Thursday, December 5, 2019

My Roosters and Other Stories

At one time, in another land and far far away, while Keith was still alive, 
we had over a hundred chickens, ducks, geese and/or turkeys. 

At one time, we had 16 roosters, and I am not exaggerating, we 
literally had sixteen among the four hen houses. 

This is a shot of the little red hen house, where our bantams lived. 
The little fence Keith made around the front deck is gone, and you can 
see the ramp is simply leaning, and no longer attached.  The last 
chickens that lived in there were probably eight years ago, 
and two years ago, it sheltered the four feral kittens I took in 
from Kitty Cat Connection, until the raccoons broke them out. 
Right now, I have it bedded with straw inside, and the door is propped open so that 
Rusty, the feral cat, can get inside and sleep if he needs to get out of the weather. 

This little hen house was always a problem, I had to keep a short ladder under it, 
and stand on it to crawl in and reach for eggs.... and it was hard to reach with a heat lamp (that still hangs in there)... I had to run a line from the old hen house to it for bitter cold.  

(Chickens should not need a heat supplement, but this hen house was not well 

That's Ferdie, my old rooster (really only three years old!) 

He is the father of Buddy, 
his clone. 

They look like twins. 

And Singleton, who is actually a year older than Buddy. 

Singleton spent the summer at the Ag Hall with six hens, 
and is home for the winter. 

I am lucky, all three are very mellow roosters, 
but the two younger have started running dad out of the half of the yard 
that comprises the chicken's domain. 

He spends his days hanging out by the deck, but never coming up on it. 

He eats birdseed and drinks from the water I keep out for the wildings, and in the evening, 
I put him back in the big hen house, where he avoids his son Buddy. 

This is why I quit hatching, though I fully intended to when I moved back, 
there is a 50/50 chance you will get cockerels and no one wants them.  I actually don't know 
anyone anymore who butchers their birds to eat, so these three will live here until they die. 

I absolutely love to watch the squirrels, I look for them daily.  They drink out of the fortex you see, 
and I keep seed at the base of the big maple.  There is another heated water container to the right, out of the camera range. 

They literally run back and forth all morning, there are actually four eating here, but only two in this picture. 

They aren't the only things eating here. 

Elvis, the black possum in the rear (has a black outer coat) is often pushed away by this larger possum, who is living under the little hen house, the one that is empty now.  I literally have to watch the birds in the evening, because the girls of the big hen house will not go in if the possum is out eating.  He often comes out while it is still day light, so I keep an eye on things in the late afternoon. 

Today a blogger/Instagram poster wrote about rehoming one of her surplus roosters, and 
discovered the hen house at the new home had not been cleaned in months. Well, 
that is the sad state of affairs here.  During the summer, while I struggled with my leg, 
I managed to rake mine out once, and clean it decently.  I need to do it again. 
I am going to try to get to it on Saturday, when we should still have decent weather. 
Our temps are going to fall precipitously next week. 

The old hen house has been cleaned several times (the ducks were in there in the summer), 
but the big hen house needs a good raking out.  I used to take all that over to the compost heap, but 
now I rake it into the fenced yard, and it is picked over by the hens, and adds to the dirt in there. 

Ten years ago, while I cooked our meal, Keith spent a cold Thanksgiving wiring a receptacle on the deck so I could have some Christmas lights.  I'll never forget the selflessness, he 
could have watched football but did this because he knew I wanted some lights. 
We had a good meal and then turned them on for the first time. 

This fall, I had my nephew re-wire them and make it so the porch light 
could be off while they were on, and every time I look out the door, 
I think of how Keith worked so hard that day. 

This sweet little girl has been such a good addition to our lives. 

I have had day after day like this, yesterday was 14,000 plus steps. 

We are still working hard to get the National Agricultural Center ready for the 
Santa Express and Country Christmas on the 14th and 15th. 

One of the men volunteers said yesterday "And then we have to take it 
all down".... JANUARY, I pray.  The only thing I am going to do is 
bring home those of my things that I need for Christmas here. 

I'll take some pictures when I am there tomorrow, so you can see how things have 
progressed.  If you are local, it is going to be really spectacular, and we charge only 5.00 a CARLOAD for admittance.  

The volunteers and employees Judy and Cameron have been working countless hours to make it a great experience for families. 

I checked out Cabela's Christmas Wonderland yesterday, it is 
very small, and they charge 20.00 for a child to sit on Santa's lap and get a picture. 

A blast from the Calamity Acres past. 

(Big Mama, Yankee, and Inca) 

Three of our four little pug girls, Abby, Gertie, and Hannah, resting her head on Gertie. 

Keith loved Christmas... he is ready for it this year.