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Month: April 2008

Chicken check-in

Chickens at three weeks

A week after their arrival, the chickens at three weeks old are doing fine. They settled in no problem, eat like maniacs, drink a lot, and I guess they’re too young to fight, ’cause they’re all getting along. I’ve been cycling through music—a radio is always on in the chickenhouse, to scare off PREDATORS—started with a couple of days of country, then a stretch of classical (they go a little crazy during big, building crescendoes), and now it’s rock (“’80s, ’90s and whatever”…a weird-format local FM station). So far, behavior seems pretty much the same no matter what’s playing—the experiment continues, maybe they want custom mix tapes. And they’re growing. They started off about the same size, but there are definitely some big guys now amongst the White Rock Cornish X, and the Frey’s Special are all at the smaller end, faster-feathering, too (there’s one on top of the waterer). They’re all getting along, but Bob noticed a red pecking spot on one of the White Rocks, so I’m gonna be watching the blending of the breeds: I read that sometimes the WRs get pecked (attacked?) because they’re slower to feather than others… The gang (the posse, the flock!) does keep busy, exploring corners and cracks, piling up and napping in sunlit patches, zipping around, drinking a lot, and of course, eating…

Chickens hanging out

Definitely a lot of eating…

Chickens at feeder


Earth Day observed

This year for Earth Day (a Day I don’t usually…observe), I gave a talk on small-scale organic farming for an audience of three in the airy designer meeting room in the Upstairs at Loblaws zone. Here’s the view from…upstairs (this is the same super-sized supermarket mentioned from another recent trip…


Grass fire across the road

Grass fire

Someone in the village burning junk in their backyard set off a grass fire that spread across a field and threatened to burn down the barn and house across the road. I missed the flames, and took a look as the firefighters were mopping up. I’m somewhat aware that, lately, a good part of the planet is on fire at any given moment, but this was the first time I’ve seen any sort of fire damage first-hand, outside of buildings and stuff in cities. What struck me was the unexpected, forbidding BLACKNESS of the charred ground, looking like it could spread and swallow up…everything (I’m sure spreading flames are a lot scarier)… Interesting. With the dry weather, there’s a burn ban on in the region (I haven’t yet heard the full story on the unfortunate firestarter…he or she must be fined into oblivion…). On this side of the road, the predecessor to the big barn I’m in right now was accidentally burned down in 1949, and these days, we do have a burn barrel, but I don’t think much about fire day to day: only burn on wet, non-windy days, always put the grate on the barrel, don’t take any sort of fire or drive gas vehicles (like the riding mower) into the barn (apparently, gas engines can spark, hay and straw dust is extremely flammable, diesel’s OK)… That’s about it. Still, another thing to keep an eye on. On the farm, it’ll probably take more than a handy fire extinguisher if things get burning…