Sunday, May 20, 2012

Odds and Ends and Escape Attempts - Both Caprine and Fowl

Thursday flew by, mostly consumed with doing work on a typing job I have at home. (Hurrah!)  I don't think that anything really unique happened at all, except I was happy to learn that Phillip Phillips will be in the American Idol finale.  I know, I live a really exciting life, eh?

The last time I made cucumber melon soap, the imprint stamp in the bottom slipped, so the pattern was off and they were unsuitable for sale.  I melted and remolded the soaps on Friday morning and plan to get some good photos taken (now that I have a tripod) and get those listed at  Typing again Friday morning.  I really enjoy this job and wish I had more of this type of work.  I have some plans to see if I can expand it over the summer.

We got home late on Friday, so feeding the animals and moving the goats to the barn, milking, was all done after dark.  On a warm summer night it's not too bad, and definitely better than rain.  I am grateful to have a good cover over us for milking, and the time was spent pleasantly ... until just about the time Imbri was done eating her grain.  I started to hear the yipping and squeals of coyote pups.  There's something that's really indescribable about the sound of them.  They sound cute, because it's obvious they are trying to be "big," and are learning a craft, but some of the sounds they make are spine-tingling.  Then, the adults joined in.  Typically I can hear one or two groups, but that night I was surrounded.  The coyotes were far away, probably not even on our land, but there were at least five distinguishable areas, and they were all around me.  Their voices soared and the pups went silent, and then after a couple of verses, joined in the chorus.  It's magical and frightening at the same time.  There's a primal instinct that tells you to get the critters and yourself indoors.  My friend, Tammy, described her reaction at hearing these at her old home - and my reaction - perfectly.  "Smiling with goosebumps."

Saturday morning was bright and sunny, with no trace of the fog that had haunted the last few days.  It was still cool as I started the morning routine, but nice and clear, and I smiled really big when I saw the barn door.  Salsa was ready to get out, and had turned the handle open.  There is a lock on the door, but I don't lock animals into a building, in case someone needs to get them out in an emergency.  This is why my dad built a bar to go across the outside of the door.  Often as I move it into place at night, I hear in my mind, "Katie, bar the door," and feel like a pioneer woman.  I decided to see if I could record Salsa playing her game with the door, and it worked.  I had Becca look at this video later in the day, and she laughed out loud, saying that it was funny and kinda creepy at the same time.  Maybe you'll enjoy it, too.

She's a smart goat!  While I was turning off the recording on my phone, she opened the handle again and suddenly slammed into the door.  She's done this before, and the screws on one side of the piece securing the bar come slightly loose and I have to slam it back in. 

Zeus and Persephone have been outside for a couple of weeks now and are settling into their little chicken area nicely.  Although Imbri used to answer Zeus when he crowed, I never noticed Foghorn taking any notice of him, until Saturday morning.  I was working at the computer when I realized that they were answering each other, Zeus crowing, and then Foggy.  That was fun to hear.  Zeus is getting more confident in himself and is really starting to sound like a rooster, instead of a frog trying to croak out a crow.

The plan was to bring the four youngest chicks outside and introduce them to Americaunas.  Becca went on a hike with her sisters and their husbands, so it was me all alone when it came time to make that decision.  I kept putting off doing it, because I knew it was going to be a challenge, moving the box out to the run and physically getting four chickens into a new area.  Suddenly, I heard a huge commotion coming from the room they are in, and - as always - I was afraid one of the many predators in our house had found a way in.  It was Traz doing her normal routine, trying to escape, and getting close.  She has learned that if she flies up really hard and fast, she can dislodge the clothespins holding a section of the netting, and get out.  I decided that it was time to go ahead and put them outdoors, NOW.

It's a large, square box they are in, difficult to handle.  I dragged it at first, and then decided to go ahead and pick it up.  I was afraid of them trying the escape routine into my face while I carried the box, but the movement had them staying close to the bottom and cautious.  Picking them up and putting them into the small run was easier than transferring the food and water.  I got everyone in and secured the bird netting over the top opening, confident they'd be happy enough outside to not try to escape.

I underestimated Traz.  More on that later.

Zeus and Persephone were fascinated by their new neighbors.  They might recognized their chirps, because though they never saw each other, they probably talked like prison inmates through the walls.  Zeus paced back and forth, looking up and down, trying to find a way to get in to see these new chicks in the neighborhood. 

They seemed to all be doing fine, so I went back into the house to work, leaving a door open so I could hear any problems, and doing an occasional head count.  I heard a commotion outside and again leaped up to see what was going on.  I stepped outside and saw ... Traz, out of the pen and perched happily on a bar on the top.  She was comfy, just sitting there, looking at the other chickens as if to say, "Hey, what's taking you so long?  It's nice up here!"  I slowly approached, hoping she wouldn't move, and she didn't.  She stayed still and I picked her up and gently placed her back inside.  Then I put a piece of plywood over the opening.  They stayed put the rest of the day.

I would have taken a picture if I hadn't been so concerned about getting her back in quickly.

The rest of the day was uneventful.  I was able to move the chicks back indoors for the night (they need to be introduced slowly so there's no crazy chicken gang fighting when the new kids move in) and the only sound that night was the beautiful voices of people singing at the retreat center next door.  What a great way to end a great day.

A note on the Sonoma Chicken Salad.  I forgot to mention that I didn't use the poppy seeds in the recipe, and it was just fine.  In fact, I think better, because I'm not a big fan of poppy seeds. 

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