Tag Archives: disaster

The chicken that would not die

You’ve all heard me talk about our neighbours.  They’re all kinds of awesome.  All kinds, I swear.  A couple of weeks ago they had a chicken who was going through a rough time.  She was blind in one eye from some kind of infection, and the other chickens were giving her a run for her money (the term “henpecked” comes from somewhere and it sure isn’t pretty).  She’d lost half of her comb, and her skull was visible in parts.  Our lovely neighbours asked if we’d take her for a bit, to give her a reprieve from their birds who knew her place in line and were relentless in their attacks.  Of course we agreed, and for a couple of days “Scabby” lived in our house.  When our neighbours found out that “Scabby” wasn’t well enough to live outside with our other birds, they took her back and built her a lovely pen.  They brought her over a dog house and made her feel special.  Her comb healed over, her skin closed up and her feathers started growing back.  We even decided that maybe we shouldn’t call her Scabby, so kind of renamed her Sorrel, but I don’t know if that’s really going to stick.  A nickname’s a nickname, even if it’s not a nice one, right?

*Yes.  All of this mimics schoolyard politics, nicknames and all.  Yes, I feel emotional about it.  Yes, she’s a chicken and I eat chicken.  What’s your point?

Anyways, we ended up taking Scabby/Sorrel back last week.  Chickens shouldn’t be all alone and our birds didn’t see her as the recluse nerd who deserved to be locked into her own locker.  We were still trying to figure out how to encourage her to be social with the other birds, but she was a bit of a recluse.  She may just have been smarter than them.  She is a Houdini, and never ever seems to be in the pen, but is out wandering the garlic or the potatoes or the kale.  We’ve never actually seen her escape, and none of the other birds get out.  She’s just kinda like that.

Until today, when she wasn’t wandering and wasn’t clucking around with the other ladies either.  Until today, when the remains of a white chicken was dropped, unceremoniously, onto our neighbours’ yard by an eagle.  Until Scabby/Sorrel couldn’t be found and was determined to have died as she had lived – free.

Until she was found, hours later, wandering the garlic.  Free.  Alive.

I don’t know where this chicken got her lives, but she’s certainly got lots of them.  And I’m sorry for whichever bird’s life ran out today… maybe that bird lived happily with it’s compatriots and was ready to go.  Who knows.

Here’s a picture of a flower and our 2nd CSA box of the year (it has garlic scapes in it!).Gaillardia

Box #2!

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Obscene weather and a family promotion

We have a little book that was given to us by Jeremy’s aunt last Christmas.  It’s a 5-year journal – every day of the year is on a different page, and there are 5 sections for each day… it’s a great thing for farmers, as we are essentially creating our own almanac.  We’ve been writing in it for over a year now (we started on Jan. 1st of 2013), and it’s lovely to read about things that happened a year ago.  Like the salad bed sprouting.  A year ago.  Today.

There’s still snow on the ground.  There is no salad bed, inside or out.  We had crocuses in bloom 10 days ago.  Now everything is covered in snow.  Still.  But at least our temperature is not obscene.  I was in Calgary on the weekend for my grandparents 60th wedding anniversary, and it was incredible to reconnect with family and to spend time getting to know relatives whose names I’ve been hearing for years, but who I wouldn’t be able to find on the family tree… it was a lovely visit even though the high for Saturday was -25.  The low was -33.  The low, including wind-chill was -44.  Now I know that some of you still live in winter climates, but that’s obscene and ridiculous and I was not prepared, and I am happy to be back to the rain, even if it’s grey and not raining enough, proven by the snow that’s still on the ground.

So there was a lot of snow.  So much of it, in fact, that a tree that we had presumed to be healthy and strong and long-lasting fell down on my cousin’s van.  This happened when Jer was in Ontario, and I was home by myself, on a snow day.  I went to my neighbour’s with pictures, asking for advice.  There was no advice to be given as there’s not much to do except wait until the snow stops falling to assess the damage.  It seems that there wasn’t too much damage, but he’s a really lovely fellow who lives his life in an incredible way (he’s off working on a sailboat in Europe right now and is flying home in the next couple of weeks in the hopes of selling this van, and now he’s going to have to get a new sunroof for it, for the previous sunroof is in a million trillion pieces all over the front seats), and he’s trying to release his first solo studio album, and if you had a couple of dollars to send his way, that’d be awesome.  He’d use it well.  Plus, he makes lovely music.

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/help-launch-colin-boland-s-album

The post that wasn’t posted

I wrote a post a couple of weeks ago.  I thought I posted it.  Ended up I saved it and didn’t post it.  Oops.  It said that

“It was our dog.  Maybe that’s why the really pretty bunting didn’t seem to work.  Maybe that’s why it happened on weekends, when Jer happens to spend more time indoors.  He caught her with a chicken in her mouth.  She ran.  He chased her.  The chickens had the eggs scared out of them and we haven’t had an egg in over a week.  The dog seems better now (I don’t even want to remember how angry and hurt and sad I was), and the chickens are, I think, sorting themselves back out.  They must be kind of lonely, as our flock went from 11 to 5 in a matter of a couple of weeks.

