I developed a great system for feeding the ducks who, by the way, eat cat food. During the day if I threw it out, the chickens would eat it. If I waited until the sun went down and the chickens were in the coop, I could throw cat food to the ducks and they could eat in peace.
This plan resulted in soft quacking every evening to remind me it was dinnertime. Male ducks have quiet quacks so the noise is soft which is nice.
All our ducks are male and unfortunately could not tell the difference between a duck and a chicken. This is not so nice for our chickens.
We had to pen the ducks up away from the chickens and look for a new home. After several weeks, a man who lives out in the country came and picked up the ducks to put in his pond. His pond was full of weeds and he needed someone to eat them. Enter the ducks!
I was sad at first because it was so quiet at night. Then we got this picture:This is so much better than the kiddy pool we used for them. All the ducks can swim at the same time.
Now when it is quiet, I think of this picture, and smile.
While Rachel has been at home this summer, we have established a routine of walking the dogs in the evenings. The girls next door like to go with us and we appreciate the help. This week, however, Rachel has been housesitting so I’ve been on my own.
I faithfully walked next door to see if anyone was available to help. This particular time, one of the girls wanted to go but wanted to ride her scooter instead of walking a dog. That left me with our four dogs and Miller who was staying at the Miller Farm Hotel while his mom was away at camp.
With five leashes, I felt like a sled dog driver.
We walked passed a friend’s house and he commented that the leashes looked like a May Pole.
The school where I teach celebrates May Day each year so I knew exactly what he meant and he was right.
When I got home, I decided it would be much easier to take all the harnesses off the dogs without untangling the leashes. That way the dogs could go get water and rest while I worked on the “maypole leash.”
Twenty-one of them hatched all on their own. There was one, however, who just couldn’t seem to get out of his shell.
The normal process is for the chicks to “pip” or poke a hole in the shell then they “zip” a line all the way around the shell. Once the line is complete, they can “pop” off the top of the shell and make their entrance into the world.
This chick had pipped and partially zipped. We waited 24 hours and there was still no progress.
We could hear him cheeping so we knew he was still alive. Rachel gently removed the egg and carefully helped the chick out. He was in the shell upside down so he couldn’t finish zipping and push his way out.
We let him dry and put him with the other chicks in the brooder. He was a little uncoordinated. The other chicks were not particularly welcoming and he protested loudly in his new home. After a few hours, he was accepted and now it is hard to tell which one he is.
I named him Leo after the lion in the book Leo the Late Bloomer by Robert Kraus, illustrated by Jose Aruego.
I enjoy watching the chicks. They sleep with their heads down on the wire. It makes me a little nervous because they look dead.
So I hit the top of the brooder and wake them up. They are not happy.I apologize and tell them I’m just “chicken” on them.
I want to introduce them to the Miller sense of humor while they are still young.
Our chickens are really entertaining to watch. During the dry season they regularly “splash” around in the dirt. I suppose it is like taking a dirt bath. Anyway they leave little hollows in the ground where they bathe.
This one made me think of crop circles.
You know – those mysterious circles that appear in crops all over the world.
No one is really sure how they got there and many websites are devoted to speculations. The most prevailing thought is that aliens land in the crops and leave an imprint of their ship.
So this begs the question – are my chickens from outer space?
In researching this possibility I discovered a cartoon:
So now I have another question – if the chickens really are from outer space, which of our dogs is Courage the Cowardly Dog?
We have had an unusual, but much appreciated, amount of rain this summer on Miller Farm. It comes in spurts – rain for 5 minutes and then sunshine for an hour. I think they call them “scattered showers.”
Anyway, this makes the chicken yard a bit of a mess. The chicken circles fill with water creating ponds.
When I went out to check on the chickens I saw an unfamiliar chicken in the bantam yard:
At first glance, it looked like the black bantam, but I had already spotted her in the yard.
Upon closer inspection, I realized it was Frizz. She had gotten caught in one of the “scattered showers” and all her feathers were plastered to her body. It was a very sad sight. Poor Frizz!
Fortunately, she dried off and her feathers stuck back out.
Hopefully, she’s learned to come in out of the rain.
Our oldest daughter lives in Abilene, Texas as a student at Hardin Simmons University. She spent her freshman year in the dorm then moved to a campus apartment. This summer she has moved to a house owned by the university—a converted duplex. It is very cute.
Her bedroom is one of the former living rooms so it’s large with lots of windows and its own entrance. She uses the extra kitchen as a “coffee bar.” I went to visit her last week and we had a great time.
I left on Wednesday morning. Thursday evening she called sounding distressed because Abilene was experiencing hail – very large hail.
The hail had come through the double paned windows into her room.
It was very frightening for her.
Fortunately her house has a carport so her car and her roommate’s car were unharmed. Beekeeper Brian aka her daddy told her to report the damage to the campus police and have them come secure the house.
When she called, she was number eight on the campus list. It turns out every north facing window on campus was broken as well as those in the nearby hospital.
Nearly a week later, the windows still haven’t been replaced. Ever resourceful, Catherine and her roommate used duct tape and plastic tablecloths to patch the holes temporarily.
Over the weekend, Catherine acquired a kitten which she named Sam.
Catherine is already the proud owner of a dog – Bella – but her college schedule is not conducive to caring for a dog – especially one as special as Bella.
So she and her roommate decided to get a cat for the summer. Sam came from Catherine’s boyfriend’s family and can be returned when school starts if keeping him becomes too difficult.
One of Catherine’s first comments was “Now I am responsible for a living thing.” Yes, yes you are, I thought.
I remember having that same reaction when we brought Catherine home from the hospital. It was a little overwhelming at first. Then instincts kick in and suddenly you become responsible.
Catherine must remember to feed the cat. And when the cat gets frightened, she must comfort it. This is offers a different level of pet therapy. Instead of being comforted or amused, a pet owner sometimes has to be brave and strong. Valuable traits and worth instilling in any human.
The next time Abilene has a storm, I can imagine Catherine putting on her brave face and cuddling Sam. They’ll both feel better when the storm passes.