12.6.2012 Sometimes it’s the little things and sometimes little things aren’t so little.

My hands got very cold while I was doing rounds this morning.  Even an hour of having them stuffed into my heavy winter work gloves and chasing my horse around the round pen wasn’t enough to warm them up.  I took that as a sign I was not meant to work outside today.  Instead, I worked in the barn dealing with an “issue” I discovered a few days ago.

Well, at least it didn’t die hungry.

Yep, agents of the Rodentia Muroidea Muridae Murinae Mus mafia, hereafter referred to as RM4, have infiltrated the barn.  Again.  They discovered my stash of sweet potatoes curing in the white room and have been having a bit of a fete at my expense.  So two days ago, I set out the welcome mat for them, you know, just to make sure it was RM4 and not RM3 Rattus.  As you can see, the party animals are definitely are RM4 and not King Rat.  (Thankfully, I haven’t seen him for a long time. Knocking on wood.)

I spent about an hour wrapping all the undamaged sweet potatoes in newspaper and tucking them into ventilated plastic containers – my old worm bin and one of the bins I use as a chick nursery.  I left both bins in the White Room because that is the only place on the farm that approximates a root cellar.  It’s dark and when it’s cold outside it doesn’t freeze.  Of course, when it’s hot outside, it is also hot in the White Room.  But generally speaking, this time of year, the White Room is better cool storage than the house.  Rats will gnaw through plastic bins to get at yummies they desire, but I don’t think mice are quite that ambitious.  We shall see.

My mind then turned to the other thing I have in the barn that would be enticing for RM4 agents.  The buckwheat.   Still, ahem, drying on the barn floor where I left it weeks ago.  So for several hours, I pulled seeds from stalks and thought of Rumplestilskin.  It would be a fine pile of gold he could spin from several wheelbarrows full of buckwheat stalks.  And to be sure, there are certainly days I wouldn’t mind trading my first born for a sizable pile of gold.  However, even though we cohabit yet rarely speak, I think I will keep the first born – the one trained in emergency medicine.  He may have to save my life one day.

Darkness forced me to quit.  I have lights in the barn, but they are not strong enough that I want to rely on them to reveal any snakes or other nasty things that might be lurking in piles on the floor.  Besides I was hungry.

So was Ophelia.  I fed her and then stopped by the coop to collect the daily egg.  And I found this behemoth.

The giant egg from today is on the left. On the right, a normal sized egg from the same hen the day before yesterday. The one on the right is a large egg, making the one the left an extra jumbo, I guess.

Ouch!  100 grams.  Normal size is 60.  That had to hurt!  My husband says there have to be 3 yolks in there.  I am betting on just 2, simply because the hen that laid this egg laid one the day before yesterday.  It’s from this two year old hen, an Easter egger from my original flock and one of only three hens not currently on welfare.  But I wouldn’t be surprised if she doesn’t demand disability benefits after that egg.

Out of 41 hens, this two year old Easter Egger is one of only 3 working girls.

This is a volunteer cauliflower plant that seeded itself from the spring crop. It is growing freely in my garden with no protection whatsoever and only rare shots of irrigation. We’ve had temperatures down in the low 20’s and very little rain. Still it seems determined to make a go of it.

All in all, not bad for a Thursday.

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