Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Moment of Stillness

This blog is brought to you by a rare moment of stillness.

My week off has been so hectic that I don't really feel like I've had a week off. I don't ever remember being so busy. How does this happen? It seems that there is a never-ending list of things that need to be done around here.

The ducks are so big now it's hard to believe that they were ever small. I keep meaning to get an updated picture of them but it's very low on my list of priorities. We put them out in the shade of the spruce trees by the pond each morning and let them spend the day doing what ducks, poop, sleep. That's about it. Oh yes, they also are very cute and very sweet.

Derek started 8th grade football practice this week and his position is left tackle. Now, the only thing I know about football is that the ball is brown and pointed on both ends, so it's a little awkward being a "football mom" without any prior experience. Derek is very tired and sore this week but he's sticking to it. I gave him until Friday to change his mind but he's not backing out. He's made two new friends and feels that he's earned some respect amongst his peers. I'm glad to hear he's got some new friends; he was the new kid last year and I was worried because he didn't mention friends very often. He had to leave his buddies behind when we moved back home last August, so it's good to know that things are improving for him in the social department.

A bit of Derek trivia: at 5' 10" he's the 2nd tallest on his team. Somewhere between 12 and 13 boys experience a growth spurt that actually makes them skip a clothing size. Derek went from a boys 18 to a mens small within the span of 3 months. He went from a size 7 shoe to a size 12! The kid I could look in the eye in April is now taller than me and I have to look up at him! Only ducks grow faster than that!

The chickens are 19 weeks old and I am trying to be patient waiting for eggs. I check the nests (and beneath them) mid-morning and again after dinner. The girls are showing signs that they are maturing and at the point-of-lay. I'm wondering who will get an egg first...Susan, Ron, Don or me? Perhaps we should have a prize for the first egg!

Derek told me about a scary incident with the chooks this morning. He said he heard them clucking loudly and went out to investigate. A large female Cooper's hawk (perhaps a juvenile) was sitting on a support beam for the chicken run fence. All the girls but two were inside the coop clucking loudly. Silver, who is turning out to be worth his weight in gold, had flown out of the run and was clucking loudly below the hawk, wings a-flappin' and hackle feathers raised as high as they would go. I guess that hawk decided she didn't want to tangle with the likes of Silver. She could have easily taken him but she didn't know he's nothing but fluff and attitude. His body is only the size of a Nerf football! Thanks to Silver's protective actions and the girls' quick thinking, no birds were killed or injured. I noticed that they were very vigilant for the rest of the day, sounding the alarm for birds as small as doves.

Silver has begun calling the girls to any food he finds. Out of the six roosters I've had this year, only two have exhibited this behavior. It's very interesting to see a rooster do this. He picks up the tiniest tidbit and just when you think he's going to eat it he drops it and with an up-and-down head bobbing motion he points to the food with his beak all the while making a sharp clucking sound. The girls come running and when they see what he's pointing at they gobble it up. What a good boy! Now I've got to make sure that nothing bad ever happens to this wonderful Hamburg rooster. After dinner tonight the boys helped me staple some bird netting over the far end of the run. Hopefully Miss Cooper will think twice about landing on the fence again.

I think that chickens that are given the chance to free range near the cover of evergreen trees are safer than they would be fenced in. They can quickly run for cover and escape danger in a thick tree. My friend Susan experienced a similar scare with her chickens recently and she said her birds took cover under a spruce tree in her yard. Not only are free-range birds happier but it would appear that they are also safer.

Have a great weekend!


  1. Don't feel bad- I always worked harder when I was on vacation than I ever worked at work! When I had a week off, I would work myself silly trying to get everything done I had planned to do... then I would go back to work exhausted! (So much for vacation...)
    Yay for Silver- he saved the day!!!

  2. I recently noticed that our rooster does the clucking noise to point out food. I thought he wasn't getting his fair share of food so I would throw scraps at his feet. When I realized he wasn't eating in favor of his women eating it made me feel proud of him! :)

    It's good to know it's a trait that can be found in other roosters

  3. It's good to know that your rooster isn't selfish and mean, like my Henry! Anyway, Henry's going to live with MIL. She's very excited! Poor thing, doesn't have much to get excited about at 81!

    Thanks for the mentions! I'm so far behind on posting, it's embarassing to be on your blogroll! I'll try to get caught up next week while David's in Germany.

  4. I see I've fallen off the blogroll! Boy, I really am behind! Sunday evening, for sure!

  5. I thought I had a layer this morning! I went out to give the chickens some chopped tomatoes (past their prime), and found one of my Marans sitting in a nesting box. Ruth snapped some pics just in case this was the moment. I went out later and found her gone and the nest empty. Hmph! I think mine are 20 weeks old today.

    I will need to keep track of Susan, Ron and you.

    The winner gets the first omelet!

  6. Paula, I'm glad I'm not the only one who works on her vacations! I'll have another 7 days off the week of Labor Day. Oh boy, more WORK!

    Duane, roosters are interesting and I never realized how much so until I paid attention to my own.

    Susan, I'm sure Henry will be spoiled rotten at his new home. I'm glad you found a solution to the problem. I know it's not easy.

    Don, I want to see how dark those Marans' eggs are. I am thinking of trying a Barnevelder or Welsummer for the dark eggs next spring. We'll see. I think the dark eggs are so pretty. I bet your Marans was getting used to the idea and deciding on where the best spot to lay her first egg is.

  7. I think George is still watching out for himself in the food department...

    I like what Don said... first one gets the omelet! :)

    Mine aren't going to be first, though. They are only about 16 weeks old... a good friend of mine sent me an email. Her Buff's finally laid at 20 weeks - and a gorgeous humongous brown egg, I might add. Sure am looking forward to those!

    I'm glad that Miss Cooper did not get away with one of your chickens. :)


  8. Ron, OK now my chooks are 20 weeks old and still no eggs this morning!!! Those girls better get to work soon or no more melon rinds for them! Yeah, right. They're spoiled rotten and they know it.

  9. Quite the competition!

    I LOVE that rowboat photo, just wonderful and shows what you wanted this week.

    I enjoyed this post, and I can relate to the football thing. I went through that with track and cross country, but thankfully Don was a track star, so he had all the knowledge for Peter.

    Waiting with bated breath on eggs, wherever they fall!

  10. This was so interesting! I don't know anything about the lives of chickens...well, now I do! The photograph of a moment of stillness is so beautiful.


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