Category Archives: Hunger Games

Chicken Hawk Down

Jack and I lost our first chicken to the hawk that’s been circling since June. When it first attacked, we drove it off because we happened to be in the yard. Then we put up gauze strips to blow from the trees, reflective tape on the clothesline, a mirror atop the coop so the hawk would see another bird if it dove there.

We counted on the natural cover of trees, shrubs, and the brush pile to keep the chickens safe, and we set out two plastic owls, which we moved every day.

For awhile. We saw the hawk occasionally, but as the chickens grew calmer, so did we. Things got relaxed. In November, a headless dove left outside the coop door overnight gave a godfather-esque feeling to the warning that it was quiet, professor, TOO quiet.

I was gone for a week. The weather was bitter cold. The shredded gauze tangled in trees, the reflective tape fell down, and the owls were buried in snow.

“I can only find three chickens,” Jack said last night. This was not super unusual. Sometimes the one the others picked on most decided she’d prefer a tree roost. We acquired two banty girls just a couple of months ago from my parents–they took up residence under their holly bush–and those two prefer tree roosts, so we didn’t worry too much.

This morning, though, when Jack took hot breakfast out, she didn’t appear. (Hot breakfast for a chicken means replenishing the heated water bucket so they always have access to water.)

He shook the grubs jar, a sure-fire treat draw for all the backyard birds. Nope.

I knew what had to be done, and sure enough I found her several minutes later, looking very like a patch of unmelted snow. She’d attempted to take cover under a bush, but the hawk dove right through the thin winter cover. I doubt she had more than a moment of fear before it was all over.

We left the body because, put bluntly, now the hawk will pay attention to the easy pickings for a couple of days. That’s how long it will take our new handy dandy portable chicken run to get here. Think chain mail tent. We know the girls will love it, and we won’t feel this sense of guilt again.

People with farms accept losses, yes. These girls are, as Jack says, pets with benefits. We like the eggs, but we like the girls more. So we’re accepting full moral responsibility for their future safety.

And you know that circle of life thing, we accept that all creatures have to eat? Yeah, no. If I could catch that hawk, I’d kill him with my bare hands. I’ve thrown several rocks at him as he waits in the tall tree beyond our fence. Too high, my aim is too bad. If only vibes could kill. Circle of life, my tail feathers. Die, you bastard.

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Filed under animal rescue, blue funks, Hunger Games, Life reflections, small town USA, Uncategorized

The Wednesday Weight Drop

I didn’t do a Monday book because I am plowing my way through one of Steven King’s doorstoppers. So, stay tuned for next week on that front.

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However, permit me to share some good news: since being diagnosed as pre-diabetic in 2018, I have lost 10% of my body mass index (BMI). That’s kinda the benchmark for getting out of the Type II diagnosis.

It was one of those non-decision decisions: limit myself to 90 carbs per day, or accept becoming diabetic. NO way, given the state of healthcare in 2018 (and what it was projected to look like even before 2020 flexed her evil muscles) was I going to wind up insulin dependent. The price of my glucometer sent me into sticker shock from the beginning. First plan: make it a lifestyle, not a diet, so it would stay off. Second plan: count carbs, not calories. That was my doctor’s advice (Thanks Doc Ashley!)

Where do the carbs hide? Bye-bye to flour, rice, corn, and potatoes (notice I did not eliminate sugar; I knows my limits, folks.) It’s REALLY ANNOYING that potatoes are so bad for us because they 1) are easy to grow 2) are cheap to buy 3) taste good and 4) can be made into a thousand different things. But also hi-carb, so I just made it a rule: no tatties, except as a treat equivalent to candy. (I am a sucker for tater tots with ketchup and did indeed pop them in place of M&Ms on special occasions.)

It is easier to cut out what triggers you than control eating it. Ask me about making nachos. “But they’re covered with vegetables!” Yeah, no. Every time, I ate too many, so, bye. It takes about three weeks to get something out of one’s system. And using your triggers as treats doesn’t work.

Rice was easy; I don’t care for rice. Cauliflower rice is a good lesson on why you shouldn’t try substituting one thing for another unless you LIKE the substitute. If you don’t like pasta made from chick peas, give up on spaghetti and find a different food entirely. Pick your substitutes and don’t try to accept the commercialization of things you COULD use instead.

Corn: well, after awhile, it moved to “processed corn.” I became an expert label reader. That sh– er, stuff is everywhere under a lot of “don’t mind me” names. You have to look carefully. But if you do, it’s not hard (or expensive!) to find processed foods that don’t have any corn fillers in them.

Flour: almond flour is expensive, so don’t bake as often. Using the tiny pieces of bread like one buys for party foods helped when I had to have it (and they are almost always found on the day-old baking cart). Peanut butter toast tapas is good stuff. (A word of warning: gluten free is very rarely low carb. Don’t be suckered.)

Last advice for those looking at their own weight journeys: pay attention to slow versus low carb. They’re your carbs and you can do what you want with them, but some of them make you hungrier and some of them fill you up. Think carefully.

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Filed under Hunger Games, Life reflections