Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Super Girl and Bumblebee say have a safe and happy holiday!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Sunny Sunday

First off, I want to thank all of you who commented so wonderfully about what I wrote yesterday morning, the loss of the birds and Hannah's eyesight.  I treasure your comments and they DO help me, because I know all of you are reading this because you have animals that are dear to you.  My little doll is here.... helping me write this.

She will be here as long as we know she is not suffering unduly.  She is a wonderful little girl, and I am heartsick at what's coming, but trying to enjoy her every day.

We had the oldest grands here this weekend, and are so thankful for Chris taking on the really heavy tasks, or the ones that require stuff like this:  (sorry for the dark pictures)

He took down the heavy hyacinth bean vines on the arbor for me, and the cypress vines on the single arbor to the right.  I harvested seeds from the hyacinth beans, and then he hauled them to the firepit that you see smoking behind the arbor. 

Keith began burning the woodpile, but the wind came up, and since it is so very dry here now, he stopped burning.

As you see, Keith is making great progress on the henhouse. 
When Chris returns in two weeks, they will be ready to start working on the interior.  Then we will get the pen up, and the birds moved before it hopefully gets too wickedly cold.

Nathan got his Halloween costume, and it was really serendipity.... he had not gotten one before coming up here on Friday evening from Garnett.  We went to Wal Mart after delivering eggs to the Good Shepherd yesterday, and I had no real hopes of finding a decent costume at this late date.
Sure enough, the aisle was denuded of decent costumes, and things were already reduced.
Lo and behold, we moved some bags around on the wall... and there was the very costume he had told me about weeks ago!  It was a men's size XL, but we figured we could cut it down, so I was able to get it for him.

Here he is in it, and if I do say so myself, it is a scary costume!

The "eyes" are on a type of glasses apparatus that rest on his ears, but actually sit below his real eyes, and he lights them up with a little button on a box that he conceals in his arm.  Really, really creepy!

Last night, there was a terrible tragedy at a town hear here, the hometown of Amelia Earhart, Atchison, Kansas.  The head house blew off a grain elevator, some of you may have seen it on CNN.  Keith was called out in the middle of the evening and responded to the incident, and was there until late in the night.  Three men were killed, three are missing, and two are in critical condition at the burn unit at K.U. today.  I prayed so hard for their poor families at church this morning, to have such a tragedy, and so close to the holidays.  OSHA and the grain company have now closed off the site, and the precarious conditions have made recovery of the three missing men very dangerous.  We are praying for all the families and friends of the men involved, and for those risking themselves to help.

So after his trip up there today, and after I took the grands to meet their mom, I came home to fix some chili for a simple evening dinner, and am about to go out and do chores. 

Here is how beautiful the day is here in Tongie:

That's the huge maple tree near the front of the house.  We're so glad for it's shade.  You see the walnut tree on the right and the one over the roof of the house are already naked.

And lastly, Keith will get me for this one... he laid down to watch football and look what happened!

Sorry, Honey (laugh)

I'm going to scoot out and get chores done, and then come in and make two batches of decorated Halloween cookies.  I'll stop by Jim and Amy's tomorrow night to take pictures of the little and middle grands before they go trick or treating.

Have a peaceful Sunday evening, my friends!

Saturday, October 29, 2011


Living in the country, no matter what the season, you often must deal with loss.  Whether through difficult birthing, accidents, or attack, there are many ways to lose your livestock.  Last week, we experienced a possum determined to have chicken dinner in our henyard and lost three birds, including two hens.

This week we lost two more.... we believe to a large hawk, or possibly one of the pair of eagles who lived a mile away along Stranger Creek.  One of these girls is gone:

Yes, my porcelain D'uccles, the ones I absolutely love.  The girl with her head down, May, is gone.  They would hang out on top of the little henhouse during the day, they always kept themselves separated from the other birds.  May disappeared on Tuesday.   April and Fancy were in the little henhouse that night when I got home from work, which is why I suspect a raptor.

