Saturday, July 30, 2011

Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures

Last night I was on Facebook, lamenting the fact that I couldn't lock up the chickens until the doe in the chicken run had left. Presumably through the open gate she'd come in through.
She was eating chicken food.
I was afraid if I approached the run, that she'd blast into the fence instead of using the gate. Deer tend to fun first and ask questions later. I didn't want to risk her getting tangled and injured in the fencing.
I went out about 10pm and she was gone. So was the chicken food.
She'd come in and gone out through the gate.
Or so I thought.

I don't let my chickens out to free range until about 3 o'clock in the afternoon. What that means is, the gate to the chicken run is closed until then. Only their coop door is open
This picture was taken at 9am.
How'd that (same) doe get in there?!
Eating chicken food again, as you can see.

I know deer can jump. Straight up. I've seen the bucks do it. They clear fences without a look back.
I've never seen a doe do it.
Evidently, this one can do it with style.
The fence is 4ft. tall.
The only place she could jump it and not bang her head on a tree branch is on the backside of the run. The trouble is, that spot is downhill and on very unstable footing (years of leaf litter and grass clippings).
She's not only jumping in, she's jumping out as well.
All for some tasteless chicken food.

Because her natural food sources are drying up.
Deer don't eat grasses. They eat what's called browse (leaves, shoots, twigs, woody vines). They also eat forbs (weeds and broadleaf plants).
We don't have a lot of either thing around here right now.
No rain equals no plant growth.

So what's a deer to do?
Risk life and limb by purposely jumping into an enclosed space to eat chicken food.
I just hope she times each jump perfectly. Otherwise the results could be awful for her and for my fencing.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, July 18, 2011


I haven't been posting with any regularity.
I've been grumpy.
I believe there are several reasons for the grumpiness, but just recently put my finger on the primary cause. Unfortunately, there's not a darn thing I can do about it.

It needs to rain.

It needs to rain in a really big way for days and days and days.

It's not going to.

It won't rain unless there's a hurricane that comes into the Gulf, and I can't wish hurricanes on anyone on the Gulf Coast.
I think the thing that finally put me in true funk was the recent release of information that this drought could go on for at least another year. In previous years, there always seemed to be hope that the drought would turn around.

This year, they've (the National Weather Service) has looked into its crystal ball (and into the Pacific ocean) and predicted a return of El Nino/La Nina. I can't remember which is which---I just know whatever is brewing in the Pacific means we won't get rain here next year either.

I can't really explain why the lack of rain is ruffling my feathers. I don't garden (gave that up). I don't have livestock I need to keep alive. I don't have crops that are withering and dying. I just have a tiny bit of backyard grass that I'd like to keep alive if I can. My pasture is long since dead.

NDMC's Drought Impact Reporter

If you look at the map above, Texas has the special distinction of being "Exceptional"---in a drought sort of way. I'm so proud of us (rolls eyes).

I think the thing that's getting to me the most is that our well could run dry.
In the past, there always seemed to be hope that the drought would lift during our winter wet season. It didn't rain last winter. It's not supposed to rain next winter either.

We don't have an alternate water source.

There's a sadness to thinking I may turn on a faucet one day and have nothing come out.
There's a sadness in thinking (and watching) our old growth trees begin to show signs of dying.
There's a sadness to seeing brown, dead foliage mile after mile after mile.
There's a sadness to seeing river beds dry or nearly dry.
There's a sadness to knowing that wildlife is suffering and dying because their food sources are gone.
I think I'm letting that sadness get into my daily life.
I'm grumpy.

So, if you know me and I don't seem myself---I don't seem to have an interest in much of anything---that's why.
I feel like I'm withering under the knowledge that this drought may go on for another year.

Update: 247/254 Counties in Texas are now under a burn ban because of this drought. Y'all know how big Texas is!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Thankful Thursday 7

I am thankful for a really sweet memory.
100_1813.jpg fall 2008 picture by jasonbinggeli

This is the car I had in high school. Well not this very car, but this year and this make/model.
It's a 1970 Olds Cutlass.
((sigh)) I miss the purr of that engine.

Speaking of engines, here is the engine it had in it. Well, not this very engine, but one exactly like it in every way.
It's a 455 Rocket, V-8 4 Barrel.
What that means is, it went fast. Very fast.
If you hit the gas, it would go for a bit and then jump out from under you like a spooked horse.

The "4 barrel" part of the numbers and letters above means it had four intakes for gasoline, instead of 1 or 2 (thanks Lee, for helping me describe it). What that means is, if I stepped on the gas to enter the freeway, I could quite literally watch the gas gauge move.

Even when gas was 85 cents a gallon (I know, back when the earth was cooling), that gas guzzler cost me a boat load of money just to drive around.

Just like a high school boyfriend, my car had his good points and bad points. Yes, the car was a he and not a she. I know it's customary that all cars are female, but not this one. That was clear. No, I never named him.

The bad stuff:

Stuff was always breaking or falling off or rusting out. I had the dual-mufflers patched one and then finally had to replace them all together.
I had the radiator worked on twice and then had it replaced. Man, that sucker could overheat like Old Faithful.

The carburetor spent the better part of the winter causing me to stand outside every morning in the snow with a hair dryer, trying to dry the condensation that had built up after being driven hot and then left outdoors overnight.

I had the windshield replaced because a tiny rock chip turned into a spider's web in a matter of two days.

New battery.
A new alternator.
Belts--every single one.

The good stuff:

Man, the car was a looker. Eye candy with a sexy, deep voice.
Blue with a black, vinyl hardtop.

Because I was in high school, I naturally wanted boys to talk to me. This car was how that happened. My boyfriend had a Grand Torino, so he wasn't so impressed with my car as boys that drove Gremlins or Pacers or their mom's station wagon. Still, it was a nice way to break the ice.

It holds memories of my dad. He was a car dealer. He had what he called a "pot lot". It generally was full of old beaters that he spent two hundred dollars sprucing up and then selling for a small profit. When this car came in, he called me and said I needed this car. I was driving a land yacht (68' Cadillac, butter yellow, 4-door) at the time. Not a very "teenage girl" sort of ride.
I didn't know what all the engine numbers meant on the Cutlass, I just knew it was a Cutlass. I bought it from him for $400. He helped me find the right garage when something needed fixing. He showed me how to start it when there was condensation on the carburetor.
He had to have known what an amazing car it was, but he never let on. He just told me not to let anyone drive it--especially boys.

I let two boys drive it.
The one that matters out of the two is Lee.
That car is where we shared our first kiss.
A quick, goodnight kiss that was the beginning of the rest of my life.

So, what happened to that car?
I sold it.
I needed out from under it "nickel and diming" me. It was either sell it or pay for a radiator. I didn't have the money.
I sold that amazing, memory-filling ride for $800.
Somebody got the deal of a lifetime, but I got the sweet memories.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

A Grand Old Hen

Best momma hen and fine layer.
Always finely preened.
Friendly, but not too much so.
Built very much like my dear grandmother, cankles and all.

Rosie, you had a fine life and I was happy to help you out of it once it became apparent that you were suffering.

October 14, 2004-June 30, 2011