For Christmas I want more power tools!

Christmas time on the farm has been relatively peaceful so far….our tree is still standing, despite Chunk’s numerous attempts to get a better look at the star. Ceri loves crawling underneath it, but she has yet to knock it over. I’m sure she’ll wait to do that until it’s decorated. There’s only been one real Christmas casualty – Fiona was able to knock the wreath down when I was mucking out her stall. She repaid my favor of giving her a sparkling clean bedroom by eating the bow.

Harvey has a new brand new bachelor pad; although I still let him and Claire run around together during the occasional play date. It took Gene about two weeks to get around to building it, mostly due to the seasonal conditions (football is on). Not being known for my patience, I decided I was going to finish it myself. Gene had managed to frame out the bachelor pad, but had yet to get around to roofing it or attaching the door. I figured that neither roofs nor doors seemed terribly difficult, especially since I routinely watch HG TV. I started my construction adventure by putting on my Carhartt overalls, since that’s what they wear on those home improvement shows. (Notice the lack of a picture showing me in overalls…I do not rock the overalls). Then I went out into the garage to inventory Gene’s vast selection of power tools. I started by making two piles – one consisted of tools I could determine which end was up, and the other of tools I couldn’t figure out how to hold properly.

I narrowed down the first pile by asking myself if I knew what a real construction person (constructionist?) would do with it. That left me with two tools. Actually three, but one was just a smaller version of the other. I don’t know what they’re called, but I quickly gave up on the large one with the circle shaped blade when I couldn’t figure out how to move the plastic safety shield. I brought the other one, a single saw blade with a motor, over to my 8′ x 10′ piece of plywood, which I had determined after much measuring and planning needed to be cut in half. I propped it up against the wall, then braced it with my boot and put the saw down on top of it. Which didn’t work at all, because the teeth on the blade were pointed up, and my wood was beneath it. I then put the plywood down on top of some fence posts, and gave the smaller circle saw tool a go at it, since on that one the stupid plastic thing moved when you shoved it against the wood. It worked great for the first 2 centimeters… then it hit the driveway and stopped. I tried again, this time holding the saw up a few inches to give it more clearance. That worked too, until it got too heavy and hit the driveway again. The tool, realizing where this was headed, decided to stop working entirely. I went in and woke Gene up, trying to explain what was happening. He had just gone to bed a few hours ago, so he groggily told me that I was doing fine and just needed a bigger saw. Unfortunately (or fortunately) the bigger saw was the one I couldn’t figure out how to move the safety shield, so I went back to the other saw thing, which I have since learned is a jigsaw. I am quite proud to say that after much noise, much swearing, and many, many minutes, I was able to cut the plywood in half. Then I had to stop because the bit for the screw gun fell out, and I couldn’t get it to stick back in. Finally Gene came out and said I’d cut the plywood too short and now we couldn’t use it at all. On the plus side, he finished Harvey’s bachelor pad, and I have new respect for his carpentry skills.

Guess someone’s a little hungry…and cranky

I discovered something a little disconcerting when I went to give Harvey and Claire their breakfast bag of salad. If I take too long to actually put the salad in their dish, Claire will express her frustration at my slowness by yanking the bowl out of my hand, flipping her head to the side, and throwing the bowl. Usually at me. I expect that kind of thing from your average two year old; from a pet rabbit, not so much. I have to cut her some slack though, I think she’s pregnant. I also think they’re a little older than the breeder I got them from said they were. Either that, or I wrote their ages down wrong (obviously I’m going with option A). At any rate, it looks like our rabbit breeding project just got moved up by three months. Which means Gene only has a few more days to section off the Bunny Ranch. 
It could be a false alarm though – apparently if a female rabbit is exposed to a male teenage rabbit’s raging hormones, she can start acting pregnant, even though she isn’t. She started building a little fur nest inside her box two days ago; if she actually is pregnant that means Gene has about three days left to finish rezoning the ranch. I’m super excited to have a bunch of baby rabbits! Although if we don’t sell them all, the Bunny Ranch will need an addition. I can’t imagine having up to ten bunnies of substantial size… Harvey and Claire are already bigger than the chickens!

In other farm news, I’m sad to say we lost Pippa. She was one of my favorite chickens, and the most friendly of the flock. The scary thing is I have no idea what was wrong with her… she was fine in the morning, then by nighttime I noticed she couldn’t stand up without falling over. I immediately admitted her to the chicken hospital (also known as our master bathroom shower), but she didn’t make it through the night. At least she went peacefully though. None of the other chickens are showing any sign of illness, in fact they are quite the opposite – both the chickens themselves and their eggs are getting larger. They are also going through feed at quite an amazing rate; they take after their mama in that they eat more when they’re cold and bored.
Christmas and Thanksgiving are still enjoying their holiday reprieve. Christmas seems much more cuddly – every time I go into the pasture I’ll turn around and she’s huddled right behind me. She then looks up at me with her beautiful, pleading turkey eyes and says, “Let me live, mama”. (Okay, not really, I threw that in because Gene reads these before I post them).

Puff Daddy also sneaks up behind me whenever I’m outside, except he’s the opposite of cuddly. He’s decided that boots, any kind of boots, are his arch nemesis and must die immediately. It’s really hysterical, because he’s one of the tiniest, fluffiest of all the chickens, but he’ll give you the evil eye when you walk over to him, then without warning he’ll run straight for your feet and start pecking them. 
It’s much more endearing than Sean Paul’s habit of exploding off the roost in the morning and flying straight at your face. He’s in such a hurry to get out of the coop that he’s actually  bounced off me a few times. He can also execute a 90 degree turn in the air, which is rather impressive. It’s amazing what I’ve gotten used to as a farmer…what used to terrify me, such as a ball of squawking feathers and feet coming straight at me, now makes me say, oh, how sweet! He wants outside! Then I calmly turn my back and let him careen off my shoulder on his way to the great outdoors.
I’ve also found myself, on more than one occasion, finding a nice juicy slug clinging to the underside of the chicken’s watering dish. The old, non-farming Andie would have screamed, dropped the dish, and ran to get Gene to move the slimy, nasty, bloated worm. But the seasoned farm girl Andie shrieks with delight, thinking what a tasty treat is in store for the ducks. Then I grab it with my bare hands (without even an inner cringe!) and throw it over the fence, where it is met with much happiness and quacking.