We feel like we’re living in a Leonard Cohen song this past week. No. A Chris Isaak song: Things Go Wrong . . .
She just wouldn’t learn. Or couldn’t. What do you do with a chicken who’s a bully? Well, you can separate her from the flock. Like build a new coop just for her? No. You can clip 1/8 inch from the top of her beak. Yeah, can you see that? You can remove her. You mean? Yes.
There are several time-tested ways to “remove” a troublesome chicken. We all know you can chop off her head with a hatchet on a stump (this is what my dad always did). You can break her neck, and there’s a YouTube video to show you how. You can simply turn her loose outside the compound and depend on some other animal who wants a good chicken dinner to do the job. Or, you can call the vet hospital down the road.
You may be wondering how this bullying manifests itself? Okay, I came out to the orchard to check for eggs and found Toast mounted on Maddie’s back, pecking at her neck and shoulders. Feathers flying. I yelled, of course, and kicked at Toast to get her off. I’d brought some dried worm treats to the girls, and when I dumped them out, Toast went for the worms and Maddie crawled away. Not good.
I’m sure you know that we chose the vet hospital solution, and if we felt ridiculous, that’s the price for failure to suck it up and commit chicken murder. But $243 to euthanize her? Didn’t know it would be that expensive. Could have built a new coop for that.
But here’s the new three-girl flock, living in sunshine and harmony and laying lots of eggs:
So what else went wrong? We woke up the following morning to find no hot water in the house. Seems we have a “tankless hot-water system” which is supposed to be more economical and environmentally sound than keeping a tank of water hot all day and night. Right. But we sure do waste a lot of water waiting for the shower to get warm, especially when there’s no hot water to be found anyway.
Called the plumber, and he informed us that the installing plumber had joined copper and galvanized piping, to corrosive effect, and the joint had been leaking for months, probably. (In the way that one craftsman will find the preceding artisan a shocking failure.) I don’t know, but Chase, this week’s guy, patched things up and hot water returned. Of course, now we need to install a new system. Fine. Just do it.
Now our attention turned to the grapes out in the arbor:
We’d strung mylar streamers and mounted whirly-gigs to deter the birds from our ripening fruit. But grapes were, strangely, carpeting the ground beneath the vines, and they were still mostly green. Birds don’t usually go after green fruit, so could this be the work of ground squirrels? Then whole bunches began falling, and we turned to Shonnard’s nursery for a solution. Ah. Stem-rot. So the birds weren’t stealing our fruit, the grapes were committing suicide.
One last image before we turn the corner. Here’s our corn yield this year:
Of course, it’s not all bad! Here are some photos to cheer you up:
We’re in Portland this afternoon to meet with a tech regarding the TV and sound system in the condo. We’re planning to lease the condo until such time as anyone wants to move to toxic Portland. Oregon, and all electronic systems have to be operative, etc. More about that another time, but I will close with the note that as we left the farm house this morning, we discovered that a skunk had been busy overnight comprehensively spraying the entire building. Dear God. What do you do with a renegade skunk? We’re being tested!