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Free the East Sussex Four

The chickens have not left the henhouse for a week, except the occasional short foray into the run for a peck. I wouldn’t put it past them to starve themselves into anemia.

It’s not the snow. It started two days before the snow, when we had a heavy, white frost. The chickens took one look and announced, “the grass is white. Grass is not supposed to be white. Ergo, we will not leave this small wooden enclosure until the grass ceases to be white.” And they meant it.

Changing the subject, Uncle B was up uncharacteristically early this morning. When I slouched out of bed several hours later, I asked him what was up. Said he was woken up by a Very Bad Smell. Which he decided was me, since I’d eaten a bowl of exceptionally garlicky soup for lunch.

Just now, I told him I was going to tell this story, he was all, like, “be fair — I did say I thought it might be the cat’s box.”

That’s supposed to be mitigation, you understand: he couldn’t decide which smelled worse, his sleeping wife or a dirty litterbox.

Huh. Anyway. Not guilty.


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: January 22, 2013, 10:27 pm

I’ve amused myself all day reading this site. Oh, have I been there.

It’s kind of designer-centric, with a little IT support thrown in, but you’ve probably had similar.

Comment from Mike James
Time: January 22, 2013, 10:51 pm

You were up quite late last night, I know because you mentioned it and I was resisting mightily the temptation to try to say something cute about the Badger wanting you to come to bed. Were you absentmindedly snacking on something that “gives you trouble” or “upsets your tummy” or “makes you fart like a backfiring Harley-Davidson?”

We’ve all done it. I once looked up from the screen at three o’clock in the morning and discovered that without even realizing it I had gotten up and baked and eaten an entire frozen pizza. There was a round piece of cardboard with crusts on it right next to me. Oh man.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: January 22, 2013, 11:10 pm

We keep very late hours, as a rule. I’ve adopted Uncle B’s hours, which suits me fine. All those years in a cubicle, I learned to get up early, but I am by nature a night person.

Comment from Gromulin
Time: January 22, 2013, 11:28 pm

“Can we do the website in black and white to save some money?”

So NOW we know the reason.

Comment from Bob Mulroy
Time: January 22, 2013, 11:37 pm

Do you know why a chicken coop has two doors?

Because if it had four, it would be a sedan.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: January 22, 2013, 11:48 pm

It does actually save bandwidth, Grom. It’s one of the reasons I decided to go monochrome. Also, way back when I first started the blog, I envisioned it looking like an old newspaper. Originally, it had horoscopes and weather and shit.

Comment from Paula Douglas
Time: January 23, 2013, 12:34 am

Wife or litterbox? Nice. My boyfriend once mistook my Doberman’s paw for my hand. The dog was seeking attention and tapped him with its paw; boyfriend, riveted by television show, says distractedly, “Not now, sugar.” Dog house. Now. Go.

Comment from Deborah
Time: January 23, 2013, 12:35 am

Poor little chickens—they need a sun room. My chihuahua felt the same way about white stuff. I’d throw a small rug down on the grass when there was snow in the forecast so he’d have a dry patch for his business. I’d also shovel a spot too, if I forgot the rug. It was easier on both of us.

Comment from Scott Jacobs
Time: January 23, 2013, 1:15 am

In Uncle B’s defense, this is the first time it was neither the box or the wife… 🙂

Comment from PatAZ
Time: January 23, 2013, 1:44 am

Poor babies. Surely you are hand feeding them, right? They have to keep up their strength.

Comment from Skandia Recluse
Time: January 23, 2013, 2:28 am

Ever go bare foot in the snow? Ya, da chickens don’t like it neither.

Meanwhile along the 46 parallel, the day time temperature never got above zero Fahrenheit even in the sunshine. Could be a coupla weeks like this before its over.

I was checking the Canadian temps, North and a eighth west it was -35F. Global warming, you see?

Comment from steve
Time: January 23, 2013, 3:15 am

Qui a coupé le fromage

Comment from Nina
Time: January 23, 2013, 5:32 am

Ewwww. It doesn’t sound like it made it up to Manchester, though, which is where my daughter is at the moment, waiting to catch her flight home…it would be hilarious if her last memory of England was France pong.

To me, anyway. 🙂

Comment from Gromulin
Time: January 23, 2013, 6:03 am

So…white or gray pixels move easier than colored pixels? The internet is racist.

Comment from scottthebadger
Time: January 23, 2013, 7:54 am

Well, at least you can blame Warren Buffet for the stink.

