Friday, March 30, 2012

That's One Dead Chick

Looks like I've lost one of the baby chicks. She was fine all day yesterday outside, fine when I brought her in last night, fine when I fed and watered this morning, but on her back with the others pecking at her when I brought them outside just now.

Her little heart is beating slow but one leg is twitching. I've looked on line and to be quite honest, I'm not going through force feeding her and putting a blanket over her, and holding/rocking her like a real baby. Call me heartless, but nature will take its course here. 

She was the runt of the litter and obviously lost the battle. Sorry and sad, but the other nine and the rooster are healthy, chirping, eating, perching, and fluttering about. If you order chicks online they tell you to be prepared for a certain percentage of loss, and even having purchased them two months old from the feed store, there is a possibility - it is part of life. 

After checking on line for disposal procedures, I found Backyard Chickens, and in their forum they confirmed my idea of burying it in the garden. I'd planned to plant my cabbages, beets, and peas next week, so I'll wrapped it in plastic, put it in the freezer, and recycle her. As it should be. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

First Day Outside

What I've found since I started planning this small, sustainable farm thing, is that you can talk to ten different people and get ten different answers. That recipe is for question-asking on any given topic. 

Chickens for instance, specifically, baby chicks. When we bought the babies at eight-weeks old one week ago, the employee at the feed store said, "No way. They ain't a'gonna be ready for no coop this weekend." Okay, the coop wasn't ready for them anyway, but he said I'd have to drop the temperature by five degrees a week until they were at the outside temp. They set up home in my office with a heat lamp. 

Sunday the heat lamp broke when I was switching them from the Tupperware tote to Mello's crate, and they didn't seem too upset. I left the overhead light on at night and sunshine through the closed windows during the day. I've not had the heat on for weeks now. The guy next door has his chickens hatch their own eggs and believe me, they are not in his house. Last time I went to look, they and the mama's were all shiny, plump, and very healthy. 

So, I decided that I'd take them into the sunshine and fresh air to clean the crate. Fresh water, fresh food, and they are happy little chirpers. I'm sure I'm doing it totally wrong, but hey, in all the Westerns I've watched - and I love Westerns - I've never seen chickens in the house, 'cept for maybe Green Acres. 

Of course, when my daughter was here last week she jokingly sang the first line of the Green Acres song and I finished it. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

A Day in the Life

This weekend - March 24 and 25, 2012 - has been fulfilling, enriching, nerve-racking, and aggravating. Hence, the blog post from earlier: The Brighter Side of Life

Mello and Lola within inches of each other. Neither growling, hissing, or barking. A beginning of harmony?

The chicken coop is really close. As you can see, just need to attach the sides, make the door, hang the chicken wire, and re-locate the chicks. 

Speaking of the chicks, it is brooder cleaning day. The brooder is in the office because I don't have a basement and it's still too cold to put them outside. After a week of almost 90, it is now only 60 degrees. Neither Mello or myself can handle the chick dust, regardless of how clean. I've just placed them in Mello's kennel while I clean the brooder (and yes, that is fresh water) and as I sit here, the dust from their little pecks and scratching is almost too much. Mello just sniffs the air and coughs. The brooder should be dry in a few minutes and back they go, then a good bleach cleaning for the kennel. Although, they seem to really like the extra room and air. I may keep them in the kennel, just make a bottom border so the pine shavings aren't all over the floor. We'll see. 

Among all the good and semi-good, I found the bird-feeder on the ground this morning. The twine used to hang it was cut, nice clean cut. Why anyone would do that, I don't know, but I have my suspicions. People. Soon though, maybe within the year, away, away from those snarky mammals. 

Another little tidbit: Mello and my shoe. He doesn't chew but obviously, likes it as a pillow. 

The Bright Side of Life

With $.50 in the bank and very little work, a sensitive, allergy-prone dog that needs neutering, cat food dwindling, Internet cable bill due, rent due, a toy-truck-radiator in my big 350 causing that 350 to be replaced at $900, situated atop an isolated Appalachian Mountains, this is what has been dancing round my brain all morning:

Because, my chicken coop is almost done, have 10 healthy chicks and when cocky rooster, picking up a free washer and dryer tomorrow, jobs coming my way, friends to lend a helping hand and bright smiles, kids who love, grandkids who are gorgeous, shining sun, glowing moon, waving trees and blooming flowers atop this isolated Appalachian Mountain. 

So yeah, I try to "always look on the bright side of life." 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Waiting On The Dogwood

Waiting on the Dogwoods

It’s been almost a month to the day that I’ve raved about something. It’s been even longer that I’ve truly written. Writing continue to evade me but the urges, the twinges, the inspirations are getting stronger and coming more often. I was all set up and kind of eager to get started on the front porch when I was interrupted for an hour or so chat with a neighbor. All the more reason to get deeper into the wilderness.

All in all, today was a scrumptious day.
Two weeks ago, Mello dog jumped and landed the wrong way, breaking a tiny bone in his leg. He was sedated and put in a splint. Last week, he was sedated again and the splint changed because he chewed the bottom. Last night, he removed the splint completely. Vet said he’s healing well and didn’t need to be re-splinted and off we went. Both happy as larks.

Spring garden fever has sprung. I’ve controlled myself and not put anything in the ground, but I couldn’t resist filling my pots. A cheery Bleeding Heart in one pot, and two Peonies, one red, one white, both with buds ready to burst. The ants are ravenous around both Peony pots. The daffodils continue to spread warmth and brightness every day, while the gladioli bloomed and died.

I’m still however, waiting on the Dogwood. Once those white and pink buds pop though, my yard will be bursting with color, above and below. Who could not be inspired with that? We’ll see.