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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Another Death on the Farm

Georgia: March - August, 2012

We found Georgia dead this evening, laying in a heap in the corner of the coop.  There were no apparent marks on her that indicated an animal had gotten to her like Lucretia did, rather, Georgia just looked like she was asleep in the dirt.  The birds did that some times, just sat in the dirt, trying to keep cool or whatever.  I banged the coop wall with my fist a few times, hoping she would wake up and go scurrying out into the run to peck at the ground with her friends.  Instead, she just lay there.

Pulling her out with the shovel, she was stiff already.  Her eyelids closed, and all the color from her waddle had drained back into her body, leaving it a faded rose color.  I looked her over as best I could, what with her being stiff already, and found nothing wrong.  No peck marks, no bites.  She wasn't eggbound (eggs can actually get stuck in the bird's vent sometimes, causing a backup and death).  She just looked to have simply ... died.  Which was odd because I had seen her about 3-4 hours ago that day running around and being a chicken.  Not standing still out of illness or having trouble breathing.  I think she either got scared by one of the other birds and smacked her head on the top of the coop, breaking her neck, or she had a heart attack.  And that kicks up so much anxiety for me, because that is how I always imagined someone finding me - curled up in a heap, eyes closed, color drained from my face.  

After Lucretia, I told myself that I shouldn't get too attached to the birds, because their lifespans are shorter than most pets, and with the raccoon and possum population the way it is around here, it would only be a matter of time before one works its way into the coop again.  Recently, the girls had been doing very well in the mornings as far as squawking went, and we had just bought them some scratch treats to feed them, too.  Our little farm family was finally coming together - we were getting about 14 or so eggs a week, the birds were calming down, and I was sleeping in longer.  With all that, it's hard not to be attached.  

Butter and Daisy leaving a spot for Georgia on the perch tonight ... 

Anyway, that's the update around here.  I wish I could find out what really happened to her, but a necropsy test is over $100 plus shipping, and I just can't swing that.  So I'm going to stick with some random act of fate (whatever it was), and move on.  Georgia's resting place is in the yard, near the maple tree, right next to Lucretia.  The clay fox that was her marker has now been shifted, pulling double duty.  

You were a good bird, Georgia.  The best we had.

You will be missed. 

The Avengers

I just got a chance to viddy The Avengers movie, and this post might have some spoilers, so if you haven't yet had the opportunity to spend money on this thing, I suggest you find another post to disagree with.

Going into this film, I knew it was going to be more about effects than storyline.  The comic book movies to come out in the last 10 years have been more flash than substance, and The Avengers didn't disappoint.  In fact, I hesitate to call it The Avengers movie, singular, as it felt more like some mash-up of Thor 2 and the ending of The Dark Knight Rises.  Which kind of makes my point that superhero films are all about violence.  They stumble and try to build a story, but as in The Dark Knight Rises, they fail miserably.  A love story I can understand - a film needs people to root for beyond the basic Hero model, but the job the writers did in The Avengers, putting Scarlett Johanson and that dude from the equally abismal Hurt Locker in some stubbly, irritating banter just made me care less about them both, and had me rooting for their jet to go down in flames.

I never liked Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, either.  He's too cocky, where Fury is traditionally cold but not sarcastic.  So that bugged me going into this whole thing.  I know I'm being picky, and I know some of you are going "oh it's just a fun movie" and all that, but movies can still be fun AND made well.  Look at Citizen Kane.  And yes, the effects were good, it was believable and the CGI looked great.  But since when do we judge a house on the window dressing?

I did like The Hulk though.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Chickens Are Odd Ducks

When a chicken first begins to lay, you are supposed to move the egg and put it in the nesting box (which is just a section of the coop with a hinged door to it), in order to train the bird to lay where you can have easy access to the eggs.  I never did that with Butterworth, because, since Lucretia died, Butter was the only bird we had.  No point in making her learn new tricks, right?  Well, now that we have three birds laying, they all want to be in Butter's spot - right behind the perch, and I think this is a reason Daisy freaks out at times, because she wants to lay, but if one of the other birds is laying in the spot - her spot - she flips.

So today, after cleaning the coop out and filling it back up with nice, clean bedding, all three idiots layed their eggs within an hour.  All in one spot, right behind the perch.  For whatever reason, I decided to make today the day I start making them use the nesting boxes.  I carefully shifted Butter's egg and Georgia's egg to both sections of the box, leaving Daisy's egg behind the perch.

Look carefully and you can see all three eggs ... 

45 min later I go out and check on the birds, which is really just an excuse to get up and walk around for a bit.  Working from home is nice, but sometimes you just sit all day long.  Daisy has a habit of moving eggs around the coop, so I lift the nesting box lid and find that someone had moved all three eggs back to their original spot, right behind the perch. 

