style, and much too small for him anyway.

He was over 200 feet away from the house. Debbie wouldn't hear him shouting, although the dogs might...

"What's that, Sadie? You say daddy is stuck in the chicken coop? And he's cold?! And his LEG is BROKEN and he needs a shot of INSULIN!?!"

"Woof! Woof!"

Too much to hope for.

He was planning to put a wireless phone extension in the barn, but that wouldn't help him in the chicken coop. If he had his netbook or his PDA, he could try to email for help--he might be in range of the Wi-Fi, there weren't any OTHER networks around to interfere.

And if he were a hen, he could lay eggs.

He remembered that Debbie hadn't waved as he went out. Had she seen him go? He remembered how tired she looked--what if she went to bed? Worse yet, what if she woke up and couldn't FIND him?

He knew exactly how she would react.

She would quickly become convinced he had suffered a heart attack, and was laying somewhere, dead. Panic would ensue.

He had to get out of this alone, and he had to do it soon.

30 December 2010

TRAPPED! With The Chickens

"I'm going out to water the chickens and close the coop for the night," said Steve, walking toward the door with a 3-liter bottle of water and a flashlight in his hands. He waved an "I Love You" at Debbie, still sitting at the table after dinner. She didn't wave back, and Steve thought, "Boy, she looks tired. I hope she goes to bed early tonight--we could both use a long sleep."

He trudged through the yard, past the barn and into the darkness. He flicked on his flashlight, and let himself through the gate into the pen around the coop. The chooks were no fools--when the sun went down, they all trooped into the coop and huddled up for warmth. He stepped into the coop and pulled the door around behind himself.

He turned on the 100W bulb they had put in to help warm the coop at night, and turned off the flashlight. December 30, and there were 4 new eggs in the corner! These girls just wouldn't quit laying! 2 dozen eggs a week, even when the temperatures had been below freezing. He picked them up and put them in a plastic bag from his pocket.

Then Steve checked on the level of feed in the hanging feeder. He had filled it the day before, so there was no worry the birds were hungry, but it paid to keep an eye on the level. A couple times, the birds ate the bin dry and he and Debbie had to scramble to come up with short-term substitutes--bird seed, peanuts, sunflower seeds. Once they popped popcorn, which the chickens seemed to really enjoy.

Finally, he picked up the water bowl and turned to the door to empty it. The door had fully closed, but there was a string leading to the latch. He would just pull it, and...

Pull it and...

Now THAT was a problem. The door wasn't opening.

Steve began to laugh. Overconfidence had bitten him right on the keister, and it was his own fault. He had just locked himself into the chicken coop.

27 December 2010

On the Third Day of Christmas...

Hope you all are warm and well!

Here on Honeyhill Farm, the temperature is in the high 20's F, but the wind is around 30 with gusts. Our 1" of snow is DRIFTING, for heaven's sake!

We have had to resort to an old-fashioned way of watering the chickens: we carry it out twice a day. They have an annoying habit of tipping over the bowl.

We ran power from the barn to the coop via extension cords, and we have a 100W bulb we turn on at night. It's not much, but we have had fewer frozen water bowls and the chickens aren't all huddled together in the morning.

We poured several pounds of sugar into each hive on the last day we had above 40F. Sometime around the end of this week, it is supposed to be in the 40's again, and we'll have to top them off. But both hives are still alive!

Debbie received a spinning wheel for Christmas--an Ashford Traveller, second-hand but in wonderful condition, off Craigslist. Do yourself a favor and check out Craigslist.

Debbie got me an Android PDA, which has been interesting because all the documentation is in Chinese.

Today we are both a bit under the weather--fevers, aches, pains, and other unpleasant symptoms--but it seems to be a short-duration illness.

Stay warm and happy!