3.15.2013 Farm Math

The daughter arrived home from college last Friday. +1

The oven and the heater broke down 20 minutes later. +1 – 2 = -1

My husband came back from a run saying that he thought the guineas had returned to their real and proper home.  They do belong to the neighbors, after all.  He said there was a guinea ruckus over there.

(Side note:  When chickens raise the alarm, they are solely concerned with their personal safety and in their little minds the sky is almost always going to fall on them, just them and only them.  When guineas raise the alarm, however, the klaxon is meant for everyone in the county to know it’s DEFCON 1 and the commies have fired their missiles.)

I didn’t think much of the reports of a guinea ruckus.  According to the guineas, the farm is infested with commies and I am the head of the KGB.

Not related to the story in any way whatsoever.  Daffodils popping up all over these days.

Not related to the story in any way whatsoever. Daffodils popping up all over these days.

However, the next morning, there was only one guinea in the coop.  He wasn’t talking at all about commies.  He was trying very hard to be a chicken.  Without his buddy to back him up, he didn’t have the chutzpa to boss the Sussex around and commandeer their grain.  He was very depressed.   Well, how sad.  That guinea ruckus down by the neighbor’s must have heralded a real invasion of the vile commie coons or maybe it was the Red Foxes.  One guinea gone leaving the survivor with an identity crisis. -1 -1 = -2

Today, the guinea/chicken was gone.  I don’t know if he tried to go home again, or the Sussex ran him off, or in a tragic fit of despair, he committed suicide by commie.  I am guinea-less.  Admittedly, not as painful as being turkey-less or duck-less, but sad, nonetheless. -2-1=-3

A while later, I got a call from my friend who has been babysitting the incubator until we get our heater fixed.  The eggs were starting to hatch.

Pipping and still on the automatic turner - contrary to what you read in chicken books, the egg does not have to lay undisturbed for 3 days prior to hatch.

Pipping and still on the automatic turner – contrary to what you read in chicken books, the egg does not have to lay undisturbed for 3 days prior to hatch.

Well, I’ll be jiggered!  I had today marked on my calendar because if Widgeon had successfully sat her clutch, today would be her due date.  However, after her abandoned eggs had been in the incubator for a week, they looked the same as the other “incubated for a week” eggs.  The latter hadn’t spent an additional week under a broody hen.  I figured they would all hatch, (if they were going to hatch) starting next Friday.  But no.  One Sussex egg pipped today and then a Dorking.  The Sussex made it out of the egg just fine, the second Dorking chick chipped open a hole and promptly died.  So tonight, my friend is chick sitting THE ONE. -3+1=-2

One very determined Speckled Sussex.  The first chick of 2013!

One very determined Speckled Sussex. The first chick of 2013!

That leaves two more eggs.  Maybe we’ll have two more chicks tomorrow.  Maybe we’ll just have one.  Not thrilled with the prospect of going to all the trouble of chicks for ONE chick.  Sure I’ve got a several more due to hatch next week but considering my luck with incubators, I’ll probably end up with ONE chick.  But officially, it’s -2+x=  um, well, =-2 + x

In the midst of all the hullabaloo of guineas and chicks, I was clearing out a garden bed today and planting onion starts.  While I was it, I picked some Purple Dead Nettle and some Dandelion leaves.  At this point in the year, the dandelion leaves are more like micro greens, but I thought it would be nice to add a little variation to the green smoothies I’ve been drinking every day.  And just so you know, Dead Nettle is called “Dead” because unlike other nettles, it doesn’t sting you, nor does it make you dead.  Good stuff.  Free food.  No work except the harvesting.  In fact right now, as I watch all my seedlings struggle in the cold frame and the white room, the nettle is ONE thing that is growing with abandon.  With no help from me.  Free food. +1! So where does that put us.  -2 +x +1=-1 +x

Dandelion greens on the left.  Purple Dead Nettle on the right.

Dandelion greens on the left. Purple Dead Nettle on the right.

We also discovered a major flaw in the design of the white room (where I grow my plant starts under lights.)  There is no way to open the door from the inside if the door is latched on the outside. . .

Yep, I got locked inside the white room – which is inside the steel Quonset barn – the barn that eats cell phone signals.  No actual voice phone calls are possible from the barn.  If you are lucky, on most days, text messages can make it through the force field.  Yesterday was my lucky day.  Even luckier, my daughter responds to text messages.  My boys do not.  The way I figure it, farm math now looks like this: -1+x+WTF = -1+x+WTF

Saturday update:  The neighbors have informed me the guinea mafia was recaptured in a sting operation and are spending time in the guinea gulag undergoing “re-education.”  Furthermore, the neighbors have exonerated me of all charges of fowl abduction.  But I’m still guinea-less.  -1 +x +WTF?+ 0 = -1+ x+WTF

The cat has gone missing. -1+x+WTF-1 = -2+x+WTF

However, while in town this morning, ostensibly to get chick feed for THE ONE, I scored six Khaki Campbell ducklings and 2 half gallons of Blue Bell ice cream!  (It’s been almost 13 years since I was able to lay hands on Blue Bell.) -2 +x+WTF +6 +2 = 6+x+WTF

Khaki Campbell ducklings, you know, to keep the Sussex chick company.

Khaki Campbell ducklings, you know, to keep the Sussex chick company.

The cat has been found.  6+x +WTF+1 = 7+x+WTF

And hey, I nearly forgot: The HVAC guys came by on Wednesday, tinkered around with the heat pump and left saying they needed a part and it’d be at least a week before they could get it in.  But shortly after they left, I noticed warm air coming from the floor registers.  So they fixed it and didn’t bother to tell me and ordered a part?   7+x+WTF+1=8+x+WTF+Y

Finally, today the new bake element arrived for the oven and we are back in the bread and pizza  business! 8+x+WTF+Y+1 = 9+x+WTF+Y

Along with the bake element, came the first of many wee seedlings from the Arbor Day Foundation – Hazelnuts.  Things are about to get really, really crazy around here!  But at least we are starting spring in what appears to be positive territory, depending, of course, on the values of X, WTF and Y.

The plum trees are thrilled.

Plum over achiever!

Plum over achiever!


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