Is she or isn’t she???

The all-consuming question here on the farm revolves around Princess Ariel’s girth – is she or isn’t she pregnant? Sometimes when Abigail and I look at her, we think she’s about to pop out a kid right then and there. Other times, though, she just looks fat. I’ve read all the goat manuals describing the signs of pregnancy, but the problem with Ariel is sometimes she shows those signs, sometimes she doesn’t. If I was made out of money, I would bring her to the vet and get her an ultrasound. It would be so much easier if I could just throw social decency to the wind and ask, “So, when ya due?”

In other baby mama drama, Broody Mama finally cut the aprons strings on her chick. I saw it coming for days; the first thing I noticed was Broody Mama refusing to share any treats that rain down from the deck with her little one. In fact, she was actively running away with a half piece of toast hanging out of her mouth while her chick chased her, squalling for a bite. Tonight when I went to tuck all the chickens into bed, I ended up with the normal headcount of roosting chickens plus one. After re-counting a few more times with the same result, I realized Broody Mama had roosted up instead of sleeping in the old coop with her chick like she normally does. I found her chick sitting on top of a hay bale in the old coop, so I chased her into the new one. I couldn’t stand the idea of the chick facing her first night alone, especially since she  recently lost her two sisters to the owls, and besides, I want them all to roost together in one place. I hope Broody Mama decides to sit on another clutch of eggs, because I want more chicks!

I’m proud to report some headway in the various battles taking place here on the farm; I found out today the chickens have taken up my cause and are active rat hunters. I don’t want people to get the wrong idea, it’s not like we’re overrun with rats and need to find a piper with a quickness, it’s just that in my point of view, if you have even one rat, you have A Rat Problem. Between the chickens and the owls, the signs of infestation have greatly diminished. The flies are decreasing in number as well, thanks to the fly strips coating most every surface. I did discover a downside to using sticky fly paper, though, I mean apart from aesthetics. When I was gloating over my kills yesterday, I noticed I had accidentally trapped a ladybug – one of my favorite insects ever. Luckily I noticed her right after she had gotten stuck, because only a little bit of her shell was in the glue. I raced into the house and got a pair of tweezers, and I’m happy to report she was fine when I let her go in the greenhouse. I’m so happy the poor ladybug didn’t die, because it would be a shame to have to stop using the only sort of fly trap that seems to work.

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