Thursday, December 29, 2011

They Call Me By a Number Not a Name...

    This title come from an old Flatt and Scruggs bluegrass tune.  I once considered this tune to be my unofficial theme song as I was anxiously waiting to finish my seven year term of indentured servitude in the Air Force. "On this old rock pile...with a ball and chain..they call me by a number not a name.  When I've done my time.. when I've done my time...with an aching heart and a worried mind."

   My ducks are probably quietly quacking this song now as a new indignity has entered their lives.   I bought some numbered leg rings to put on the ducks and chickens to make it easier to tell them apart.  Popeye (the drake) is pretty easy to recognize due to his distinctive curly tail feathers (hen ducks don't get them) and the fact that he is significantly larger than the two hen ducks. However, Olive Oyle and Sweetpea look very much alike. Olive Oyle is only slightly larger than Sweetpea. Just in case Sweetpea catches up in her growth someday I thought the numbers would be helpful.  I also put them on my new chickens although there are only two which look a lot alike.  I have three Cuckoo Marans,  two of which have very similar plumage.  I also have two Americaunas but one is reddish brown while the other one is mainly white. However, I expect to add more chickens at some point so it will be nice to easily tell the older ones from the younger ones.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Great Duck Pen Mystery

   I've been very perplexed with a recent development in my duck pen.  I have three fawn and white India runner ducks.  They don't fly. They run around a lot but I've never seen them fly and they're not supposed to be able to fly.  Yet somehow poultry poop has been magically appearing on the roof of the little duck shelter within the duck pen.  I had briefly kept a chicken in with the ducks some months ago and the chicken would occasionally roost on top of the duck shelter resulting in an accumulation of chicken poop on the top of the shelter.  I built a new chicken pen several months back, moved the chicken to her new digs and the rain had quickly erased any evidence that the chicken had ever lived in the  duck pen. But now the poop has mysteriously returned.

   About a week ago I took custody of an additional 5 laying hens that my daughter-in-law Beth had been raising. They've been living in the new chicken pen with my old Rhode Island Red hen. The old hen has been a bit territorial and has the new hens effectively cowed.  I've gone out there several time after dark and found the red hen roosting in the chicken coop by herself while the young hens were sleeping on the roof of the goose shelter (as of yet unoccupied) in the rain.  Each time I have moved them one by one into the chicken coop and hoped that the old biddy would soon figure out that she no longer had a private room.  A few days ago I went out to check on the chickens to see if they were finally roosting in the coop where they belonged.  I didn't see any chickens asleep on the roof of the goose shelter so I was hopeful that they had finally worked out their pecking order.  When I looked in the chicken coop to my surprise I only saw the old red hen.  I looked in the nest boxes and still found no young hens. Yet I could hear them making the kinds of quiet little chicken noises that they make when they are roosting.  I looked everywhere in the chicken pen and couldn't find the chickens but yet I could hear them.  Finally I listened carefully and looked up to discover five young hens roosting on the wire roof of the duck pen right above the duck shelter.  Obviously I am going to have to do a bit of a rework job on the chicken pen to preclude any of my chickens flying the coop.

    I took some evidentiary photographs but they are unavailable at the moment so I will add them in a few days

Saturday, December 10, 2011

My First Attempt at Sushi

    As I was exploring Cash and Carry the other day I noticed they had the seaweed wrappers (sushinori) used in sushi and I was inspired to give it a try.  Fortunately, I had watched my daughter (Sarah) make California rolls once so I had somewhat of an idea. There were also concise instructions on the package of sushinori.  My first effort turned out very lame, but subsequent rolls were passable. I'm sure its obvious which plate is the first and which plate is the last.

    The biggest problem I had was getting the rice the right consistency.  The instructions started with rinsing the rice until the water wasn't cloudy.  I did that and then cooked it according to the instructions,  However, the rice turned out a bit dry and I had to microwave it with a bit of water to soften it up a bit.  I'm not sure where I erred in following the instructions but fortunately I was able to fix it. Alls well that ends well.

   I've been busy at work filtering beeswax and making candles.  I really enjoy making candles but I've about made enough to do me for another year.  I think I have enough dipped tapers to last us into April or May.  Lately I've been trying to crank out beeswax nativity sets. They look really nice, but a few of the figures are a challenge to get right.  I've poured a lot of Wyoming donkeys and cows as Quentin calls them. Those are ones missing part or all of their ears due to frostbite.  Its taken a bit of practice to learn how to get them out of the molds without breaking of part of an ear or two.

    Tomorrow marks my second full week serving in the bishopric.  The biggest lifestyle change has been the need to manage and schedule my time better.  The service is rewarding, but I'd rather serve somewhere that doesn't involve being in charge of so much stuff.  I really can't complain. They left me alone in Primary and scouts for about eight years.  I still get to participate in scouting now, just in a different capacity.