Overcoming Bloglessness


Too Hot

It’s time for Mother Raven’s annual visit. No more lazy hours on the computer for me. I’ll be sneaking in here for quality computer time before she wakes up and after she turns in. She doesn’t have a computer, so she likes to see what goes on in here.  I can show her around the interwebs.  Other than that, we’re not going far from home while she’s here. We’re not even going to the Independence Day parade. It’s supposed to be 90+ degrees. Too hot for me.

We had an unprecedented early spring this year, the driest in a century. This June was the hottest June ever recorded, 20 degrees above average. There’s been no measurable rain since June 3rd, breaking the most consecutive days without precipitation record, set 60 years ago. River levels are at record lows, endangering fish. Humidity is very low. Fire danger is extremely high. All fireworks have been banned in Flathead county, even professional displays. It’ll be interesting to see how many citizens ignore that decree.


Smoke from the Glacier Rim fire was visible  from the backyard.

Mother Raven will enjoy seeing my little gang of four.

Betty (the black and white) has been broody. She wants to sit on eggs, but she’s not laying any. She sits on Penny and Fanny’s eggs until I take them away. She sits in the nest box all day, even when it’s 100 degrees. Sometimes Wilma sits in there with Betty, both of them crammed in one nest box, panting. I think Wilma misses Betty. I’ve seen her gaze into Betty eyes so tenderly; I’m sure she’s asking, What’s wrong, sister?

I take Betty out a couple times a day to make sure she’s drinking and eating. She stays out a little while, but then heads back inside. I wonder how long this will go on?

The new hens are adjusting well.  Penny looks like she’s gaining weight. She’s a very shy, quiet hen.  Fanny still looks awful, but her wound seems to be healing and feathers are starting to poke through the bare spots. Fanny is friendly and curious, always asking questions. She might turn out to be a good holdin’ hen. The new hens are good layers; they haven’t missed a day.

The bluebirds are hot too.



It was too hot to bake, so I bought a cake and stuck Mr. Bill on it. The kids didn’t know who Mr. Bill was, of course. Saturday Night Live, people! A long time ago, apparently. I showed them a Mr. Bill video from the olden days, which they thought was pretty funny.


Oh, and this gem. It’s worthy of an entire post, but I have to get ready for company.


I’ll just say this: I’m proud to celebrate my Independence!
(at home, in front of the air conditioner)

Daily Prompt: In the Summertime.




This is Penny. She’s new.
She’s the same age as Betty and Wilma, but only half as big.  There was a lot of competition for food where she used to live.

Penny came from a large flock of hens that lived in a weathered and smelly henhouse that was four generations old.    Farmer Kris was downsizing.  The hens all looked similar, but some had more feathers than others.  Some were molting and looked awful. Molting is normal,  but I hoped to score a bird with no bald spots.

A sea of golden sex link (why the weird name?) hens swarmed forward when Farmer Kris opened the henhouse door.  I crouched down and waited for a volunteer to step up.   I missed the first hen, but nabbed Penny on the next try.  Mr. Raven said he was proud of me; not in a you should see my wife catch a chicken kind of way, but in a I’m glad it didn’t take all day kind of way.    It was a lucky catch; a good hen, no bald spots.

She rode home in a cat carrier, panting, stretched out on the cool, clean plastic floor.  It was probably the first time she’d ever been alone.  I thought she semed relieved to be out of the hubbub.


Her new home is cleaner and less crowded. There’s more fresh air and sunshine.  Food is abundant here.  Penny tasted grass for the first time and spinach and yogurt and mealworms.  She drank a lot of water.

The hard part for Penny is getting used to these two thugs.  They are not amused.


Wilma, the biddy on the right, is head honcho. And she’s a pecker. She always wants what Betty has, even when they both have the same thing.   She pecks Betty, Betty goes to the other dish, Wilma pecks her away, Betty goes back to dish one and here comes Wilma…  They go back and forth like that until it’s all gone.

Wilma hasn’t laid a pretty green egg in months; not since she was ill.   But she’s my best holdin’ hen.   She’s a heat seeker and she loves to be held.  I can carry her anywhere.  Wilma falls asleep in my arms.

Why, Momma?  Why did you get her?

Why, Momma? Why did you get a new bird?

Betty is a sweet, soft-spoken girl and a good layer, but she’d rather not cuddle.   I thought a third hen would take some of the pressure off Betty. She’s not on the bottom of the pecking order anymore. I was surprised to see her puff up like a big assed turkey and growl at her new little sister.  She pecks at Penny, but she doesn’t hang on like Wilma does.

You’re supposed to isolate a new bird.  Penny had her own little area, but she was stressed at dusk, all by her lonesome.   She wanted up on the perch with the big hens, so I let her in the coop.  Betty and Wilma growled and puffed and tried to peck Penny, but they didn’t get off their perches.