Today was Family Day in BC.  That means I didn’t have to go to work.  So I spent the day marking papers, hanging with some of Jer’s fam, and playing in the snow.  I like the snow.

I got a haircut.  I bought new glasses.  I’ll show you a picture when I get the glasses.  They’re blue.  That’s all you need to know for now.”

My birthday amaryllis, with 4 flowersI have the glasses now.  They’re awesome.  And they allow me to see.  It’s awesome.  I’ll get you a picture asap, promise.    Today I went to watch a play at my school.  It was awesome.  Lots of awesome.  An organization came to our school on Tuesday, had an audition with our kids, cast them, rehearsed with them all week, and today there were 2 shows.  So amazing.  I also went for coffee… I’ve finally found the cafe in Courtenay that makes amazing coffee, and it’s going to change my life.

Spring really started to spring here this week – there were crocuses, the nettles were up and almost at edible height, the owls came back, and an eagle perched in a tree in our yard (that has nothing to do with spring – it was just really cool).  Then it snowed.  I don’t know where that leaves the flowers or the nettles, but spring is starting.  I can feel it.

Just outside the garden

Eagle in a tree

The capacity of knitting and friends to unsuck life

Last Monday wasn’t a lot of fun.  I had a rotten optometrist appointment, and then the chicken that Jer tried so hard to save died in the night.  It died in it’s box, inside the house, and I heard it’s death throes and it made me feel like crap.  Stinky smelly pustular crap.

Because Monday sucked, Tuesday did too.  Until I came home.  Jer was in a really good mood, or at least put on the face for me, and it totally changed my week.  Then our best friends from Bella Coola came for a sleepover on the weekend and it was awesome.  Every time we see them we talk about how awesome they are.  And how lovely their son is.  And how happy we are to be their friends.  So even though we lost another chicken on the weekend (and by lost, I don’t mean we took it out of it’s pen and don’t remember where we put it.  By lost I mean something else took it out of it’s pen and left a pile of it’s feathers for us to mourn over.  We’re pretty sure that someone is a hawk.  I like hawks.  I don’t like this hawk.  I don’t quite dislike it enough to wish stinky smelly pustular death throes on it, but I would love for it to clothesline itself on one of the buntings that we’re hanging in the chicken yard.  Stupid hawk.), we had friends to hang out with, and the weekend was totally not sucky, but pretty awesome.

The other non-sucky part of last week was the knitting.  I received the million and a half yards I ordered for Barb’s sweater, and I blocked my 2 sweaters and socks.  See?  I got to wear 3 new knitting projects last week, and I got to cast on 2 others.  Plus, I just started watching Buffy.  Totally non-sucky.

Pattern - Harvest Dew with Brainless gusset

Pattern – Harvest Dew with Brainless gusset

Pattern - Olive

Pattern – Olive

Pattern - Lewis

Pattern – Lewis

Disasters, of the chicken and wardrobe varieties

When we were in Tofino, a couple of our neighbours did a fantastic job of caring for our chickens.  One of them happens to have chicken-in-danger radar.  I thought it was just for her chickens – she would wake up in the night, knowing that there was a raccoon nearby ready to attack.  Ends up her radar transfers to our chickens as well.  3 days in a row we had a hawk in our chicken yard, trying to pick off the birds.  Somehow, all of our chickens were well and accounted for upon our return.  We didn’t see the hawk.  We still haven’t seen the hawk.  Jeremy saw a hawk today, but it wasn’t attacking anything.  We have, however, lost (as in they’ve disappeared, without a trace, and without losing very many feathers) 3 chickens.  Both of the Boots fellas… Boots, and Boots V 2.0.  Also one of our black laying hens.  And Jer’s favourite bird was attacked.  It’s living in a box in our house right now.  It smells like sick chicken and I don’t like it.  We don’t know if a hawk attacked the bird, or our dog (she’s done it before, but only once), or a raccoon, or something else… I’m pretty convinced that it’s a hawk right now.  Anyways, the rest of the birds are on pretty significant lock-down unless someone’s outside with them.Chicken in a box

My grandfather refurnished a family wardrobe for us last year, and it was supposed to live in our bedroom, but no matter how hard we tried it wouldn’t go up the stairs.  So I filled it with yarn, and it hung out in our kitchen for a while, but the plan was to move it into our spare bedroom and get rid of the ugly particle board wardrobe that was in there.  But in order to get the ugly one out we had to take it apart.  So we did.  It’s in pieces outside.  I didn’t even think about whether the wardrobe would get around the corner.  It did, but barely.  I didn’t think about whether it would make it through the door.  It didn’t.  Not even after we took off the door and the doorframe and put a couple of holes in the walls.  So now the wardrobe, still looking like a yarn store and pretty as can be, is back in the kitchen, and the spare bedroom seems a lot bigger without an ugly, yet somewhat useful, wardrobe.Wardrobe disaster

