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the beaky report: not really scissor beak after all

If you know us in RL, you know that we are trying to rehome our hen Beaky, cleverly named for her malformed beak.  We took her to the vet where we rendezvoused with her prospective new mama and learned that she had lice (the hen, not the new mama), which was a deal-postponer for the new (maybe) mama, and quite understandably.  We did learn that she had broken her beak and that there is nothing to be done for her other than some trimming.  I got tutored in trimming and we got some good feeding ideas.

Prozap Garden & Poultry Dust, 2 LbOn the way home we bought some poultry dusting powder (Prozap Garden & Poultry Dust) and then caught, dangled upside down, and powdered all 17 birds, which is no small task.  That was two days ago.  Today we inspected, and saw no lice. 

To feed her, we add some water to the regular chicken feed to make a thin mash. (I know my regular readers are probably not interested, but I am posting the details for the hen care-giver who may be reading and needs to know. I know I would have appreciated some info.)  We then lure her into the abandoned chicken ark and serve her her mash.  She can eat it, as she can lap it up with her tongue; her beak has no pinching abilities whatsoever.  We close her in there so that the big girls cannot pester her.  After about an hour, we let her out, if we are home.  If we aren't, so be it. It's a nice ark and being confined in it beats starving.

We are still hoping that the prospective new mama will be able to take her.  We'll do a lice check in a few weeks and we'll know more then.

And just so you know, lice are species specific.  These lice eat feathers.  As none of us have feathers, we are not in danger of infestations.  Still, the minute the vet mentioned lice, my skin started to crawl.  I felt really negligient that she even had lice.  For some reason I thought that by sprinkling Diatomaceous Earth around their hen-house I was parasite-proofing them.  Apparently not.


the summer that wasn't

The weather has turned here.  It is misty and cold in the morning and then the mist burns off by afternoon.  It feels like fall.  I was still hoping to have summer.  Here are random notes from the summer that wasn't.
  • 'twas a terrible year for gardening.  Either blazing hot or really chilly.  Most everything languished during the chilly episodes and bolted during the hot ones.  We did well with potatoes and it looks as if there will be zucchinis.
  • I am slowly healing from the nasty whatever-it-was that put me in the hospital earlier this month.  I am able to eat without much pain -- which is nice -- and I am getting my energy back.
  • OutlanderI'm reading The Outlander by Diana Gabaldon and I am confused.  For some reason I thought it would be a good read, but it is really just a romance novel. I think the cover fooled me.  Doesn't it look respectable?  But truth be told, it should have a woman with a revealing bodice swooning in the arms of a hurky man.   Why am I even admitting to be reading it?  To warn you away. 
  • I taught only one class this summer.
  • Yet another summer has passed and I am more aware of all the fun things we didn't do, and not really full of fun memories of things we did do, because we really didn't do much.  I missed blueberry season somehow.  We never went to the ocean (and we live on the coast!).  We didn't go clamming.  I didn't eat a single bite of Copper River Salmon.  I really failed as a PNW mom this year.
  • We did a few fun things though -- we visited our charming relations in Nebraska.  We helped host a fun graduation/bon voyage party for some other charming relations (we are blessed with many relations, most of them charming). We swam at the lake.  We raised five pullets. We star-gazed.
  • And we are planning two vacations in the near future.  The children and I will spend some time up on Vancouver Island, and then later all four of us will go camping on Orcas Island (the largest of the San Juans). 


YellowJacket Season = Benadryl Season

As yellowjacket season is fast-approaching, I have to tell you about these lovely little antihistamine strips.  I overreact to many things (just ask my family) and bee stings are no exception.  One little sting can take over my whole thigh, front and back, an inch deep.  So I carry these in my pockets, in my wallet, and in my glove-box.  With them, I can get a only a small 2-3 inch welt.  Without them, I become a welt. 



Peacock drops of dew

Peacock drops of dew,
damp-bright streaks of early rain:
tender-misted dawn.

well, we didn't expect that

See all those posts from last week?  Those were prepared in advance and auto-published.  I certainly was not publishing as I was languishing in the hospital.  In the wee hours of Monday morning I had some dramatic symptoms (too yucky to name) and ended up in ER where I was wheeled in from the car and taken to a room in less than 5 minutes -- that makes one nervous indeed -- "Oh! I'm THAT sick?"

