Wednesday, December 28, 2016

A Year in Review

I've not written on here in a long time - things got interesting this year.  But here's a year end in review, caused by an article - a poor one at that.

I was going to write an end of the year thing, but this got me started a few days earlier.A friend posted an article that is entitled "Hate To Break It To You But You Are The Reason Your Life Sucks So Much"
This article assumes that I believe my life sucks so much. And it says, paraphrased, beat yourself up, because you suck so your life sucks. I read it. I fully disagree with it. Their solutions to making your life not suck are overly simplistic. And pretty much NOT as easy to do as they state. A commenter - another Colorado woman- said yes, you CAN has a positive attitude about life, but there are forces beyond your control that you can do nothing about, and they can make your life suck at times. She's right, but she's being told how wrong she is by other commenters - positivity cures EVERYTHING. Heh. It's another in a long line of self shaming articles that gt so popular in the lest year.
Our last year? Not the best. Yep, it IS my fault I broke my arm - purely carelessness and not remembering a low gate. The bone healed, but the surgery scar is still very painful. Not unexpected at my age. It took a long time to get flexible again, and is still not fully flexible 11 months later; also not unexpected at my age.
But according to this article, that's all my fault - I'm at fault for being older. Damn me for aging!!
A couple of my hens were taken by a hawk this year, and a couple of rescue roosters died this year. The hawk thing? Didn't think it could get into the run; we learned we were wrong. Our fault. yep. The roosters that died - one had a tumor that grew in his neck and throat - any surgery would have been costly and likely killed him. The other rooster was deformed in the egg, and deformations all his life - likely affected his heart. Seeing no other illness, he died of a heart attack. That was sad - but also according to this article, all our faults. Our faults because we rescued roosters that would have otherwise been killed and we gave them decent, happy lives instead - and apparently that makes us suck.
Three dogs in our family died this year - two 14 year old dogs, and a young foster dog. All the dogs were from rescues - we suck for adopting a puppy almost 15 years ago and giving her a good life for 14 years, until her old age dementia got so bad she could barely function. The other 14 year old - we adopted him and his brother Halloween 2015. A small, deformed dog, devoted to his brother and old to boot - we suck because we gave the two of them a home when no one else would be willing to adopt them. We suck - our lives suck - because in his life before us, his owner smoked, so when he started having breathing problems in September, I took him to our vet, who said he has pulmonary edema and lungs scarred badly from his former owner's smoking, and he had maybe 12 hours left of increased suffering. I suffered more than him, and did feel rather sucky at that point, but made the choice to relieve his pain. And have spend the last several months with his brother pretty well glued to me because he still feels the loss.
The last dog was a foster - rescued off the streets while starving and pregnant - she came to us with her six puppies. We taught her that people can be good, got her healthy and happy, got her puppies raised and adopted out - and sadly, she died during her spay surgery. The vet tried his best to revive her - spent 30 minutes on it - but said her condition prior led to issues that made a routine surgery a death sentence for her. But we made the choice to foster, so that must have been a sucky choice.
Our home has a revolving door - my kids are free to come and go as they please or need. Currently, the whole family lives here. Mr. Mountainside is disabled, permanently. Sometimes, he has more bad days than good. My arm hurts more often than not.The house needs some repairs, the wind has been amazingly high, and a dog peed on a dog bed yesterday. I'm currently not working, because it's not the season to be working when you work Spring, Summer and Fall seasonal jobs. There were some other hardships as well. To others, my life must indeed suck - and according to the article, it sucks because of my sucky choices.
But to me, it doesn't suck. Our hens are picking up their laying. Even the girls who laid for a whole two weeks and stopped have started laying again - 6 eggs today, and picking up! I traded for some awesome beetle kill pine boards for some 1800s flooring - our bathroom is going to be awesome when we redo it. My customer base for my off season/home business is expanding, and I have several orders for the coming year - and some of that is going to be barter based as well. We adopted two of our other fosters, and they are doing well. Mr. Mountainside just showed me a picture of our tiniest rescue rooster sitting on the gear shift of the car - the wee guy went with him to the dump. This is the wee guy who loves to come up to people and be picked up. My kids are all here, for a few more weeks at least, until they scatter to the winds - two to a different part of the state, and one literally across the world. Nothing has broken on our house or our trees in these amazingly high winds (knock on wood). We saved the lives of 15 dogs this year. My dad is still with us and going strong, and that's a good thing.
Who knows what this next year will hold - lots of small changes to be sure, and maybe even some big momentous ones (Two for sure, as oldest moves to Australia, and Daughter in Law graduates from college!)
All I know, as hard as the year may seem to have been, I don't think my life sucks, and I don't regret any of the choices made this year. Some amazing stuff happened this year as well, opportunities arose that would not have happened without our choices.
Stick around - this next year is going to be FASCINATING!
I hope yours are too!
P.S. I'll see if I can get Mr. Mountainside to post that tiny rooster picture - it's cute as all get out!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Our Summer Vacation - in Many Parts

This summer, for the first time in many years, we took a vacation.  The idea was to drive out to the North Carolina coast and visit our son and his wife; son is a Marine stationed out there.  So after much planning and scheduling -and rescheduling of some things - out we went.

