Saturday, January 16, 2010

More Chickens, More Chicken Scratch

So the darned red-tailed hawks and an owl or two wreaked havoc with my chickens and ducks. I think I've mentioned it, but in case I have not, I had about 16 chickens and 4 ducks. Then one chicken stuck her little neck through the fence and had her head cleanly bitten off a few months ago. And then last month we lost another, and a couple of days later, another. Until last week we were down to 7 chickens and 2 ducks! I mean, that hawk was probably looking down on my critters and thinking I'd opened a delicatessen just for him. Sure, like I'm blowing 10 bucks in chicken feed and 10 bucks in good Coastal hay and 10 bucks in the bread they like ever week so that the hawk can have a fat meal.
I've looked for netting to cover the pen, but man, good netting ain't cheap. So Madeleina and I have taken to locking up the birds at night--okay, I tell her to do it and she does it because the birds won't listen to me--in their little house and that's made things better. We haven't lost any this last week or so.
And stubborn as I am, I went ahead and bought 10 more today. They're only about 5 weeks old, but they're feathered out and the guy at the feed store says the bigger ones shouldn't mess with them too much. HA! They're probably writing little signs right now for the hawks and owl that say things like: "The little guys are much sweeter then us old birds!" and "Eat the babies, not us!" that they're going to hang around the yard.
Madeleina doesn't know I bought the birds yet. I did it in a moment of feeling like a hayseed today, just after I took a truck load of garbage out to the dump. I have those moments of activity generally when I have a story on deadline, which is now. But it's coming along: there's a time when you've got so much information on a story in your head that your head needs a little while to sift through it, ruminate to figure out which is the best material and which stays in the notes. And that's what's happening now. Great topic; way too much info collected and too many interviews done to use half of it--I think I've got more than 10,000 words of interviews for a 2,000 word story--so I'm just letting it sort itself out. And when it does, bang! out comes the story as if it was easy. Ha!
So that's the report: Dead ducks and new chickens.

PS: Johan, who's designing the book, says he thinks the cover, which I already thought was great, is freaking fantastic. And I'm looking for a few little sketches I made to add to the mix. I've also asked a pal to make some sketches for me: Just things like Julio stirring the ayahausca while he's making it; people on the ceremonial hut floor, the things used in ayahuasca ceremonies, stuff like that which I think would be a real nice touch to the book.
And of course, here's the reminder for those of you who didn't buy one yet: Get it while it's still being done! Be part of a noble experiment! Get yer butts over to and send the $25 via paypal and buy one. BUT....if you only have one $25 bucks to spare, give it to someone who needs it before you spend it on the book. The book is good, but there's awful shit going on down in Haiti and probably at the local food banks where you live. So those come first. But if you do that and still have another $25 burning a hole in your pocket, then I'm a pretty good second or fourth choice.


Johan said...

I will send you two ideas for the covers, did you get my last mail.

Gritter said...

Chicken wire is cheap. Put chicken wire (instead of netting) over the chicken coop - no more thieving hawks.

I'm gettin' a book!!

Unknown said...

If you run any wires over the chicken area you should be able to keep hawks from landing. Hawks need a fair amount of space to take off and land and they can't do that if there is something like multiple clothes line or wire strung across the top of the area.