Thursday, October 07, 2010

New Animals

Well, I finally got the six chicks out of the laundry room, then cleaned their business off the floor, scrubbed the table, books--that's where the cook books are--and rewashed all the clothes that normally sit on top of the dryer. And you know what? In the first two days the chicks, now about 8 weeks old, were out in the coop, three disappeared. I decided it must be snakes so I put a hose underneath the coop in the most obvious hole and turned the water on high. Nothing. An hour later, nothing. That had to be 10 gallons of water a minute, or five and Marco, Madeleina and I left it on for about two hours. Nothing. No animals came out from under the little coop house and not a drop of water escaped. Where the heck did 600-1,200 gallons of water go? we all wondered.
So then two days ago, Marco went out with a pick axe and tore up the floor of the coop. He came back--I was in the house taking a break from mowing the lawn that had grown to over two feet in that general section of yard on the other side of the creek--to announce that he'd discovered a colony of field rats. "I killed three or five, but there must have been 20 or 30 under that shed. And I only saw one part."
I gave him a bunch of rat poison cubes and he came back the next day and filled in the area under the house--seems there is a sinkhole there, which is where the water went--and then laid a new floor and that is that.
For now.
So in the last two days we've not lost a chicken to the rats, though I'm still skeptical about how the rats attacked and carried off the chickens without leaving a single feather and not a drop of blood. And I know it's not the red-tailed hawks anymore, as we've got that spiderweb of string and copper wire over the cage now and it has not been touched. And there is not a single hole large enough to accommodate a hawk with wings open--flying in--or a hawk with a chicken in it's mouth taking off.
So did the rats do it? Hard to fathom without feathers or blood. But then I'm not a farmer.
Today, to shore up the ranks, I lucked into a few chickens about two months away from laying, and a few ducks. Madeleina is now filling up the small duck pond. So until those rats get them, I'm gonna hear the sweet sound of quacking for a while. And the cluck of half a dozen chickens. And that will blend with the bleating of the goats, the insistent sound of the meow of the cat, the bark of Boots. And the birds in the house.
Lot of sound. But then it just reminds me to live every minute. Know what I mean?
PS: Madeleina just opened a Dr. Pepper made with cane sugar. It's an 8 oz bottle, but different from regular soda because of the natural, if poisonous, cane sugar.
"Dad, you're the best," she said. "Now, can you go out and feed those animals while I sit here, watch television and enjoy this soda?"
I didn't say anything. But she knew what I was thinking. Not a chance, darling. Not a chance.

1 comment:

Gritter said...

You, sir, are truly a madman of the highest order.....and I LOVE it!!