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Some newsy updates

I thought it was worth a review of the highlights to let you know where all things stand, such as snakes, apocalyptic chickens, cows, and Mitzi S. Oh, I wouldn’t forget about her, don’t you worry.

Firstly, it is true, snakes do not live alone. Where there is one, there is more. We caught another super large black snake heading towards the chickens a few weeks ago. We decided to dispatch this one. We also decided it was a great learning experience for the kids. So they observed as Hubs took a shovel to it and chopped off its head. Brutal, I know. Maintaining my status as snake handler, I had to pick up the body and chuck it over the fence into cow territory. What I didn’t know, was that snakes keep moving, A LOT, after they’re dead. This was far more horrifying than a live snake. I don’t want to get too gruesome here, but that mouth was opening and closing, still trying to bite well after the spirit had passed. And the long body, it was writhing around like a whip. Freaky stuff, man. Next time I’ll probably let it live just to avoid that horror scene.

We have ten chickens now. Well we have six adult chickens and four teenage chickens. We got four chicks from Tractor Supply to raise up. They are so cute when they’re just a few days old. Two of them died right away, and this was very sad for the small people in the house. And me. We buried them in the front yard under a tree with a plaque that says “My Beloved Pet.”

Somebody before us had buried a pet there, obviously. Apparently the kids never noticed this. When we performed the chick laying to rest ceremony, J read the sign and interrupted my eloquent words with, “wait a minute, there’s something else buried here?”

“Yes, it’s a memory tree for pets that have died.”

“So there are bones, like right beneath us, here?”

“Presumably. Can I get back to my speech?”

“…can we dig them up?”

“For heaven’s sake child that is incredibly morbid, no we are not digging up the bones of a dead pet that wasn’t even ours.”

“…k, where do we usually keep the shovels?”

I had to put my foot down on that one, and hide the shovels.

Our fearsome dog, Juno, takes her job of guarding the flock very seriously. Despite her best efforts we have lost one chicken to a hawk. Blissfully there was no evidence of the loss, and B still prays most nights that our prodigal chicken will come home when she’s ready. Bless him.

The chicks stopped being cute about two weeks after we brought them home. This is a real drag because they have to live inside until a certain age so they can survive the cold. I was stuck with four (we got two more to replace the deceased) scraggly looking bird things running around my sunroom being loud and pooping everywhere. Then we got these kittens-that might be a story for another time, but what you need to know is that while we are allergic to cats we do have a pretty serious mouse problem. An outdoor cat has been something we’ve discussed at length. These kittens came available and we went for it. My brother has an outdoor cat and when I asked him for care taking advice his sage wisdom was, “outdoor cats come and go, they might run away, they might die, the important thing is not to get attached. They make more of them.”

Okay. Let’s revisit the chick burial service for a minute and let that sink in.

The kittens are way cute and we immediately kicked the ugly chicks out to the coop in order to free up the sunroom for the new kittens. Let that be a lesson kids, stay cute or else you’re moving outside.

I mean seriously. Just stop it.

Chickens are monsters. Things were mostly okay for a couple of days, the big ones were harassing the little ones but that seemed like it would shake out. Until I went out there about a week after the move, opened the door to the egg area and holy moly it was like someone had graffiti’d in there. One of the big chickens had pecked a little one on the neck so badly I could see its spinal cord. I am not joking. Google told me all would heal and that chickens are surprisingly hardy. We keep them separated now, the littles in the upper part of the coop and the bigs down below. This is terribly inconvenient and involves a lot of moving food/water so everyone can access it, shutting in the chicks before the big ones return from foraging, letting the big ones out before they get too antsy. This is why Hubs is out in the woodshop right now building me a second chicken coop, as I type this.

I have not seen any more cow births, nor deaths, so I’m calling that a win on both counts.

Mitzi S. She is still at it. But get this, she LOST her last competition. I should have taken a picture of the rankings wall but I didn’t want to seem too conspicuous. Some guy named Chris was ahead for the entire month of March and got in more miles than her for the first time ever! Chris, I don’t know where you are, but I tip my swim cap to you, sir. I asked her about it and how it felt to lose, she claimed she was volunteering with some ‘learn to swim program’ for kids so couldn’t get as many laps in as normal. Yeah, yeah, lady, I’ve heard it all.

I’ll be keeping an eye on her, that’s for sure. And the chickens.

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