Friday, August 31, 2012

And The Clouds Came

This morning, early, I lay in bed saying prayers.  Keith and I had watched the blue moon rise from the deck last night, and as I lay in bed early, I could see it going down to the west.  Keith got up to let the dogs/chickens out.... and then ran back in to tell me to get dressed quickly and come out.

Here is what we saw....

This, friends, is the initial edge of Tropical Depression Isaac coming over us.
I went to the Santa Cali Gon Festival anyway, but by the time my cousin and I got there, this is what the grand old city of Independence, Queen City of the Trails, looked like:
This street on the square is usually jammed full of fair goers.  That's the historic Jackson County Courthouse in the picture where Harry Truman was judge.
As you see, the vendors were in trouble. 
The carnival was shut down in the bad weather.
Here's my cousin Mary in one of the booths... we particularly liked this one in one of the huge craft tents, because the lady had so many good ideas.
That's a 33 RPM record hanging behind Mary's head... with the spider that says "Gimme the Creeps".  She also painted many old buckets, and a gas can, on the top shelf with the ghost and pumpkin. 
We noticed that several of the large craft tents were already puddling water, and it appeared that some vendors had not even set up.
Christmas was not forgotten, either, and the snowman circular hanging is another record.
This is something I brought home!  Isn't it cute? 
It's going to be perfect for the fall season.
I came home to henyards in the soup... yes, we are overjoyed with the rain... but UGHHHHH. 
I heard on the news at 6 PM that they had shut Santa Cali Gon down at 5:30... it is normally open until 11 PM, because the puddling was so bad in the tents.  I am sorry for the vendors, as some had some from as far away at California, according to folks who visited with my cousin. 
We still had a great time and got lots of good ideas!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Bird with a Broken Wing

To wit:

The discoloration on the wing is from Iodine, I sprayed her just in case, but I can't find the wound.  I'm going to look again tomorrow, turning her over.  There is no obvious suppuration, she is eating, drinking, and walking around, and I just went out and checked, and she managed to get onto the lowest roost.   The wing is so low tonight as to be almost dragging. A mystery.
The owl?   More likely a ROOSTER!
I have literally not seen Bitty outside in almost two months.  She has been steadfastly setting in the nest box inside the little henhouse.  She has been in the dark box (and pecking me daily) for so long, I forgot she had a little comb on her face.
They're digging to China for their dust baths now.  It got back up to 103 here today. 
Just so you know... I did NOT fight this guy for the egg! 
The red marks are posthole markers. If you squint you can see that there is an overlap on the ground of about six inches of poultry wire, which will be affixed down.
The postholes are for positioning a framework that will hold up the shadecloth that will shelter this henyard... I am for once going to have a henyard that starlings cannot invade (OR owls!)
It will, indeed, be the Henspa!
Here is an ad running on Kansas City Craigslist tonight.  It is indicative of what we are seeing more day by day:
I have 4 donkeys that are in need of good homes or home!!!!! I have 2 jennys that are bred and should have babies with-in the next
month or so. I have a 12 month old jack and a 14 month old jenny (possibly bred)... I will give them away free to a good home. They
have really nice personalities. They are used to beieng around my 4 yr old grandaughter and they do like there apple treats. If you
think you could take care of one or more please call me. 913 xxx-xxxx Thank You!!!!!!!
This breaks my heart.   Two days ago it was a horse, and the owner was not only begging someone to take her, but even offered to deliver the horse to them.   I would give anything to be able to take these donkeys for the lady, but have no guarantee that I can get hay, either.   I have a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach that we are going to see more and more of this in the coming months.
There are ads on Craiglist this week for hay for sale in Mississippi, Louisiana, Kentucky, Georgia and Tennessee.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

In Which I Confess to You

This folks, is what our raised bed vegetable garden looks like today.

Sad,  isn't it?  The fact is, I foresook it for the perennial beds, choosing to put all my effort into them this summer.  We are going to do some cleanup this long weekend, and plant a few things for fall, but frankly, that's what's great about gardening... there's always next year! 
You can see how I had high hopes for it this year here
In the hoop house is one tomato that is suddenly blooming and setting out new growth again... and my pineapple sage and cilantro are both sending up new plants from seed.  Strawberries are still alive, too.  Planting the herbs in bins was an experiment that worked so well that next year (Oh, Keithhhhhh) we are going to need to put a bench on the deck... made with a board and some cement blocks... so I can grow the herbs right outside the kitchen door!   We are going to try to put up a real, small greenhouse, because we liked the hoop house so much.
I'm still doing lots of this, too....
We got about a half inch of rain last weekend, but it was 95 today, and they are predicting 98 tomorrow, and then a drop in temps.  We are getting 60's at night, now.
I watered the pear trees yesterday, and the apple trees (and weeping cherry) this morning.  I also have been watering the perennial beds, too.
These two don't care, as long as they can nap where it's cool.
Neither does this guy, who is getting to be an everynight visitor to the pasture!  Lucky I lock everyone up!