The trip was husband and I, and our three dogs. Our eldest stayed home because she had to work, and she had three different groups of chickens to care for - the main coop, the older babies in the garage coop and Pansy and Tansy (the youngest) in the playpen in the house.

Knowing dog flu is an issue, I tried to plan the trip so that we could avoid states that had enough cases to be on the map.  So half of Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee and North Carolina was the route.  The mapping said 30 hours. Right.

Our first night, after not leaving the Denver area til 2 pm, we stopped night in Witchita, Kansas. Because it was already after midnight, the hotel manager not only gave us a break on the rate, but gave us a suite  - the only non smoking room he had left.  It was this night that made husband decide a king sized bed is our next bed.  He had plenty of room to sleep, even with two dogs on the bed!  Lucky him! Small dog was glued to my side the entire night!

So we didn't manage to get moving until almost 11 am the next morning, going through the rest of Kansas and Missouri, using a back highway.  If you want to see unique things, you go back highways. In the town of Parsons, Kansas, we stopped to eat.  We found this fast food place called Braums - best shakes in the midwest!  But driving into town, we also found this - I stopped to take pictures, and a guy came out to talk to me - apparently his now defunct gas station themed mini golf course and adjacent junk yard was once featured on American Pickers.  I can see why.

Basically, if you were looking for it, this guy has it. Trains, trucks, even huge chunks of glass.

And on we went, almost to Missouri. And more odd stuff. We're not exactly sure what all is there, besides a giant kitchen cabinet and counter in a vintage style, and a fence made up of just about every big thing you can think of. One thing we do know; this was all made by Mary.

On to Missouri. And apparently, the armadillo suicide zone!  I saw more armadillos carcasses from roadkill than ever before. And we never did see a live one.

We gave up on that second day in Cadiz, Kentucky.  Then next morning, we headed into Tennessee. A rest area was made from an old farm, the family cemetery is still on site.  We also saw the hugest Oak tree I've ever seen.  The dogs didn't seem to mind the humidity, but we did at first.

Wild Chicken Update

After a few attempts to get out of the run - she got out and then stood at the gate and complained until let back in, she has settled in with her flock just fine.  In fact, she has gone broody, and is on day four of sitting on some eggs!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Our Adventures With A Wild Chicken

On Facebook, not only do we have our Mountainside page, but I also belong to a number of different homesteading, farming and livestock groups.

On Colorado Chickens (great group, BTW) a woman was worried about a chicken she'd seen running about her yard and a neighbor's yard.  She put out food, water and shelter for this chicken and asked if anyone could come catch him.  I said I would if the chicken was still running about at the end of this week, so Saturday came, and while Husband was at some volunteer training at Foothills Animal Shelter, I went to her house in Denver.

There was a chicken all right. 

A fast chicken.

A wily chicken.

We almost had this chicken cornered when suddenly the neighbor's dog was at the fence, barking away.  Chicken freaked, ran out of the yard, across the road into some bushes- and back.  Yeah, we ran across the road too.  People driving by got quite a show!  You should have seen the faces on a couple of teenaged boys who stopped as the chicken ran across the road in front of their truck!

But wily chicken also proved to be an excellent flyer.  Trapped again, it went over our heads.  Then again, it went from the fence, to the roof of a covered area, to the roof of the house!  That's when the lady's husband got involved.  He went up on the roof and chased it off- and back across the road it went.  By now, chicken is panting, and so are we.  But now? There are three of us.  She is at one end of the bushes, I'm at the other, and her husband is in front..  The chicken burrows into the bush, trying to hide, but her husband reached in with gloved hands, and picked that chicken up!

The handed it off to me, ad we went back across the street and put the chicken in the carrier.  Once caught, the chicken was very calm, as if it had been held before, and went happily into the carrier.  We sat on the lawn and panted for a bit, and her husband tells me he thinks this chicken has been out and wild for some time, because he was it last year in the summer!

Well, now chicken is caught, off to a new mountain home, and this lady is very happy to have the chicken out of the dangers of the city.

But the story is not done.

She thought the chicken was a rooster due to the size of the tail.

I put the chicken in the car in the carrier, go back to Foothills, and when my husband and I come out, there was this little surprise!

Look what's at her feet!

Not a rooster at all!

This hen is clearly very healthy, acts like she's been in a carrier before, does fine on the car ride.  We get her home, and as is policy, set up to keep her isolated for a time, so we know she's not bringing any disease to our hens.

But chicken had a different plan.

My husband reached in the carrier to get her out, and she proves to be very spry and gets loose, running across the front yard, and straight up into a pine. WAY up.  So we get Daughter, get the broom, and attempt to scare her out of the tree. She flies to the Aspen tree, then the other Pine, and up she goes.  We stand and stare.  None of our chickens has ever flown higher than the deck railing, and never up into a tree!

