Lazy Summer Days

The lazy days of summer are upon us. The sun lingers over our heads, the crickets sing us to sleep, and the birds chatter for us to awaken in the morning. By birds chattering, I mean the raucous “bok bok bok boGAWK! bok bok bok bok BOGAWK!” of my hens, sweetly requesting access to the new summer day.

The horrors of high school have paused, and my soul can finally emerge from its sanctuary, where I store it during the school year to prevent it from being sucked out of me by the lectures, and the reading, and the essays…so many essays. I must have written close to 50 essays this year, most about 3-4 pages regarding the effect of the Balkan Crisis on Western Europe or How the Invention of the Printing Press Changed European Society… you get the point. Needless to say, I didn’t much feel like creative writing, which explains the long periods of silence on this blog of mine.

But now, with only two days of work and a summer class at my local community college, my creativity is soaring and I am ready to jump back in. What else would I do with these lazy summer days?

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Gender roles, cannibalism and a new egg

This morning I woke up with my eyes watering and feeling completely congested. Outside it was -10 degrees Fahrenheit, and I decided that today was not a good day for dealing with high school. So here I lie on the couch, my nose causing many tissues to be used, hoping that this nasty sickness will go away as  soon as possible. In my boredom I picked up a Gardener’s Supply Company catalog and flipped through the glossy pages of seedlings and perfect tomato plants. A utopia of successful gardens.

I looked outside at the large amount of snow and groaned at the groundhog’s poor choice to extend winter.

 

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As I looked through the catalog, I couldn’t help but recall the lesson we learned in Sociology class a few weeks ago about gender roles in the media. Every single picture in the catalog involving actual gardening depicted a middle aged woman smiling joyfully during the summer afternoon (at times hand in hand with a child). All of the pictures of men either involved building the garden beds, or washing cars… interesting.

As you well know if you’ve been keeping up with the blog, I’ve been having a rough time with the chickens. Today is no exception. For the past week I’ve noticed the hens pecking at Edith’s comb. Blood is splattered all over the coop walls from him shaking his head, and one night I saw it was dripping down his neck feathers. Yes, thats right, my chickens are now cannibals.

So, how to stop this behavior? Well I discovered that the bag balm I’ve been smothering on Edith every night to prevent frostbite has been hindering the affect of the Blu-Kote (the blue stain/antifungal formula that is used to prevent pecking). The Blu-Kote was just coming off, and the hens then saw the blood underneath and continued pecking. Because I had a night above freezing, I didn’t apply bag balm. Instead, I carefully dabbed the comb with Blu-Kote, and let it sit over night. Since then it has stayed on- problem solved. For now.

I feel bad for them, because all they have to do during the day is walk around a small dirt run. To enhance their time I’ve been scattering their food on the ground so they have to hunt for it. I’ve also dropped a few leaves of kale every once in a while, as well as cracked corn (chicken scratch) to keep them warm. Of course, I have to go easy on the treats, because fat chickens have multiple health issues.

Another recent issue is the reappearance of excrement on Cora’s vent feathers. I have to get to the bottom of this issue (no pun intended), and figure out why the feces keep building up in her feathers. Its quite a hassle to remove the mess, as it involves warm water, gross hands, and a chicken in the basement.

Finally, I have one more announcement. Two days ago, I strolled into the coop and opened the nest box looking for Cora’s usual brown egg… and found…

THIS

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MABEL LAID AN EGG! And its white!!

Scatter Brained

Scatter brained is the only phrase that can describe me right now. With the start of school, everything has been busy, busy, busy. I get up at 6:00 AM, take care of my chickens, get dressed, eat half of a half of a bagel (I’m never hungry in the morning), jump in the car with my neighbor, drive to school, and show up slightly disheveled and unenthusiastic. Everyone in the whole school congregates in the cafeteria, then the bell shrieks and we trudge to our assigned homerooms. We chatter sullenly about how done we are with school, and did you get that math homework last night? No? Good, me neither.

The bell shrieks again, and we are off to the first of our many classes. My days are ruled by ringing bells and swarming hallways. When I get home, I sit down on the table, and do homework till 7:00 at night. Than I eat. Than I continue doing homework until 10:00, 10:30, or 11:00.

Then repeat.

Posting on my blog is a little guilty angel on the back of my shoulder, reminding me of shirked responsibilities. So I apologize for my recent absence! My blog isn’t the only thing I haven’t been able to pay attention to. I haven’t visited my garden in two weeks, I only see my chickens twice a day. I’m not a fan of this schedule. Today I decided I had enough with homework and spent the day with my chickens, making up for lost time. I free ranged them for a little, fed them a little chicken scratch, and just enjoyed the activity. I’m expecting an egg from Mary in the next few weeks!!! Very exciting! I also noticed Edith doing the mating dance for Mary (lowering one wing and strutting around in a circle), and this morning he attempted to actually mate. Mary was not pleased, as anyone could tell from the squawking and flying feathers. She escaped his attentions, but that didn’t stop me from feeling terrible for her.

Well, I’m going to enjoy the rest of my homeworkless night. I’ll keep you updated on the Egg Watch. I promise I won’t forget about you!

Here are some pictures of what I’ve been up to