Saturday, June 30, 2007

Don't Do This At Home

My dear husband, let's call him "John" for the sake of this blog, loves his new tractor that he got for his birthday. It is oh-so-helpful for numerous tasks around the house. Here he is with our young son using the Kubota to move a cement planter for me-- dirt, plants and all -- to a better suited location. He bought forks that bolt on the front so the bucket can be used as a fork lift, which is quite handy for picking things up.

The Kubota is useful for all sorts of jobs around the yard, from moving wood chips to pulling stumps, moving dirt, getting haybales (more on that soon). Here he is using it to help paint our new barn:

Wait, why is he using a tractor to help paint a barn, you ask? Well, let's go in for a closer look, shall we?
When we got the tractor, we got a real kick out of reading the warning stickers, which are designed to have impact. Here is my favorite:
Effective, eh? Makes you think twice when you're thinking about lifting a heavy load up high.
I can just imagine the people in the Sticker Design Department (surely directly reporting to the Legal Department) trying to come up with these graphics. Think of the conversation:
"Hey George, what do you think of this large cannonball falling on the guy in the tractor?"
"Yeah, that's great, Gus, but you need to put his hands in the air trying to stop the cannonball to show the futility of it."
Gus: "Oooh, ooh, yeah and the cannonball needs little motion marks around it!"
George: "Ooh yes! And make the cannonball LARGER and BLACK!!"
Gus: "Oooh, yeah, and MORE MOTION MARKS!!! Legal will love this one!!"
And here's another warning sticker:
Hey, looky here. What does #3 say? "DO NOT use loader as a work platform." Does anybody read these things, or do they just look at the pretty pictures?

Friday, June 29, 2007

Two Weeks

As Arnold Schwarzenegger would say, it has been "two weeks" since the chickens arrived. And they're growing, knocking over the feeder, and starting to get a little rambunctious in their cardboard box. It will be time to move them to larger quarters in the garage this weekend.
The picture below was from a few days ago, and we now have proof that they can jump up on the water jar and jump up to perch on the top of the box.

And as you an see, they are starting to get more wing feathers and they're coming in barred like they will eventually look as adults.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Gone Fishing

This past Sunday we decided to capitalize on the great weather and go fishing. Of course, before you go fishing, you need to go on a worm expedition to get bait:

Then, when you get to the local reservoir, you need to have help to get the fish off the hook:

[Actually, Charlotte is very good at getting fish of her hook, as Nana will attest, but she uses a glove which was unavailable on Sunday.]

Meanwhile, Peter was not patient enough to cast and reel in his bobber (we didn't trust him with a hook), but was very intrigued with the box of worms. He also like to touch the sunfish hanging on the hook that Charlotte caught. Then he discovered that he could throw stones in the water. Happily, the stones ran out just as the fish stopped biting.

And no one fell in!

Friday, June 22, 2007

They're Getting Bigger....

The chicks have been here a week, and they are all still here. Phew. They are getting bigger, and especially taller. Their legs are getting longer, and they are starting to hop and flap their wings, which often makes a very high hop. I think I saw one standing on top of the waterer, if that is the case we will soon be moving them to bigger quarters with higher sides!
A friend asked me this week if they were hard to take care of. The answer is no. The major life change they've brought on is that we have to keep the garage door closed even when we go down the driveway to get the mail or to the bus stop, so that neighboorhood cats don't discover these tasty delectables. Other than changing their water about twice a day because they kick the shavings into it and filling the feeder once a day, they are easy. So far.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Which One Is Which?

The short answer to the above questions is, I dunno. Theodore asked the other day if we can tell the chicks apart. Well, we call this one "Jeep Chick":

But can you pick it out in a lineup?

One of our six chicks has a black head rather than the yellow spot on the back of the neck that the others have. Charlotte calls this one "Blackhead" but I hope that name doesn't stick. I think she is the one in the middle above.

They all have yellow bottoms, but it can vary as to how much yellow:

But in the end, any names they have now I don't think will stay because they will look quite different in a few months. Here's what Murray McMurray Hatchery shows how they'll look when they grow up:

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Happy Father's Day

It's funny what grandchildren do to your own parents.

Growing up, my two brothers and I called our father Dad, maybe Daddy until we were about five.

Dad taught us his love of reading , his love of music, his love of many sports and the outdoors, edited our papers and taught us how to write, how to mow a lawn, how to drive a tractor, then how to drive a car, and indulged our interest in sailing. But perhaps most importantly Dad quietly demonstrated his drive to do what is right no matter what others think. Sometimes this was embarrassing, particularly in the junior high years, but it left an impression.

When grandchildren arrived, Dad announced that he wanted to be called Pops. I remember protesting that grandparents can't choose what they're going to be called, but with the advent of our daughter I realized that this infant wasn't going to be calling anybody any name anytime soon, and number two grandchild at 5 months younger wasn't going to be adding to the nomenclature soon, either. So, Dad became Pops. And a few years ago said daughter morphed Pops into Popsie.

Never in a million years would I have thought of my Dad as Pops. Or Popsie.

Happy Father's Day, Popsie!

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Chickens Are In The Building

This morning I went to Meriden Feed and Supply and picked up our six Barred Rock chicks in a cardboard box. Peter, our 2 year old, chuckled when he peeked over the top of the box and saw the black fuzzy peeping chicks. They (the chicks, Peter was safely in his car seat) rode home on the floor of the front seat passenger side, peeping all the way, trying to gain their footing as I stopped and started, and clamoring into the sunny corner of the box. About half-way home I decided that I better stop trying to see into the box or I would rear-end someone. Try explaning that one to the police...

So, by the time we got home the chicks had snuggled in the sunny corner of the box and had pretty much stopped peeping. Peter had fallen asleep, which gave me time to set up the heatlamp, fill the waterer, get the starter ration (chick food for all you novices) out of the car and served up in the "brooder box" (sounds much more fancy than the cardboard box on newspapers that it is), and the chicks gently placed in their new home in the garage. Happily they started scratching and eating the tasty vittles and slurping up the water.

Here they are:

You want to see a close up you say? Here you go, and in the second one, don't worry, Charlotte is not nuzzling the chick:

We are still adjusting the lamp/heat source. If it's too hot, all the chicks cluster in the corners of the box, if it's too cold, they all bunch up in the middle. Nice of them to use that indicator. Also, the paper towels are down for the first few days so they can find the food, not just scratch in the litter, and so the shavings aren't too tough on their feet.

A moth flew into the box under the light this evening and did that ever stop the chicks in their tracks! A few tried to chase it, but it was too high. They do eat ants if you throw them in, but my book doesn't say anything on insect supplementation at this point, so we're going light on ants.

Oh, and we had ice cream with chocolate syrup tonight for dessert:


Welcome to our blog designed to portray the goings-on around here, especially the 6 chicks that arrived today!

First off, congratulations go to my dear sister-in-law, DB, who won the family Name That Blog contest. From all the imaginative names that were submitted (most of them from DB, who spends her days as a professional wordsmith and moonlights as a ferocious Boggle player), I felt that Brood Awakenings fit this place best. And thus, DB gets the first Brood Awakenings Pullet-zer Prize. (Yes, another DB-originated term.) Stay tuned, DB to see what you get for your prize.