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Night at the Circus

NOTE TO ALL:  The blog was loading so very slowly last night I could not keep my eyes open and finally went to bed before posting... so I'm completing that post now.

I have never written about it, but one of the the subjects that interests me the most is the circus, and circus history.  One of my long-time bosses used to laugh because he always knew when the circus was in town, because I would take vacation so I could go to multiple performances.  One of the best things about working part-time at the two arenas was seeing so many circuses, and no, I never ever grew tired of seeing performance after performance.  My poor boys were dragged up in the morning and out to lots to see the tents go up... and one of them worked one show tearing down when they were short of help years ago.

So tonight, Keith and I went to see Culpepper and Merriweather Great Combined Shows, in Basehor, about five miles from us.  I had been waiting for it all during August, impatiently.

The front yard, looking towards the big top.
Concessions/ticket wagon... and this guy never takes a bad picture!
There was a small cat act with two tigers and a big lion.
And a "Big and Little" horse act that was very good and lively!
The sister of the horse lady presented a very fast dog act, and the dogs all looked happy and healthy.
A great juggler who was like a blur, and I could not get a clear picture of him!
And his sister was the hula hoop queen!
 And what would a circus be without a beautiful aerialist?
Keith and I waited in the parking lot until almost everyone was gone... and before we pulled out, the sidewalls were down, and the equipment packed up as they finished each act.  The lot is empty today, you can almost not tell the circus was there.
On to Ringling in two weeks!  (and back to our regularly scheduled program tomorrow!)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

I Remember Mud!

Stinkeeeeeeeeee!!!!!  Yeehaaaaa!!!!!!
When all was said and done, we only got about an inch-inch and a half of rain, but gosh, it was good while it lasted.  The henyards are like a skating rink right now!!!!!   Don't wanna fall in there, believe me!
Leaf fall has started in earnest, and the trees are changing colors... fall is on the way.

Son Jeff went home, we had a wonderful birthday for me, and thank you all for your kind wishes!


Saturday, August 25, 2012

What My Mother Said

My mom died in 2008, when she was in her 94th year. She used to laugh at me when I lamented growing older.... and tell me ... "Little Girl, you have your whole life ahead of you still". My mom was pretty wise.
Today I celebrated my 62nd birthday, spending a very quiet day at home after dropping off the eggs and stopping at the store.  In midafternoon, I took Jeff down to the shopping center and to Walmart, and then we stopped to get a sandwich.  I came home to find a book I had ordered from Amazon in the mail, so sat down to have a good read.
My dear husband jumped the gun early, and gave me a gift of a day at the spa... so I have something to look forward to in the next few weeks.  What a good guy he is.
And the Good Lord gave us another gift....

Though we did not get the "waves" of rain that were predicted, we did get several decent soakings.  We still need about ten days of this kind of weather to get anywhere close to normal.  At least I didn't have to hand-water today.
And by the time we got to the last T Bones game of the season... it was still raining, but let up in the second inning.
If you had told me fifteen years ago I would have this wonderful man for a husband and celebrate my birthday at an independent league ball game, I would have laughed my head off! 
How blessed I am to still be here, and how I wish my sister were here today, to celebrate with me.  

Friday, August 24, 2012

A Surprise for Me

Last night we got a call from son Jeff, who lives in Independence, MO, about fifty miles from us.  Jeff rarely is able to come over... he works at a large grocery store and works long hours, he has been there a long time.  He wondered if he could not come for a few days for a visit, and boy, did I say YES.  I went over to get him this morning.   He does not have internet service where he lives, so despite asking if he'd like to see a movie, go out to dinner, etc. etc... he basically wanted to hang out, use the internet to play some games (he's only 42 this year!) and just be around us and the animals.
So, he came out to help me with chores this evening, and was promptly (and literally) chased out of the henyard!

Jackson was not kidding... he put on his full panoply... stuck his neck out, and gobbled his heart out, while coming fast straight at Jeff.    Jeff suggested (!) that I wait for Keith to help me with the waterers, as I was feeling a little puny today.
When you are not used to large birds, they can be very intimidating.   Jackson has big feet, and a LOUD gobble!
While this was going on, there was also a lot of crowing going on:
From this Mille Fleur d'Uccle and....

And this Porcelain D'Uccle, amongst about ten others. 
Both of these little guys were tested Tuesday, and were to go to a swap tomorrow... but we are now expecting (80% Chance) rain tomorrow... including storms.... so I am going to stay home and will have to establish a batchelor pad in the little henyard when I move the hens over. 
I may not be commenting/blogging much over the weekend, with Jeff here and using the computer... so everyone have a great weekend!