Five days later I am discharged with a scary diagnosis.  Scary in that we don't know what triggered it or how to avoid it in the future.

But what really worries me is the impact of the disappearing Mama on the kids.  When they first came, I disappeared altogether for ten days due to my Dad's accident and stay at an out-of-town trauma center, and then I was gone/useless last summer due to the big surgery and now I am useless again.  How can I present the "I'm here for you!" Mama that they need when I am so often ill?

Last week they were well-cared for by my siblings and parents.  This week Chickadee is at Day Camp.  That will be two weeks out of my care.  I feel as if we are constantly losing ground.


3 reasons to avoid factory produced 'food'

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life (P.S.)The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four MealsAs you may know, I read The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals which pretty much finished off what Animal, Vegetable, Miracle started: Friends don't let friends eat factory-made food. 

What I used to see as 'food' I know realize is 'product': manufactured and marketed like any other product -- not for my good or benefit, but for the profit of industry.

So, I am buying less product and more ingredients. And here are my three of my reasons:

  1. Contaminated feed supplies: Illegal, Experimental, And Potentially Harmful GM Cottonseed Enters Food System.
  2. Cruel living conditions for most meat animals.
  3. Excessive dependence on trucking and thereby on foreign oil.


chicken roost or coop plans

You know that chickens are the new black, right? Everyone who is anyone has urban poultry these days. Apparently chicken coop plans are the #1 reason people visit my blog, according to the new blogger statistics. So, you chicken coop builder wanna-bes, here is what you want to order if you are planning on 3-4 hens:

Building Chicken Coops For Dummies (For Dummies (Math & Science))And if you want more hens than that (and you probably will) you want this book, Building Chicken Coops For Dummies:


favorite non-fiction books

Bird by BirdNon-fiction - not in order of preference
1. Bird by Bird - Anne Lamott
2. Life at the Bottom - Theodore Dalrymple
3. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle - Barbara Kingsolver
4. Developing a Written Voice - Dona Hickey
5. Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage - Alfred Lansing
6. Alice Bay Cookbook - Julie Rosseau
7. First They Killed my Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers - Loung Ung
8. The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat: And Other Clinical Tales - Oliver Sacks
9. Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea - Gary Kinder
10. Mere Christianity - C.S. Lewis
11. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down - Annie Fadiman
12. Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith - Jon Krakauer
13. The Glass Castle - Jeanette Walls
14. Honeymoon in Purdah: An Iranian Journey - Alison Wearing
15. Why Marriages Succeed or Fail: And How You Can Make Yours Last - John Gottman
16. The Measure of a Mountain: Beauty and Terror on Mount Rainier - Bruce Barcott
17. Plain and Simple: A Woman's Journey to the Amish - Sue Bender
18. Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man's Soul - John Eldredge
19. The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea - Sebastian Junger
20. Isaac's Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History - Erik Larson
21. A Natural History of the Senses - Diane Ackerman
22. Eats, Shoots, and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation - Lynn Truss


favorite fiction books

Fiction - not in order of preference
1. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
One Hundred Years of Solitude (P.S.)
2. Mind Body Problem - Rebecca Goldstein
3. A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
4. Peace Like a River - Lief Enger
5. The Harry Potter Series - JK Rowling
6. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
7. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
8. The Idiot - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
9. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
10. Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
11. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
12. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
13. Watership Down - Richard Adams
14. Song of Solomon - Toni Morrison
15. Beowulf - Seamus Heany
16. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
17. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
18. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
19. The Living - Annie Dilliad
20. Bridge of Birds - Barry Hughart
21. Byzantium - Stephen Lawhead
22. Ishmael: An Adventure of Mind and Spirit - Daniel Quinn
23. Name of the Rose - Umberto Eco
24. The Samurai's Garden - Gail Tsukiyama
25. The Screwtape Letters - C.S. Lewis
26. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
27. Whistling Season - Ivan Doig
28. The House of Spirits - Isabel Allende
29. Persian Pickle Club - Sandra Dallas
30. Out of the Dust - Karen Hesse

31. Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card