6.19.2012 Ghoulies and Ghosties and things that go missing in the night

Yesterday morning I went down to the pasture to feed, water and move the chickens and found my youngest three chicks gone from their tractor.  Totally my fault.  When I set the tractor the day before, I had it canted on a hummock of grass and didn’t notice.  The whole back corner was off the ground by several inches.  Plenty of room for three little six week old chicks to escape.

To my great relief, they hadn’t popped through the electric fence.  Naw, they were grazing peacefully in the pasture alongside the rest of the pastured hens.  But, being peons, they were in a little subflock all their own.  Easy enough to round up and secure back in their tractor with their high protein feed.  (Layers get lower protein and more calcium.) I am so lucky.

A short while later, luck positively showered me with blessings.  I wasn’t maimed, killed, kicked or stepped on when Ophelia saw a dragon and completely lost her mind.  I had tied her up in the round pen so I could move Venus out to graze during Ophelia’s daily workout.  As I was tying Venus up on the outside of the round pen, the round pen began to shimmy and move.  I turned toward Ophelia to find her fully backed up on her lead rope trying to get away from some invisible demon.

1166 pounds pulling against a nylon halter hooked to a twisted cotton lead rope tied to a tubular steel corral panel.  It was just a matter of time before something broke.   I made a quick call to the house just to make sure there would be someone to pick up the pieces if the next few minutes went badly.  Then I went in and talked Ophelia down off the ledge.  Scary stuff.  I just needed enough slack in the lead so I could release her, leaving her free to run away from her imaginary dragon.  Karina came out and together we managed to get her under control again.

Once she was off her lead rope and cowering on the far side of the pen, I called the head of farm security to root out the dragon.  Moose looked for 30 minutes and turned up nothing.  As for Opie, she still had to do her workout, but because her imaginary friend wouldn’t leave, instead of 60’ circles she ran 30’ circles.  It’s hard for a great big lardy butt to work in such tight spaces and she got tired quickly.  Tired enough not to care so much what the dragon might do to her.  I cooled her off by walking through “the spot” when she got “attacked.”  As the head of security has said many times, “Horses are stupid.”

After that I finally got Mr. Mean dressed for dinner along with the hen that got sick last week.  Let’s just say the autopsy confirmed she wasn’t exactly a well bird.  I took pictures, but I’m not ready to share them yet.  Still doing research on what could have been ailing her.  But it was just more weirdness in an already weird day.

Then today I found a stink bug and a striped cucumber beetle in the white room where I’ve currently got squash and cucumber seedlings that don’t even have their first true leaves.  Really, in the white room amongst the babies?  Looks like it’s gonna be one of those weeks.

But the bees, ah, so far my plan has worked and the weather has held.  The old hive is putting the finishing touches on the honey super.  Since it’s going to be so hot for the next two days, I borrowed a friend’s bee escape and put that underneath the honey super.   I figure the heat is going to finish off the clover and the bee escape will let the bees out of the honey super and back down into the hive, but won’t let them back in.  I put a new honey super beneath the old one, you know, if they are so inclined, but I really think the clover flow is about to die.  The other two hives are still plugging along.  The orange hive only went through half a bucket of sugar water this past week.  The yellow hive sucked back all of theirs.

And finally, Mother Dorking has made the adjustment and it setting 11 eggs in the vacant side of the chicken coop.  So far she is very serious.


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