Friday, September 23, 2011

Henyard Chronicles 3

I promised myself I wouldn't do it again.

The little chickens breed like rabbits, they will hatch a dozen or more, 80% of which don't survive to adulthood and the ones that do make it are all too often roosters. This perpetuates the cycle as roosters do what they do best, often.

The last batch a wily old hen succeeded in raising, two little black pullets made it to adolescence before she abandoned them, as they do. Eggs to lay in places nobody will ever find them, things to do, you know how that goes. Every day at feeding time I look for them and am glad to see them.

Yesterday only one came and I feared the worst. Little did I think, but there are things much worse than worst.

I could see Loa the chicken killer dog being very interested in something so I went to look. Ah! There was the little black body so I bent down to pick it up and dispose of it. I never allow a dog to keep the spoils, that would be a reward for bad behavior. To my horror a tiny beady eye stared at me and slowly blinked. She was a bloody mess but alive.

Cradling her in one hand I went into the house, found a box, lined it with a towel and put her in the box. She would die in a warm dry place. I checked on her before I went to bed and she had moved but was resting quietly.

The next morning, to my surprise she was still alive and the full horror dawned on me as I gently cleaned her up a little. The dog ate off her wing.

I promised myself I wouldn't do it again. I lied.
There is a chicken in my bath.

Y'all come back!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

No Need For Noah

Himself is a man of enthusiasms. His latest is that we will have a hibiscus hedge. They make a good hedge here, stay leafy year round and if we live long enough will give us privacy from our obnoxious Peeping Tom neighbor, Slither. This yellow one on the left is called Hula Girl.

Have I mentioned that we live in a natural wind tunnel? We have learned it is better to buy very small hibiscus so they can grow good roots before they are tall enough to have to fight the wind, or they lean over. Hula Girl is leaning.

Himself started by planting them three feet apart. After about a week of looking at them he decided we needed to plant more so they were about 18" apart.

This is one of my favorites below, look at the size of bloom on that tiny plant! It is called TieDye.

He has been watering every day. I hope he is prepared to do the yanking out of kikuyu grass which will grow right over the top of anything including your house.

We are dry, dry, dry and with dry comes dusty. We have a real problem with ants in the garden. They can kill a full grown tree and seem particularly partial to corms and bulbs, they must taste yummy. So far I think we may have lost one hibiscus plant. The ants also come marching into the house in hordes. I found a neat 'green' tip online which works on indoor ants.

Take an empty jelly or jam jar. Put in one or two or three cotton balls. Mix 1 part Borax, 1 part sugar and 3 parts water, fill jar about half way. If you have pets which are likely to want to drink out of the jar pierce holes in the lid. The ants will find their way in to enjoy their last swim.

Y'all come back!

Friday, September 2, 2011


Image of mother chameleon and baby copyright FLChams.comOur youngest cat, twelve week old Joe Kitten shows signs of becoming a mighty hunter. This morning he brought in a juvenile Jackson Chameleon before it was even daylight. This is not a picture of his catch but it is still neat. Mother carries her baby on her back until he is ready to leave home.

Chameleons are fascinating prehistoric looking creatures. We found our first one in the garden about five years ago and they are obviously thriving in our cool humid upcountry climate because this one is not an adult. He is almost certainly a Mt. Kenya Yellow-crested Jackson's Chameleon (Chamaeleo jacksonii xantholophus) you can read about them on this commercial Florida breeders website (no affiliation) they have some incredible pictures.

Fortunately for this chameleon his sticky feeling toes and tail encouraged Joe Kitten to drop him on the floor. I was able to scoop him up and temporarily shelter him in an empty plastic container with a lid. He is ruffled but unhurt. Look at his marvelous opposed toes. Clicking should enlarge some of the pictures.

He is not thrilled to be in his slippery plastic container, see his three little horns? They tell me he is male. Females do not seem to have horns.

After the morning rush hour, while Joe the mighty hunter was having his after breakfast nap, I took the chameleon outside and gently tipped the container so he could grasp the bark of our avocado tree.

He was hesitant, just for a moment and then raced up the tree so fast I barely got another picture of him. He is there! Enlarge the picture to see.

I do like stories with happy endings!

Y'all come back!