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Legs Diamond, A Rooster

Okay, he's still a cockerel. 
He's one of this year's hatch, one that the nursery man "threw in" as an extra.  I need to watch the box he throws those extras from next spring!

I happen to like this rooster very much.  He has not crowed yet. and he properly kowtows to all the older roosters, big and little, in the big henyard.  He is about to lose all his girlfriends, because all the juvenile pullets are moving to the big henhouse soon.  I have NO clue what breed he is, but he's big. When the tester was here the other day, I meant to ask her.  He's FAST.  He's also going to be Rambo's replacement when Rambo goes.

In this picture, he almost looks like a modern game.  That's one of the older hens next to him, and you can see he is taller than she, and almost as big as.
Keith has a theory that the reason the roosters in the big henyard get along so well is that they all have their own little harems.  One, Two, and Three, the old roosters, each have one little hen that hangs with them.  Boots (and by virtue of their friendship) Speedy Gonzalez and Nugget, the golden cochin all hang together.
For this reason, the tiny hens are not moving, at least not the ones in the big henyard.  The standards ARE moving, with the exception of the Polish girl, Buffy.  She is so fractious, and it's hard for her to see... it's not fair for her to move over to the new henyard and have to learn a whole new way of going in and out. If I have to, I'll move a couple of the older hens back who lay only once a week now.
Cocky, the rooster in the pasture pen, will be left with only one or two old hens for company.  The rest in that pen are moving over.

Keith is on the phone right now speaking with an emergency manager in a county south of us.  There is a huge brush fire raging down there, and the volunteers from three other counties are responding to the situation.  Keith is getting regular reports in case they need to call for further help.
Rain is predicted tomorrow, and a lot of rain (2 inches!) on Saturday, so we are praying it comes in time before anyone loses a home or farm buildings. 
We are also praying tonight for the farmer who started the brush fire accidentally on Tuesday across the highway from us.  He went back yesterday to do some caterpiller work on the hot spots, and suffered a stroke. He is hospitalized now.  Some rain would be much appreciated at this point!


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Day After

Things were rather uneasy here today, and despite the heat and blowing wind, quite a few birds hung out inside during the day.  I did water a second time at 1, and then again this evening... it was so hot.
As I sat in the pasture filling the bin of water.... everyone hung close to me...

You can really see Annabelle's new feathers coming in in this picture, especially on her sides, rear, and her chest.
I was on the phone with Keith when I saw this guy come down out of the maple tree, and come across to the side deck, where he proceeded to go under, to get out of the heat, I'm sure.
Then, as I checked the big henhouse one last time at dusk... this fella was in there looking around for mice (I hope) because gosh knows I am not getting ANY eggs.  I'll be lucky to have three dozen between the owl attacks, the snakes, the heat... the moult.
The owl appears to be a great horned.... I'm hoping to get it on the game camera.  Last night we forcibly put the turkeys in the big henhouse... Jackson will go in willingly, he wanders in and out during the day... the Turkettes had to be lifted in.  Tonight, Jackson flew up to the top of the gate to the big henyard before Keith got here... and we could not get him down.  I'm praying the owl will not visit him tonight.. nothing would convince him or Clara to go into the little henyard, (where they normally sleep) though Annabelle went right in and up onto her doghouse - roost.  Keith, however, lifted her down, and she and Clara are in the four x four pen tonight with the pullets, locked up where the owl can't find them.
I did a little research, and Great Horned owls will attack full-grown turkeys.  I would absolutely hate to lose Jackson, I just went out there at 10:30 and he was still awake and looking around on his gate. 
I'm hoping we can get a small shed to put in the pasture, where I can lock them up by themselves nightly, away from the chickens and away from predators, the four legged AND the winged kind.
Several people commented a few days ago about burying the wire for the new henyard.  The wire IS buried for the old henyards, but this chain link is in the garden, within our yard.  Lilly, who would kill every chicken she could get to.... is also the best protection the chickens have.  She will prevent any critters from getting near them, but just to be sure, Keith and I are going to wrap the inside of the chain link with poultry wire as a second defense, and we will hang netting from the top... we'll show pictures soon of the ingenious way that Keith has created to do it.  We'll also put four x fours at the bottom of the wire, clear around it, if we need to.
Gratuitous picture of pug cuteness, Gertie Lou.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Very Hard Day

It started out very well....

I swept the porch and deck, and cut the dead blooms off all the deck flowers.  These self-seeded this year, aren't they nice?

After that, I moved out to the garden to try to clear up some debris and do some watering before it got really hot.   (It's 96 right now at 4:47 PM)

I heard the chickens screaming... and after a while, I went over, and could see one hen making a racket, and told her... "Settle down".  I went back over to the garden, sat down, and kept working on plants, deadheading and pruning. 

