Category Archives: animal rescue

The Chicken or the Egg?

Jack getting his guest post in on time is a rare event – – –

Some regular readers will know that we have chickens free-ranging in our backyard, four to be precise. Two (Thelma and Louise) came in March and settled in easily, exploring their new surroundings and quickly began laying an egg each per day.

Then, more recently we received another two – retired government workers! They had been employed to track any evidence of West Nile Virus by having their blood tested regularly. After their stint is finished these chickens are re-homed to people who must promise not to eat them. They quickly settled in as well and within days had become good buddies with the original two. We christened one of the newbies ‘Elissa Hirple’ because she was limping when she came and the other one ‘Kathy’. But we didn’t see any eggs from them! (Also Ms. Hirple overcame her limp.)

Being novice chicken owners we did some research on their laying and found that it’s related to the amount of daylight they experience. When the days get shorter and darker they are likely to stop and about a week ago that seemed to have happened. I stopped seeing eggs in the usual corner of the coop I’d converted from an old outhouse.

When we stopped seeing the usual two per day we resigned ourselves to not getting any until Spring. When we were getting eggs regularly, Wendy preserved a couple dozen using a method involving pickling lime called ‘glassing.’

I still checked each day just in case they might provide an occasional egg, but nothing, and we began to talk about when we would break into the glassed eggs. Then yesterday as I refilled their food and water, I happened to look in a different corner of the coop and to my astonishment there were fifteen eggs. So they hadn’t stopped at all and it is almost certain that either Elissa or Kathy joined the production line!

So we now have two large containers of glassed eggs sitting on the counter, and we are still enjoying three-egg days.

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Filed under animal rescue, between books, crafting, home improvements, humor, Life reflections, small town USA, Uncategorized, Wendy Welch

The Monday Book: FISH by L.S. Matthews

I picked up this book while on a week-long writing retreat, one evening when I couldn’t face my own writing any more. It was short, easy to read in an evening, and I stayed up and read it before bed.

LS Matthews has written a charming and deceptively simple story of Tiger, the child of foreign aid workers in a war-torn country. Tiger is the only character in the book who gets a name. The wise guide who takes the family on their harrowing journey says his name is too hard to pronounce so call him Guide. The donkey (also a major character) is Guide. And Tiger’s parents are Mom and Dad.

The country itself is not named. The novel uses childhood innocence to observe the building horror of the situation, and the difficult questions that the horror will stop for Tiger’s family but not the rest, because they are being evacuated if they can reach the airplane. Tiger wants to know what will happen to his friends. His parents try hard to soft-petal that answer, but readers get it.

A journey fraught with hardships resulting from the drought and war that ruined the country shows perils from natural to human. They cannot cross the easiest border because it is now closed to refugees. They are a target, as foreign workers, for kidnapping and ransom. And they don’t know how to navigate the mountains that separate them from the plane that will not wait, and cannot communicate with the plane.

If the book sounds dark, it isn’t. Donkey and Fish are two of the most human characters in the book; on the day they have to leave, Tiger rescues a fish from a receding mud puddle. The fish would have died, the puddle drying up and leaving him noplace to live. Fish continues to be a metaphor for the family’s survival, placed in a water bottle, and eventually…. well, you read the book. You’ll find it interesting.

Spoiler alert: the donkey makes it. :]

Although written for children, I found the simplicity of the story and the metaphor-rich writing lovely, and moving in their stark poetry. Two fins up.

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Filed under animal rescue, book reviews, Life reflections, out of things to read, post-apocalypse fiction, publishing, reading