January 3rd, 2007


Well Met by Moonlight, or Followed by a Moonshadow

I swear we've turned the corner. Well, technically, I know that 12 days of xmas comes from the fact that the days and nights remain pretty much the same for that period of time. Sunset has already turned around, sunrise is holding steady for about another week. Must just feel like it because the weather has been clear and pleasant since it rained a few days ago. One minute a day. I'll take that.

Full moon last night, or very close to it. Dragged the weatherdude out on my 5 mile walk. We spotted a car and walked the pass. We walked from almost Leesburg back to my favorite parking spot at Rt 704. The sun set as we went. We finished in the dark and the moon was on our backs as we walked west, casting huge shadows in front of us as we came down out of Clark's Gap. The temperature started in the 50's at 4:30 and dropped to below 40 by the end. We could see our breath in the moonlight. Neither of us had worn a heavier coat. I had forgotten my gloves and felt hat, let alone my down vest. On the entire walk we encountered only one runner, an idiot running the bridle trail in the dark. At least on the asphalt he wouldn't have turned an ankle on a stone. We had the world to ourselves. A sharp-edged sunset and Venus in view. Trees looming over us in the dark. I know that section so well I could note each half-mile marker we passed in the dark, though the last was the toughest to point out.

The girls have dropped production to around 10 eggs a day. I hung the chicken calendar in the coop and took a photo. That's as close to a rooster as these girls are going to get. Walkabout continues to fly out. Yesterday I watched her perch on the fencing for about a minute before dropping down. G was here to do work and he put her back in as soon as she got out, several times. We've become more jaded about the process. Ho-Hum. She's out again. Oh? Well, let her be for an hour or two. See if she gets back in herself. (no)

Meanwhile, work progresses on the story I eviscerated two days ago.

Frog Out

The Coop as Convent

Definitely a girls' club.

From Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens:

"Two temporary methods--brailing and clipping--are used to control young birds that will eventually grow too heavy to fly. Brailing involves wrapping one wing with a soft cord so the wing can't be opened for flight. Clipping, the most common method of controlling the flight of backyard chickens, involves using sharp shears to cut off the first ten flight feathers of one wing. Clipping causes a bird to lack the balance needed for flight...Two permanent flight-control methods, pinioning and tenectomy, are more often used for game birds than for chickens...Pinioning, like clipping, controls flight by creating a lack of balance between a bird's two wings. it is a surgical procedure requiring sharp shears to remove the tip of one wing at the last joint...Tenectomy calls for removal of a section of one wing's tendon..."

Walkabout is not a small hen. Heck, I thought she was already too heavy to fly. Lightweight netting secured over the run is also suggested.

But here's the deal. Walkabout marches to her own drummer. She doesn't care if she's with the flock or not. She's the only hen in the bunch that feels this way. The others go everywhere in pairs or in hordes. What one does, the others do. Except Walkabout. A rugged individualist with the brains to get herself out of the cage and free. In my heart, I identify with her. So as long as the weather holds the fox and other predators at bay, I can't do it. While I see the danger that she doesn't and while I have the responsibility for her, I also feel for her desire to go her own way. I can't blame her for 'going over the wall.' Crazy chicken. Crazy owner.

That's not Walkabout in the userpic. She was on the OTHER side of the fence.

Frog Out