Monday, December 28, 2020

Snow, Socks, and a Shy Chicken

 Before launching into my snow story it's abundantly necessary to clear up a preference for my home state.  Someone somewhere decided that those who reside in Michigan should be labeled as "Michiganders".  I clearly prefer the term "Michiganians".  So although I'll be crossing the line of politically correct nomenclature, here goes.

Most of us Michiganians feel Christmas isn't Christmas without snow.  We had snow, lost snow, and then miraculously (thank you Nature) got snow for Christmas.  I was happy, the dogs were happy, the donkeys were happy.  But the chickens were not.  Outvoted again.

A not uncommon scene with Luigi and Fran eating together on the left and Sugar and Spice on the right

Last night we lost the snow with a light rain.  Which froze.  Leaving a nicely glazed very slick driveway.  You've got to be kidding me.  Get out the cleats in December??  That's usually a dreaded February occurrence.  I now get to add time onto the already protracted suiting up process by having to add the cleats and then mince up the driveway always checking for the clearest path.

Complaint #2

It does not matter which pair of knee socks I put on, by the time I'm halfway through chores, they have slid down off my feet.  This happens e.v.e.r.y day, three times a day.   

after returning to the house and removing boots

Rick lent/gave me two pair of his dorky white socks and, you know what?  They stay up.  Enough!  It is now settled.  I will not be wearing the pretty women's socks but will wear the dorky geeky socks.  Another example of gender discrepancy.

And then we turn to the hens.  I see gorgeous close-up shots of chickens on social media and say, I can do that.  Well, I can't.  Uncooperative girls.

This is an example of a recent photo shoot.

See any sharp close-ups?  No, neither do I.

Happy Holidays

Monday, December 21, 2020

Blu Enters the Scene

 Hopefully you remember meeting Finny a few months ago.  Well, Finny died in early November.  I didn't want to hurry a replacement, but missed having a fish to talk to so Blu came on the scene about a month ago.  He took up residence in Finny's two gallon acquarium and picked up the routine so quickly.


Here's the routine.  Follow carefully, it's fairly complex.
In the morning, I turn the light on atop the acquarium and feed a pellet for breakfast.  Usually during the day another pellet follows and his cue is my voice.  I always tell him it's time for a treat.  Just prior to turning out the light for the night, yup, you guessed it - another pellet.

If I recall correctly, Finny didn't catch on at first.  But Blu got the knack immediately.  

Yup, he's one smart beta.

Now, Finny was only about a year and a half old when he died.  When I went to the fish store and asked about normal beta longevity, he confirmed my suspicions.  Usually they live to two or three years.  Well, what the heck was I doing wrong??

We decided my technique for cleaning the little tank was not the best.  Every two weeks I'd alternate between removing half the water and the whole two gallons.  And I'd remove Finny with my hand.  Very gently.

Well, now I have the hand dandy tube thing.

The big end goes to the bottom of the acquarium and the small end into the sink.  Once I get the siphon action going, water from the bottom goes down the sink, including little fishy debris.  The fish store person said when I did my half-tank clean previously I was removing the clean water from the top.  Oops.

Anyway, with this technique, there's no need to remove the fish.  And no accidental injuries.

I still have to catch myself and not tell "Finny" it's time for a meal.  But Blu understands when I goof. 

Monday, December 7, 2020

Bits and Pieces

 A week ago I railed against the donkey damage.  I'm back.

Four days later, I came upon the scene of busted up plastic bottles in the barn.  They had been sitting on the shelf meant for the fan, which is now in storage for the winter.  The jars held bird seed (a treat for the hens) and a large jug of mineral supplement for the donks.  It was full.  Probably two weeks worth.  Empty.  Gone.

see the front edge chewed off nicely

That was the last straw.  The neighbors probably heard me through closed windows.   Not only could the donkeys OD on supplement, the darn stuff is not cheap.  At that moment I didn't care about the former.

The next day I was able to fling open the pasture gate and say to the hellions, go amuse yourselves on a few inches of snow.

And, a few days later the snow was gone and the big pasture gate closed.  Donkeys sulked.

Yesterday I opened the front donkey gate, allowing them some time to wander the fenced in acreage surrounding the house.  And then what we got was synchronized grazing, the latest Olympic craze.

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I treated myself recently to overalls from Duluth Trading .  Normally I throw on an old (old) pair of sweatpants over p.j.'s to do morning feed.  But they're old enough that often they start to slide down... and down.  Overalls to the rescue!  And warm.  

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What's better on a winter Michigan day than a bowl of homemade soup.

I offer this gem up as a vegan option for your dinner.  Use veg stock and omit the parmesan and voila.