Howdy! It's been a bit since I've been back to this account. I've scanned relevant info from time to time in the past 6 (wow!) years, but haven't been very active. It's a shame, too. But, I'm back! Yay? Based on the above, you can figure that I'm not *new* to chickens. Our first flock was started shortly after we returned to Texas back ... 2001 or so. We decided to try learning with Silver-Grey Dorkings from Murray McMurray, and ended up with three pens of chickens once the neighbors figured out that we would care for anything bird-ish that showed up. Chicken Math strikes again! When we moved from that property to the place we have been since, we didn't have a ready place for the rather interesting collection of livestock, and were running on empty, financially, so all the critters went to good homes. Back in 2012(?)ish, I decided I wanted to try again. We fenced off part of the back area behind the "dogs' yard" so we had an 80 foot by 80 foot (roughly) 4 foot chain link fenced area - with an A-framed coop right in the middle of it. Again, we started with the Silver-Grey Dorkings. They are amazingly personable birds, with a great laid back attitude. and some very interesting personalities. I decided to try to start a foundation flock - gotta have a goal, right? - and am trying to get there slowly but in certain steps. Last year, something wiped out about half of the birds, then came back two weeks later for the rest. Singular Chicken, a pullet with a fondness for roosting in trees was the only survivor I found. (It's possible there are others that found their way to other flocks. Not likely, but possible.) She was entertaining in that she quickly decided that being alone was for the birds. She made my aging Irish Setter a part of her flock, and the two would hang out in the dog yard together. My dog allowed herself to b bossed around by the spunky fluffball, and would only occasionally give me a look to try to get me to do something about the pushy pullet. Still, the dog was allowed inside the house, the chicken? Not so much. I had placed the order for the new chicks from a different hatchery - trying to see about all my future options and who could work best for resupplies as I try setting up a three flock breeding rotation. Or not. One morning, walking out to feed Singular Chicken, I notice she's not in the area. I search both yards, but only found a handful of breast and wing feathers. (Sniff. RIP, SC. You were a bright spot in a dark year.) Right now I have 8 Silver Grey Dorking pullets, 2 Silver Grey Dorking cockerels, 15 random "Heirloom" pullets, and my great experiment - 5 African Brown/Grey goslings. I'm hoping to have a flock guardian or two, but as everyone is already almost 2 weeks old and I am still just as enchanted with the small and large fluffy-butts, I think geese will be a part of our little poultry yard for years to come. I'm looking forward to identifying the Random pullets as they grow up and become more identifiable - so many chicks look so similar when small! I hope to be able to share the amazing adventures we all have with anyone interested in my growing (and ever changing) flock story. I guess my favorite bits about raising poultry would be watching the little cheepers grow up and explore their world. I love watching them discover something wonderful and new (and the rush of excitement when they really have fun with a thing). I also enjoy reading to them as they 'chicken around' - while I tell them all the things they should not be doing according to the books. Singular Chicken was a budding linguist and would follow me around the yard as I weeded or did my physical therapy, and talked to her about Latin conjugations or the origin of language, or any number of other things. In other moments when I'm not feeding, talking to, or otherwise working with chickens, I keep myself busy with a handful of hobbies and interests. I crochet - years ago a doctor had recommended it to strengthen my hands and help me cope with pain. I've occasionally not crocheted as much, but I usually have a project or twelve in the making. I'm currently working on a crocheted short sleeve top, a baby blanket, and a lacy shawl, all subject to change without notice. I sew - I used to make historical recreation clothing - shifts, full skirts, laced bodices, over dresses, caftans, several types of pants and tunics, and All The Things. I still have a number of projects cut out to get to, and a few random bits intended for some one or some thing. No rush. I have also done some quilting and hope to finish up a couple of quilts my husband's grandmother left unfinished. I do karate. One of my doctors a few years ago was very kind when he told me that he had done everything he could to help me be healthy, pain-free, and able to move. He advised I find a yoga studio of a Qi Gong instructor to help me to get and stay in shape. Well, I found someone who has helped me to find something better. I've been doing karate (Ishin Ryu, Tang Soo Do, Muy Thai, Krav Maga) for the past slightly more than 5 years. I've also had several road blocks in the form of medical crisis during that time, but my instructor will show me how to modify the movements so I can do them and be safe. I am proud to say that I am going to be allowed to start the (year long) test for my black belt this coming January of 2020. I recently earned my half red/half black belt, so I have started to really try to get into appropriate shape for the test. I know that it's just the first step toward a lifetime goal, but it will prove that someone who was older when she started, and has several "medically crippling" problems, is still able to get out and Do A Thing. I like to think that the only thing holding me back from accomplishing anything I want to try is whatever limitation I put on myself. So, I work very hard to Be the Best Person, and Chicken Handler, (and now) Mother Goose that I can be. Best thoughts to all of my fellow Chicken-ers.