The Free Range Flock

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These hens have been free ranging all winter.  As in they are loose in the barn so can come and go as they choose.  On Tuesday morning they collectively left the barn.  Done.  I don’t know how they decide this, but suddenly they are all done with staying in the barn.  Some went down to the field to visit the cows.  Some wandered up to the house to visit me.  They stay on my paths which are nicely dusted with hay.  We don’t plow the lawn so have to carry all the hay down to the barn, which clearly Hades and his ladies appreciate.

Another eighth of The Center Garden

The morning began with Odin making his escape into the pasture to be with Abba.  They have been separated for weeks as I've assumed Abba was pregnant: Odin, (ahem) didn't make the same assumption so 'visited' Abba today to make, you know, to make sure the 'job' was in fact done.  Add 'fix Odin's pen' to Kelly's to-do list.

The morning began with Odin making his escape into the pasture to be with Abba. They have been separated for weeks as I’ve assumed Abba was pregnant: Odin, (ahem) didn’t make the same assumption so ‘visited’ Abba today to make, you know, to make sure the ‘job’ was in fact done. Add ‘fix Odin’s pen’ to Kelly’s to-do list.

This morning I began construction (loosely speaking, verryyy loosely!) of another brick walk way and turned over another patch of grass.

This morning I began construction (loosely speaking, verryyy loosely!) of another brick walk walk and turned over another patch of grass.

My good friend Pecky helped me, standing close by to eat the tiny shiny beings I revealed.  Fortunately she wasn't in the mood for earth worms.

My good friend Pecky helped me, standing close by to eat the tiny shiny beings I revealed. Fortunately she wasn’t in the mood for earth worms.

She has something in her mouth here, just can't see it!  The Mean Barred Rock is The Mean Barred Rock because of the way she treats the other hens.  Pecky is Pecky because she loves to peck around for food.

She has something in her mouth here, just can’t see it! The Mean Barred Rock is The Mean Barred Rock because of the way she treats the other hens. Pecky is Pecky because she loves to peck around for food.

The Center Garden

This is a narrow glimpse of my newest project - making the large centre perennial garden into The Center Garden.  A real garden - of veggies!

This is a narrow glimpse of my newest project – making the large center perennial garden into The Center Garden. A real garden –  veggies!

And here is that same corner of The Center Garden with its new arbor.

And here is that same corner photo taken from the opposite side of The Center Garden with its new arbor.

One of the Ploska Twins,  a Barred Rock (sans name!) and Sweetie Hen - begging to get into The Center Garden so they can wreck it!

The Remaining Ploska Twin, The Mean Barred Rock! and Sweetie Hen – begging to get into The Center Garden so they can wreck it.  Note the row of emerging peonies, they frame The Center Garden.

Hades is roosting alone these days.  It's taken me a few days to remember to take the camera down for evening milking.  And a few shots to figure out the best nighttime settings on the camera.  The Greek Ladies and Mary Penguin have moved to the rafters to roost, leaving Hades alone.

Hades is roosting alone these days. It’s taken me a few days to remember to take the camera down for evening milking. And a few shots to figure out the best nighttime settings on the camera. And it is still blurry because he kept moving.  Bear with me – as you’ll see the photos get better.   The Greek Ladies and Mary Penguin have moved to the rafters to roost, leaving Hades alone.

The Greek girls roosting with Mary Penguin, in the rafters.

The Greek girls roosting with Mary Penguin, in the rafters.

My son, William, came into the barn and felt bad for Hades, he picked up, a bit of a flurry there! and moved him to the rafters,  Mary Penguin moved away!  William's interpretation of this was that Mary Penguin moved so he could settle between herself and the girls and no one's feelings would be hurt.  I gave up trying to photo all their roosting spots because Mary Penguin went out so far out of the frame.

My son, William, came into the barn and felt bad for Hades, he picked him up, a bit of a flurry there! and moved him to the rafters, Mary Penguin immediately moved away.  William’s interpretation of this was that Mary Penguin moved so he could settle himself  next to Hera, Hecate, and Hebe,  and no one’s feelings would be hurt. I gave up trying to photo all their roosting spots because Mary Penguin went so far out of the frame.  My interpretation – Mary Penguin does not want to roost near Hades at all!  And if you look carefully at the photos, you’ll see that Hades’ Ladies moved down the rafter as far as they could, I don’t think they want to roost with him either.  He may need to check his BO!

Hades and his Ladies

Selfish Mean Cow

Why don’t I have my camera handy when I need it most?

Last night my husband and I went out for a much-needed date.  We left at 5:30 – too early for the chickens to come in from free-ranging – and got back at 9:30 – late enough that the chickens had put themselves into bed – all over the barn.  A couple on top of the hay feeder, a couple up in the rafters, a few more along the top of Dizzy’s gate, one on the feedroom gate.  And one turkey, Trixie,  up on Bonniebelle’s gate. While I was in the barn a couple of chickens decided to find new roosting spots.  A small black feather-footed hen that I call Mary and William calls Penguin rearranged herself on a low wall that divides Dizzy’s pen from Bonnie’s pen.  For some reason this irked Bonnie.  She gave poor Mary-Penguin a quick nose push into Dizzy’s pen.

Then Bonnie looked at me with mischief in her eyes and said ‘watch this!’

Her gate is pretty tall so she had to stretch her neck tall. She stretched, and stretched some more, and grabbed the turkey’s breast with her mouth and shook!  The turkey pushed up onto tippy-toes and extracted her breast from Bonnie’s mouthing – leaving two wet white feather stuck on Bonnie.  In perfect kiss shaped arches!  Where was that camera!?

Bonnie – having no idea how ridiculous she looked – looked at me again – and I swear to god she laughed.  Like any good parent does when one of their dear angels goes bad –  I refused to laugh.  I looked sternly at her and said ‘you are mean!’  –  ‘and selfish – Trixie can sit on your gate!’

Bonnie promptly answered by reaching up and grabbing poor Trixie again and giving her a good shake.  This time Trixie fell backward off the gate.  Poor thing stood there clucking and cooing and wondering where she was going to sleep.

I gently shoo-d her into her coop – back to her own cozy bed.

When I came back from the coop, Bonniebelle stood looking at me with all-innocent who? me? eyes and one white feather on her bottom lip.

I gave her head a good scratching and laughed.  Date or no date – the evening was Hers and she knew it!

 

 

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Early Bee catches bit o’ Bird

This morning,

the weather a little low,

my temperature a little high,

Five a period m period crowing,

Cock-A-Doo-Dill-Doo,

me fretting about neighbors,

neighbors losing sleep, losing peace.

me losing peace.

Cool enough to kill a couple

doo-dill-doo-ers before the flies come.

One done.

Two done.

Three dead, de-feathered.

Slicing leg tendons, when the first fly comes in.

Housefly.

Shoo!  Let me finish!

A bee swoops in.

Dives down.

Grabs an armful of bloody flesh.

Staggers up to eye height.

Shoo! Let me finish!

The bee sways drunkenly.

Circling, off-balance.

Clutching his treasure tight to underbelly.

Bloody red against bright yellow and black.

Shoo! Let me finish!

The bee finds his balance

and is gone.

His bit of bird and he  – gone.