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The Stoats of Science!


 

 

 

Stoats as a Unit of Measurement. Get your poster here. No, not my work.

A reminder:

American           British
Weasel              Stoat
Least Weasel        Weasel

First lambs today! I could hear them yesterday, but not see them, so I went in search of laa bam at dusk today. I couldn’t get close enough for photography, though — the mamas didn’t like the look of me at all.

The lockdown continues apace. It’s as quiet as Christmas morning out there. We’re doing fine, though we’ll run out of fresh milk soon. My spies tell me the shop in town has plenty of everything. May go for a field trip soon.

Welcome to Week Two of the Plague!
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 30, 2020 — 7:42 pm
Comments: 11

The Return of Spoon

I hauled myself out at six this morning, no Spoon. I had plenty to do in the garden (it’s a mess after six months of daily rain) so I hung out and pottered around and about 8:30, a blackberry bramble in the drive began to softly “bok?…bok? Bok?…bok?”

You’ll have to take my word for the question marks. She sounded puzzled. And, honestly, who among us has NOT woken up in a hedge mid-morning with no idea how she got there?

She was about six feet up a bramble, in a kind of hole. I had to get my gloves to lift her out or I would have been torn to bits.

She was safe enough up there. The polands generally go way high and are protected for the night. The danger is next morning, when they flap down to ground level. If there isn’t a human around to stink up the place and keep the foxes at bay, there’s a real risk.

Tonight, all my chickens are right where they should be. Perhaps I can get a decent night’s sleep and a bit of a late morning, for once. Have a good weekend, everyone! (As if weekends held any meaning).

March 27, 2020 — 7:19 pm
Comments: 13

Nothing happens to me now that doesn’t involve chickens

I had a brilliant idea to take Mo, my most violent cockerel, and shut him up with his girlfriend in the fruit cage, so he could get some free ranging time without being within murdering distance of the other boys.

Bad plan. He managed to escape in about ten seconds flat and corner the two poland roosters way deep in the hedge where I couldn’t get to him. I’m crawling on my elbows through brambles trying to grab his scrawny neck when the kitten wonders, academically, whether it would be fun to chase the hen around the fruit cage, violently.

I got everything sorted in the end and sat down, scratched and muddied, to an ice cold cup of coffee.

Say a prayer for my girl Spoon, pictured, who didn’t come home at roll call. I think the two cats energetically playfighting in the garden occasionally spooks a chicken out of her usual territory. I’m not out with them all the time. I walked around and called to her until it was too dark to see anything.

Cross your fingers that she turns up in the morning. She’s my favorite chicken.

March 26, 2020 — 8:33 pm
Comments: 10

That’s what I wanted!

See, this is what the whole exercise was about: cat buddies. They’ve been playfighting and rough-housing, but this is the first time I’ve caught them having a snooze together.

Something about not usually being allowed to sleep on the bed that will do that.

‘Twas a glorious sunny day in the garden today, but another near freezing one tonight – a pattern that will be repeated for some time.

Off for a bath!

March 25, 2020 — 7:36 pm
Comments: 8

Last trip for a while…

We were non-compliant today! We left the house!

We’ve had Wellington’s last shots scheduled for weeks. This morning, we called the vet and they counselled us to come in as planned as this was their last day for who knows how long. They’re shutting it down. We didn’t get to go in, though. You wait in your car, someone comes out and takes the cat carrier, vanishes inside and returns a little while later with your cat.

Nice young lady vet came out and said, “I know this one! I did his castration!”

How nice.

Afterwards, we swung by the gas station and got some bread and toilet paper, as you do.

And that’s it. Now we’re locked down tight.

*sighs* *looks around the room* *sighs again*

March 24, 2020 — 8:34 pm
Comments: 14

Won’t anyone think of Wellington’s balls?

I think we’ve settled on Wellington. He’s down on the vet’s register as that, so it’s a done deal. We took him in late this afternoon for a neutering early tomorrow morning.

I hate to think how scared he must be tonight, in the dark in a cage with the bad smells and the scary sounds.

