Monday, August 11, 2008

While Doug was Away. . .

While Doug was away, I got stuck in the chicken coop. It was one of those mornings that I needed to do some spiffing up in their little section of the tool shed, so I replenished their feeder, tidied up their nesting boxes, cleaned out & filled their waterer and brought it back into the coop. Didn’t think much of it when the door slammed shut behind me. But when I turned around and pulled the cord which connects, through a little hole in the wall, to the latch outside, nothing happened. Pulled again. Nothing happened. Tried again. . . same outcome. So, the third time was not a charm. I wondered what would be the best course of action.

The only other hole in the coop is the one the chickens go in and out of. I’m not nearly that skinny. Furthermore, I have this fear of getting stuck in tight places. (Probably a bad experience from my birth, I’ve concluded.) I had fleeting thoughts of having to subsist on raw eggs & water for the remaining several days until Doug returned from his fishing trip. But, thank God, I had my cell phone along. And the battery was not dead.

We’ve been here for just a year. It’s long enough that I should know all the neighbors’ names by now, but the only one that was coming to mind was not all that clear. I phoned 411 & gave the operator the (approximate) name, and the name of our street, explaining my predicament. This was her first chicken coop entrapment, she said. Fortunately I wasn’t far off with the name & she connected me to the neighbors’ home. The fellow that answered the phone, I am sorry to say, has Alzheimer’s. So when I talked with him and explained who and where I was, I wasn’t quite sure that he would be able to make sense of it.

It took about ten minutes for them to arrive. I think. Could have been less. Or more. By that time I was calling an urgent ”HELLOOO?????” at every little noise I could hear. I heard the Mrs. say that they were coming. Thank God for neighbors, and I’m also very grateful that they were actually at home.

The cord had gotten twisted around the latch, which explained the fact that it didn’t function properly. I think we’re going to be re-working that little detail.

Oh, enjoy the photo of the eggs. The larger, blue-green & brown ones are from our chickens. The smaller white ones are from the pigeons. We eat those, too - they’re good for baking.

Meanwhile, In the Pasture -

Here's finally a photo of the barn we had built. We're delighted that we now have water & electricity to it, as well. :-) Should make next winter much easier.

We have put the boys & a few of the girls together, hoping for some beautiful little lambies in January/February. We put Don with Pebbles, and Bacchus with Anemarie & Helena. Don is white, and Pebbles is a white/brown badger face. Bacchus & Anemarie are both white/black badgers (stunning, both of them), and Helena is black. Both boys are newbies at this whole process, as are Anemarie & Helena. Pebbles was a great Mom for us last year, and we hope she’ll be a good example for our young ladies.

It appears that Don views breeding as an Olympic event. After countless laps around the pasture in pursuit of his lady, with much huffing & puffing, things have settled down to a dull roar in their stall. In the adjacent stall, Bacchus is taking a more subtle, suave approach, nuzzling & nudging the girls. We’’ll see which works better. . . I’m betting on Bacchus. Pebbles just appears to be rolling her eyes every time Don takes off after her.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

'Tis a Thing of Beauty

This is our chickens’ first egg. We are so pleased. We actually got two a few days ago, but I stepped on the other one, because I didn’t know it was there, just sitting in the debris on the coop floor. The two eggs must be from the Auracanas, because they’re a light blue/green color. Way to go, Wilma & Stella!

Even though I figured we’d start getting eggs about the first of August, we hadn’t gotten around to making nesting boxes yet. Now that we have nesting boxes in their coop, we’ve had no eggs. . . lots of cackling that *sounds* pretty impressive, but not more eggs. I certainly hope that nobody has taken to eating them. And I wonder when the other girls will start. We have seven ladies & one rooster, all the same age.

The shawl has been delivered to the Lynden Fairgrounds. (Great sigh of relief.) Next week is the Lynden Fair. This week is the Skagit County Fair, in Mount Vernon WA, which is about 45 minutes’ drive south of here. My Country Spinners group is going to demonstrate there this week. I’m looking forward to connecting with some of my sheep-people friends there.

On the weekend, I took my first basketry class. If you overlook the fact that I wove this basket inside out, it’s turning out pretty nice. It’s not exactly rectangular, but I’m learning a lot as I go. In making baskets, I’m working in three dimensions, and the reed, as it flexes over and under the verticals, requires just the right amount of ease. So I’m trying to keep the verticals straight, and to weave the weft at the right tension so that it doesn’t pull the sides in or bow them out. Like I said, it’s not going to be perfect, but later I’ll be able to look at it & realize that I’m improving. . . as in any skill that’s new. (I remember my first skein of bullet-proof handspun yarn.)

p.s. Welcome Home, camera battery charger!