See her? Credit to Kara Thompson for this picture, who went on the roof to take it!

There she is! Credit to Kara Thompson for this picture.
Can you see her? look near the top of the tree!

Husband suggests we let our flock out to free range to lure her down, at first I say no, but then I go in the house, get a tomato and we let them out,   My hens LOVE tomatoes, so I use it to lure a bunch into the front yard for this treat, so chicken in the tree can see them.  She sees them, but stays high in the tree.  Chickens finish the treat, return to their usual digging grounds at the side of the house.  I give up too.

I get the extra waterer, clean it and fill it, put it and the carrier out front near the steps - and the tree- chicken is still in the tree.  I walk around the side of the house and talk to my husband, and when I come back, the chicken in the tree is GONE!

I'm spinning about, looking for her, and see her near the garage - apparently she came down for the water, and she starts heading at a fast pace for the side yard and the flock! I call out to my husband that she's on her way.

Clearly, this hen has wandered into flocks before as well!

She walks right in, and a whole bunch of chickens surround her.  They look at her, she looks at them, and then the rooster comes over and she immediately submits.  Rooster is thrilled - he's got a new girlfriend!   Once he has his way with her, the other chickens seem to accept her- a few pecks on the head to let her know where she is in the flock hierarchy, but even our alpha female seems to pull the punches and only pecks her lightly.
YOu can just barely see here here - but she's there!

There's her tail, near the rooster and the Brahma.

So here new hen is in with the flock, but she is still very squirrelly about the humans.  She eats, she dusts, she wanders about, and as the sun is starting to go down, she follows some other hens into the run area.  So husband gets "bednight" treats, and all the rest follow him in, so we shut the gate.  She's freaked out by the tossed sunflower seeds, so she hides under the coop. but in a bit, she wanders out and eventually goes into the coop.  And immediately goes when no other hen has gone before - straight into the rafters.

We get everything else ready for bed for the hens, close the human door, and leave the run.  We figure since the sun is setting, she'll stay up there for the night.


Wild hen is determined to be a wild hen.  The fence that keeps the other hens in has not worked for her.  She is out of the coop, out of the run, and somewhere.  As I wander looking for her, the neighbor's dog comes up, and the neighbor comes out to call him back, so I tell him about the wild hen and how he may or may not see her.  He thinks this is truly funny.

I go online, and a long time farm friend of mine tells me how her hens used to take to the trees when they felt threatened- we assume she's in a tree somewhere around here.  She also said she'll come back - there's  no other water source except chicken waterers; no one except myself and a neighbor has chickens, so she'll likely end up back with my flock or his flock.  I'll be letting him know about her later today.

I did, however, hear a larger rustling in the garage when I sent to put things away last night, so I left the window to the garage coop open so she could go in and nest if that were her. I heard it again when I went to get feed and let my hens out, so I left the main garage door open in case she decides to wander in.  Right now, my hens are in their run and I did hear her distinctive wing sound as I walked away from the run.

We'll know if she comes back - her eggs are a different color than any of our girls.  And she is very distinctive in coloring and look.

This will be an interesting summer.  At least she's not where cars could run her over regularly anymore.

We should title this - "Our Summer of the Wild Chicken".

Not sure what breed she is either - anyone know?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Don't Blink Or You Miss It Kind Of Day Part Two

I went back out at quarter to five, to retake some pictures to show you the snowmelt.  Dramatic, eh?  Going From 5-6 inches to bare dirt in some places.

Yes, I did take this today.  Yes, that is green grass at 8300 feet in February.  This is, however, a rather protected and warm spot in the dog run.

Remember how the dog run was already melting this morning?

You can always tell where the trees and the house shade things.

A Followup Post: Freezing Whitefish Salad

I wrote this a while back -

and never followed up.  Well, I am.  It was not pretty.  It got runny and nasty looking, the texture was not good.  The flavor was fine, but I would not recommend doing it again.

Don't Blink Or You Miss It Kind Of Day

Last night it snowed.  One of those snows that falls wet and heavy and fast; large amounts of accumulation can break trees, down power lines, damage homes.  But last night was only about 5-6 inches of snow.

And it was definitely a blink or you miss it snow.  The ground underneath is still warm, so it starts to melt as it is accumulating.  It's pretty easy to shovel right down to dirt.  not that you need to, because when the sun comes out, the snow starts to melt right away.  At 1pm, the driveway is already melted and the road is mostly melted.  Almost all the snow in the trees has fallen, and mud is the new order of the day.

A very typical spring snow.

So while Husband took care of the chickens, I wandered around the property and up the road, to get the beauty of snow of snow on such a warm morning captured for all to enjoy.

Tiny helper - trying to help dad take care of things in the chicken run.

Snow already melting in the dog run.

Second assistant, keeping an eye on the world from on top of the tank house.

No traffic on our part of the road yet.

The other wood piles