You may remember I sought him out as company for our two-year-old cat, who’s a sociable little chap. Of course, being a kitten, Wellington has driven Boo nuts. Playfighting too hard, giving him no peace. It will settle down when he grows up a little, but he’s driven Boo out of the house many’s a time.

And now that Wellington has inexplicably vanished, Boo is beside himself. He’s gone all around the house to the places the little one liked to hide. I’ve never seen a cat do this.

Now he’s gone outside. I hope he isn’t looking for Welly out there in the dark.

Virus update: as predicted, now they’re taking testing seriously in the US, the confirmed cases are swelling. From under 200 a week ago to almost 800 tonight. Still too lackadaisical in the UK, though – including my employer, who was shocked when I suggested cancelling a large gathering later this week.

March 10, 2020 — 9:18 pm
Comments: 17

I think he’s settled in

What he doesn’t know is, he’ll be neutered Wednesday. Or, as the vet bluntly called it, castrated.

But after that, he can go out into the world and he wants that more than anything. We’re still in contact with the woman we got him from. She confirmed to me that her living room was the only place he’d ever been.

She’s a very nice lady, but that was never going to work. I think this guy is going to be a bruiser.

If only he would tell us his name.

Have a good weekend, everyone. Remember your clocks change on Sunday (we have another couple of weeks). The sun had some real strength and virtue in it today, and no rain. Hold on!

p.s. does the pope coronavirus?

March 6, 2020 — 9:34 pm
Comments: 22

I couldn’t resist…

The lamb from yesterday’s adventure. There aren’t many speckled flocks around. Incidentally, the lambing starts in earnest in about three weeks. Spring is coming!

I had some elderly bananas hanging around, so I have just made banana bread. This is one of those American foods that confuses Brits. For one thing, it’s clearly a cake, not a bread. They have banana cake here, but it’s light and fluffy not heavy and dense. At least, all my banana bread recipes are heavy and dense. And very rich.

I think they’re just being polite when they compliment it. They’re embarrassed for me and my inability to bake a light cake. If I called it a ‘heavy banana loaf’ or something, I bet it would go over better.

They have a thing called Soreen, which is denser even than banana bread, so it’s not outside the realm of British foods. There’s even a banana flavored Soreen.

It’s all in the marketing.

I would like British bacon 100% more if they relinquished the holy name of bacon and called it ‘chewy pork slices’ instead.

March 4, 2020 — 8:15 pm
Comments: 13

My dinosaurs are cranky

Illustration by RJPalmerArt

Happy Leap Day!

I ran across a neat article about a dinosaur exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History. I looked up the show only to find out it closed in January of 2017.

I hate the Internet sometimes.

Screw it. Still a neat article. It’s a NatGeo about feathered dinosaurs. I mean, we’ve known some had feathers for a long while, but the article went into more detail.

T. Rex was definitely feathered, apparently, because they fossils of his cousin, Yutyrannus Huali, have plumage.

I remind you that a chicken is a living dinosaur, and I wish to inform you my dinosaurs are very unhappy at the moment. It has not ceased to rain. I can recall on one hand the days without rain in the last six months. The lawn around the chicken run is mud, and the mud is now the consistency of chocolate pudding.

Three times a day, I pull on my wellies and squish out to feed wet, unhappy birds. The straw of their bedding just seems to suck moisture from the air. I can’t tell what’s mud and what’s chicken shit, I just know I come in covered in it. I’m sneaking heavy bags of wet straw and chicken shit into the household trash hoping I don’t get done for industrial waste.

I’m amazed none of the birds has gotten sick.

And tomorrow, we’re getting tropical storm Jorge (the Spanish named this one). High winds, rain and hail. I’m so utterly beyond sick of it, Oh My God.

But, hey, at least I didn’t mention the flu! Good weekend, everyone.

February 28, 2020 — 9:18 pm
Comments: 10

Zen Poultry

I got a message from YouTube today; somebody asking to use a sample from this chicken video of mine.

I’ve rewatched in like a bajillion times since then. My first two chooks pecking around in the sunshine. I could watch it all day.

I hope he doesn’t use my nice chooks in chicken porn.

February 18, 2020 — 8:43 pm
Comments: 7