Penny lays a brown, unspeckled egg every day.  She’s very timid, hiding from her wicked step-sisters who block the exits and guard the waters.  She sleeps on her own perch, across from the big girls.  She hides in the henhouse.  I realized I’d made a mistake.  I should’ve gotten two new hens.  Penny needed someone her own size.

It was a different scene the second time I visite Farmer Kris.  He opened the henhouse door and no swarm came to greet us.  There were fewer hens and they had retreated into the depths  where I was not willing to trod.

Farmer Kris explained as he poured food in a wooden trough, “I had to catch six of them yesterday.  They’re onto us.”

I crouched and Farmer Kris stooped and Mr. Raven waited patiently with the cat crate,  but the cowards stayed back.  It was hot and stanky and nobody wanted it to take all day.   When a hen finally wandered close to him, Farmer Kris nabbed it.  Into the crate she went, without inspection.

I was dismayed once I examined her at home.  Her top parts looked okay, her tail looks grand, but her behind is bare chicken skin and under one wing there was an open sore the size of a half dollar.

“You can take her back,” sighed Mr. Raven.

“No, that’s okay.  She needs attention.  I’ll take care of her.”

Chickens will  pick on a bloody sore.   That’s why they used to make rose colored glasses for chickens, so they can’t see the blood.  Really!   But I have no rose colored chicken glasses.

I gave her a bath, dabbed the wound clean and covered it with antibiotic ointment.   The wound looks much better today.

Now Penny has a friend her size and the two littles are getting along well.


The new hen hasn’t told me her name yet.  I called her Fanny at first, cuz her butt was showing.

So, now there are four and there will be no more.

This time I really mean it.











Daily Prompt: Celebrate Good Times.

You receive some wonderful, improbable, hoped-for good news. How do you celebrate?

It’s true!!!  I got the wonderful news this morning that I’m going to have a grandson!!!!!  I’m so happy!!!!! I’m using exclamation marks willy-nilly!!!!!

In lieu of confetti, I’m tossing exclamation marks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here, have a cigar!!!   Whoops!!!   That’s an exclamation mark!!!!!!!!!!!

But wait!!!  There’s more to celebrate!!!

EQUAL MARRIAGE RIGHTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!





I had just pushed the button for coffee when Mr. Raven came in the back door.

“There’s a shootable bug out there.”


“Left of the back door.  Go look.”   I didn’t have my glasses on yet, but I didn’t really need them.  When I saw the size of the “shootable bug”  I woke right the hell up.  Biggest damn moth I’ve ever seen.

“OMG! OMG! OMG!”  I scrambled back inside past my husband who flattened up against the wall, getting out of the way.  “Where’s my camera?”


I didn’t need to hurry.  The moth was too cold to fly.   With a fingertip, I gently opened it’s closed wings.


The nozzle is 3 7/8 inches long, so the wingspan must be nearly 5 inches.

I shot it up for a few minutes, but coffee can only wait so long, so I went back inside.   By the time I’d finished a cup, the sun had come over the mountain.

I coaxed the moth onto a stick and walked him into the sunshine.    His big body and legs are very furry.  It’s kind of creepy when you look too closely.  I’m glad to see it, but I wouldn’t want it walking on me.


The moth vibrated his wings for a few minutes; part of his warm up routine. Then he flew like a rock and dropped to the ground. His second attempt took him a few more feet and then, poof, he was gone. I didn’t even see which way he went.  Up, I suppose.


Do you know what kind of moth it is?  The closest thing in my little book is a polyphemus moth, but the color looks a bit different.

I sent his picture to http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/gallery for identification.  I should get an e-mail with the answer soon.


Daily Prompt via The Golden Hour. 6:00AM: the best hour of the day, or too close to your 3:00AM bedtime?

Grandma always said, “The morning is the best part of the day”  and I whole-heartedly agree, especially on mornings like this.


Baby Blues

western bluebirds 003

How can I get anything done will all these babies in the yard? This morning I took 130 shots of them before I’d put my glasses on.

western bluebirds 002

They’re western bluebirds.  They’ll have a red breast.

western bluebirds 073

I couldn’t get a shot of the babies being fed;  it happened so fast.  I was shooting by ear; staying focused on the babies, but listening for increased chirpage, which indicates Momma is nearby.

western bluebirds 108

They nested in our birdhouses this year.  Maybe that’s why we’re seeing them earlier than usual.  Or maybe it’s the warmer, drier than usual weather.

western bluebirds 130

I’ll have my coffee with the baby blues again tomorrow morning.  I’ll wear my glasses.  I want that shot of a baby being fed.

western bluebirds 099

I’m glad they feel at home in my yard.  I quite enjoy their company.


I ignored the Daily Prompt via Festivus for the Rest of Us.


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