Chickies! Er, hens by now!

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In the beginning of March I ordered 15 little White Leghorn chicks from Cackle Hatchery, which is actually where I got my first batch of chicks from back when I was a young teen. At that time I remember I ordered Barred Rocks and Rhode Island Reds because I figured they would be pretty as well as friendly and lay plenty of eggs. I always heard how Leghorns were flighty and unfriendly, though definitely tops on the egg front, so I decided back then not to go with the cheap and boring looking white hens. This time, however, I got the Leghorns. They have a reputation for being good foragers as well as good layers and I don’t have much time for making pets out of any more animals at the moment, anyway, since I accidentally tamed yet another feral cat.

From the very beginning they were super friendly, very athletic, and extremely curious about everything.  By which I mean they did not take kindly to being confined in their nice, roomy box until old enough to go outside.  The things I went through trying to keep them in there!  WAY too many times I heard this distinctive little “pat-pat” sound and realized they had gotten out and were running around on the carpet.  I swear, they sounded different when they were being “bad” than when they were staying put.  Totally cute, but, a lot more energetic and good at flying than other chicks I’ve seen over the years!

After a couple weeks, with sunny weather and some decent feathers, they got to go outside in their pen.  They loved it, and it was fun going out to pick them up at dusk every night, transferring them from their little circular feathery cuddle into their nighttime box in the house.  Excuse my gushing, but I always love how babies and baby animals have that soft, warm feeling when you pick them up.  So yeah.  By now I kind of had to admit I was not sticking to my resolution to be just business about them.  They were too adorable not to coo over.

I had made them a portable metal and wire fencing house that is relatively easy to move around to a different spot every day and was planning to make two more and split them into three houses as they grew.

Things were going along with occasional hiccups (when a chick would escape and have to be caught) when they finally decided to start roosting.  Now we had Problems.  Because apparently two to three foot high perches are for inferior chickens.  These chickens need to be at least eight feet high for restful sleep, and preferably more.  They started working very hard at getting out and would spend all day undoing the door ties, pushing things, etc., so that when evening came they could fly to the top of their house and thence to the cottonwood branches.

I have never, ever met such motivated birds in my life.  They LOOK quite innocent, don’t they?

But really, they are a ravening horde!

Those snowy little dames do not really like their commercial feed that much and act like the chickens from the Chicken Run movie – “let’s diet, exercise, and practice flying as much as possible!”  I am working on revamping their house to make it better for their roosting needs but still movable, but at the moment I am embarrassed to admit they are pretty much free range hens.  They chase the cats, have eaten ALL the veggies (so I will need to restart that before I can get going on the gardening posts again), and love hanging out under the shady porch and then running pellmell, “pat-pat,” away whenever anyone steps outside.  They will follow people around, come when you call, and try to look in the windows.

So, in the next couple of days I will, I HOPE, manage to get them under control again.  Meanwhile, I hope you enjoyed this story of animals changing plans.

Y Girl

Kickin’ ur plastic: Part 5

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My computer monitor was getting pretty dusty.

LCD screens are a little tricky, since you can’t get them more than slightly damp and if you press too hard you can burn out some of the pixels, so people usually buy the little kits so as to be sure they won’t damage their screen.

I read several articles the last few weeks about cleaning them yourself and finally decided to just get to it and try it out.  I took a very soft, clean cotton cloth and wetted it thoroughly with distilled water, which is recommended much more than tap water.  I was just out of vinegar so did not do the half and half solution but probably will soon so as to make sure there is no grease left on.

So as minimize the chances of injuring the screen, and to absorb any excess water, I wrapped the cloth around a dry sponge.  Then I used that to wipe the screen.

Much better!  Hope this less-plastic idea for cleaning LCD screens by yourself is a help to someone.  Cost:  Fraction of a (plastic, bummer) jug of distilled water, so only a few cents.

Y Girl

Kickin’ ur plastic: Part 4

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What to do about Kleenex?

I grew up reading many old classic books and was always fascinated by the little customs and conventions surrounding handkerchiefs, things like having a useful one and a fancy one for show, and how everyone used to iron them each week.  People often cleaned things or wrapped things up in handkerchiefs.  It seemed rather cool to me, and I tried a couple of times to use one, but realized quickly the advantage Kleenex has in being disposable.  I don’t like carrying around used tissues.  I thought for the rest of my life I would just go ahead and use Kleenex and not worry about it.  Even when I got into more zero waste type interests I still thought that at least tissue boxes only have one small strip of plastic on the top.  Not too big a deal, right?

After a while I read an article featuring HankyBooks and was charmed.  So adorable and it seemed to really fix the major problem I had with handkerchiefs!  Plus they are a cute modern version.

I have not bought one yet, but I did make my own out of an old t-shirt.  Like so many other things, once the incredibly obvious solution arrives the actual process takes about five minutes to implement!

I sewed a seam in the back connecting the “pages” and simultaneously attaching the tie.

It rolls up nice and small, as you see.  I have not bought any Kleenex in several months, getting by with cloth and occasional TP.  Of course, we shall see what happens if I get a cold, though I think I might have had one this spring.  It started like one, anyway, but never turned into the normal messy, miserable thing to endure.  Since I eat Primal, I definitely seem more resistant to disease, so perhaps I won’t have the same type of colds any more…

Time to kick this plastic:  5 minutes.

Maintenance effort:  Completely fits my routine with no extra effort.

Cost:  $0.00

Y Girl