Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Bits and Pieces Wednesday

I have lots of random shots to show you today. 

First, though, 
The Crazy Sheep Lady from Punkin's Patch suggested last night that black vultures may be attacking the flock.  Guess what? That's exactly what we saw two nights ago, when the ducks fled in panic. 

I did a little research on it, because I thought vultures, both black and turkey, were carrion eaters only. 

Uh huh. 
 (don't read this if you are squeamish) 


At a garbage dump
Over a deer carcass
In natural settings, the Black Vulture eats mainly carrion.[40] In areas populated by humans, it may scavenge at garbage dumps, but also takes eggs and decomposing plant material and can kill or injure newborn or incapacitated mammals. Like other vultures, it plays an important role in the ecosystem by disposing of carrion which would otherwise be a breeding ground for disease.[41] The Black Vulture locates food either by sight or by following New World Vultures of the genus Cathartesto carcasses. These vultures—the Turkey Vulture, the Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, and the Greater Yellow-headed Vulture— forage by smell, an ability which is uncommon in the avian world. They fly low to the ground to pick up the scent of ethyl mercaptan, a gas produced by the beginnings of decay in dead animals.[42] Their heightened ability to detect odors allows them to search for carrion below the forest canopy.[39] King Vultures and Black Vultures, which lack the ability to smell carrion, follow them to carcasses.[41] It is aggressive when feeding, and may chase the slightly larger Turkey Vulture from carcasses.[40]
The Black Vulture also occasionally feeds on livestock or deer. It is the only species of New World vulture which preys on cattle. It occasionally harasses cows which are giving birth, but primarily preys on newborn calves. In its first few weeks, a calf will allow vultures to approach it. The vultures swarm the calf in a group, then peck at the calf's eyes, or at the nose or the tongue. The calf then goes into shock and is killed by the vultures.[43]
Black Vultures have sometimes been seen to pick ticks off resting Capybaras.

Hmmmm... I have a former co-worker with Capybaras, the only one licensed in the state... I wonder if she knows this! 

I think they are majestic birds and have a strong place in bird society, but leave my chickens alone! 

I have been watching all day long, literally. 

Sorry for the goriness of that description/picture. 

This... pitiful picture... 

Shows the lump sum total of eggs I got today, and it includes the duck eggs!
And on top of it, one is cracked.  
I got TWO eggs from the big henhouse (formerly 6 to 8) and 5 from the hens of the henspa.  In fact... I got UNDER the dang building to see if any were hidden down there, and there were not. 
I have no idea what's happening... it's not overly hot (like last year) nor, heaven knows, is anyone crowded. 
Everyone has adequate nutrition and plenty of fresh water twice a day, and iced water on hot days. 
Thank heavens for the ducky girls. 

For two weeks they laid in the duck house in the big henyard.  The last two mornings, I found two eggs outside on the ground.  This morning, these three eggs were back in the quiet, very shaded southeast corner of the little henyard. 

At least they were mostly clean. 

Here in this picture is the little henhouse (red) on stilts... the juvenile pen (back of it) in white, and Little Bunny Foo Foo's, (RIP four years ago today) hutch which is falling apart.  A hen has begun laying in the nest box of it, hidden by an old towel, since the gate dropped off years ago (it's a Ware).  That's the one big egg I got from this side, and I got one small one this morning. 
Here are my hopes for this side: 
Last night when we got home from the family dinner, I went out to find only ONE little porcelain D'Uccle of the three roosting in the red henhouse.  I swooped him gently up, and carried him into the big henhouse, and put him on the roost next to his two brothers.  One has been roosting in there for weeks... and the second, went in there last night.  If I can get all three of them to roost in there, the red henhouse will be closed up permanently.  I will eventually clean it out good, and it will be there if we need it in an emergency.  
At some point, the Ware hutch will be burned. 
Now... the white juvenile hutch holds the 3 chicks from this year. 
My plan is to move them Friday night over to the henspa, across the yard.  Yes, there are four little bantam boys in there... and one of these chicks is a cockerel.  He's going to be a big boy, I think.  
However... I'm going to move them over so that the two pullets can lay in that house, where it is safe. 
I'll move them at night, and then the little white pen will be cleaned and closed up. 

No more waterers or feed for that side, saving time. 

Here are part of the remnants of the Japanese bantam flock.  Two roosters, two hens... but actually, there is Rooster Three (who is gray) and Butch, my pet rooster, who is all white... and they are all hatch mates. 