Then, this girl came up missing:
Our beautiful Ameracauna hen, Eagle, came up missing on Thursday.  Keith was convinced she had flown out of the pen and was somewhere in the pasture.  She was...

All we found of her were two piles of buff and blue feathers.  We think she struggled, was dropped, and caught again.  We are watching today for signs of a big raptor.

And the last one is this little girl.

If you enlargen this photo, you will see what has happened this week... she now has glaucoma in her left eye.  She made a visit to Dr. Tom on Thursday afternoon, and the bad spot in the eye is clearing up, but she has developed glaucoma.  When I got to work yesterday, I researched it, and then talked to several of our vets (there are several in my own department, and many in our company) and vet techs.  I was told that glaucoma is very painful for the dog, the pressure building behind the eye hurts and causes them to become depressed, not eat, and the pain is constant.  Removal of the eye is usually the next step, but the second eye will most certainly develop it.  One vet tech, my friend Jill, recommended a veterinary opthalmologist far across town to us, but Keith and I have talked at length about it, and we are not going to do this.  Since Hannah came to us as an adoptee almost four years ago, she has led a very limited life.  She has never been able to run in the yard, or seen the chickens or llamas, or be a farm dog the way that Addie Mae, and now Abby and Gertie are.  She has always been limited to the house and deck, and is overwhelmed when the other dogs get rambunctious.  She is happiest when laying at my side on the couch (I was watching the world series last night next to her) or at my feet at the computer.  Her eyesight was already bad when we adopted her, and now has gone completely.  She is confused and has trouble getting around the house, and we crate her during the day when we are both gone.  We have watched her walk into things (in fact, we think that's how she abraded her eye) and we have rescued her from Ranger several times.  We are going to take care of her for the next few weeks and watch her, and as soon as she seems as if she is in true pain, then we will make a final decision.  Right now she is still eating well, and drinking, and seems to have only slight discomfort.  We are watching her closely, though our hearts are breaking. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011


That's what it is, pitiful.  Two eggs tonight.  20-some hens, and two eggs.  It's the moult, still ongoing here.

It's about time these girls earned their keeps!

The Boss Man is looking pretty sad with no tail feathers.  I wish the moult would be OVER.
The girls all look great, but I am getting few eggs. 

The two new Ameracauna girls from this spring's hatch are not laying yet. One of the buff cochins was, but I have not had an egg from her in two weeks.  The other appears to be ... not right.  She spends 95% of the time on the top roost, looking down.  She is hunched with her feathers puffed out, but does not LOOK sick... her eyes are bright.  I have picked her up and looked her over twice, but do not see anything wrong.  I keep meaning to have Keith check for a stuck egg.  (he is good at that).  My guess is she is eating and drinking when I am not around, or she would be dead by now. 

The other buff cochin does not appear to be laying.  One of the tiny white hens is laying every other day, the other three are not.  (They include Teeny, and are all four or five years old)
Libby, the black hen, is laying almost every day, but her eggs are usually inaccessible, we have to get a ladder to get them on top of the closet.  The red hen Ruby, the oldest of all the hens and one of our originals, is still laying about twice a week.  Buffy, the Polish girl who was hurt, began laying again, but one of the hens was breaking and eating her egg every day... I would get home and find either a wet spot, or a broken egg and shell.  Now I have not seen one since the possum was killed last week.

In the little henhouse, we are getting six to eight eggs on most days.... but not today.  The only two I got today were from the little henhouse.  Two of the Welsummer girls are laying large deep brown eggs, and I know it is them, because I caught one laying in the rabbit hutch.  Another hen is laying large white eggs in there, so it is possibly the only Wyandotte hen.

She is here with Rocky, they are both pretty calm and friendly... and always looking for treats. 

The little girls, buff brahma bantams, cochins, and cochin crosses, and some home breds - half Japanese half silkies, and the few full silkies I have left, are all laying small to medium nice white or off-white eggs.

