Friday, July 29, 2011

One Down, Twenty-Five to Go

The reaper visited our chickens yesterday.

The Cornish Crosses are known for dropping dead occasionally, the result I suppose of being a hybrid that grows so darn fast. Sometimes they grow so fast their hearts can't keep up and they "flip", die suddenly of heart failure. We were sure Death was coming for one little guy, Nudie Bum (the only one with a name. You may remember him from a past post - he has issues with his vent), as his comb has been an awful shade of purple for the last week but he's still alive and kicking.

No, Nudie Bum lives but an anonymous hen is no more. The husband let them out of their ramshackle coop yesterday morning to eat and free range and between the time he opened the door and set down the feeder one hen tipped over and died. Bummer.

Two things to be thankful for though. Although we ordered and paid for 25 chickens we recently realized we do indeed have 26 and the dead chicken is a hen and not one of the much meatier roosters. Wait, three things to be thankful for. It was compost day yesterday and since it's not advisable to eat a chicken when you can't be sure what it died from we could toss it right into the compost bin for the truck to pick up in the afternoon.

Good timing on Death's part.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


My husband and I could only watch as, just half and hour ago, our old rotti/lab mix walked around the entire living room, peeing.

There was nothing we could do. If it was the other dog we could have shooed her out the front door but the old dog is a runner and it takes forever to catch her when she gets loose.

Ugh. Usually she's fine but I suspect it was such a hot day that she spent most of it lapping of the contents of one of the toilets so that, despite a couple of walks, her bladder could no longer take the pressure.

I've finished the mopping. I sort of wish I could finish the dog.

Friday, July 8, 2011

All Aboard the Chickenmobile!

For the last week our Cornish cross chicks have been getting loaded into a wheelbarrow and wheeled outside to spend the days outdoors. We've borrowed a dog pen from my brother, run chicken wire around the bottom and covered it with a tarp for shade and this is where the chicks spend the day lounging and eating and grazing and eating...and eating. These are meat chicks after all. Food is an obsession.

Today is the last day in the basement at night for at least a good portion of the little guys. Our brooding box is now officially too small for 25 three and a half week old chicks, the nights are warmer and many are almost fully feathered. It's a good thing too because the maintenance required to keep down the stink from these poop machines is something else. Anyhow, I thought I'd better snap a few pictures.

Here are almost half the little buggers after being wheeled out of the basement. After some initial clucking and cheeping they all seem to settle down and enjoy the ride.

Inevitably one malcontent tries to escape.

Harry, who is earning the reputation of being a chicken-whisperer in our house, is becoming the one that does most of the handling. The rest of us just want to load or unload as quickly as possible. Harry talks to them, waits for his moment and then carefully and tenderly lifts them. They, in turn, are calmer with him then the rest of us. Despite his expression (the sun was in his eyes), he enjoys being the one the chickens like most.

As we unloaded the second load of chicks today they began to realize they had wings. In just a few minutes they had all jumped ship onto the lawn.

The escape was not a worry. These guys just don't run and eventually they all headed right into the enclosure of their own accord. That's where their fellow chicks were, where the water was and most importantly to these little fatties, where the food was.

The End.

Not really. I went up to fill the water bucket for the chicks and handed Harry the camera. As I was turning on the tap I heard him giggling wildly. When I checked the pictures a few minutes ago I found this:

A lovely picture of my pregnant arse. Of MY end.


The End.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Tiff, a Snit, and a Happy Ending

Tuesday, homeschooling for my son and I was horrible. I was tired and he was unfocused and after an hour of struggling everything dissolved into anger and we both marched off in a snit. He was convinced I was the meanest mom ever and I was convinced I should ship him off to school.

As I was lying on my bed trying to work my way back to calm and reason my daughter came in and handed me a note from Harry. I read it, smiled and wrote a response. The note went back and forth a couple of times and ended with Harry and I having a big snuggly hug.

Here it is:

It was so hard getting him to read and spell yesterday. After our tiff I was convinced I was getting absolutely nowhere with him or that his focus issues were insurmountable but gosh, when I read the first sentence of that note I realized just how far he'd come. Six months ago he was barely reading. His handwriting was indecipherable. Spelling was non-existent. And yet now he could produce this bittersweet little message where even the misspellings showed a new competence.

So it was just one bad homeschooling session, not some huge failure, and in the end Harry showed me that all the work and frustration have been absolutely worth it and that despite our problems, we're getting there.

What a great kid.

ETA: In case anyone is wondering the progress we made was after several other reading programs got us nowhere after the last couple of years. It was only when we started using Apples and Pears and Dancing Bears, programs meant to help kids with learning difficulties, that Harry really started to understand phonics and begin to read and write.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Only in Canada?

I finally found my camera and so I can post a some pictures from our little local Canada Day parade.

I don't know what other local parades look like but ours always starts with the town cryer outfitted, of course, in a kilt made from the provincial tartan.

Local businesses take the opportunity to promote themselves a bit.

Anyone with a cool vintage vehicle drives in the parade.

Anyone with a cool miniature vehicle drives in the parade.

The kids wait for candy to be thrown by those in the parade.

There are horses and dogs, local community groups, usually pipers but none this year and, of course, firetrucks from all the local volunteer departments. And then there was this...?

And this?!

So what is a float dedicated to the Boston Bruins doing in a Canada Day parade you ask? Well, turns out that there are a LOT of Bruins fans here. Yeah, yeah, I know it seems like we should all be cheering for a Canadian team but the only teams in the east are the Canadiens and the Maple Leafs. So if you aren't a Montreal fan and don't want to lower yourself to being a Toronto fan there's generally one other clear choice. Boston is closer to us culturally and physically then most Canadian cities. We've got firm ties from events in the past like the Halifax Explosion when Boston came to the aid of Halifax and I've been assured by many people that Boston is so similar to Halifax that it almost feels like home to transplanted Bluenosers. Add to that that Boston is an Original Six team with more istory then half the Canadian teams and it makes sense that so many Nova Scotians love the Bruins.

And lots of the parade viewers loved that float, especially when it went past and they saw the fellow on the back with the paper bag over his head.

There is nothing more Canadian then taking a jab at the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Monday, July 4, 2011

And So It Begins?


Harry has some issues. He has trouble with focus in certain circumstances. His hearing is odd. His recall is sometimes odder. There are a lot of little things that, pieced together, make me suspect he's got some sort of auditory processing delay. I called up our provincial hearing and speech clinic and Harry's now on the wait list to get assessed*. I should have a better idea in two to three months. I'm also thinking of mentioning this to our family doctor and getting a referral to see if there isn't an issue with learning disabilities. They DO sort of run in the family after all.

He's a bright, clever, sensitive kid so to sit at the table with him and help him with his work should not be as frustrating as it is much of the time. I should not leave the table exhausted. He should not leave the table despairing. But that's how it is sometimes. He's made remarkable progress in reading ever since we've switched to a program oringinally designed for dyslexics, Dancing Bears, but it should not have taken this long to get where we are.

So off to assessments we go so both of us can get a handle on what's really going on. Wish us luck!

*For the Americans looking for health care info this is a no-cost service here in Nova Scotia. I could get Harry in quicker at a private clinic and pay out-of-pocket or possibly through our health insurance but it's not an emergency so I'm happy with this approach.