Nighttime noises

I’ve been away from the farm overnight twice recently (once, to Pickathon, which was magical in a way I can’t describe and which gave me insight into the me I used to be, a me that I realized I miss a lot sometimes.  It was exactly what I needed when I had no idea I needed it and I am a lucky lucky girl to have the opportunity, the wealth, the time and the friends who enable me to let loose and be extravagant with my life.  The other time was to Saltspring, for the lovely, beautiful wedding of a dear friend of Jeremy’s), and while both times I slept in my tent for the most part, each time I also spent at least a night in one of two cities – Portland and Victoria.  Both times I was absolutely astonished by the level of noise that a city emits during the dark hours.  Sirens, beep beeps, honk honks, screeches, and once, a man struggling with a mental disability was having a really shitty night and was angry and confused and aggressive and very very loud outside of the building I was sleeping in.  I was amazed.  I didn’t remember cities being so loud.  I couldn’t figure out how people could SLEEP while there was so much going on.  Then I got to my tent, in the forest, and I slept (although not very much during the dark hours at Pickathon, and that was okay too), and all was good.

2 nights ago, back at home, I almost wished to be living in a city.  There were noises here, many of which I couldn’t place, and I almost longed for sirens and beep beeps and honk honks, but never for people having (likely) schizophrenic episodes outside of my window, which made me feel guilty and confused about my feelings of safety and security and wonder about where people should have these moments, but that’s not the point.  My house was noisy.  My dog had a bad dream, or something, and started howling like mad.  Then there was a very strange noise, that I thought sounded like a babbling brook in my living room and Jeremy thought sounded like a ghost, although he wouldn’t say that in the middle of the night, just in case saying it made it true (we have since decided it was probably something falling onto our tin roof).  Then, at around 4 am, there was screeching.  Kind of like shrill rat-sized mice, screeching in our walls.  It sucked.  It was awful.  Jer was convinced it was mice after he got out of bed and figured out where it was coming from – the kitchen wall outside our window.  He came back to bed, we tried to go to sleep and failed.  The screeching didn’t stop.  We got back up, found the noise, and I got a hammer to pull off one of the battens from our siding.  It wasn’t a rat-sized mouse, or even 10 of them, battling it out in the night.  It was a little bat.  Stuck in the siding, screaming and screaming it’s distress call.  No other bats were coming to the rescue, for this bat must have been saying “Stay away!  The hole never ends!  I’m stuck and scared and I can’t get out and I’m going to die here and I don’t want to, please don’t make me!”

So we let the bat out, and it climbed up the wall of our house and flew away (and we both ducked and covered, because while bats are totally cool, it was 5 am and we were tired, and bats are still kind of creepy).

Last night there were no noises, other than rain on the roof, and now I’m happy I don’t live in the city.  No surprises there.

Summer lists

Oof!  I’ve been absent lately, but really I haven’t been.  I’ve just been busy.  Summer busy – the best kind.  The laze-about-in-a-hammock, have-5-naps-a-week kind.  But I made a list at the beginning of the summer of a whole bunch of things I wanted to do before summer was up, and I’m doing a really good job of crossing items on the list off, except for blog-writing.

My list:

  • Pickathon (I’m leaving on Tuesday, consider it crossed off)
  • finish weaving (I’m over 50% done)
  • finish sweater (less that 20 grams of yarn left)
  • move wardrobe (I’m waiting for the right shelving – this may not get done this summer and that’s ok)
  • camping (set for middle of August)
  • design shawl
  • read 6 books (I’ve read 5 and change)
  • make 1 new friend
  • spend a day by myself w/ my dog
  • make pie squares
  • pick strawberries
  • pick blueberries
  • pick blackberries
  • sell 1 bouquet of flowers
  • ride my bike to Courtenay
  • play first 2 weeks of school
  • build raised flower bed
  • mulch flowers
  • 8 blog posts
  • canoe to Hornby

See!  I’m doing pretty well!  Except, of course, for the blog post thing.  This is my second.  And I’m leaving for a week on Tuesday, so August will have to be a blog heavy month.

As you may have deduced by the last item being crossed off, Jer and I bought a canoe.  I told my mom and she promptly asked me if it was a boy or a girl, what colour it was, and whether it had a name.  I was only able to answer 1 of these questions – something that several years ago would have astonished me.  Our canoe is yellow.  She’s lovely and pretty and she goes straight and fast.  Her name is Joan, or Joni.  I wanted to name her brawk, because she’s yeller and a chicken, but Jeremy is much cleverer than I.

The garden is crazy awesome.  The farm made the most money it’s ever made last week, which was really exciting.  I’ve got sunflowers blooming that light up my heart, and one of the Gladiolas that Jer bought for me is in bloom too.  Maybe I’ll grab my camera from the car tomorrow and give you all photos, and then be almost halfway done my goal…Oh.  And the ants came back.  We had another battle between two colonies, but it didn’t last long and they seemed to drink the Borax water solution Jer made up for them.  I had decided not to freak out about it, and this was a good thing.  The ants all seem to be gone.As I said, next week I’m off to Pickathon, a music festival outside of Portland.  I’ll have a day in Portland, where I assume I’ll spend hours in Powell’s Books.  If anyone has a recommendation for something I absolutely HAVE to read, I’d love to hear about it.