Summer heat has finally arrived in northwest Ohio. Our daytime temps are in the upper 80s and the humidity is in the mid 70s. If it weren't for the humidity, the temps would be more bearable. The chicks are eight weeks old and the size of bantam chickens. They have access to shade beneath the evergreens and I bought them a second 3.5 gallon waterer tonight to make sure they have access to plenty of fresh water. Birds need water...period.
Now that they are bigger I have begun letting them free range in the yard. I prop the gate open with a cement block and the chickens are free to come and go as they please. I stayed up till 9 this morning just watching their antics as they enjoyed tons of fresh grass, a leaf pile to scratch through and all the bugs they could catch. I could have stayed out there all day and just watched them, but I had to get some sleep and I forced myself to go to bed. I'd had a long, hot night at work and badly needed the rest. I awoke to find most of the chickens inside their run happily milling about. I herded the stragglers back into the run and closed it so we could go out for dinner and not have to worry about them falling victim to any predators. They were hot and settled down in the shade, their bellies on the cool, damp earth. Chicken air conditioning. When we returned, I presented them with their new waterer for the run and they all circled around it and drank their fill!
Rocky is now allowed to leave his cage and venture outside during the day. Jim puts him in a tree and leaves him to be a squirrel all day. When it gets late, Rocky ventures back into his cage and eats, then falls asleep in his hammock. So it seems we have the typical teenager...he only comes home when he's hungry and needs a place to crash! Rocky stays in his cage on the hot days though. Jim keeps him in the shop, which is a large aluminum barn. The temps inside the shop are noticeably cooler than the outside temps.
Some day Rocky may decide to not come back. That's fine. We aren't going to keep him against his will and if the call of the wild enters his heart, then we will wish him well and hope he comes around to visit once in a while. He is a charming little character though, and we will be sad if he leaves. He has certainly grown on us.
As I sit here and listen to the bull frogs tune their banjos in the pond at midnight, I am reminded how important it is to notice the little details in everyday life. This evening I was checking my landscaping plants and noticed that my morning glories have really shot up this week. Jim was swimming in the pond and as I looked up to see what he was doing, my breath was nearly taken away by the powerful cloud formations in the sky above the woods. Moments such as this make me constantly remind myself that while it is good to look down and pull the weeds or notice a new flower, it is equally good to look up and notice what is above. Don't lose sight of your path, but remember to keep looking up as you go.