Punxatawney Phil wasn't kidding this week! We had a wonderful Saturday with 67 degree highs, and followed it with a gloomy, gray Sunday that reached maybe 40! Typical Kansas weather.
On a high point, I saw a robin while out doing errands yesterday. Coupled with the red-winged blackbirds that are visiting our feeders, I know now that spring is definitely ... springing!
On a low point, I've dropped or banged the camera, and it doesn't seem to be working. As I can't figure out how to erase old pictures from the new movie camera, I am unsure how to transfer those pictures over, and the old camera (before this new digital) also doesn't seem to be working. I am no great photographer, but I carry a camera constantly, because you never know when you are going to get a Kodak moment.
I got some of those yesterday while out doing the evening chores. I sat and watched the Little Bunch for a while, while Rambo and the big girls were off in the pasture. The Little Bunch was gathered under the little henhouse in Fort Apache (the straw bale fort intended to protect the geese and ducks, who sleep in the horseyard). I marveled at Brownie. She is almost two, from a hatch two summers ago. She is a pretty brown hen, out of (probably) one of our two production reds, Rosy and Ruby, and Rambo, I am sure. We have had a succession of pretty brown part Buff Orpingtons these last four years. Anyway, Brownie was caught in some mesh we had used to cover a chick cage when still very young. Her leg became engtangled, and she was out in a blowing afternoon until I found her tangled and got the mesh off her and bundled her into the henhouse. We kept her in the nursing cage for weeks, as we could see the leg had become spraddled. We know our friends would have put her down, but we wanted to see what would happen. She learned to adapt with the bent leg... and hops along, following the others. The roosters know she is easy game, and constantly mount her, so that her back is bare. We are ordering a hen apron to protect her from their depredations. Every time we begin to feel badly for her and think of "putting her out of her misery" we marvel at the fact that she survived a terrible dog attack last year, and managed to become a productive member of our flock, giving us a nice brown egg daily. I hold the water dish for her at night so she can get a little drink from the dish while laying in her nest box-roost. Husband says she is spoiled. I say she is a plucky little girl and very happy!
Her father, Rambo, is our oldest and biggest rooster. He has only one eye, and survived the attack by three neighbor dogs that killed our beautiful huge bronze turkey, Jake, and so many of our chickens. Rambo was grievously injured, but we kept him in the nursing cage for weeks, and were so happy when we could introduce him to the flock. He takes good care of his harem, and keeps the other roosters in line.
Studly and Butch are almost two now, born two years ago when we had a glut of chicks. Studly is grey and black, like his father Billy (gone to the butchers). Butch is white, shaped like Billy, but colored like his grandfather, our first white black-tailed Jap bantam, Fred, lost to the dogs. They are my favorites, both beautiful, and both placid and wise, like Fred.
Curley, the red frizzle cochin, came here in disguise as a pullet... until he crowed. He keeps to himself, with a couple of the little hens for company. We would like to have some frizzle chicks, but hopefully not this year.
The Little Four, from last summer, are carbon copies of Studley and Butch... but also of their grandfather Fred. We can't tell them apart, but I call them One Two Three and Four.
They all have personality and we talk to them all while doing chores, and they talk back.
In fact, it's time to go see them now!