Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Full Moon Rising?

No, it's a string ball!

Yes, you've heard of giant ones on display in far flung locations, there is probably one in the Guiness World record book but it's not important enough for me to check especially since I am not going for a record. I just have all these chicken feed bags and they're closed with a piece of string in a chain stitch. It occurred to me that I should use that string, seemed a shame to throw away. But what would I do with 2 foot pieces of string? Is it possible I have too much time on my hands?

So, here it is, my chicken feed bag string ball consisting of maybe 4 or 5 string pieces (already, I can't remember) about 0.75 inches in diameter. Maybe I'll update the blog in the future with its progress. Maybe not. I may find more interesting things to occupy myself.

Monday, October 27, 2008

My Sister's Shadow is Gone

My younger sister had to put her dog, Shadow, to sleep today. The vet figured it was probably a brain tumor that caused her to go downhill so quickly in a few short days. My sister, mom and brother were there with her at the end.

Shadow was raised by my sister and my mom from 2 days old when a Brittany Spaniel mother rejected her first litter of puppies. So Shadow never really knew she was a dog. She would sleep on the furniture, ask for people food and go everywhere with them. She'd even been out to visit me once for Christmas and they were planning to come this year.

Shadow loved a good belly rub and demanded it of anyone visiting. She'd walk right up to you and stand over your foot till you obliged.

When Shadow first met my puppy Rocket, she didn't know how to interact with another dog. Rocket would chase and Shadow would run away jumping on the sofa to escape from the furry brown ball of chaos. Once Rocket matured they got along fine and the 4 of us went on quite a few walks in the woods or around the neighborhood whenever I visited. But it seems only on one walk in the autumn of 2004 did I manage to snap a few good photos of Shadow (and Rocket) having fun.

Good bye old girl. We and the chipmunk on your back porch will miss you.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Guinea Returned, Too!

This afternoon the missing guinea hen showed up running frantically alongside the run fence wanting to get in. Unfortunately the rooster, the only free ranging bird, (to keep him from attacking the smaller birds) attacked and drove her off. I then chased the rooster into the pen to keep that from happening again, but 4 younger chickens escaped and ran amok for the rest of the day. But the guinea returned a couple hours later and I waited till dark before catching her and one of the chickens with a net while they settled down on a fence post for the night. The other 3 chickens I had already herded into the pen. Now all the poultry are incarcerated and not getting out again for a few days.

On the other hand, the stupid muscovies are back on the pond for the night even though they were investigating the duck pen during the day. It only takes one time for that stupid mink to come back and kill one, but you can't tell that to a duck.

She's Alive!

My chicken survived 25f temperatures, alone in the woods last night. I looked all over before dark when she did not turn up to go into the coop and as best as I could with a flashlight after dark. Being as she's brown, the leaves are brown and she was probably hiding from me, it was a pretty futile gesture. One of my purple guineas, just transferred to the coop from the garage that day also ran off (she wasn't supposed to be outside, but slipped out when I wasn't looking). This morning when I saw the heavy frost on the ground and the thermometer reading only 25 this morning I steeled myself for the worst.

First I let the flock into the run in hopes the sounds of her friends would bring them running. Since I couldn't see them anywhere inside the fence I went to the other side, deeper into the swamp. Within 10 minutes I jumped her up. I never even saw the chicken till I was on top of her and off we went for a ten minute romp through the downed trees and over roots and stumps till I cornered her trying to squeeze back through the field fence. I grabbed her and stuffed her back into the coop. She seems fine. Hopefully, the guinea will appear soon.

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Little Surprise and More Photos

I was taking my neighbor up to the hospital to visit her husband Uncle Butch today and ended up bringing him home. This is his second homecoming, he came home last Friday for less than 48 hours, had to be rushed back with a bad kidney infection. Hopefully, he's on the mend at last, though he still needs that operation on one of his carotid arteries to clean out the plaque. We've got to wait two weeks before they can do that and hope he stays healthy till then. It will be a somewhat nervous wait for everyone.

I was looking through a few of my recent photos tonight and found another nice autumn foliage shot with a tiny little Rocket in the background. The dogs never stay still for the perfect shot, but it's still a nice picture.

Here's a shot of those same trees and their neighbors from the opposite side of the clearing. That's it for colorful tree photos, cedar swamps aren't known to have many trees other than cedars.

And for amusement, here's a picture of one of my Muscovy females who may have decided to move to Canada. As of today she is still residing in Michigan.

And in case anyone wanted to see a closeup of my chickens, here are a few golden laced Wyandottes (the blacker ones) and my buckeyes. They are about 10 weeks old in this photo.

This concludes another impromptu slide show of swamp life. I could throw in a really cool photo (I think) of Rocket and Luna but I'll save it for another day.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The October Animal Update

I don't know what else to call this because it's been weeks since my last visit to my blog.

It looks and feels like autumn is on the down slide toward winter now. We just experienced a few beautiful last days of 70ish temperatures and sunshine, The trees this year were gorgeous, the maples colored up magnificently, probably all that rain this year. So there was one good thing about the rain though it made my vegetable garden rot. (I never did get to harvest any zucchini!) But today it's cloudy off and on rainy and barely 56f. The leaves are dropping rapidly, those same maples are probably 90% bare now. The red oaks are turning color, too as are the poplars.

The chickens and guineas and ducks don't mind the weather. The watch the door like hawks, however, waiting to pounce on me whenever I try to go outside.
Sometimes, I don't quite succeed.

The guineas especially like to perch on my deck stairs and railings.

The chickens mostly hang out in the grass unless they see the guineas pouncing on me for food. At least 3 of my guineas outside, and one in the garage are making the "buck-wheat" sound indicating they are female. That's 4 out of 50. Hopefully, more will be broadcasting their status before it's time to thin out the herd (I know it's flock, but I like herd better).

Last week Hal and I butchered and froze 5 of the remaining rouen ducks. He tried to pluck 2 of them with his nifty drill-plucker that he made but the pin feathers

were so bad that he skinned the other 3. We hope it works much better on chickens and guineas. Others who have made one claim it does, at least on chickens. There are 2 rouens left that are a few weeks younger and not ready for eating. One of them keeps escaping and wandering around with the muscovies. We have to keep putting her back in the pen because she can't figure out how to get in the same way she got out.

Speaking of Hal, he got a big doe yesterday with his bow. He's only been hunting a few days, the season opened October 1, because he's been working on plowing and disking fields for planting grain. He wants to plant more winter wheat today if the rain slows long enough and the ground isn't too wet (his previous food plot of rape failed). He didn't get home till just after 9 pm after he cleaned it and hung it in his barn. He'll bring it home today and my neighbor's son-in-law will be coming to get it. Hal has been getting into this "Deer Quality Management" these past 5 or 6 years by taking only does and giving them to neighbors who aren't as well off or don't have hunting opportunities. Apparently, the DQM is working because his trail camera has taken photos of 2 nice bucks, 8 points or larger. He's never seen anything other than spike bucks or poorly sized 4 pointers there before. We've owned this land for more than 10 years so he's very pleased.

Rocket and Luna are being their usual doggie selves, wanting to eat, walk, visit next door to get more goodies, etc. Luna is becoming much better at catching Frisbees, or else I am getting much better at throwing them. (Rocket never liked Frisbee, he would duck and then pick it up and bring it to me.) Neither of them understand that they also need to bring it to me, not drop it on the ground 5 feet away. I suppose I could train Luna better but retrieving isn't all that necessary for our enjoyment of life.

Looks like the rain has started up again. I probably ought to do something "useful" like clean the kitchen. Or play with Luna as she has just come upstairs to see what I am up to.