Andy McKim at the Little White House, this one's for you.... 
this is our well house.  It has a vent, you see, on the left, and the hatch on the right allows us (Keith) to climb in and out. There is a pump room above the well proper, and we are lucky... our well is 120 feet deep... and did not go dry in the drought last year. 

We do have to change the filter in it, and when it rains frequently, we have to change the filter more frequently, because sediment is drawn up.  There is a sump pump in the well room to keep things dry. 

Some well houses are very small, and Troy next door has only a pump apparatus above ground. 

Look who was having herself a soak in the old henhouse! 
I learned a few weeks ago, thanks to grandson Chris's good eyes, to look before I reach for this bowl.  It's hard to see from this angle, but her head and her tail are above water... her head is resting on the right.  She knew how to stay cool! 
I got a full big snake skin yesterday to give my grandson this weekend. 

Yes, folks, those pins on Pinterest that advise you to mix vinegar with some Dawn dish soap and spray it on weeds really works!  Wow! 
I was trying to be careful because vinca vine is growing to the right, and spearmint to the left. 

I worked about an hour yesterday cutting out trees.  Why is it that there is a TREE growing right next to the peach daylily on the right????  ARGHGHH! 
I love that tiny little daylilly at the bottom of the picture.  I don't know it's name any more. 

Do as I say, do not do as I do.  We planted these tomatoes FAR too close together.  I did not cut the suckers out.  I did not prune them. 
They are leaning on each other and I had to drive some support stakes in this afternoon. 

Why, then, are they dripping with tomatoes, every one of them? 

I promised Keith's daughter Andrea last night that extra tomatoes would be coming their way, soon. 

I was asked this morning if I did a lot of canning and preserving.  A few years ago, I was.  However, Keith and I are the only two people here generally, and we don't eat all that much anymore.  I have not canned anything yet this year, and I am currently thinking about getting a pressure canner so I can can a lot of green beans, which I have coming on and which we do, in fact, use a lot of. 
I'm also thinking about making some freezer strawberry jam, but no, we don't do a lot of canning anymore.  
I AM going to be making some salsa though, and maybe some tomato juice. 

And some sweet pickles, which son Jim loves. 

I do admire those ladies who put up lots for their family to eat.  Brava to them! 

You didn't think I could do this post without a picture from last night, did you?  
Here's Pawpaw with his little Brynn.  Isn't she a doll?  

It's 5:23 right now, and a storm has rolled in.  I was watching the goats out the window as pictures loaded, but at the first crack... they trotted right into their barn.  Goats don't like storms, smart animals. 
They proceeded to untie Keith's mom's shoes last night when Ralph and Trudy stopped by to meet them... and declared them cute as bugs. 

No, I don't have a picture, sorry... I was doing chores. 

We had a lovely sunset last night as we drove home from dinner... and now it's sunset on this blogpost for another day! 


  1. I always love seeing what you've been doing, Mary Ann. And what a hard worker you are! It's almost as good as visiting you in person. Little Brynn is darling and look at the smile on Keith's face!

  2. A varied, but interesting, post!

  3. Oh, I would jump every time I saw that big fellow in the chicken house! Is it eating the eggs and cooling off afterwards?

    We do dislike these buzzards. They are new to our area and have damaged many cattle and killed some in our area. They are federally protected I think because they are supposedly a carrion bird but to legally kill them I think you can a nuisance permit from Game and Fish.

    The population has exploded. They are very aggressive. I rarely see the gentle turkey vulture anymore.

  4. I'd never heard of those vultures before. I always rather admirer the turkey vultures, the way they glide so effortlessly, but I could do without the black ones.

    I wondered the same as Gail, do those snakes eat the eggs?

  5. I too was wondering if the snake was eating the eggs. Stress can cause your girls from not laying eggs, so maybe the snake and those ugly vultures are causing the girls to freak out. I know I would freak if I saw a snake in my water dish cooling off.

    Your tomatoes look like ours last year. They were caged in our biggest cages and then staked. LOL Had tons and tons of tomatoes though.

  6. That snake hanging out in the hen house will definately stress the chickens out of laying.
    I thought it was getting ready to shed , because they hang out in the water more often when they are getting ready ...after they shed they are very hungry ...quick hide the bantam chickens. !

  7. Interesting, we only have turkey vultures here and of course they never cause any trouble, they just clean up. I'm glad you got a nice skin from the snake. I wouldn't be able to handle having him there, but it's interesting to see your pictures! The picture at dinner is really adorable :) And the sunset is lovely. Your tomatoes are going crazy!

  8. She looks happy in her PawPaw's arms.

    I don't can like I use to either.


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