Wednesday, May 25, 2016

blue heron

I'm amazed at how much wildlife I've seen in the 17 years I've lived in Garner. Coyotes, foxes, deer, opossum, raccoons, muskrats, beavers, snapping turtles, geese, green herons, mallards, owls, hawks, an eagle, rabbits, field rats, and a river otter. But it's the blue heron that we see the most. I love watching them fish off the pier (though I don't like the scales they leave behind) and fly in and out. We know there's more than one, but we seldom see more than one at a time. The funniest time was when we had goslings in the dog pen by the pond. It stood at the gate and stretched itself out (almost 4') and stood there and stared, turning its head side to side as if it was trying to figure out the whole setup. Our dogs don't seem to be aware of them if they're perched on the pier, but if they ever walk on our side of the pond, they start barking. For the most part the herons ignore them, unless the dogs start running toward the pond. At that point they'll take off. My lens doesn't zoom far enough from the house to get a good picture of them in action (eating, flying, preening), and if I step out on the porch or ramp for a better view, they tend to take off before I can focus. But I'm content to simply watch on occasion. I'm sure they resent me being here as they go about their business as much as I sometimes resent the builders watching me as I garden or cut grass. But it's okay. We're all a part of this world, and no one ever got sick or fell apart from simple observation - that I know of anyway.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016 we go again

About four days ago, we had a hen go broody. Then the next day, a second hen did. For those not familiar with the world of chickens, a broody hen decides to start "nesting" but not in the way a serious Momma hen does. A hen that wants to be a Mom will find a secluded spot and lay her eggs there, then sit on them, being very careful to turn the eggs and check them daily. She will also shortly leave the nest to eat and drink. A broody hen chooses the nesting box/area as her spot, collects every single egg that is laid, even by other hens, discards none of them. She doesn't turn the eggs, and if she does, is not careful with them. She may or may not choose to eat or drink anything. The problem? With them collecting every egg that every hen lays, even if you get them off the nest, you don't know what is fresh or what is not.

So today I decided enough was enough. We bought a new incubator. (I threw the old one away last spring. After being loaned to two families and eight+ years of hatching for us, it was worn out and wouldn't hold a regular temp. We lost two batches of eggs we tried to hatch.) I ran the hens off their nests (which was surprisingly easy to do), and we now have 21 eggs in the incubator. So even if the hens hop back on their haunches tomorrow, I'll know those eggs are okay to collect. What on earth I'm going to do if even half those eggs hatch in 18+ days, I have no idea.

Meanwhile, Freckles is scheduled to be spayed in 2 weeks. A second puppy will go to its home toward the end of this week.

And as much as I did NOT want to use Craigslist, I'll post the puppies there Wed if we don't have homes for them. By next week we'll have to start getting shots for them, which means we'll need to start charging. And Little Dog is sick. He's been heaving all day and sounds like a goose. If it's not stopped by the morning, we may be taking him to the vet. We've never been ones to drag our dogs to the vet except for the absolute necessities, but he's a little special to us. We've set our price limit before going in. I'm still hoping we'll wake up in the morning and he'll be well.

And other than the stupid geese who are nesting under and around the hen house (and we don't have a male goose so those eggs aren't even fertilized!!!) making it a nightmare to collect eggs, feed the chickens, or clean the hen house, life among animals on the Bryan homestead is normal. Dogs eat the goose corn, geese eat the chicken feed, chickens eat everything but love the puppies food (along with the crows and cardinals), and the puppies are gnawing on everything. While I get very aggravated sometimes, I wouldn't trade it for anything. Well, except for a certain Rhode Island Red hen that I've named Dumplings. I won't even need to trade for it. You can have it. I've never named a chicken before. The only thing that hasn't kept it from becoming it's name is the fact it's killed and slurped down two baby snakes the last month. The spot on the back of my leg where it pecked me has almost healed. The first time it got me I was wearing pants, so no big deal. But the second time I was in shorts. Third time may very well be the last time. Some things I don't tolerate very well.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

an update

For today's update, visit the Quilting page (link to the right).