Overcoming Bloglessness


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Bird Stuff

Daily Prompt: Now You See Me

You have a secret superpower: the ability to appear and disappear at will. When and where will you use this new superpower? Tell us a story.

I’ve have been using my superpower. Haven’t you noticed? I’ve been disappeared most of the winter. I just kind of got unbloggy; distracted by holidays, Scrabble, TV, jigsaw puzzles, naps, baking, sewing and bird stuff. My brain is full of bird stuff.

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1000 pieces = 2 days to completion.

Fowl Fashion Update

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Betty, Fanny and Penny

The hens would rather not touch snow, but when the sun comes out, who can resist a little walkabout?   Their coop is warmed by heat lamp, since  Betty was molting when the artic air arrived and Fanny has had foliage issues since I got her last summer.

Here she is in July, dehydrated and underweight with no pants and a big scab from being pecked on in an overcrowded henyard.

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Ta-da!  Here’s Fanny now in her new finery.  She still has a small bald patch in the wayback, but that will fill in too.  By summer, she’ll be fully feathered.

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These hens are good layers.  The heat lamp helps with winter production.  I’m getting three eggs most days.   Some eggs go right back to the hens or the crow, scrambled or hard-boiled.

Raven gets raw eggs.  I bet he’d like ’em scrambled too.

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Full moon over Taj Ma-henhouse.

Suki

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Taking a snowbath.

The name Suki didn’t really stick.  My husband consistently calls her “Crowbar”.  I allow that because it’s better than what he was calling her, which was “FUBAR”.   (F@#*^d Up Beyond All Reason)   Don’t call her that!
After reading about a crow named Chicken (CORVUS, by Esther Woolfson)  I started calling her Chicken. Or Crow.  “Suki” has become her formal name; the one she would use on important legal documents.

Crow stays busy all day, bathing in  snow, climbing her tree, caching and uncaching food and watching flighted birds soar by.   At night I bring her inside, to her crate.  One recent evening she stepped off her tree onto my hand and rode all the way inside!  That had never happened before and  I was plum tickled.  She’s done it a few times now, but she won’t do it every time.

In the morning, after scrambled eggs, I open the patio door and let her walk out on her own.  Here’s her route.

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Owls

I’ve learned to keep my hood on when cleaning or feeding the owls at bird rehab.  A great grey owl deliberately befouled my hair!  And a barred owl smacked me upside the head as I exited his chamber.  He didn’t hurt me; his talons were not in kill position.  He just flew into the back of my head for reasons untold.  Maybe just for kicks or maybe he didn’t like my outfit.  I promise not wear that orange camo hoodie again.  It really is hideous.

Great grey owl

Great grey owl


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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.

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

Mother Raven will enjoy seeing my little gang of four.
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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.

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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.

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

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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.

 

Wilma Gets Pampered

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Wilma had lost her joie de vivre. She felt dumpy and blue and wouldn’t lay an egg or race Betty to the food.

Wilma needed a spa day.

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I expected a kerfuffle when I lowered her into the tub, but she settled right in and nodded off in the warm water.  Betty was not nearly that calm for her bath, but Wilma is a heat seeker.           
After a good soak and a rinse I swaddled her in a towel. Then the blow-dry.
Wilma stood still, closed her eyes and dug the hot air.

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It takes a long time to blow-dry a chicken.  Outside it was coolish and windy, so I let Wilma finish drying in the cat carrier in the warm laundry room.

Now, I don’t give a chicken a bath just so she can feel pretty. Wilma needed a butt soak. It was a mess. She’s dropped a few weird, soft shelled eggs. She may be egg bound or have an infection.

I went to the Ag store for a pouch of antibiotic powder that dissolves in drinking water. The burly Ag store man laughed when I told him I’d given my chicken a bath and blow-dry.

“Gee, I’m coming to your house!”, he says. I keep thinking how I might have replied. I just laughed and got outta there.

This evening Wilma is feeling better. She ate some cornbread and she’s walking and talking more.  She was quiet, when she was ill. Poor baby.

I hope tomorrow she’ll be her bossy old self again.

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Daily Prompt Write about anything you’d like, but make sure that all seven colors of the rainbow — red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet — make an appearance in the post, either through word or image. via Roy G. Biv.

Red combs and wattles. Orange feathers. Yellow sign.  Green grass.  Blue sky.  Indigo and violet send regrets.

