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What is going through his tiny pea brain?

Sam, my #2 cockerel. I’ve told the story before. He used to be my #1 cockerel. One day, my #2 cockerel had enough of Sam and beat the snot out of him, henceforth #1. I didn’t realize it until chicken bedtime and I had to coax a muddy, bloody Sam out of the hedge.

When I get home from work and let the pekins out, Mo swaggers up to the girls and Sam runs round the back of the house as fast as his feathery feet will take him. There, he perches on the back of a chair and stares at me.

He’s looking right over my left shoulder as I sit in my comfy chair and shitpost on my laptop. He’s there for hours.

I would love to think he’s having weird, small, chickeny thoughts about the room, but it’s probably more about the oats we throw out the back door from time to time. Roosters are all about freedom, food and sex (in season). Not so much interspecies curiosity.

Good weekend, all!

January 27, 2023 — 7:05 pm
Comments: 4

It’s been a day, hasn’t it?

Man, can you imagine the world of shit that poor Pfizer ex-exec is in today? For posterity.

January 26, 2023 — 7:21 pm
Comments: 13

Joy and wonderment

Yesterday I did my taxes, today I threw out the Christmas tree. Hey, it’s early for us – we traditionally wait for Candlemas (we’re neither of us Catholic, just super lazy).

This is it. This is the absolute bottom of the year to me. After Christmas and before Valentine’s. Things start to look a little hopeful halfway through February, but now it rolls on day after day, gray and dark and damp.

Happy Burns Night everyone. I shall give the neeps and tatties a miss, the haggis a wide berth and go straight to the whisky.

January 25, 2023 — 7:40 pm
Comments: 9

Can’t talk. Doing taxes.

My taxes aren’t onerous, as you might imagine, but it’s always nerve wracking to interact with government.

I love the chummy “tell us about you.” Oh HMRC, I like barbecue and long walks on the beach. And puppies.

I have actually come to a screeching halt because it asked me for a line item from my P60. I haven’t the faintest fucking idea what a P60 is, but I guess it’s something the accounts people send me. I take pretty good notes every year in self defense and I don’t see any mention of a P60.

I’ve sent payroll a note.

January 24, 2023 — 7:58 pm
Comments: 6

It’s a chickenspiracy!

Okay, here’s one of the stranger conspiracy theories on offer. The woman in the video at the beginning of this thread says she’s been keeping chickens for thirty years and her chickens have never completely stopped laying in Winter. But this year, she didn’t get a single egg after October.

Until she switched from commercial chicken food to a mixture of corn, sunflower seeds and commercial goat food. Now they’re laying again.

But that’s backed up by tweet after tweet down-thread and some reposted Facebook threads saying the same thing. Lots of backyard chicken keepers say their hens stopped laying in September/October this year while eating commercial layers pellets. Not enough protein, some speculate.

A few years ago, one of our neighbors gave up keeping a few pigs for market. The government had mandated that commercial pigs be raised on commercial pig food. No more kitchen scraps. That was a red flag for me at the time, because it meant the government effectively controlled the price of pork.

It didn’t occur to me it also gave them an avenue to put something in the feed and hence the food supply. You know, tell the manufacturers that thus an such a chemical was a required de-wormer. Like something to make pork taste less awesome, or statins or a vaccine or an anti-fertility drug.

Okay, okay…I’m getting carried away. But who puts anything past the bastards now?

My chickens? My fancy little hens never lay from October to March, though they did stop earlier then usual this year. I’d be surprised if the conspiracy hopped the pond and contaminated a good old British brand like Marriages.

January 23, 2023 — 8:14 pm
Comments: 9

Monsters among us

Somebody left these two adorable porkballs tied to a lamp post on a rural road last week. It’s been damned cold here and they’re just little’uns. Rescuers think they’re micropigs.

The weird thing about that is, micropigs can go for a fair bit of money – depending on how micro they are. These guys look highly adoptable. People are strange.

Did I ever tell you about my pig? It was my job to take care of him. I think I was about 15. He was adorable when he was little, but but he grew up into a serious asshole. He was always getting loose and running away. I had to chase him down, and when I caught him he usually bit me.

Pigs have a nasty bite on ’em.

I think the experience was supposed to teach me a hard lesson about keeping livestock, but when the time came for his last ride, I couldn’t wait to shove his chompy ass up in that truck. Bye, bacon!

Have a good weekend, everyone!

January 20, 2023 — 8:08 pm
Comments: 6

I think I have rooster problems

Behold, the Dorking Cockerel. Yes, there really is a place in Surrey called Dorking and it is known for a fine breed of domestic chicken, called the Dorking. They were brought to Britain by the Romans and – unusually for a chicken – often have five toes.

This big metal bird was erected in the middle of a traffic circle in 2007. Locally popular, he is occasionally subject to fond guerilla knitting campaigns.

I have not seen this fine bit of civic sculpture. A visitor from Surrey told me about it and I thought I would share.

January 19, 2023 — 8:30 pm
Comments: 5

Police brutality

All I could think of when I saw St Greta laughing with the police before (or was it after?) her staged arrest today.

Not one of my better P’shops, but I’m kinda rusty.

January 18, 2023 — 8:09 pm
Comments: 9

This a weird one

Photo by the Center for Egyptological Research of the Russian Academy of Sciences, or CER RAS, who conducted the dig.

What you’re looking at is a pile of dead dogs with a child on top. The 8-year-old – sex is near impossible to determine at this age – was buried on a pile of 142 dogs. All died at the same time; no evidence of violence.

But wait! There’s more! The child was buried with a linen bag over its head.

The necropolis is in Faiyum Oasis, about 60 miles southwest of Cairo, and had burials in it for 1,100 years. Earliest so far is 400 BC. They have uncovered one other corpse with a bag over its head, and he was apparently executed (arrow to the chest).

The only clue, bits of blue clay were found around the dogs. Similar to stuff they find in Egyptian reservoirs.

So my guess is, the child was minding a pack of dogs. The Egyptians used dogs for hunting. And then something – a flash flood, little Timmy down a well? – and they all drowned together. As for the linen bag, though, I haven’t a theory.

January 17, 2023 — 6:10 pm
Comments: 4

For this one feature, and this one feature alone

Did I tell you guys I was elected secretary of the local art club? I’m very unhappy about it. It’s a tragic tale of blackmail, intrigue and very, very old ladies.

One of the things that came with it was a Mailchimp newsletter. I introduced that, actually – before me, it was all done on paper and mailed out. Endless envelope stuffing and mail merge.

Have you had the pleasure? I shouldn’t complain about a free version, but Mailchimp can be pretty clunky to work with.

One of the things I promised was a file version of the newsletter that can be printed or emailed. Turns out, that’s a whole lot harder than it sounds.

Warning: boring geekery to follow.

I thought I’d just print to pdf and be done. It never occurred to me that the printer driver would insist on breaking it into A4 pages. Okay, fine. But it also insists on printing all the various web dinguses and controls on the top of every page (even with “headers and footers” turned off) and cover some of the text with them.

That won’t do at all.

Things I have tried: finding a printer driver with a “continuous roll” paper option, “print to fit” on tabloid paper size and then snipping the sides off, every browser on my computer, various iterations of making Mailchimp print it for me.

In the end, I resorted to one of my oldest workarounds: Firefox. It’s been so long since I used it, I had to download a copy. It’s the only browser I’ve ever used that lets you right click on a frame and print just that frame.

I’m sorry. I know this is boring. I had to get it off my chest. Goodness knows I can’t describe it to the very, very old ladies.

January 16, 2023 — 8:08 pm
Comments: 7