Tuesday, July 07, 2009

July, With Added Poultry

Someone said they thought it had rained at least once a day for 27 days before the sun finally burst forth on July 3rd. I would believe that. It's not unusual for weather in New England to be occasionally obstreperous. And spring is about rain, even if it's a little late to the party. Regardless, the endless dreary days were beginning to wear a little, and I was heartily glad to see the sun.
If you look to what in the photo is north, you'll see the unmistakable billowing of a thunderstorm. It missed us by mere miles. We watched it go, holding fast to the deck in the firm belief that it would pass us by, and it did. I knew it would. See, we'd had plans.
Mr. Wonderful had managed to score tickets to the Vermont Symphony Orchestra concert in Grafton, Vermont. The concert was to follow a day of arts and music in town. It was to be held in an open field and was to be followed by the ubiquitous fireworks that generally accompany such performances in early July in America. We were quite excited. After endless days of rain, to sit in the grass, picnic, sip wine, listen to good music, cuddle up for fireworks - what could be better, right? But this is New England, and plans are often made to be changed. Glancing at the radar and predictions for the Grafton area romantic picnics in the park were not going to be on the menu. The concert would take place indoors. Fireworks would be canceled. I would stay home. Don't get me wrong - I adore music. I adore small towns tucked in the middle of almost nowhere. What I couldn't fall in love with was the idea of sitting indoors listening to rain on the roof of a high school while thunder crashed loudly in opposition to cymbals and drums. I just couldn't do it. You see, the forecast for my area indicated that the storms rolling in were going to skirt our house to the north. Mr. W. seemed pretty dejected about the loss of the ideal of the picnic in a sunny field idea as well, so home we stayed. There was a brief hour of pouting, but we pulled ourselves together and headed out to buy something to slap on the grill instead, abandoning the open-air picnic dinner in favor of the more traditional potato salad and steak. Still in the open air, just quieter than a field full of romping kids and cuddling adults. We worked around the yard until evening, then took up our positions on the deck; dogs at our feet, wine glass in my hand, and something in his hand; I don't remember what. It worked. It worked for everyone apparently. The bees are very active the minute the sun appears. They race around wildly gathering pollen and water for the hive. They like our deck as there's often a glass of something forming condensation on the table, where they can easily gather water.We stuck to that deck like glue until dark. I said it worked? It more than worked. It was really quite perfect.
Now about those babies. Remember the cute little fluff-balls I showed you a while ago? Well, time has a way of bringing changes to even the smallest members of this little corner of the world; or maybe it brings the most change to the smallest among us. They're all about the bling.I herded them into a corner so you can get an idea of their sheer mass. This is about half.They are, of course, Disney fans. They really enjoy the contrast between the color of my foot and the clog and spend a lot of time pecking the tops of my feet through Mickey's head.They are very curious about their environment. There's a lot of racing, running, jumping, flapping and sqwaking as they learn to be what they already are.There's even some indications of nesting instinct, which will be handy in the future. This is a Marans. She looks the spitting image of my old Marans hen Eleanor, who loves nothing better than a pile of eggs and a quiet nest box.They are very social, as this little Red Sussex demonstrates. There are a few, 10 or so, who don't just come running. They will, if we squat down, jump right up on hands or knees or anything else they can find. There's a few that love to be petted and held.Insatiable curiosity is the order of the day. The red beam on my camera is a source of intrigue.But what they really love more than anything else in the world is to eat.Do you know how humans in their adolescence will eat any and everything that comes into their path? That's what this is all about. They're consuming as much food as we can give them, putting on grown-up feathers and a nice layer of fat.They're going through 70 pounds or more a week, and 35-40 gallons of water, and that number is increasing dramatically and exponentially.The weight and heft of each chick is noticeably greater on a daily basis. Very soon two things will happen. They will be let out of the house for the first time into a fenced yard. I am looking forward to this because I cannot clean their house while they are still in it; I need them to not be underfoot and escaping out the front door. They'll also start getting "extras"; tops of radish and such from the garden, the grass clippings from mowing, anything that we're not going to eat, they will.They can eat me out of house and home for all I care. They bring more than enough fun to my party to warrant a few bags of grain and buckets of water!


booksNyarn said...

Yay for added poultry, they grow as fast as the kids, don't they?

I don't think that I want to track rainy days (and thunderstorms and tornado warnings) for this month! Give me some sun!

Yarnhog said...

I assume that a fair number of those are female...what will you do with all the eggs when the start laying?

Judy said...

Melissa, this has got to be one of the most satisfying and gratifying activities ever. I remember a week of farm life while hubby Jack and first born Sue, assisted by one and only son Steve helped bring in the hay, my youngest Sandi and I would feed the chickens and clean their lodgings. It was great fun until Sunday dinner time and poor Sandi found out we were having chicken for dinner that day. She completely lost her appetite. Now that she's in her mid-forties, the only chicken she eats is skinless/boneless chicken breast. Unrecognizable as any living thing. Such is life.

tina said...

Y'know............ I never knew chickens were so interesting! I read the post with a great 'aha' factor. I especially like the part about them being so wonderfully curious and social. I'm really feeling bad about the fact that I am not a vegetarian. Really.

KSee said...

how great to see them growning. Question--do the same breeds tend to stay together?