It's really, really quiet around here. Usual 5 AM crowing from the coop, but nothing all night long, and nothing more than a very few, individual crows from the Roos In Residence. The only crow-fest occurred late in the afternoon, I THINK as the boys were starting to round up the ladies from the far reaches of the property. As I sit here late at night, I haven't heard Carl crow at all after the flock had got gotten settled inside the coop.
There's been a mouse in the kitchen. No, wait, now there isn't a mouse in the kitchen. There has been one, or more, for some time but most of its hiding spaces have been removed. The house cleaning gal has performed such miracles - especially in the kitchen - that mousies can't hunker down under, behind or inside the "stuff" which might very well have hidden 'em as they scurry to safety. My Himalyan has been hunting in the kitchen a lot, lately. Lizbeth spent most of her time in the guest room but had free access to the rest of the house.
Anyway, I've been keeping my meager supply of flatware in upright position in a container on the counter, due to evidence of mouse in the drawer where I usually kept it. Ewwww. Not putting clean utensils back in there while there is a mouse in the house! Not using any out of that drawer, either, until they've been washed. The electronic RatZappers don't fit in there. Last week or so, I bought a small mouse trap which doesn't kill what it captures. Ingenious little thing. I baited it with peanut butter and set it on the floor in the cavity under the counter, where I knew mice would travel (and have traveled). In less than 5 minutes, Zorro was digging in that corner trying to retrieve whatever it was that was emitting that lovely peanut butter scent. Uh.. THAT'S not gonna work.
I put it on the counter for a couple of nights. Nada. No luck.
Last night, it went into the flatware drawer. This morning I released a little mouse into the yard.
I share this tale in order to segue into a discussion of interest with my contractor, John, as I assisted him today. In my usual "talk about the minutae in my life" manner, I mentioned catching a mouse and releasing it. After John confirmed I had indeed looked for, purchased, and used a "humane, no kill" mouse trap, then actually released the mouse, he commented, "They're coming in from the attic, I bet - I need to seal that gap. So you're a Catch & Release person."
Only if I can't kill them humanely - but the RatZapper won't fit in that drawer. (I didn't mention if a raccoon decided to hang out around here, I would use that "cute" pellet gun on it to suggest it move elsewhere. If I managed to kill it, that would be one less raccoon bothering my chickens. I'm pretty sure we were just talking about helpless little mice taking up home in my kitchen, not predators.)
It was remarkable how quiet it was during the day.
I learned I had been using the wooden "wrench" wrong; instead of inserting the "tongs" into the lid handle, I should have simply placed the wrench over the handle on the lid to turn it. Yah, that actually was easier and "felt" better in my hand.
Found a confirmed duck egg in the coop today! One of my Cayugas is laying! I also observed a single duck nestled into the shavings inside the Igloo dog house inside the coop, which I'd intended for the geese to use for nesting. Oh well. I'll have to see how that works out or even if it presents a problem. As soon as I get enough duck eggs to share (after I eat the first few all by myself), I'll give some to John for him to use in baking. He brought me some cookies today. He doesn't bake brownies, he said, but he does bake a pretty spectacular pineapple upside down cake. Sometimes he switches it up and makes peach upside down cake. I was suitably impressed.
Blaze the Bunny appears to be very happy being on the loose. However, I did hear an owl last night, so I was glad to see Blaze utilize the chicken pop-door with familiarity AND some evidence she had bedded down behind the hutch on the porch last night. I still can't catch her, but she's very comfortable meandering everywhere. She has a series of things in the yard to use as cover and has demonstrated a well-practiced route of travel. She also ducks under the house on occasion - it's one of her hidey-holes.
Here are some more Deck Work photos.
One of the pullets named herself today. Molly, my chattiest hen, had nothing to say all day. Today, somebody else wouldn't shut up. She also brought a whole lot of attention to herself when she repeatedly got into John's van. Every time he returned to the van, she was inside it. Even after a very flappy, noisy removal from the van, she got into it no less than twelve times. Sometimes it was just a hop up and in, before she was discovered, and other times she was far back into the vehicle and tucking herself into spaces.
"That chicken doesn't learn," John remarked. "I'm thinking she is looking for a place to lay an egg," I proposed. "Ya think?" he retorted. "I think it's more likely she's going to leave me something else. They could play in the van all they want if they didn't poop."
Well, the Won't Give Up. Won't Stop Talking pullet is now called by a name from my past: Cindy. I acknowledged one of John's customers is named Cindy (she's the one with the pond and ducks) but my naming the pullet "Cindy" was absolutely no reflection on her.
These next photos are of Lizbeth and Zorro investigating the deck after today's work was completed.
John got to see me give the flock a treat: hand-feeding shredded Mozzarella cheese to them. Yes, some cheese was also tossed out for chickens further away (45 chickens - or so - jockeying for position around someone seated on a step is not conducive to orderly distribution), but the bravest and most senior birds took their treats directly from my hand. He had finished his work for the day so I was able to spend the quality time with all the feathered folk. It's a bit of a flurry to try to do on a short break whilst assisting a contractor who doesn't TAKE breaks. He was amused to see the Tsunami of chickens running towards me, and then all the swirling movement within the multicolored mass of velociraptors. I mean chickens.
As he was departing, and stopped at the gate I was holding open, he said, "You don't have to get rid of any more roosters. If this doesn't make 'em happy, tell 'em to pound sand."
That's my intention.
Edited by gryeyes - 2/21/12 at 12:02am