There are a lot of great things about the early part of the season. Babies are super cute, the workload is just ramping up (so there’s time to remember how things work before we get into the full swing), and the weather is relatively mild.
First, the pigs. They’ve done a pretty good job of getting things cleared up for me. I’m still learning to manage their destruction well, so there’s some grass left in the part I seeded, but I’ve divided their new space into more pieces (and added some), so I can rotate them through and hopefully give previous spaces time to rest before I bring them back in. I’m hoping that if I bring them in a few times I can get more of the grass and other undesirable plants removed before I try to plant over them. At this point, the area in the middle has been planted and is already starting to sprout.
There are two parts to the chickens: the babies Buffy has been raising and the two she rejected. I’ll start with the ones she’s raising. There were four chicks that hatched at around the same time. They’re about three weeks old now and moving around a lot. She took them out of the chicken house for the first time on Monday (they were locked up over the weekend because we had a wedding to go to and a predator who made two attempts – during the day – just before we left). I was worried that they would have a hard time getting back into the shed with the ramp we have set up. And they did. A couple of the chicks are big enough that they could try to copy her flap up onto the concrete blocks holding the ramp up. But there were two who aren’t quite that big who had to cheep a lot before they figured out that they could walk up the ramp. They all managed in the end though. Tony has enjoyed taking pictures of them and the dogs have been really curious, but Buffy has been really protective. It’s kind of funny watching a bird no more than 10 pounds chase off a 55 pound dog.
The sad part of the story is that she rejected the two last hatches. The first I didn’t find until she’d already destroyed it, unfortunately. And I didn’t realize that’s what had happened until later…I assumed it was another one of the chickens being vicious for some strange reason. But a couple of days after I found the mostly dead chick, I was watching her and noticed that there was a new hatch in the nest (she’d taken the other chicks off the nest to explore the house). I was wondering why she was ignoring such a loud complaint from the new baby, but when she got back to the nest, she started attacking it! I nabbed it before she did much damage (there is a nice chunk out of the back of it’s neck, but it honestly doesn’t seem to notice). I put it in an unused fish tank with the heat lamp I bought a couple of winters ago, when it got super cold (only the second time I’ve used the thing, but I’m glad we had it). Anyway, that chick has been doing really well. I tried to finish the rest of Buffy’s eggs in an incubator I borrowed from someone I know, but I set it up right before I left and the temperature wasn’t right (for multiple days), so we gave the eggs to the pigs. Probably not a bad idea given how bad they smelled when the pigs chomped down. Now I just have to figure out how to integrate the single reject into the rest of the flock. I have a few ideas, but we’ll see how it works.
There are lots more pictures in the album (lots of chick pictures).
The last week has been a learning experience, to put it mildly. I don’t remember the my last experience with a puppy and I’ve never had an indoor puppy. Tony had indoor dogs when he was growing up, but it’s been a while since they were puppies too. We both had (and still have) a lot to learn. One thing we learned was that baby gates are way more useful than we thought they would be. The cats don’t like the gates, but they’re getting used to jumping over.
As far as cat-dog relations, they’re learning to get along, though they are definitely not friends. Sometimes (most of the time), Rhythm is really good about following the cats around calmly. Other times, she gets excited (either because the cats flip out and she just has to chase or because she just gets some wild idea that cats might be fun playmates) and the cats don’t like that much (Coke has batted at Rhythm a couple of times). But overall, I think the cats and the puppy learning to get along in their own way.
Rhythm is definitely Tony’s puppy. She follows him around and gets very sad when he leaves whatever room she’s in. On the other hand, she notices if I leave, but doesn’t seem to mind much. This morning, though, Tony left the room and she went right on sleeping…until he started whistling a song from Hansel and Gretel. This is the picture I got when he came back in the room.
As a bonus for listening to me babble about puppies and learning curves, have a chicken picture! Burgundy was laying when I went to let the chickens out.
We’ve been talking about getting a dog for years. When we lived in town, there was always a reason to wait: Tony was working, I was in school, we didn’t have time, whatever. Now that we live out of town and a lot of our away-from-home time obligations are reduced, we both wanted to get a dog. Tony enjoyed his memories of the standard poodle his family had when he was younger. We made arrangements and our standard poodle puppy arrived on Sunday afternoon. We spent the afternoon getting acquainted.
We expected that she would be pretty tired after riding several hours to get here, but she was a huge ball of energy. She spent several hours playing.
The cats weren’t really sure what to do with Rhythm. Coke was kind of silly and kept walking around on the floor, where Rhythm would torment Coke by following her around (this is one of the times Coke actually got up in a perch to escape from Rhythm).
Quicksilver, on the other hand, has always hidden when something new happens. He stayed in high places and he stayed pretty still, so Rhythm pretty much ignored him (that doesn’t mean he’s all that excited that she’s here – you can see the reprimand in his eyes, right?).
I think she’s grown in the last several days (I feel like she’s leggier now than when she arrived) and we’re all adjusting to each other. Rhythm and the cats are still learning how to interact with each other and Tony and I are still adjusting to a regular schedule with earlier waking times than we’re used to. But it’s not all hard; there are the good things too. She bounces like a goat, dives into piles of leaves, dives after her toy like a monster. And my relief when she finally goes to sleep is hard to describe.