All three back together again.

Chickens are such weird animals - they have strange habits and funny ways of moving around that they keep me entertained all the time.  This is just one part of it.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Figuring Out Who You Are

I had originally gotten into this blog deal because I wanted some sort of platform to express my own personal thoughts on myself, which sounds very self-serving ( and I suppose it is).  Not in a "look at me" way - I have radio shows for that - but more of a "why do I think this way" thing.  I want to figure out who I am and why I react the way that I do towards certain things so I can become a better friend, or so that I can say "I'm real funny", which is usually not the case.

This is an uncomfortably open book of a post, but one that I'm kind of ok with writing.  It's odd how sometimes being honest over the internet is easier than opening up to a friend or loved one.  Maybe it's because we aren't used to censoring ourselves when we write.  Forums have erased that filter we have always been taught to have when writing, and that has given way to the impulse post.  The demand for instant information just encourages us to rush through out thoughts, clarity be damned.

Lately, I have been thinking a lot of how I come across to people, and how they view me as a person.  I think I'm pretty easy going, but I do have a certain set of standards when it comes to things like entertainment.  I'm not so easy going when it comes to going to the movies, let's say, because I know that, for the most part, after the movie I'll just be more disappointed and $20 poorer than when I went into the theater.  Does that make me a negative person or a realist?  The majority of the time I'm totally comfortable with this decision to be cautious, but occasionally the look of disappointment on my girlfriends face because she wants to see a film that I won't go to sort of makes me feel like a jerk-off.  Why can't I suck it up and just deal with watching a shitty movie?  I don't know.

Same thing goes for beer.  My thoughts are that if I'm going to pay $6 ($7 with tip) for a pint, I want it to be a good beer, or at least what I think passes for good beer. And if I don't see any beer that's worth that to me, I say that.  Aloud.  In public.  Doses that make me a whiner?  An asshole?  Or just someone who knows the value of a dollar?  I used to think nobody gave a shit about what I said, but a few times recently I have been told I'm negative, and that I hate everything and blah blah blah blah ( I don't know, I stopped listening).  Which just isn't true.   I like lots of shit, I'm just picky about the quality of the shit I like.

What's the divider there?  What is it about my personality that I seemingly cannot express my views without just being labeled as a negative person?  How can I become more positive without sacrificing my ideals and excellent tastes?  I'm working on finding out.

                                                   Blah Blah Blah Dinosaur Jr.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Chicken Update

Wow, it's been a long time, eh?  Many of you have been asking for an update on my chickens, so I felt that was as good an excuse as any to get back into this blog thing.

Daisy and Georgia

All the birds are doing well and getting along, which is great.  During the hotter days, which have been many here in the East Bay, the two newer girls (Daisy and Georgia) have been mimicking Butterworth and her desire to let everyone know that she has risen and is ready to great the day.  Which is not so bad I guess, but at 5:30 each and every morning it gets old.  At least the younger birds don't yet have that cynical tone to their squawks yet, as they remain cheerful and almost cute.  Recently, this has died down a bit and all three girls are being somewhat quiet.

Daisy and Georgia looking like idiots, with Butterworth in the back

The best update, though, is that all three birds are now laying eggs.  Georgia started first, which for some reason upset Daisy a great deal.  Daisy would just run around squawking while Georgia was up in the coop nesting.  She'd come in and just push Georgia up to come play with her outside, clearly unaware that she had more important things to do.  Even when Daisy started to lay, she'd raise a stink when her buddy was inside.  This, too, has seemed to quiet down somewhat, but it was a tough 3 weeks there for a bit.  Daisy clearly needs some therapy.

Now that everyone is laying, we get at least two eggs a day, sometimes three.  Daisy likes to move every bit of bedding away from her to lay, and as a result, many of her eggs crack when they hit the ground.  But it's not that big of an issue, as they don't really breach the shell, just spider it a bit.   Daisy is the one laying the green eggs, by the way.  So it's more of a shame when we have to toss hers out due to cracking.

Our egg bin as it stands now, with no new eggs today ...

That's it really.  So far, owning chickens has been a real adventure.  After about a year or so, I'd say it's not for everyone - the amount of time that I have had to go outside to quiet them down took a toll on my sleep for awhile.  BUT ... I'd still recommend looking into it.  Chickens are rad, and make really great pets.  If you are thinking about it, talk to your neighbors, tell them you'll be handing out eggs to them and see what they say.  It helps to have a shitty dog in the neighborhood, too, that you can blame noise on.  Works for us.

This post written under the influence of Superchunk