Monday, January 19, 2015

Sound The Alarm

We had a little Summer break today!

And tomorrow's forecast is the same!
It felt like a little taste of Spring at least...


We went on a nice long walk this afternoon and soaked in some sunshine. 

Ayden's imagination comes out the most on our walks.  He loves the great outdoors.  

Logan had his first cube of frozen breast milk at dinner in a mesh feeder and he seemed to really like it!  He'll be starting solids in a month and a half or so.  It's a little hard to wrap my brain around that...

An opossum has discovered our chicken coop.  First it started out just eating eggs but now it's after the hens themselves.  Lucky for us, we have the smartest chickens in the world.  On Saturday night, I was washing the dishes and doing some party prep when I heard a chicken.  Their wings have been clipped and they've been confined to their chicken yard for months now so it was weird that one was on the porch.  She was pacing and looked stressed.  Logan was in bed and David was watching a movie with Ayden.  She made me feel like I needed to go close up the coop and check on everything so I got my headlamp and boots and headed out to see what the fuss was about.  Low and behold, there was the opossum standing there in the coop.  The 4 other hens were all huddled together up on the highest roost bar.  That hen somehow managed to jump the fence and came to get help.  Still holding on to her, I ran back inside to get David.  He grabbed his rifle and went out but it had already left by then but in the time it took us to get back out there, it had tried to catch one of the hens.  It had pulled out a big tuft of feathers and she was pacing the fencerow in a tizzy.  

Fast forward to tonight, David was out building, Logan was in bed and I was reading Ayden his bedtime books when I heard the chickens sounding the alarm.  At first, I wasn't sure what to do.  I was pretty sure it was the opossum but what if it wasn't?  Ayden was a little scared because I shushed him to listen and then jumped up and opened the door.  He wasn't about to stay inside the house without me while I checked on things.  I was obviously hesitant to take him with me in case it was something bigger or more vicious than the opossum.  So I took a deep breath and thought about it.  If it had gotten into the coop, which was the only reason the hens would have come out of it, it had to have been the opossum because all other predators are too big to fit through the holes in the fence mesh.  So, I grabbed my boots and my headlamp and headed out with Ayden on my hip.  I didn't know what we were going to find but luckily all 5 hens were accounted for.  Two were stuck in the fence from unsuccessfully trying to get through it, another was pacing the fence row looking for a way out and the other two were on the highest roost bar in the coop.  The opossum moseyed its way through the fence and got away while I was freeing the chickens from the fence. The three hens that were out were understandably stressed and flustered.  One of them had a bloody toe but other than that they all seemed okay.  With Ayden still on one hip, I had to pick up each hen one at a time and put them back in the coop because it seemed to be the last place they wanted to be at that moment. Ayden would stroke their backs and we were both talking calmly and trying our best to sooth them. 

They did not hesitate for a second to let us help them.  That has been an interesting constant with these hens.  We have had them for over a year now and while they do not really like to be handled on a day to day basis, they seem to know when they are in trouble and that we are trying to help.  They even come and get us or sound an alarm for us for goodness sake! They know we are their guardians and I'm positive they are way smarter than we give them credit for. By the time I got them all back in the coop, the bicep of the arm that had been holding Ayden was cramping up (he did NOT want to be put down out there after all of that).  I closed the coop, we collected the eggs and thanked them like we always do and we came back inside to talk about it all.  Ayden had a lot of questions and was pretty stoked that he got to see a real live opossum (even if its eyes were glowing in the light of my headlamp... YUCK).  We talked about it for a few minutes then he was ready for bed.  He might have some interesting dreams tonight!

Anyway, that was the big excitement of our day.  I am afraid that that opossum does not have a very bright future ahead of it.  Eating the eggs alone, while annoying and messy, would be relatively harmless; but this one's got it's eyes on a bigger prize.  We are going to be on the lookout with the rifle ready.  This is one part of farming that isn't so great, but we've gotta do what we've gotta do.  


Flashback!  Here's what we were up to one year ago today: "Spoke Too Soon"
And two years ago today: "Moving Mountains"

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  1. This was a very exciting story, it kept me on the edge of my seat. Please keep us updated on those chickens. They are very interesting to hear about.

  2. Hey Sarah:-)
    My little man is six months on the 30th. We are EBF and it's going great! I wasn't able to breastfeed very long with our first son ( only about six months) and so we started the traditional way of feeding...cereal, fruits, veggies, etc. I've read a lot about BLW and we're giving that a go this time. I thought I read WAY back that that is what you guys did with Ayden? I was told by our ped that " Food before one...just for fun" so we still nurse for his nourishment and just let him "play" with a few things on his tray.

  3. I am a working mama and so I'm a little hesitant to let daycare feed him "real food" like we do at home. So I'm torn between BLW at home and purees at school or strictly breastmilk at school and food at home until he's a pro at self feeding? Any suggestions?