Sunday, June 27, 2010


I never thought I'd say this, but I am SO FREAKING SICK of chipmunks.

I used to think they were adorable and harmless. How could anything that cute cause any trouble?

Well, I've been converted. We have a veritable chipmunk colony thriving in our yard. They climb up in the trees and incessantly chirp at the top of their squeaky little voices. They have created their own Meerkat Manor of tunnels throughout our yard and garden. They dig up seeds before they have a chance to sprout, and those few fortunate seeds that do sprout suffer the fate of being nibbled to death before they get their second set of leaves.

Walking down the sidewalk yesterday, I scattered a group of 4 or 5 chippies. They're always darting out from under bushes and scaring the life out of me.

I sat on the front swing and watched this little guy dozing in the crook of a tree.
His eyes never actually closed, but they were narrowed to slits.
After about fifteen minutes, he started to rouse himself, scratch and preen.

Then it was back down to the ground ...

... and back to no good. Hmmm, what can I dig up now?

Oh, the reason that I was sitting on the swing this afternoon is because we saw a young copperhead slither under the leaves of the plant pictured above. I was sitting with a shovel at the ready, waiting to crush its head if it made another appearance. Copperheads in the yard. What next?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Birthday Kids

We celebrated Brian's 14th birthday on the last day of May.
So much has been going on that we only had a small family party.

Among other gifts, we found him a "It's Just A Flesh Wound" t-shirt,
since he's recently become a Grail fan.

Nice hair.

Three weeks later, Clare turned 9.

Our young lady received a dozen roses in honor of her birthday.

We had a family party for her on her birthday, and the next day I took her and a friend out for a special girls' lunch and a movie.

She's been wanting a scooter for quite a long time,
since her brothers rarely let her use one of theirs.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Feel free to run screaming if you just can't take another chicken picture.

Noelle proudly presents . . . . our chickens.

This is Blackie, or Oreo, or Ariel, or whatever...the Barred Rocks are impossible to tell apart, so they all might as well be named Blackie. The black ones are the easiest to catch of the younger hens, so of course they're an easy target. They are also fairly calm and patient when being handled. Good thing.

The first batch of chickens didn't seem to grow up as gracefully as these seem to be. This Barred Rock hasn't gone through an awkward stage - she just looks like a miniature hen.

Same for this Partridge Chantecler.

This is a Buff Chantecler. From the top, she looks like a perfectly normal miniature hen.

But look under her skirt! She has the prettiest, fluffiest little butt ever.

Wow, that WAS weird, even coming from me.

These are the older ones: White Leghorn and Golden Comet. Just look at the difference in body size. Although both breeds are prolific layers (we hope), the Leghorns will only reach 4 1/2 pounds.

This is one of the male Buff Brahmas. Each one is feathered differently in shades of tan, red, brown, gray, white and black, but they all have feathered feet. They look like little Clydesdales.

Theresa, the Chicken Whisperer.

We've been letting them out every evening just before dusk. That's about all the chicken babysitting that I can stand.

Dang it... I forgot to put that hammer away.

You talkin' to me? You talkin' to ME?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

A Waste of Good Aluminum Foil

Conor DID go to the dollar store and buy a new roll to replace all this, by the way.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Chicken Digs

Finally got the coop constructed...after several unsuccessful tries we stumbled upon a very simple design that will satisfactorily winter the chickens. It's a simple wire arch partly covered with a tarp, with a doorframe at one end.

So far, so good.

We let them out near dusk to prove the theory that they'd automatically return "home" as soon as it got dark enough, and sure enough, they did. After a short period of frantic, joyous flapping, running, and scavenging, they headed inside and up onto the roost.

Egg-laying maturity is achieved at approximately 4 1/2 months.

The 6 bigger chickens are 2 months old.

The young ones are 1 month old.

All the males and one or two little females are huddled in the corner.
That's where the older chickens usually chase the little ones, anyway.