We read in our weekly Tonganoxie Mirror last night that 112 families went to our Good Shepherd Thrift Store and Food Pantry for help in the month of September.  There is still so much need for our eggs... so girls
Let's Get it Together!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Beauty all Around Us

The leaves are especially beautiful this week here in Leavenworth County.  We had a hint of rain this morning... while I crossed the yard in the dark, there was a single flash of lightening, and then a very soft rumble of thunder, and then it sprinkled.  It sprinkled all the way to the office, rained a short time there, and then cleared up.  We have not had a measureable amount of rain since August 20th, before my birthday.

Here is what our pasture looks like  - and it's a pleasure to be in it in the evening.

See the birds flying by?  That's looking north into the Spehar's calf pasture.  Their land forms an "L" around ours.

And this is the wonderful view looking east, into the Spehar's back acreage.  See the gorgeous tree across their second pond?  It is the first thing we see coming down our drive in the evening... like a fiery beacon.  You can JUST see the beehive sitting near it to the left. 

What a great time of year this is!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tuesday Already!

It seems like the weekends come and go, and we try to push our lives into them.  Then back to the weekly routine, early rising, rush through chores, off to work, use your brain all day (and sometimes your brawn), home to an hour of chores before fixing dinner.  Now that the days are growing shorter, morning chores are done in the dark, and soon, they will be in the dark on the other side, evening.  It makes us want to get in, get fed, get warm and cozy. 

It's already Tuesday evening, and Keith has accomplished a lot on the new henhouse since Sunday, despite two long trips Monday and Tuesday.  He is out there now putting his tools away, as we finally have a 50% chance of rain this evening late. 

Here is what the henhouse looks like today:

I am so proud of Keith.  He knew in theory how to build things, but over the last seven years, he has honed his skills.  This henhouse is built to stand up to an E5 tornado, and despite some initial setbacks with the roof, as you see, it is going along swimmingly.  This weekend Chris will be here to help with the remainder of the sheathing, which had to wait until the roof rafters were up. 

Here is another shot:

We will eventually have a small patio in front of it.  The yard will extend to the south... you are looking at the north side.  (north and east).  The yard will be fenced against the dogs, and covered on top so we don't lose any birds flying out, and so the wildings can't get in.  As you can see, it's up high enough that the birds can shelter under the house when it is hot out.  We'll give them some other kind of shade in their yard, as well.

We're fighting time, now, as it's starting to get cold.  There are three big roosters, Rambo, Brutus and Rocky.  We can't put them all together, so we would like to leave Rambo and his group in the big henhouse, and bring all the boys and girls over to the new henhouse from the little henhouse for the winter.  Then I can close up the little henhouse for the winter.  In the spring, the girls will stay in the new henhouse, and all the boys will go back to batchelor's quarters in the little henhouse.

We want to welcome all of our new readers tonight... we hope you like our blog, and have a laugh or two with us, and maybe a tear or two from time to time.  We love reading your blogs, and are glad to have you enjoying ours!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Most Perfect Sunday

Do you ever have a day when you just think "This can't get any better?" and then it does???  Today has been like that. 

I slept until almost seven, got up intending to go to church early... got showered... and then realized I was rushing.  I have promised myself that I will no longer rush on the weekends... life is not about rushing.  I slowed down, Keith went out and opened up the bird houses and fed the llamas... and I took a deep breath, made some cookies, read the paper, and fixed some scrambled eggs for our breakfast.  I went to church at 10:30.  I was relaxed and happy, and got so much more out of the service. 

It helps that the morning was absolutely gorgeous... temps in the forties... warming up to 75.  I came out of church and got a call from oldest son Jim, whose wife lost and then got her job back when her company was sold this week.  I had invited them to come and bring the two smallest grands, Jax and Paiton, to the Kerby Pumpkin Patch in
Bonner Springs for a treat.

I loaded the cookies, some magazines and lots of coupons for Amy in the car, made sure the camera was with me before I left for church, and then drove on down to meet them.  They followed me to the pumpkin patch, and we had so much fun.  I'll share some pictures with you.

