Sunday, August 30, 2009


Finally after trying for over a week to catch the mama of this family of five, here she is. What an intelligent and wily critter!
Every morning I would find the bait gone and the trap sprung, and upended as her signature. I tried tying the peanut butter sandwich in place with multiple wraps of baler twine, only to be foiled repeatedly. She got every last crumb without ever stepping on the incline plate that would drop the door. Finally she was caught with a McGyver contraption consisting of a plastic container of peanut butter tied to a string that went up through a pulley and connected to the door dropping device. I dont feel all that smart since I was outwitted by a rodent for 10 days.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Baby chicks!

What an anxious, engrossing time waiting for three eggs to hatch...We could hear peep-peeping from inside the shells and little tapping sounds like trapped miners signalling for help. At last a tiny hole in each egg and a small beak partly visible.

Mama hen was patient with us, letting us check the progress and then tucking the egg back under her feathers to keep it warm.

It took about 10 hours until all three were hatched. Amazing how active and adventurous they are already, on their second day. Hard to get any work done today, they are such fun to watch.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Bye -bye bandits

What a cute little face! But not so cute when they are ransacking my corn patch. This is captive number three from a family of four (that I know of) Three raccoons in five nights, they will go anywhere for peanut butter sandwiches. From here they go for a trip to an uninhabited wooded area with a stream, so I hope they are re-uniting and happy in their new surroundings. One more adult to catch, the push is on, with the corn a week or two from mature. Really hoping another family doesnt move in til the season is over.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Chicken Little aims to be a mother hen

Chicken Little has gone SOOOOO broody. For two weeks she wouldnt get off the nest, she would hop onto any new laid egg and claim it as her own, chirruping and complaining when I would put her out of the henhouse.

Along with this new behavior was a lot of feather fluffing, strange exotic dances and sudden leaping into the air with frantic wing flapping.She kept up a continual scolding "book, book book" sound. She refused to be a part of the hen social scene. No scratching and digging, no lolling about in her dust bath. The compost pile lost all its attraction and she could not even be tempted with wiggly worms held in front of her beak

So we relented and took a day trip along with Little in a carrier box, to find her some fertilised eggs. The farm where I had bought some of the other hens just had three eggs that hadn't made it to the fridge yet. So we slipped them under our little obsessive-compulsive and she was a very happy hen.

Little is very devoted to her adopted eggs. They are from a flock of white rock hens, like our Serena, but I'm sure Little wont mind. Hatching day is the 25th or 26th of august.

Each morning I make her get off the nest, covering the eggs with a warmed towel, so she can stretch her legs and have a gigantic poop. She wont mess in the nest at all. When I put her back in after a few minutes of her strange rituals, she is SO attentive to those eggs, hooking her beak around them to push them in under herself. Then she fluffs out her feathers and settles down until the next interruption.
This is all amazing to me, how animals and birds know just what to do with no instructions or experience to go by.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Yes, we have water...

To all our friends, neighbors, B&B and cottage guests, and assorted well-wishers : our 6 week water crisis mystery is solved . Two cottages and the main house on one well. 1,000 feet of underground pipe from the 260 ft deep well at the far cottage to the main house. After trouble free years, suddenly not enough water..."Yer well musta caved in " says the plumber. Ditto say the well drillers. They drill down to 600ft. "Now you gotta get twice the horsepower pump , bigger piping and heavier electrical to get the water up." So we do that and we keep running out of water. "Well she's gotta be leakin unnerground somewhere." The backhoe is called in and digs up 3 locations where joints were made. Plus he digs a 7 foot hole in the garden to find the old well that used to feed the main house. Eventually the plumber comes back and finds the joints are fine. The well guys come back and air pressure test the underground pipes in all directions. They determine we are losing water at the main house. We shut off the incoming valve and sure enuf the well fills up overnite. A week later the plumber is back and discovers that if he shuts off the valve in the basement that leads to the barn the pressure guage holds steady.

SO... the barn is shut off till the next excavation, everyone has water enough, the well guys are $14,000 richer, the backhoe guy nearly a thousand, and several hundred for the plumber , and the whole problem could have been fixed for under a thousand by fixing the leak in the barn line in the first place!!! And my hair would probably be a darker shade of gray without the most stressful summer I can remember.

Thank God the weather has dried up here! We had a record breaking 195 mm of rain thru july and the coolest july on record also. The garden has struggled with lack of sunshine and warmth but its responding wonderfully to the change.