Betty and Wilma Walk on the Wild Side

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No more chickens on the lawn; that’s the new rule. Mr. Husband treated the back lawn with things that chickens shouldn’t eat, so Betty and Wilma have been confined to their henyard, which is plenty big for two hens. Still, Betty paced the fence, trying to find a way out to the green grass she loves.

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There’s no grass growing in the henyard, so dear husband bought us an old fashioned bale of hay, to sweeten the deal. (He doesn’t do flowers, but a bale of hay is cool.)

It feels like of a rite of passage, My First Bale. I’m country now. I can lounge in the sun on my own bale of hay, chew on a straw and cluck with the biddies. I’ve taken my coffee out there, to the bale. Wine too.

The good news for Betty and Wilma is, there’s a gate in the henyard that they didn’t know about. It opens to a big world they’ve never seen, beyond the fence; a world of grass and dirt, and fields and a road and predators. One day I opened the gate and took Betty and Wilma for their first short excursion. 

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 We stayed close to the fence at first, until I saw how they’d behave.   I was a little nervous. What if they run away? What if a dog happens by?   But no dogs happened and the hens kept an eye on me and stayed nearby. When it was time to go in, I shoo-shoo-ed them, like I always do and they went right back through the gate. Such obedient little hens.

I’ve taken them a little further each day, down the length the back fence. One day, a weird slap of wind reared up and blew our plumage backwards. I was afraid it would blow the hens away! I wanted to scoop them up, but that’s not realistic, so I just ran and yelled to them, “C’mon! Let’s go!” They understood.

Follow Momma! They ran as fast as their drumsticks could carry them, back along the fence, through the gate to the safety of the henyard. I was so proud of them. Such good girls.

Today, they followed me like puppies, out to the front yard.  They’re getting the lay of the land. One day we’ll go all the way around the house.

I don’t leave them out in the world unsupervised. I shepherd my little flock, keeping an eye out for predators. I think Betty and Wilma enjoy our little field trips. I like to keep life interesting for them.

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Daily PromptYou get fantastic news. What’s the first thing you do?
via Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

The first thing I do is tell my husband. “Betty and Wilma are so smart! Guess what they did today?”

Bird Stuff

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Betty flew the coop.  Not having a flight plan, she landed in powdery snow.

She couldn’t find her feet.

 

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She stood there a long time, wondering what to do.

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Flying seemed to be out of the question.   Flying is what got her into this fix.

She just stood there.  Did some yoga.  Chook position.

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She finally figured out that she could still walk.

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Slowly she trudged back to the henhouse; a safe place where she had feet.

Wilma

Whoa!  Wilma laid a super-jumbo egg today. It weighs 3.5 ounces.  An egg must be 2.5 ounces to qualify as jumbo.  Yesterday’s egg only weighed 2 ounces.  Was it something she ate?

Maybe it’s all the eggshell she’s been eating.  After I use eggs I  crunch up the shells and mix it in with leftovers.  Wilma gobbles up egg shell like it’s candy.

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Ravens

Brunch with ravens yesterday.  They love eggs.

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The male poked a hole in the egg and they took turns sipping the yummy contents.

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They didn’t eat the shell, unless they came back for it later.

After brunch, as a thank you, he posed and we chatted for a few minutes.   That was the highlight of my day.

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Oregon Ducks   Can you stand one more bird pic?   Here’s a pair of mallards I met in Oregon.  Nice couple.

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Everything’s just ducky.
Daily Prompt via Easy Fix.
 

More Eggcitement

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Look at this beautiful blue-green egg! It’s Wilma’s first. I found it this morning.

Wilma lays green eggs, Betty's are brown.

Wilma lays green eggs, Betty’s are brown.

Betty and Wilma are both laying now and they’ve both started doing something new: they curtsy when I want to pick them up. It’s nice! They squat and hold their wings out a little, just waiting to be scooped up.

A courtesy curtsy.  What lovely manners.

Today is the first day the hens have been outside of their covered henyard for a week or two. They would not set foot in the snow, but today the sun came out and thawed the pathway from house to henhouse, so the ladies came out for a promenade.

Wilma

Wilma

Betty

Betty

Daily Prompt Recently Acquired
What’s the most important (or interesting, or unexpected) thing about blogging you know today that you didn’t know a month ago?
via Recently Acquired.

Well, I’ve learned that I have blog-lag.   I’ve been unable to reduce my many profound thoughts down to blog form. Or maybe I’ve had no profound thoughts; I forget.
Maybe I’m blogged out.
Maybe I’m not a real blogger.
Maybe I’m just a chicken tender.