Whoops... that's not the Pumpkin Patch... the neighbor's calves came over to say goodmorning as I was leaving for church.
Here we are at the entrance to the patch.  I took Nathan there three years ago, and you could walk right in and play and never pay... they got smart and made a designated entrance, through the teepees (there is another to the left).  I thought this was very smart, after all, this is a farming family who makes significant income from this short-term yearly venture.  Entrance fees are five dollars per person, age three and up. 
There was a line of pens as you walked in, with a calf, a minihorse, some chickens, three little Duroc pigs, and some goats.  The truth is, the kids had so much play equipment that they did not look at the animals for more than a few minutes.

Here was something simple to make that the kids loved, not just my own grands.  They were shallow sandboxes (again, there were two) that sat on four cement blocks, two that were two high on each side.  The simplest thing to do ever.  In the winter, the tops can be removed and put in the barn to be protected from warping.  As you see, the kids loved them... they had cars, trucks, bulldozers, etc. on them in the sand, and these could be raised or lowered depending on the height of the kids.  Keith saw this picture and is going to make one for us.
There were LOTS of simple photo ops.
and so much to do that the kids wore us out.

There was a corn maze, and they had a sign up to please not pick the corn, as it really WAS one of their crops!  It was a good maze.
They had two zip lines, one for little kids to 75 lbs, and one for bigger kids to 125 pounds.  The kids LOVED this!  After following Jax and Paiton down once, they went on it alone and LOVED it.
That's Jax hanging the first time and Jim running alongside.  By the third time, he was jumping off, grabbing the line, and running it back up to the high school boys running the lines, that you see behind them.  He LOVED it, and so did Paiton. 

There was a scary house in a small building... it was dark inside and full of noises, but the scariest parts were not really too bad for little kids, and Jax asked me to take him again.

There were hotdogs and chips and drinks... and picnic tables to eat them on.

There was a ride on the wagon down to the actual pumpkin patch, but they also had picked pumpkins in the barn for you to choose from.  Pumpkins were going for 42 cents a pound.  They grow the pumpkins there, but they clean up most of the vines before they open the patch, as it prevents falls. There were few vines left.

Not that I'm showing off my grandkids or anything.
Big slides... this was FAST and Paitie loved it.
and smaller slides, and tunnels, and a little schoolhouse with a desk and a chalkboard and colored chalks to write or draw with.  There were simple swings, too, and all were put to good use by the kids. 

And of course, there were plenty of places for cowboys and cowgirls to have a good time.  There were two old labs there, and everytime Paiton and Jax passed them, they squatted to pat the doggies... I love them for this.

All in all, a most perfect day... thank you Kerby Farms for the experience!

And thanks Jim, Amy, Paiton and Jaxton for going with your gran to the pumpkin patch!  See you there next year!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Simply Saturday

We worked mostly around the house today, with a few short errands.  Eggs were cleaned again and taken to our food kitchen.  I spoke with a volunteer there (it is a thrift store that runs a food pantry) and she told me that there are new families coming in all the time for help.  Keith and I feel the tightening, too... our dollars are not going as far at even Wal Mart, and when we run out, we try to do without until we are paid again.  I have been paying Christopher to do the heavy work here, and that money was former spending money, but it is going for a good cause... he is using it for some things he needs and I'm glad to be able to help.  Daughter in law Amy, laid off three months ago, found a job a week later... yesterday afternoon was told the office was laying everyone off due to the economy, and called again last night late to be told the company had been sold and she still had a job.  Her stomach has hurt all week with the roller coaster ride.    It's hard times for a lot of people. 

I took some pictures today of the new henhouse, which, of course, is costing about double what we planned.  We are plugging away at it little by little.  No, KEITH is plugging away... Chris has helped him.... and will again, next weekend.  He has made great progress in the last few weeks.

I need to explain here about the roof.  Keith has never "built" a roof alone.  He is actually having fun figuring it out (though there was some frustration this afternoon).   Here is a picture taken a little later, from the side.
Yes, he worked until dark, and he's mighty tired.