The chickens screamed again, and it went on for a while.  I didn't get up again.

At noon, I talked to the lady who was going to do the testing, to make sure she still wanted to come in the heat.  When she said yes, I thought I had better go to the bank so I could pay her cash.

As I drove out of the drive, I saw smoke on the horizon.   I rounded the corner onto 24/40 Highway, and saw smoke from the pasture across from us.  I should explain that our road runs north and south, but does not connect across the highway.  Across from our corner is a 140 acre pasture that has been for sale since we moved here.  The owner is in California.  She is also the owner of the buffalo herd that has been abandoned on ten acres around her father's former home.  There are 12 bison in this herd, that is just left to live or die on it's own. 

As I drove to the right, I saw a line of flames marching across the pasture, towards the house and barn where the herd lives.  I saw a white pickup truck in the pasture, and thought "Should I call 911 or not?", because I thought... if someone is sitting there, they are monitoring it, but when I looked over my shoulder, it frightened me because it was burning so hard.  I went to the bank... and then the grocery store, and then came home.  As I approached, I saw this:

I was still miles away.

When I got closer, I saw all of our township fire equipment, the highway patrol, and a sheriff's deputy out along the highway....

It had burned all the way to the eastern fence line, where there is a neighboring house, and clear out to the roadway in several places.  I should have called, I kicked myself.  I called my husband who was out of town at a meeting, but on his way back.

Pretty soon he returned my call to tell me that our county emergency manager had just called him to warn him to warn ME that there was a fire coming my way.  I kept seeing Feral Woman's blog in my mind, and was alarmed at the way it was burning when I saw it.

When Keith got home, he told me that the sheriff would send someone to talk to me, as they suspect arson.  I saw a white pickup truck in the pasture, BELOW the fire line.

So after all this, I got home and started to do water, as it was 95 degrees and the tester was on her way.

This is what I found in the little henyard.

I could just scream.  This is what was happening when I heard everyone screaming this morning.

It was a pullet, one of my two porcelain D'uccle pullets.

Broad daylight, 10 AM.

I thought possum... but I showed it to someone whose opinion I value, and she said "Owl". 
Remember, we have seen a huge owl next door in Troy's yard.
We have noticed a dearth of muskrats lately... and many less mice.

I removed the other porcelain pullet, she is not happy, but she is in the big henhouse and there she is staying until everyone moves over to the new henyard.

All the chickens were in the big henhouse... everyone from that yard... and the turkeys were hiding under trees behind the 4 x 4 pen.

I might have been able to stop it, if I had just gone the whole way out there.

So, the tester and her daughter got there.

Uh... Diane and Caitie caught most of the cockerels, I admit it.  They are just too fast for me now.

Each bird's wing was nicked and the blood put into a titrate.  It turns cottage cheesey if there is pullorum or typhoid in the speciman.  Mine did not.

So, I am worried now about tomorrow.  I am going to put the game cam on the little henyard, and bring the Naughty Girls into the big henhouse for a few days.  They won't like it, but they'll live.

It is supposed to be blazing hot.  I have an appointment to take Ranger in for another look-see in the morning, and then a test at the post in the afternoon, which I think I'll call and change to next week.  I'd like to stay close to home and see what's happening.  Keith said he is not surprised... the wildings are getting desperate, there is a dearth of little animals around, and really.. the water situation is getting scary.

PS... at 8:28...

It was the big gray barred owl, it came back at about 7 PM... I've never ever heard a turkey scream like Annabelle did, and chickens went EVERYWHERE to shelter.  I scared the owl away, and it flew off into the cottonwoods on Troy's dam.  I sat out there for over an hour, watering the garden, watching the henyards.  The turkeys do NOT want to go back into the little henyard tonight, where they usually roost.  I am waiting for Keith to get here to help me get them into the henhouse itself, they have never roosted in there, though they have all gone in at different times.

It's dark, so this should be good.  I'm afraid to leave them where the owl can get to them tonight.

I'll let everyone know what happens.

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Fence Fabric is Put Up

Wow, now it looks like a real henyard!  I think this chainlink investment is a good one.

The three man crew had it up in about 45 minutes, they knew what they were doing.

And here is the finished product, up in less than an hour. 

It will be smaller than the two yards we already have, but the birds will be able to get under the house, too. 
We still intend to cover this yard with some kind of fabric... possibly shade fabric, because we decided to use netting, and were warned that the wildings will get caught in it constantly.  Say bye bye to the dead grass, as the birds will have it out of there in no time.  I intend to put straw mulch in there.

Lilly Ann approves!

Representative group of hens who will be moving over to the new yard.