Just Plain Chicken Sense

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I picked this up from Facebook. It might be a slight exaggeration but it has been kinda wet this year.

On this day last week, I was driving in fence post and wiring up a fence while wearing a tee shirt, blue jeans, boots and the ever present hat. Actually I was kind of warm. A week later, if I want to walk from the house to the garage I have to dress like Nanook of the North. Such is life in Missouri  Winter, having arrived a tad late, is perfectly willing to catch up.

Cold weather does not, however, relieve us of our responsibility to provide for and care for the animals. So it was Katherine to our bachelor chicken pad. (For those not up on the news we have two roosters and no hens; a situation I plan to rectify shortly) while her mother and I prepared to feed and water the dogs.

The cats, as always, set their own course. Captain decided to go out on one of her walkabouts, but she did not get past the door mat before she was back in. Book Worm got off Connie’s desk long enough to look out the window in awe and wonder. Bookie is at, or approaching, five years old. Every winter she sees snow and then looks at us as if to say, “See what you did?” Adora, AKA Arrhythmia, continued walking post up and down the basement steps and pleading in a loud voice to get in or out as the moment required.

 

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This is a picture of Book Worm taken before our messing up everything by making it snow again. She thought we had learned from last year.

The dogs, including the stumpy grand-dog, were absolutely delighted with the whole thing. Dogs are among the Good Lord’s most amusing and most easily amused creatures. They wake up in the morning, find freezing white stuff on the ground, and begin to run around frantically kicking up clouds of snow.

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This is Meeko and Libby. If you notice, Meeko is favoring that left leg, but he shows no pain when you manipulate it, so I think it is habit. They want us to come play in the snow. I want to go get a cup of coffee.

I am an Appalachian boy raised in a wood heated cabin with no running water and an outdoor toilet. Forgive me if I never quite got the romance of snow. You go walking in a Winter Wonderland. I will sit in my comfortable chair and read To Build a Fire by Jack London.

Our Chickens are Icelandic Chickens. They are supposed to be good layers; something I will not be able to prove until I get some girl chickens. However, I do believe that a chicken bred to survive in Iceland could survive Missouri with a little bit of help. Since there were only two of them, I built the initial coop very small, and wired a light in it to add heat. I was curious to see what survival instincts the chickens brought to the winter by themselves.

Katherine went out, spread cracked corn on the ground, opened the coop door and put the ramp in so that they could come out. No chickens. Oh they were in there, you could hear them clucking contentedly and crowing occasionally but they were NOT coming out. Our dogs and two neighbor dogs on walkabout were dancing in the snow, all about my feathered Icelandic stalwarts.

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This is all you get to see of Icelandic chickens during a snow storm. Note the small water dish at the bottom of the picture.

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If you look carefully you can see the silhouettes of warm cozy chickens and the heat light there to the left.

Birds were chirping and merrily eating the chicken feed in great numbers. Cats were observing from windows and considering trips outside themselves. Last but not least, idiot people were coming out to look and see if the chickens were going to grace us with a visit, but the two Icelandic roosters were snow no-shows thank you very much.

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Most times we look out and the chicken lot is full of birds because the big ole roosters are inside napping today. However Connie ran them off approaching to take pictures except this one young stalwart.

That was yesterday morning and today. Led by Moony, the youngest, they did venture out for a nice scratch snack. Then Moony flew out of the chicken lot just because he could. A little truth about Icelandic Chickens: besides being smart enough to stay in out of the cold, they can fly really well. At this writing however, they are back in there little coop huddled up to their warming light.

There is the answer to what special gift our Gracious Lord has given Icelandic Chickens to survive in harsh climates. He has given them enough sense to stay out of the cold. A blessing he has not bestowed on all humans, it appears.

In closing, an update on Meeko, our gimpy black Lab. The sling is off of him, and though he is still favoring that left leg, he is out with Libby and doing well. This is not the first dog I have ever seen who, after having a leg bandaged, limps more out of habit than anything else. He has started to put the foot down some. If he does not get it, soon I will wrap his other foot. That is a trick my Grandpa taught me while dealing with his hunting pack.

We hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and we wish you a Happy New Year.