I was busy in the house, but tuckered out, I think from running all week.
I did make it out to take some pictures of the flowers still blooming.

The red and white flowers are SNAPDRAGONS.  I have never, ever been able to grow snaps.  In late July or early August, in the middle of the heat, I stopped by Howard Pine Garden Center in Lawrence.  They had deeply discounted all flowers left.  (too many!).  The ladies who worked at the counter mentioned these snaps to me, and told me if I could get them started and living, they would come back year after year.  I don't know if you can see, but they have lovely long "tubes" of white under the red.  Lo and behold, when only the veronica and mums lived through the two frosts this week... these snaps are standing up and going STRONG.

The balsam is done. Got LOTS of seeds on it, though.
The pink thing in the middle is one of our four solar lights.  I loved seeing them glowing at night all summer.
The hyacinth bean vines, so lush and full a week ago, are wilted now.  LOTS of seed pods on them, though.  I'll grow them at the end of the garden on a new trellis next year, where they won't strangle everything.
Next to the hyacinth jungle on the upright trellis was the cypress vine, that, though started late, parasitized the buddleia next to it, and grew down the fence and out into the yard.  Whoa.  It's growing somewhere else, too, next year.  This was the strangest growing year ever.

The view down the "good" end today.
And last, but not least....

The last tomatos picked for the year... there "ain't" gonna be anymore...
made this lovely salsa which is about ready to pop into the freezer (full container) and refrigerator.
I've never picked an October tomato, either!

Friday, October 21, 2011

At Last We can Rest for a Bit

After two nights of excitement, we expected to go to the Kansas City Ballet tonight.  At least, my friend and I bought tickets 3 weeks ago... and I was anticipating a trip to the new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts tonight in downtown KCMO.  Today she came to me and said she couldn't use her ticket, and offered it to me.  Keith and I have been to the ballet several times (I worked for them for years) but we are worn out tonight and though he came home early and did chores, we have decided to stay home this time.   I hate to waste tickets, but they are in her name and I can't call and release them.  I should have told her to do it, so she could take the tax write-off.  Not thinking here at the end of the week.

Things are much calmer here now.  Keith called me as he did chores to tell me that the birds were finally relaxed and calm after two days of terror for them.  I took some pictures as I went out to take their treats, as Keith had already done all the water.

The procelains are safe, and for once, I was glad they were still in their hutch.  Soon they'll move to the new henhouse with the other birds.

Rocky the beautiful Wyandotte Rooster is safe.  He is so tame and comes to greet me daily.  I would have been sorry to lose him.

The Welsummer girls (two of them here) and the Buff Brahma bantam girls are safe

Reddy and Eagle and Butch are safe in their pasture pen.

It will be covered again this weekend.

Tonight, Friday, we skipped the ballet and stayed home, too tired to cope with the crowds.  At 9:30 or so, Lilly became very agitated, and Keith let her into the pasture, where she chased something to the corner.  She came back when called, and the llamas did not come investigate.  That is Lil's first time in the pasture in four years!  We know the llamas know our own dogs but we also know Tony is very territorial, and will protect his "girls", Inca and Aztec. 
Keith did not see anything, and he and Lil are still outside for a while so he can watch her.  She's a great hunter!

Hopefully tomorrow I will get to our "regular programming", not All Chickens All the Time!

Linking to Fresh from the Farm for Farmchick Friday

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Rest of the Story

This appears as the second post of the day, because  after I posted last night, I edited the post, and then obviously forgot to RE-post!  So Wednesday's and Thursday's posts are here.

You will be reading them out of sequence, I'm afraid. 

Tonight, Keith and I were supposed to go to dinner for my "service" anniversary, five years at the company for which I work.  It was to be held at a gorgeous golf club in Parkville, about 25 miles from us across the Missouri River.  I no longer do much night driving, because my eyes are so bad, but I depended on Keith to drive us there.  After last night's events, we had decided that I would come home a little early, arranged with my boss.... we would lock up all the chickens safely, and then change clothes and drive over to our dinner. 

