Lesson 1313 – Down for the count

Something out there is taking me to the mat. I can barely breathe for the congestion.

Puffy eyes, stuffy nose, sneezing, I feel like a commercial. Hopefully it’s good old fashioned allergies (just took a clariton) and not the dreaded everyone-comes-back-together-for-school-and-swaps-germs cold.

In any case, I’m definitely down for the count. Catch you all next week when things should be looking better.

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Have a great weekend, everyone.

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Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

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Lesson 1312 – My cup of tea

It can be difficult work being a writer. There are good times when the work seems to come in a regular flow and there are tough times when you have no idea from where your next assignment will arrive.

Please Gods of contracts, send me some work.

What makes it so difficult (and yet so very, very exciting) is that every day I have to meet deadlines. Sometimes I have article that come due, sometimes it’s technical writing projects, and then there are my writing class plans that need to be prepared (along with the grading what seems like millions of essays.)

There are blog posts that need to be written, pitches that need to be composed, (because if there’s no work lined up, then there’s no work lined up) and on the side, I chip away at my personal projects that I hope to get into print someday.

It’s a crazy, frenetic and creative lifestyle which is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea.

But which is definitely mine. Continue reading

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Lesson 1311 – When a hawk attacks your flock

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Yesterday a local backyard flock owner contacted me because a “big, grey bird” (probably an osprey or a peregrine falcon) had attacked her flock. Although it didn’t get a chicken, she saw feathers “all over the place.”

Naturally she and the hens were shook up.

When your flock is attacked by a hawk, the first steps you need to take are:

Ensure the safety of your flock. That hawk has just discovered an outdoor buffet. You need to get all of your chickens in a secure location (make sure they have access to food and water) and leave them there for a few days.

If there are feathers, then there might be injuries- typically to the back of the chickens as a result of strong talons trying to grab its prey. You’ll need to carefully inspect each chicken to make sure there are no open wounds. If there are relatively minor wounds a little antibiotic ointment is called for. If there are any deep wounds, then the chicken needs to go into chick ICU (use that dog crate I talk so much about.) Clean and dress the wound. Make sure it is healed before you -introduce the chicken into the flock. (Remember that chickens will peck at anything that’s red, which is why a deep wound needs to be healed before other chickens come near.)

It’s been my experience that chickens suffer a sort of chicken-PTSD after predator attacks. They might seem a little off, confused or extremely timid. Just be aware of this and be prepared if it happens. The best way to treat this is to keep to a schedule, talk to the chickens in your normal voice, and keep them protected. Continue reading

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Lesson 1310 – The heartbeat of home

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Sent chick #4 off to college today. It leaves the girls in high school and two of the boys, one of which is working full time, the other attending college while living at home. Those two gone, but not gone.

You’d think I’d be used to this, but I find that my equilibrium is off. Where is everyone and where do they need to be, I ask myself as I count the bodies that are supposed to be in the house and find myself coming up short.

Where are Logan and Trevor – still sleeping?

Oh, they’re gone. Continue reading

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Lesson 1309 – Coming home

I know, as a mama hen you are not supposed to have favorites, (Zelda) but when you have a flock, you come to realize that some birds tend to be a little more equal than others.

It’s not necessarily related to the breed (although I love me some New Hampshire Reds) as much at it’s the roll of the dice. We’ve had some really friendly birds (Simon, Garfunkel, and Morganne) and we’ve had birds that both came with stories and then continued those stories in our backyard.

With all the devastation to our flock this spring and summer, I’m very happy to say that our 3 Marans have made it through the attacks. Rudd (who had been attacked and who then miraculously recovered), Lilly, and Charlie are still alive and well.

And while Rudd and Lilly came to our flock as adults, (someone who took my chicken workshop got them for her flock but quickly found they didn’t fit in and so offered them both to me – because she knew that I LOVED the breed) Charlie came to our house as a day old deformed chick who was going to be put down. Continue reading

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Lesson 1308 – Why you’ve got to go

Between getting kids ready to go to college, high school sports starting, coyote attacks on our chickens, and oh yeah, the Presidential Selfie Girls (who still need to get 4 more candidates) it’s been a busy, busy summer.

Yesterday Jeb Bush was in our neck of the woods and because we hadn’t gone to one of his events (the girls got his selfie at a parade) those of us who were at home decided to go.

This is what we learned:

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If you’ve ever wondered why we go see candidates in New Hampshire, here’s some insight.

Although we had seen Jeb Bush on the debate (and I have to say I wasn’t impressed with his performance – it lacked passion and authority) we didn’t know that much about his platform. In fact our opinion was that he didn’t want to be President and that the Republican party was probably forcing him to run based on his name.

When we heard he was going to be speaking locally, four of the kids (yes, the girls got another selfie with him) and I went and listened to what Jeb had to say.

Completely different impression. He seemed like a nice guy who knew his facts, had clear plans, experience, a sense of humor, defended his platform and who (in one of my kids’ opinion) seemed like he genuinely wanted to be President.

That’s why it’s so important to find out about these candidates, one of them is going to be the next president. *Your* next president. You should take the time to listen to them.

On the ride home, we discussed what we had heard There were a few issues we didn’t agree with but surprisingly we found ourselves agreeing with some of the points raised. Jeb got us thinking. Finally one of my sons asked me that all important election question:

“Okay mom, so he changed your impression of him, but would you have a beer with him?”

You know what? I think I would.

 

Continue reading

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Lesson 1307 – Breaking news

The other day I got an email from a local reporter. She was doing an article about the predator activity in our town, could I send her some comments? I’m also a writer and I’ve done some freelance work for her newspaper. Of course, I’d help her out.

I sent her a few sentences on what had happened with regard to our coyote, fox, and fisher attacks. Gave her some statements on what my concerns were and that I was glad to see the word was getting out to others. We all need to protect our animals and be vigilant was my message.

Next I get another email from the reporter, could she stop over to take some photos of the chickens?

Sure, must be a slow day but come on over. Continue reading

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