Archive for the ‘chickens’ Tag

05-08-2015 Journal – Beaches, Blankets, Bikinis   Leave a comment

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Yesterday was a day spent enjoying the warm and sunny eighty degree weather. My better-half had the day off and we were able to spend some quality time together just bumming around.

Living in Maine has it’s issues like bad winters and quirky weather patterns but it also has a lot of pluses.  We’re able to visit the White mountains within an hour, the ocean and beaches within a half hour, the  New Hampshire lakes region in one hour, and Boston in two hours.  We also have an abundance of wildlife that we sometimes take for granted.

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As we left our home and traveled less than a mile we observed turkeys roaming around  in a nearby field.  We see turkeys on a regular basis as well as hundreds of seagulls and as many hawks.  People in our rural community that have chickens are well aware of the hawks, coyotes, and foxes. If your chickens are free range or left outside of a fenced area then you can be sure to lose a few to these predators. It’s also possible to lose a small cat or kitten right off your deck if your not careful.

These two pictures were taken less than a mile from our house. This fat old fox was just strolling along the road, crossed right in front of our car, and then stopped to watch us from the woods.  He hung around long enough for me to get these shots.

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With the day being so warm we decided to make our first Spring visit to a local beach.  Maine residents are a hearty folk who hit the beaches as early as possible in the Spring.  We have a need to shake off those winter blues once and for all.  While it was sunny and warm the wind still had a chill to it but it didn’t seem to matter.  A lot of sunbathers were on the beach and even one crazy fool of a wind-surfer.  That water was damn cold but he was having a great time.

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We had an all-around terrific day walking the beach and taking a few pictures. There’s no better way to kick start our Spring and Summer seasons.

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10-26-2014 Journal Entry-Leaves & Chickens!   Leave a comment

I’m still waiting . . . . for what you might ask . . . . for dryness. This last week here in Maine was like the monsoon season in India except for the bone chilling icy cold nights.  I mentioned in a recent post about all the effing leaves I’ve been dealing with and I’m here to tell you it hasn’t gotten any better.  Not only do we have more leaves than before but they’re now soaking wet. There’s nothing harder than trying to rake giant piles of wet leaves because they refuse to cooperate.  I’m only bringing it up again because it’s my one and only chore for today and I just don’t want to do it.

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‘Dumb Birds’

As I write this post I’m tightly wrapped in my red dragon blanket, still in bed, sipping my coffee, and looking out the window at another gray and damp day. Most of the trees have dropped their leaves except for a few of the more stubborn oaks.  They always seem to hang on a little longer than the others before giving it up for the Winter.  As usual I can just make out a few squirrels romping through the nearby tree branches enjoying the last days of Fall. I won’t see much of them again until we have a few warmer than normal days later in the Winter.  They’ll sneak out, look around, smell the air, and try to find an acorn or two. Then it’ll be back to their nests to await Spring’s arrival.  I guess those squirrels have the right idea.  I’m trying to do much the same thing if you think about it.  If it’s good enough for a bunch of furry little squirrels then it should work for me as well, right?

Most of the birds have headed south and at times I envy them.  The woodpeckers, the blue jays, and chickadees are back in large numbers and will be around for the entire winter.  We supply them with plenty of food and suet to help them through the worst of it.  It always amazes me that any of them ever survive the Winter.  This morning I found our backyard filled with black birds and I’m not sure what they were looking for but they working hard at it.

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‘Stupid Birds’

For the first time in a week I can actually see blue skies and the sun. I can remember as a kid how much my friends and I loved climbing onto and under the piles of leaves.  My Dad found it amusing for as long as it took him to realize we were making more work for him.  Maybe today I’ll revert to an earlier version of myself, pile up some leaves, and dive right in.  The smell of those wet leaves should take me right back to age seven for a few minutes. Then reality will set back in and I’ll realize I’m sitting in a pile of wet leaves  in the middle of my yard and giving the neighbors a reason to question my sanity.

As I stepped out my back door I received another big surprise.  From out of nowhere two chickens arrived at my door and are refusing to leave.  Now I’ll be forced to spend time today polling my neighbors to see who they belong to.  I’ll never again feel guilty about eating chickens . . . they’re too stupid to live.

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“Dumb and Stupid Birds’

Anyone out there interested in a few chicken wings?