Ed

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Now We Know

It’s Missouri: if you don’t like the weather, wait a minute. It will change.

Take today, for example. This morning when I got up, the temperature was in the upper 50’s and there was some evidence that it had rained during the night. By 11:00, it was in the 60’s. We were all outside in jeans and t shirts. Ed worked on the fence, and thinks he has it ready for Meeko’s return next week. It was a truly beautiful morning, and a rare treat for December.

By the time Ed and James left for work about 1:30, the wind had picked up and the temperature was starting to drop. By 5:00 it was 38 degrees with a “feels like” temperature of 28. The wind has died down somewhat now, so it doesn’t feel quite so cold, but 37 is still quite a shock after 60.

Meeko is definitely feeling better. He has a lot more energy than he did a week ago. You wouldn’t believe how quick he is on three legs. He and Loki are playing a little, but Meeko still loses patience with him.

Now for an update on the chicken front. Since we got our five baby chicks last summer, and three of them met an untimely demise, we have wondered whether the two remaining chicks were male or female. Of course, we were hoping for one of each.

Since he is older, Sunrise let us know quite a while ago that he is a rooster. If his magnificent comb wasn’t a dead give away, the crowing that started about a month ago clinched it. You know, roosters don’t start out with a full blown crow. It was pitiful really, but now he has found his voice even if he doesn’t have any sense of time. Who said that roosters only crow in the morning anyway?

So, we were hoping that Moonrise was a hen, but as she got older I began to have my doubts. We looked at pictures of Icelandic hens to compare them with Moonrise, and while the hens do have a top knot of sorts, I didn’t see any with what was beginning to look like a comb, even if it is a funky looking one.

In the meanwhile, Sunrise had begun to chase Moonrise around the pen. Ed thought he was feeling amorous, and Moonrise just wasn’t having any of it.

The other morning, Ed and I went out to get Libby. Ed went to the garage to get some dog food and had just stepped back into the doorway when we both heard it. Two crows! Our eyes met and we both said “They’re both roosters!”

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Moonrise the rooster

So, no, I don’t think Sunrise was feeling amorous at all; I think he was telling the younger rooster who’s boss. I don’t think Moonrise is having any of that either. Since we told Kat early on that these first chickens were hers, Ed told her that we could either trade one of them for some hens, or separate them and get hens for both of them. Of course, she chose the latter option. I don’t know how well that is going to work. It will however, mean more fence building for Ed.

Christmas really sneaked up on me this year, but it’s all good. We got the house decorated. I talked Ed into letting me get a fake tree. Since the dogs are in the house, the cats have been camping out in Kat’s room; so the tree has fared pretty well.

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Isn’t it pretty?

Bookworm has decided that she is Queen Cat of the Christmas village though.

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Queen Bookworm

Kat and I made candy and cookies and she and I went to Independence for a gathering of my great grandmother’s family Saturday night. On Sunday evening, we all attended the Christmas program at our church. I love watching the little kids. You never know what they are going to do! It was kind of nice to just be able to sit back and enjoy it.

Christmas Eve is always low key. Since Ed and James are both off, we will have family game night, and end the evening with the reading the Christmas story from the Gospel of Luke. It’s a tradition I started when my kids were small, because I wanted them to always remember what Christmas is really all about. It’s about Jesus.

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.  (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)  And everyone went to their own town to register.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.  He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.  While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,  and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.  When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,  and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.  But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

Luke 2: 1-19

Ed and I want to wish every one of you a blessed Christmas.

Connie

Picture of the Week Thursday: A Chicken Update

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Kat and Moonrise

The last time we posted pictures of the chicks, they were tiny. This one was actually taken last week. This is Moonrise. As far as we can tell, she is a hen. We tried to get a shot of Sunrise too, but he wouldn’t keep still.

They both seem to be doing quite well. They have both escaped a time or two (I think they flew out), but they don’t go far. Still, I would rather they stayed in. We’ve had a couple stray dogs about, and Meeko still escapes as well, and I don’t want to risk them all being out at the same time.

We figured out this morning that Meeko not only gets out, but he can get back in too.  That’s another blog post: probably one Ed will write.

Connie