I don’t even have a good excuse for not posting in two weeks….mostly my time has been spent looking out the window, sighing heavily, and grinding my teeth as I watch the ducks floating around in the huge puddles forming in the backyard. We’re going to have to move Christmas’s chalet before it floats away; this year’s flooding is much worse than last years. Luckily for her, I elevated her floor last year, so the rubber mat is up on pallets and she stays warm and dry despite her new lake front property. Harvey, on the other hand, returns to the Bunny Ranch every night looking rumpled and fussy. He definitely shares my opinion of the rain, and it’s making him cranky. The other night I brought out his customary treat when he came hopping home, and he glared at me because it wasn’t Wheat Thins. I thought he might appreciate fresh zucchini slices, but apparently not. I braved the rain storm again, swapping out the offending slices for a fresh carrot. He glared at it, then glared at me. After a third trip back to the house, I offered up a freshly dug potato, which earned me a glare and a heavy bunny sigh, but at least he ate it. I guess I need to go stock up on Wheat Thins.
The chickens spend all their time either partying under the winter enclosure or in Harvey’s Bunny Ranch. I love looking out the window and seeing twenty of them crammed in there. Harvey doesn’t seem to mind, and the chickens have gotten used to him. They truly hate the rain, and tend to look pretty miserable when they get caught out in it. Last week, I thought they needed some cheering up, so I splurged on “Happy Hen Treats” at the feed store. Thank god the family-sized container of freeze-dried meal worms sports a huge ‘not for human consumption’ label on the front of it, because they look so tasty I might have been tempted. Not. Definitely worth the $16, though, they come running when I shake the container.
On one of the rain-free days last week, I was helping Gene move the fence line back to enlarge the pasture area. And by helping, I mean I was standing there using my formidable backside to prop up the fence while he pulled it tight. I must have stepped on a slumbering wasp, because I suddenly felt a simultaneous burning and chewing sensation on my upper leg. I’ve never encountered a wasp before, and my initial thought was somehow a spider had crawled up my leg. My very next thought was that I couldn’t see Nugget on her usual perch; my pants have never come off so fast in my life. Fiona tried to help remove the offending garments by grabbing a leg and running off. Not my finest hour, chasing a goat while pantsless in the middle of the afternoon. On the plus side, as I ran past the shed chasing the goat I saw Nugget, which made me feel a bit better. Then Gene checked out the bite mark, and I felt a lot better when he declared it wasp inflicted.
Gene, with Abigail’s assistance, spent his weekend building Shy an alpaca cabana, the latest addition to his unending list of projects. It’s a three sided structure attached to the goat’s shed, and it has a heat lamp and a feed and water station. Shy has yet to go in it, even in the rain, but Christmas and Woolimina love it. Christmas hangs out there during the day, and Wool beds down in it at night. I’m sure once we hire a towel boy, Shy will have no problem hanging out in the cabana. At the rate the yard is filling up, it will be a pool-side cabana in no time.
Other than that, not much is new here on the farm. The chicks are still happy in the garage brooding facility, and I have taken it upon myself to design what I now refer to as The Installation — a state of the art, six-foot tall, fully enclosed brooding resort. The bottom three feet will be plywood, topped by three feet of framed chicken wire. There will be roosting bars all the way up, and a plywood roosting platform at the top of the wall. The front wall will be hinged, and open in the middle for ease of cleaning. I also wanted to put in a live tree with branches for hopping and perching, but Gene squashed that dream by telling me if we put a tree in the box, then the chicks will get used to roosting in trees and not go into the big coop at night once they’re outside. While I had to concede his point and erase the tree from my blueprints, I did remind him to refer to it as The Installation rather than merely ‘the box’. He just stared at me, but I’m used to that. The key feature in my brooding resort is a pond feature that hangs below the floor level, with a removable cover. That way ducks can grow up in that half of it, and when we don’t have ducks we can cover the pond. I thought that particular detail was genius, and probably enough to earn me a scholarship at the architectural school of my choice, should I choose that as my next career.