It’s raining treats!

Now that it’s completely dark by five pm, I’m under extra pressure to make sure everyone has an array of delicious treats to distract them from the miserable, dark weather so characteristic of November in this lovely damp state. Wilco had a sale today (2-for-1 Happy Hen Treats – yay!) and I bought a Flock Block to put in the winter enclosure. It’s basically a compressed square of everything I offer in separate feeders in the coop. I bought two huge bags of discounted apples at QFC, and Ritz crackers were on sale as well, so naturally I bought two boxes of those. I should be good on treats for at least a few days.

Even though it’s raining constantly, I decided to move the latest batch of chicks to the big coop. They were getting testy and fighty, so I figured they needed more space. The transition went smoothly, and they’re already roosting on the bars with the big chickens.

Winston, trolling for chicks.

Winston, the newest rooster, is already macking on this newest flock in hopes of recruiting a harem. The poor injured chick that was living in a hospital box inside the brooding box definitely needed more space, which is another reason the other chicks needed to vacate. Since nothing is more sad than a lone chick in a huge brooding box, I hopped onto craigslist to find her some friends. I got in contact with a really nice lady who had Lemon Cuckoo Orpington chicks crossed with a chocolate Orpington. The chicks, which they dubbed “Locolates”, are adorable, and now two of them are keeping the injured chick company. The injured chick’s surrogate mother, a Welsummer, is broody again so I’m also letting her sit on a clutch of eggs. I timed it perfectly, too, since they’re due to hatch on the day of my next (and hopefully last) surgery — I’ll have something cute to come home to! That also leaves Gene about three weeks to build an outdoor nursery area, since I don’t want another young one getting injured by cranky adult hens.

Other than the migration to the big coop, not much is going on around here. The high point of my week was when I won a long, drawn out battle with a huge evil wasp. The wasp hitched a ride in on a log for the wood stove, and of course I didn’t discover it until like one in the morning, when I saw three of our cats batting around an extraordinarily large bug. I didn’t realize it was a wasp until I’d zoomed in on it with the camera (cuz guess what’s cuter than a picture of cats playing with bugs? Nothing!) I’m not normally up that late, but I’d spent the day cleaning and was just going to bed. When I discovered what it was, I immediately wrapped about half a roll of toilet paper around my hand and tried to squish it. Not only did I hear the furious buzzing, I actually FELT it through the wad of paper. When it pushed itself out from under my hand, I scattered kitties, tp, and unfortunately the angry winged insect all over the room when I reflexively jumped ten feet in the air.

What wasps see in their nightmares.

The wasp disappeared behind a framed picture, but squishing the picture against the wall didn’t kill it, it just pissed it off more. I brought out my biggest gun, in the form of the Hoover with the hose attachment. After chasing it around the bedroom for a bit, lugging the vacuum behind me, I finally sucked it up in the hose. I could still feel it pinging around in it, though, because something is wrong with the hose attachment and it doesn’t have much suction. I didn’t want the wasp to escape, so I finally ended up Scotch taping the hose shut, and dragging the vacuum out on the porch for Gene to deal with when he got home. In my defense, he said it was still alive when he untaped the hose, but he did say reports of its size were greatly exaggerated. He also said one piece of Scotch tape would have sufficed.

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