07-19-2014 Journal Entry–Freaking Wasps!   2 comments

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For months now I’ve been telling you about the attempts by my better-half to convince me to buy a few goats, a dog, chickens, and even a few boxes for raising bees.  As you also know I not really crazy about any of those ideas and have been more than clear about it.

In the last few months I thought we’d finally settled those desires with a big fat NO WAY. This story continues forty-eight hours ago when the better-half left for work after telling me she’d be working a little later than usual.  I had a handful of stupid little chores that needed done and was sure this extra time would allow me to complete them.

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Let me give you some background information to make this story a little easier to understand.  A few years ago we had our house resided.  New house wrap was installed and once and for all we thought our home would be sealed from intrusion by Mother Nature’s millions of little friends.  From that point on the assault by bees, wasps, yellow jackets, and lady bugs continued but with little success on their part. Since wasps and yellow jackets love to build their nests on wood surfaces under the eaves of houses I thought we were finally safe because the siding was vinyl and they couldn’t attach their nests to it.

My better-half told me in passing that a wasp nest was being built under the deck above one of her flower gardens.  Could I take care of it please? I really didn’t listen to her at the time and just went about completing my other chores.

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The second fact you need to understand is that we have a room that opens to the back yard at the rear of the house. This is used for storage of garden supplies, shovels, weed-whackers and other yard implements.  It’s always locked when not in use and I hadn’t been in there for a week or so.  I was intending to get the weed-whacker and start my yard work but as I stood near the door I heard an odd buzzing sound. As I unlocked the door the buzzing got much louder and when I stuck my head into the room I saw hanging just above my head a wasp’s  nest the size of an NFL football.

As you should remember I broke my leg last fall and damn near destroyed my right knee. I’ve healed up rather well but not completely. I have a slight limp and can’t run too fast anymore, or so I thought.

A cloud of about a thousand bees decided I was trespassing in their territory and to my surprise I discovered that I really was completely healed. I took off like an Olympic sprinter running across the yard with thousand of those little bastards hot on my trail. I managed to outrun them and then slowly returned to the house by a circuitous route to plan my revenge.

A long sleeved shirt, long pants, a baseball hat, and leather gloves completed my ensemble.  Along the way I picked up a shovel and a huge can of deadly bug spray.  I approached the nest and was able to see a second nest right next to it. Shit!   I entered spraying my heart out, dodging hoards of bees which were bouncing off my head.  I was able to knock both nests down and spray them heavily and then I got the hell out of there. I waited a few minutes, returned and finished off another thousand bees.  That spray was a real killer and it did the job and then some. How I was able to escape being stung I’ll never know.  Later in the day I cleaned up the debris and considered the matter closed, or so I thought.

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My day continued and the other chores were finally finished. I was walking across the yard and I saw what looked like a lot of bees flying around under the front deck near the flower garden. It dawned on me then that this was probably the one my better-half had warned me about. What did I find but another huge nest of wasps.  What the hell right. I was on a roll and decided to wipe this nest out once and for all, or so I thought.

Since the deck is eight feet high I retrieved a step ladder, my bee killing outfit, the long stick, and the bug spray.  Easy peasy, right?  The only problem was climbing the ladder quickly before they could attack and to not fall off the ladder in the process. I had a stick in one hand, bug spray in the other, and began climbing the ladder with no hands.  The bees immediately saw the error of my ways and attacked.  They knocked me off the ladder which then fell on top of me. I scrambled to my feet and took off running again. I made it about three feet before one of those buggers stung me on top of my head.  They may be small but OMG the pain from that sting was unbelievable. I fled again and took a little time to rethink my strategy while putting an ice pack on my head.

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I returned pissed off with nothing but revenge on my mind. I knocked the nest down and killed everything in it. There were hundred still swarming but they had been sprayed and were slowly dying.  I turned and walked away very proud of myself when one last little SOB came out of nowhere and stung me on the head in the same exact spot as the first one. That shot dropped me to my knees and required a steam of curse words to make me feel better.

My question is this. Did my better-half know about the nests in that back room? She says she didn’t but I don’t believe her entirely. She seemed a little too smug and insincere when I was looking for some sympathy for my wounds.  She finally got her wish that we have bees but unfortunately these little killers don’t make any honey.  Maybe now she’ll attempt to bring some killer goats home to surprise me or maybe some chickens trained to attack. She’s a lot sneaker than she looks.

One last  time darling, no bees, no goats, no chickens but maybe sometime in the future we can get a dog.

That’s my compromise.