The best laid plans....

When I got home at 4:15, I changed, fed the dogs, and then went out to the big henhouse while Keith fed the llamas.  As I walked in, the birds, some of whom roost in the rafters always, were down on the roosts, on the floor, and on the nest box that hangs on the wall.  I knew something was very wrong.  Keith got the big flashlight and went and got a ladder, looked up in the rafters everywhere, and did not find anything.  When we went out in the henyard, we found one of Teeny's three babies dead, a hole torn in her side.  Broad daylight.  I came back in and called a vet tech at work and had her google possums really quickly.  We found out they do not carry rabies (marsupials)... and that they CAN burrow... and they are nocturnal.  It worried us that the little pullet had been killed in broad daylight, and the other birds obviously were freaked out, on both sides of the dividing fence.  The big hole in front of the door worried us, and especially when Keith went around the side of the henhouse and found another the same size.  It has a cement block on it tonight, and the one in the front, a big container of Beau's old horse supplement. 

Keith decided to stay home from the dinner, because although we rounded up the big henhouse flock, we could not get the little henhouse side all to go in in time to get ready and leave, and we knew the critter was still around. 

I repeat... I am a BAD night driver, and I was about to go onto a highway where the deer run, where there is very little light, into a very nice residential area with little lighting, to a place I had never been.  I was a nervous wreck leaving.  Yes, we had Mapquested it.   Yes, I got lost.

By the time I got there, I was so worried about driving home that I gave my apologies and left after our president had made his remarks.  They were kind enough to send our dinners home with me... lobster tail and steak... great green beans... mashed potatoes... wonderful salads that we are each taking to work tomorrow for lunch... and the piece de resistance... a flan, and a choclate bombe filled with sauce, with strawberry or apricot sauce to pour on.  Oh MY.

When I got home, I changed and took Lilly out to the henyard.  Keith shook his head and said "I took the flashlight out... everyone is locked up and I didn't see anything".  I said that I would just let Lil check, and I opened the gate and led her in.  It took her all of 30 seconds!!!!  She found a huge possum and shook it hard.

I left her in there and ran back to the house to get Keith, who made me stay in.  He went out, got Lil out, and shot the darn thing.  He made sure it was dead.  Lilly is frightened of gun shots, I should tell you, and I had gone onto the porch and she came running to me post haste. 

When Keith came in, he told me it was a huge possum.  I called next door to our neighbors Troy and Kathy to reassure them about the shots, and they told me that the other night, Kathy's daughter had gone out to her car in the dark, and a huge possum had frightened her and chased her back to the back porch.  We think something was probably wrong with it to have attacked in the daylight.

So, this girl wins the day again:

Even though she was dreaming about a chicken dinner in this picture, she is the heroine of the day again!  That's the second time she's found the varmint in 30 seconds or less!

That's our good Lil!

Something Bad to Write About

Well, I pushed my luck way too far.  I had finished chores and come in, and it was just getting dark. Keith came home from a trip to Salina, and we talked for a bit, and then I settled on the couch and watched "The Middle".  "Suburgatory" came on after that, and I lollygagged some more.  Keith went to bed, he had had to get up at 4:30 to get ready to go this morning, so I finally got up to go lock up the little henhouse, which I had not done when I finished chores because six or seven birds were out.  When I got out there, I saw in the dark four or five birds perched on top of the rabbit hutch that the porcelains are still living in.

Note where the hutch is compared to the "porch" of the henhouse, and the pophole door in the front.

