Posts tagged ‘life’

Thought For The Day

Use power equipment to help your man out and he’ll be a pain in the ass a few times a week.

Teach your man how to use power equipment — and he’ll be a pain in the ass for the rest of his life.

July 2, 2009 at 10:21 pm 2 comments

Penning the Peeps

It’s hot here.  According to husband who grew up there – it’s “Florida in the summer hot”.  Much too hot to leave the peeps closed up in Fort Peepage.

Since they’re still small enough to be cat bait they need to be penned for their own safety and I’ve been transferring them from coop to pen by hand.  Three of them (Clover and friends) are so tame they just hop on my arm for the ride over, peeping in cheerful anticipation of the bugs and forage to come.  Most of the rest are gentle and easy to catch. I scoop up a couple at at time, tuck them under one arm and carry them over.  The last two are convinced I’m going to kill them – and, if they continue to be as flighty and annoying as they’ve been this week – they may just be right.

I slept late today so it was already hot by the time I got around to moving them out to the pen.  I was tired and crabby, and after a few failed attempts to catch those who will be eaten first, I decided a new plan of attack was required.  And as I stood there, pondering the fate of my fractious fowl, the coop door fell open.  The peeps perked up and moved toward it.

I stepped back and they moved closer to the door.  I decided that if I was going to risk losing any of my pullets – these were the obvious choice. So I stepped out and held the coop door wide open.  The peeps scrambled out the door and made a beeline for the pen.

Because I had, of course (slaps forehead and rolls eyes), set the pen up so that it faced away from the coop door, they ran straight into the wire.  And stayed there, peeping in pointless panic.  Seeing that any efforts to grab the little bastards birds would just result in a wild peep chase and having had some small experience in herding sheep, I decided that Audie and I were going to have to try our luck at penning.

When penning sheep at a trial, the handler’s job is to hold the gate rope until the dog works the sheep into the pen.  Since my experience in penning consists entirely of either watching other people do it or in moving tame, dog-broke sheep with Zip the Kelpie I decided that gracefully flanking Audie around the pen while I stood back and held the gate was completely out of our league out of the question.  However; being an experienced outside the box thinker and having a biddable, well-trained dog, I had an idea.

Audie and I switched roles.  I flanked quietly around the pen while Audie stood at the gate.  I put enough pressure on the peeps to move them around the pen, but not so much that they were tempted to flee away into the yard.  Audie stood by the gate, yielding enough space back and away from it to encourage the pullets to hop in as they circled around.  Lacking opposable thumbs, Audie then stepped in to block the opening until I could close the gate.

PenningPeeps

Guarding the Gate

It worked like a charm.  With the peeps safely ensconced in their pen Audie and I can relax and enjoy a break in the shade.  Hand feeding the birds while we listen to the creek.

FeedThePeeps

June 26, 2009 at 3:01 pm 3 comments

American Poultry Hound

Young Audie is maturing into a fine American Poultry Hound. 

I’ve started putting the ten keeper peeps into an extra-large ex-pen to forage each afternoon.  Trips to check on the chicks and toss food scraps in have become part of our daily routine. Yesterday evening our routine visit turned into a bit of excitement when I discovered that several of the six-week-old chicks had gone AWOL from Fort Peepage.

In the same nanosecond that I noticed the chicks were outside the pen – a sable streak hightailed it down the steps past me.  As the words “LEAVE IT” were preparing to explode from my mouth – I noticed that Audie wasn’t focused on the chicks – his target was a tiger cat stalking one of our buff pullets. 

I let him go.  Audie flew past the defenseless chicks and the cat instantly morphed from predator into prey animal.  After he’d driven the terrified cat deep into the woods, my newly hatched American Poultry Hound swaggered back to survey his domain.

He found me making rather ineffective efforts to round up the free range peeps and drive them through the coop door.  They were spread out in an area between the south side of the ex-pen and the south wall of the coop that was lush with clover (their favorite forage) and they weren’t particularly interested in moving on.  Without any direction, Audie positioned himself to my left, adding his stronger pressure just where I needed it – on the side farthest from the door.  Moving slowly and calmly, he correctly balanced pressure on the chicks and helped me drive them through the door.

This was the first time Audie had seen chicks outside a brooder or pen.  He’d sniffed the chicks several times as I held them, but had never seen free ranging poultry — much less been off leash around them.  While I’d planned to make that first introduction in a much more structured way, I’m quite pleased at the way it turned out!

June 21, 2009 at 5:14 pm 2 comments

Happy Fourth!

We spent the day doing yard work, cooking, grilling, taking the dogs down to the creek to swim and fetch — generally goofing off.  We ended the day on our deck overlooking a half mile of wild, undeveloped bluffs and creek.

It’s a clear, cool, lovely night with stars so bright it feels like you could pluck them out of the sky. In the distance, over the bluffs, we could see the sky brighten and change color as the City fireworks celebration went on.  About one in every ten of the City charges was large enough that we could see it rise to explode over the bluff.  In the mid-ground (about a half mile away) a neighbor who is reportedly a close relative of one of the owners of a local fireworks importer is setting off an extravagant display of his own. Just a bit smaller and less impressive than the city’s – it is conveniently located right outside our living room windows and off our deck.  Life is good.

— Even the dogs are impressed.  And, just off the deck, in the foreground, hundreds of fireflies are doing their best to distract us from the human display.  They’ll go on all night.

I love this life.

July 5, 2008 at 4:52 am Leave a comment


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