Monday, November 12, 2007

new addiction

believe it or not i have been spinning lately. haven't had time for photos except for this latest skein. i dyed the merino roving at one of our fabulous dye days:
way prettier in real life-still can't capture the true colors of my fiber-hmm? well, as usual i'm super busy-need to get back to work(truth be known i just got on "ravelry"-way too addicting-sounds like a new anti-depressant eh? in fact i thought it was a new drug the way everyone was talking about it. my username is "woolydaisy" for all that are addicted too.)-so i'm going to leave you with my november edition of the "chicken chronicles" instead of a full post. for those of you who don't know-i write a monthy column in our small hometown paper.
My goodness, so much has been happening here at the Rebel Hen Ranch. Let’s see last I wrote we were looking for a home for baby rooster “Banjo. (I believe the correct terminology is actually “cockerel.”) He was one of Hazel’s chicks who woke me crowing one morning. A big thank you to Wendy and Daniel for giving him a good home. Once Banjo departed another of Hazel’s offspring began crowing-like the very next day. That’s when I said to myself-“my! What long legs you have!” Sure enough, cockerel #2. We named him Daddy Long Legs. Now for those of you who have not read previous chronicles-the problem is-we only want hens-no roosters! Finding good homes for roosters is no easy feat! I prefer them not to be taken for dinner purposes-unless they prove to be really nasty-then go right ahead; be my guest. Luck was with us- my friend Jennifer needed a rooster too. He went to his new coop and harem just the other night. Guess what? Just what I was suspecting-cockerel #3. Ha! Can you believe it? Out of the four chicks three of them are male. Liam has named this handsome guy “Insulator” as Liam really likes glass insulators. He’s no longer the bottom of the rooster pecking order and is quite happy. But like I said- Rebel “HEN” Ranch-got it? So, Insulator needs a home- a home for him to range and protect his girls. The good life.

On another note-the predators are alive and well over here and have discovered my girls. (For those who don’t know my hens free range.) I knew it wasn’t a matter of “if” but “when.” The first incident occurred middle of day; I was in the kitchen and heard a chicken scream. Have you ever heard a chicken scream? It’s a very creepy sound. I ran outside to see this huge bird on top of Minstrel. This bird was so big I thought it was a wild turkey. I ran screaming at it. It was NOT a turkey (I know they are not predatory birds) it was the biggest Red Tailed Hawk I’d ever seen. The hawk let go of minstrel and flew away-with a wingspan the size of Liam! All the chickens ran for cover into the woods-It took Liam and I a long time to catch them all- very scary. Believe it or not Minstrel was fine- just missing a few feathers.

Our next hungry visitor came just the other day. I was tuning my banjo around 2:00 in the afternoon looking out the front window at our beautiful flock. My eyes almost popped out of my head; this big ole coyote comes slinking slowly right up on my front lawn. About ten feet from my girls, with it’s tongue hanging out! I ran out as quick as I could –we stared at one another for about two seconds-and I yelled at the top of my lungs-“COYOTE!” The boys came running and we chased it off. -Whew! Another close call.
Sadly my girls have to be locked up in their fenced yard-until things cool down. They are very upset indeed! I can tell by the behavior of the neighborhood dogs that the coyote is still around. I know raising animals is hard in the forest because of the predators. I’m willing to share the land with them as they were here before me and I love all animals and know they all have an important place in our ecosystem. So, my free-range system will to have change. No longer will they be allowed to range when I’m not home-I’ve been very lucky indeed-if I had not been home this story would have had a different ending.


Sharon said...

Coyotes are in over-drive here, but I think it's because they're teaching their pups how to hunt. We're fenced but it doesn't stop our brave dogs from standing at the edge of the fence, shaking their fists and yelling at the top of their lungs.

liberal redneck said...

So funny! I was step-dad to two roosters for about four months. I'd let my friend John's silky hen go broody while he was on vacation so's I didn't have to track her down every night, then said I'd make it up to him by dispatching any roosters she birthed. He ran with that and dumped two more on me even though I'd slaughtered two he didn't want. They weren't good eatin at all, so I was loath to kill these next two and figure the coyotes or eagles would dispatch them for me, but no such luck. Those two fuckers crowed night and day, they seemed to have no problem finding their own food and water, they roosted in trees! Finally, an eagle (I think, there was no evidence) dispatched one and I took the other one back to John's. He then dumped it up the road at an abandonded farmhouse that already had 5 roosters running around! HA! Those little guys sure are tough and resourceful!