On top of the hutch were five birds, Brutus, my big boy Rocky, whom you see in the above picture, and three hens.  In the back of my mind I remembered a night at the first Calamity Acres, and said out loud "Oh S***", turned around, and ran for the powerful flashlight.  As I came back into the yard, I saw a varmint slink.  I ran for the back of the henhouse, because once, long ago when we first came here, we locked up hens who had escaped with a possum in the henhouse.  No possum, but two dead blue silkies.  I shone the light around quickly, and did not see any more dead ones.  I turned around, and heard a noise, and found three little girls in the corner of the yard.  Making a round clear around, I went back to the front.  The five on the hutch got picked up one by one, and put in.  They fought rather than be put inside, so I shone the light so they could see the other birds.
Then I heard yet another noise.  I shone the light into the doghouse that sits in that henyard, and there were Ratchett the rooster, one of the Welsummers, and a little Brahma hen.  I got down on hands and knees and caught them one by one.  I suspect the rooster was hurt... he screamed and screamed and screamed.  Finally I went through the doorway into the big henyard, and looked high and low.  I saw a pile of white feathers, and looked around, thinking one of the white silkies was gone.... but I found her, the lone chick that survived in the spring, stuck in the opening where I let the birds in and out of the big henyard.  She had been the next prey.   I got her loose from the wires, and brought her back into the little henhouse, shining the light for a moment so she could see her buddies. 
Then I went and got a cat carrier I keep handy, and put the three porcelains in it, and took them into the nursing cage for the night. 

I left the two dead birds in the chair that I use to sit in out there.  One was headless, one just .... dead. I suspect the headless one was Bluey, the rooster.  My favorite silkie, Bitty, the black headed one, was alive, she was one that I picked up out of the corner. 

Then, I got this one.

Here she is mousing earlier tonight.

I took her into the henyard, and told her to get the oppossum.  She knew exactly what to do... she found the last one, if you remember.  She immediately went from side to side, checked the duckhouse, behind the little hutch the juveniles were in.... she went up the ramp and checked the locked pophole at the back of the big henhouse.  Then I called her into the little henyard.  She paused for a moment at the chair with the dead birds, and then went up and down all four fencelines, into the dog house, etc. etc.  She smelled it, I could tell.  She kept looking.  Finally she approached the dead birds again, and I told her to leave them AND SHE DID.  For a dog as forcefully willed as Lil, this is a major, major accomplishment.  She came to me, and we went out into the yard. 

When Keith came home tonight, I asked him again if I should bring Butch into the feed room tonight, as it is actually getting down to freezing.  He told me Butch would be fine in his pen in the pasture with Reddy and Eagle.  However.... the tarps that were on their pen have ripped to shreds in the winds of the last few weeks, and we have not replaced them.  I had noticed Butch was not on his perch in the pen when I went out.... so I thought "Uh oh" again, and went into the pasture to check.  They were all three in the back of the dog house.... Butch must have gotten awfully cold last night.  I came in and stirred Keith and asked if I should get them and put them in the feed room, and he said he guessed the possum was done for the night when it saw me.  I am leaving them out there, but it will be hard to sleep, as they are three of my favorites, too.  I have a lot of favorites.

So, as Keith said... we don't come in until everyone is up and locked in.  That's that.  Stupidity on my part.

From what was left of the bigger of the two birds, it was Bluey.  The other was a little blue hen.  I saw a  lot of blood on one side of the house.
I'm hoping there are no more in the light of dawn.

Keith says he will sit out there tomorrow night and watch for the marauder to come again, but I can tell you the porcelains will be sleeping in the nursing cage for some time to come.  I had planned to integrate them with the larger flock when we moved everyone to the new henhouse anyway.

Here are April and May, tonight, before all the chaos.
I had a bag of treats, of course.

I was so glad to see them asleep in the hutch, but the nest side of it does not lock, so I took them in just to be safe. 

Here is the rest of the little henhouse gang when I came with the treats:

I'm hoping I don't find too many more dead in the morning.  It's very sobering.

Tomorrow night we were to go to a dinner, but I am afraid to leave now, unless we catch everyone first and lock them up (with the net).  I know it's stupid to be so worried about chickens, but I have raised almost all these from tiny chicks, and have a lot of time and yes, money sunk in them... and I like them a LOT.  I know possums have to eat too, but NOT MY CHICKENS.