Quilting, Farming, Variety

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

This Could Be Me ----

This dirty little fellow could be me after working in the chicken houses this week. Dust can be very bad: from feed, litter, and down from the baby chickens. Sometimes when the sun shines through a hole, I can see the dust twirling around and around in the beam of light; that's the reason we wear masks when working with them. Still, I wonder how much of that dust has seeped around the edges of the mask and made its way into our lungs.
We got the chickens on Monday afternoon; around 75,000 this time. See the red on some of them? They were sprayed with a vaccine before they left the hatchery.

There's quite a difference in these confined chickens and the ones we raised on the hillside when I was a child. These can weigh an average of over six pounds in seven weeks time; the hillside chicks took a lot longer to reach frying size. Mama set eggs in the spring and when they hatched, it was fun to watch how protective the mother hens were. These don't have a mother hen, but when they are first dumped out into the houses, they will follow us and come running at the least little tapping sound, a built-in natural act. By the second day they run from us.
Hillside chicks had their predators though: opossums, foxes, coons. While they were small, we fastened them inside a coop at night and later, when they were big enough to go inside the chicken house to roost, we closed the door to protect them. One night after we had gone to bed, Mama heard one of the hens squawking in distress, so she got up and went to the hen house with her flashlight, to see what was upsetting them. Things were fine inside, but the squawking noise came from down in the field. She shined the light in that direction and two red eyes peered back at her. Something had caught the hen! So, thinking she'd catch the criminal, should he come back, she went to the smokehouse, took down a steel trap, and set it at the door of the hen house.

When morning came, Mama went to the hen house to see what was in the trap. To her surprise, there was the old hen, caught fast! Poor thing! She had survived being caught in the jaws of a fox, only to return home and be caught in Mama's trap.

This is what I've been doing in my "spare" time; I should be finishing my quilt top!! I love working jigsaw puzzles in the winter. It does seem to be a big waste of my time though. Maybe I'll decide to work for thirty minutes, and before I know it, an hour, or maybe more, has past.
We had a folding table set up for Christmas dinner and just left it out for me to do the puzzle. Lots of space to spread out the pieces. A window screen makes a perfect place of confinement for the parts put together. I tell you, that fence was a doozy! I always start with the edges, then pick the easiest parts (in this case the sky) to work next, then build onto that. This puzzle is a John Deere, 1000 piece, called Generations.
I can see better to work on it at night and can be in the same room with my husband, whereas, if I go to the sewing room, we're apart. He doesn't care much about working puzzles, but sometimes will set in a piece or two. So, if you're looking for a good winter night's project, why not give it a go?


  1. I saw a puzzle tonight at the mall that I ought to get for you. It was 1000 pieces of brilliant orange sunset - very pretty, but it would take many 30-minute sessions to finish!

  2. How sad for the old hen! I wonder how she ever got away?

    Kels likes to work puzzles too...she has one started now. I think I know where she got that!