The Bad Egg

July 28, 2009, 7:00 am
Filed under: Chick Pics, Stories, The Dog

Frida’s escape from the chicken run does not go unnoticed:

I’ve seen Frida in the act of escape. She takes a running leap, flaps her wings to steady her course and barely makes it over the fence. She reminds me of Orville in The Rescuers:

The Rescuers – Orville’s Swamp Scene – Click to Watch Video Clip



The Night Scene
July 23, 2009, 7:00 am
Filed under: Stories

Here’s how the S.O. describes this picture:

A candlelight dinner on the verandah, overlooking the pool as the cool summer breeze filters through the orchard.


There was no breeze, it was still about 98 degrees outside, and yes, that’s a kiddie pool. It’s all about imagination 🙂


Another angle of our ‘candlelight’ dinner. Wine, salad, potatoes and grilled chicken–no, not one of the girls 🙂

Snoopy the Chicken?
July 20, 2009, 7:00 am
Filed under: Chick Pics

Why did Snoopy always spend his time on top of the dog house?


Whatever the reason, the chickens agree. On top of the dog house is best:


Chickens prefer to roost in high places, the better to keep out of the way of predators.  It’s become impossible to get Wanda, Frida and Flo inside the coop at night. They fight me as I try to set them inside, and then are pissed at me in the morning if I don’t go out at the crack of dawn to let them out. For the last three months, I’ve just let them roost where they want. Between living in suburbia and our dog guardian we haven’t had any issues with predators.

Plus, there’s something charming about seeing them roost on top of the yellow dog house every evening. They jump up and then push each other around a bit while getting into position for the night. Then they just chill until dawn. Once the sun rises, they jump down from the dog house and begin their morning forage for bugs, grass, and any fruit that’s dropped from the surrounding pear and plum trees.

A Beautiful Night
July 16, 2009, 7:00 am
Filed under: Chick Pics

Another reason not to let the backyard and house intimidate us:

A Real Life Horror Story (With Black Widows!)
July 13, 2009, 7:00 am
Filed under: Stories

Remember when I described our first day in the new place? Or maybe you remember how the animals tried to intimidate us, and then the plants attacked too? Of course, the house really took the situation up a notch when it actively used my dreams against us.

The house’s next move is beyond all that.

Between me and The S.O. we have one car. It’s a nice, well-maintained 2005 Honda Element. We are lucky enough to have a detached garage, so the car goes in there. Sometimes we lock the car, sometimes not. Sometimes we roll the windows up, sometimes we don’t. The garage is a pretty safe place from burglary, so we don’t worry about it too much.

The other day, I needed to run some errands. Off I go into the garage. I find the windows rolled down in the car, no big deal, we do that all the time. I had an appointment in South Sac so I jumped on the freeway, blasted the radio and began singing along.

Suddenly this big black thing dropped from the passenger side visor. It stopped and hung in mid-air. My palms turned sweaty, my stomach flip-flopped, my ears started ringing … it can’t …. be … it’s a freakin’ BLACK WIDOW!

How did I know it was a black widow? Well, as I tried to ignore the sickening lurches of fear in my stomach the freeway began to curve.

I needed to turn the steering wheel (you know, in order to not cause an accident). Without getting into the physics of motion, etc., let’s just say that the spider began SWINGING side to side in mid-air. I got a very good look at this spider’s belly and its vibrant red hourglass:

black widow

I had enough presence of mind to realize that any further jerks or spasms on my part would bring that red hourglass up-close and personal with my face. I managed to remain in control of my body (no jerking), but I had to stay inside the white lines!!! OH MY GOD!

Finally, the freeway straightened out. I figured this was my chance to get off the road. I turned my blinker on, kept both hands on the left side of the steering wheel, pressed the side of my face almost up against the window and began changing lanes while keeping one eye on the spider.

Remember that whole physics of motion thing? Yeah, that happened again. I spent a horrifying couple of minutes attempting to imperceptibly change lanes without increasing the swinging. Then, even when I left the freeway, I had to stop at a red light. This motion, combined with the side-to-side motion the black widow was already engaged in, sent the spider into a horrifying circle. During each revolution, I figured this was it, she was going to jump, or extend her silk and end up on my face. Lucky for me she didn’t.

I turned (careful, careful, watch the swinging!) onto a side street. I stopped and exploded out of the car. In my hurry, I fell and skinned my knee, but that’s ok because I ESCAPED THE BLACK WIDOW!

After my breath returned and the whole vomity feeling went away, I walked around to the passenger side of the car, yanked the door open, held my hefty Thomas Brothers Guide in both hands and whacked that spider to death against my dashboard.

Now we ALWAYS leave the car windows rolled up tight.

Some interesting facts about the black widow:

  • Black widows are considered the most venomous spiders in North America.
  • A black widow’s venom is 15 times stronger than a rattlesnake’s.
  • The only reason the black widow venom is not likely to kill you is because a bite from a black widow releases a very small amount of venom compared to a rattlesnake.
  • But the black widow’s venom can be fatal, especially to small children, the elderly and the infirm.
  • Black widows really like mosquitoes and are a natural way to keep the mosquito population in check, but is it really worth the potential bite?
  • Oh yeah, chickens love to eat mosquitoes AND black widows!

I don’t plan to let the chickens in the car, but I may let them roam more of the backyard to encourage a thorough clean-up job.

Keeping Chickens Cool Part II
July 9, 2009, 7:00 am
Filed under: Stories, The Experiment

Since we don’t want to be required to hose our backyard chickens down twice a day, I borrowed a water mister from my father and set it up inside the run. Now Wanda, Frida and Flo can enjoy cool water while they lay in the dirt under the shade tree.

I’ve already used the mister for one full day (a day that hit 99 degrees Fahrenheit). They seemed much more comfortable and didn’t pant half as much.

Alas, the air condition for the house is still broken.

The Dog and I are thinking about hanging out with the chickens under their mister once 3pm rolls around.

Urban Chickens In National Geographic
July 6, 2009, 7:00 am
Filed under: News & Resources

National Geographic talked about the growing urban chicken movement in their March 2009 issue. Click on the link to read the article. You can learn more about Talib, the Bronx’s Taqwa Community Farm, and see more pictures by going here.

It’s just a one-page thing, but I think it’s pretty awesome!