Comment from mojo
Time: January 23, 2013, 3:20 pm

“Phew! Smells like a Frenchman in here…”

Comment from David Gillies
Time: January 23, 2013, 4:23 pm

Remarkably, there is no mention of the stench release in the French press as they were so used to awful smells they didn’t notice.

That clients from hell site is going to give me PTSD. I have been requested some things in my time that have had me wanting to ask, “what, what in the flying fuck are you talking about? Do you have an undiagnosed brain injury? Do you not realise that that is retarded on a cosmic level?”

Comment from Redd
Time: January 23, 2013, 5:58 pm

So, how does that coop thing work? Is the little door normally kept closed? What’s the little caged area under them? How do they access their “flats”? Is the sole purpose of a chicken coop safety? Are there heated/AC coops?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: January 23, 2013, 7:12 pm

David, I particularly like the (many!) people who want clickable links (and/or animation) on the printed version of their brochures.

The little door with the windows? Yes. The thing hanging off the left is the nest box, where they lay me eggs (when they effin’ well feel like it). There’s another opening with a sliding door to the right (with the ramp coming out from it) that some people close for added protection. I don’t, because there’s a floor in the run (so a fox can’t dig in and reach them) and we get up so late, it would be cruel to leave them locked up. The cage area beneath the coop is just part of the run that extends to the right (and, boy is it a booger to clean up under there).

They came out today! Not for long, but I was proud of them, since there was still a little patch of snow to be seen.

Comment from Redd
Time: January 23, 2013, 7:50 pm

Okay, I now see the little ladder going up. So, chickens have to have privacy when they lay an egg? I’d want someone holding my hand — and an epidural!

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: January 23, 2013, 8:08 pm

Oh, yes…they definitely want privacy to lay an egg. If you open the door on them, they give you quite fierce looks. Though sometimes, two will get the urge at the same time, and I’ll find them both crammed on the same nest (and the other one empty).

I hate being near the nest box when one of them is “going.” I’ll hear this terrible, high-pitched “eeeeeeeeeeeee-pant-pant-pant-eeEEEEEeeee!”

Comment from mojo
Time: January 23, 2013, 10:31 pm

So, I see where the usual suspects, geniuses all, are giving HRH Harry a ration of shit for (get this) “antagonizing the Taliban”.

Antagonizing? They need to be antagonized? Who knew?

Harry should get up in their smug faces, and mock viciously:
“It’s my job to ruthlessly kill the enemies of freedom wherever they may lurk, Citizen!”

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: January 23, 2013, 10:41 pm

Oh Dear. Wife, Litter box or French Effamation….

UB, I HOPE you aren’t planning on sex in the near future… LOL

Or maybe, that’s what Dom Delouise REALLY meant by “The French Mistake”…. 😉

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: January 23, 2013, 10:55 pm

Who wants sex with a woman who smells like a litterbox?

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: January 23, 2013, 11:03 pm

Or French Flatulance, for that matter.. LOL

Comment from Mike James
Time: January 24, 2013, 2:00 am

Who wants sex with a woman who smells like a litterbox?

original response deleted for reasons of plain decency

That depends on how long it’s been since I had sex.

But I’d like to point out that the figure increases as I age. A lot.

Comment from Redd
Time: January 24, 2013, 1:24 pm

Wow. Williams & Sonoma are in the chicken coop biz:


WS doesn’t have them, but tooling around the internet, I found coops that look like old western saloons that are sort of cute.

Here are some very modern designs by a company called Omelet: http://www.omlet.us/shop/chicken_keeping/

I like the shades and sleeping bags.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: January 24, 2013, 2:22 pm

Oh, the Eglu. It’s a good idea, but they’re hundreds of pounds. Because they’re rubbery plastic, they don’t get red mites.

The wooden ones get red mite infestation that’s almost impossible to get rid of. The only thing that really works is a coating of creosote, which is no longer legal for sale here. The stuff they sell as creosote isn’t, and doesn’t work. So, of course, there’s a black market in the old stuff.

My biggest worry at the moment is a contest of wills with a very determined rat. Who hasn’t so much as had a nibble of the poison I put down 🙁

Comment from Redd
Time: January 24, 2013, 2:43 pm

It appears the health risks of creosote are BS:


The largest health effect of creosote is deaths caused by residential fires, which are entirely unconnected with its industrial production or use.

If the chickens aren’t smokers, I think they are safe.

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