Sunday, September 6, 2015

Blackout fun, perked up garden, separating the boys from girls, chicken prison, I can keep a secret

This is the first quiet Sunday I have had in a while. At least its the first quiet  Sunday with electricity and internet.  The windstorm  last week took away  our electricity, internet and  phones for the weekend.  It was fabulous.  I prepped well for the storm because we live on a swamp,  in the semi country.   I meal planned  for stuff that could be easily done on a gas grill in the rain.  The day of the storm I decided loaded baked potatoes  was the best choice because potatoes can be thrown on the grill  and don't need to be  supervised in the rain.  I invited the neighbors to join us.  I got a great surprise when they  said yes and then said 'bring your potatoes to our house because we have steaks'.  They apologized because there was no salad or vegetables to go with it. Not a problem since I have a garden.  Jimmy and I  put together a bruschetta and dug into the wine closet to find a bottle suitable  for a dark and stormy night.  The one on top was bottle of 1995 salice salentino.  We  packed up our potatoes, bruschetta,wine and  a few extra candles and ran next door .  The neighbors were ready for us. Steaks  on their grill and a lovely mushroom and onion shish kabob AND chocolate cake.  We were delighted when  they brought out the antique  (wind up ) Victrola and started playing  music. It was  the kind of evening that makes me wish we could unplug more often!
And then the storm was over and we had a few days of rain.  Once again a  pleasant surprise... My desiccated garden perked up and began producing again.  It happened fast once  it had an abundant water supply.  The rain also helped my hens. The leghorns started laying this week.   And in answer to the  massive chickens hormones  everywhere, the barred rocks began producing double yolk eggs.
I had to take some desperate chicken action in August. It appeared they had all stop laying.... completely.  I didn't get any eggs for almost two weeks.  I knew the cannibal  was eating some of them but that didn't count  for the complete loss of all egg production.  Jimmy's mom was here during the no eggs time and she wanted to do some cooking so  we BOUGHT  eggs.  The day after we bought the eggs we found the broody hen , behind the barn, sitting on 2  dozen plus eggs.  So, now we know where they all went.  I decided that could no longer be  the benevolently neglectful chicken owner .  Wrangling must be done.  Sarah now Skyler, the transgender youth who keeps my coops clean was called in for extra duty.   Skyler scrubbed  and scraped  both coops  and put a roost in the old one for me.  I love that kid. Skyler  smiles and says ok to whatever I request.   When the cleaning was done and Skyler had skipped happily home  with a pocket full of well earned money, Jimmy and I put new lips on the nesting boxes in the big coop.  After dark we moved the two old reds, one of which is the cannibal, and the  two roosters to the small coop.  All the laying hens and the  two  pullets  were left in the big coop.  That was two weeks ago.   They have all been locked in their respective pens for two weeks.  The first three days of lock up  I got one egg.  I'm pretty sure it was the disruption  of routine that caused it.  This week though I am getting  eggs everyday.    For the last three days Jimmy has been prison advocate.  "When are you going to let them out?" my response?  When they start laying regularly and know where to lay.    His compassion  is making me feel guilty so  later this afternoon , when they have all had a chance to lay,  they can have some yard time.  The hens ,that is, can have some yard time.  The other four will stay penned up until we can make some decisions.  I am really enjoying  NOT being attacked by Arnie every time I go outside. I'm  also enjoying not hearing the hens running and screaming  several times a day because he is trying to take what isn't his.  I hate that chicken.  In case you  haven't heard me say it before. 
Darling Daughter came over for a visit yesterday.  This is a great accomplishment because she is working on something right now  that is pretty amazing and I am very proud of her.  I cant tell you what it is  because I have been sworn to secrecy until she is ready for the big reveal.  Its gonna be worth the wait though.   See DD...I CAN keep a secret !