Saturday, October 25, 2014

Rainy weekend

So I spent two hours this morning with a retired couple who volunteer with the sheriff's office taking fingerprints and helping deputies keep an eye on the area. Nice folks. They dusted and photographed the poor violated truck and completed a great many cards and forms. They got a good print from the door handle – maybe the rat bastard will get in some trouble.

Meantime, I'm chaining (but not locking) the driveway gate at night, and parking and locking the car close to the building.

I took a photo of the cut cables for Richard, who says they'll be easy to replace. I don't know – there seem to be a lot of them.

C. made a huge pot of veggie soup, complete with little tomatillos floating on top like bubbles. We had it (with fresh bread and farm butter) for dinner. She's got seven jars of it in the pressure canner now, and there's more in the fridge for tomorrow. I'm happiest when the fridge is full of food. I made rice pudding, brownies and the bread after the fingerprinters left. Must be a comfort thing.

Spent the day putting a door on our space. It's one of the original classroom doors that I found in the entryway. Found the jamb in the gym, the door plates on another door in the gym, and the knobs in our collection of interesting objects. The knobs aren't quite right, but will do until I can figure out how to get the square rod thing out of the latch mechanism and replace it with a shorter one. There's some sort of clip holding it in there – never seen one like that. I'm glad that most of the doors are still here, but in my less grateful moments I wish the Mad Remodeler had left them all in place – or at least left them with knobs and works intact, still hinged to their jambs and labeled with original locations. Ah, well. So the door is up and functional, and I don't miss the heavy plastic curtain that's been hanging there for a year and a half. I pulled the particle board off the opening in the top, and will pop some glass in there tomorrow if I have a piece big enough. (I could do a leaded glass window if there weren't so many urgent things to do.) There's another door opening in the living room still covered with plastic, but we're planning to turn it into a built-in bookcase.

Mrs. Davis is still looking tragic but is doing well. She is getting around pretty well, just a slight limp, and she is eating like a pig. Nobody is picking on her. I hope she'll be able to fly when she's all healed up. We've been keeping them all in the chicken yard since it's grey and rainy out.

C. has been working on bringing in the last of the produce in from the garden, as well as the stakes and tools and hoses and such.

Tomorrow we should get wood, unless it's too wet and miserable. And maybe go mushrooming.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Uncharitable thoughts

So Richard got the truck running. Woohooo! I loaded it up for a trip to the dump. And in the wee hours, some rat bastard crept up my driveway, popped the hood and cut the new battery out. He siphoned the gas out, too, and took the registration. He also pawed through my unlocked car, and reamed the ignition pretty good with a screwdriver.

Hey, asshole – that gas has been sitting in the tank for months. I hope you and your vehicle choke on it.

So once again I have a big brown ornamental truck out front. Now it's full of garbage. I'm feeling a little disheartened.

I'm going to hump up in my recliner, eat chocolate and contemplate the shotgun.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Dressing Mrs. Davis

I'm a moron, and my animals pay for that. Today I let Annie out into the garden, after carefully shutting all guineas and chickens in the chicken yard. She's been really good lately, coming when called (even when pursuing a gopher) and passing right by chickens on our walks. I felt guilty that she spent most of her time inside, instead of out sniffing country smells and doing farm-dog things. Never mind that she comes from a long line of badger killers, and has personally terminated squirrels, kittens, mice, guineas, songbirds and more. Moron, like I said. Maybe she hypnotizes me with her sincere brown eyes.

So she's in the garden, running round and round after gopher scent. I'd forgotten that the cleanout door from chicken house to garden had come loose. Annie found it and was busily mauling guineas when I came back from starting the truck. One bird, blinking solemnly, was hanging by the neck from the bird netting over the chicken yard; three others were tangled in the stuff. One was on her back on the ground.

I yell obscenities while pawing at the gate latch, burst in, unhook Mrs. Davis from the evil toothy jaws, haul Annie off by the scruff, boost the hanging bird free with an elbow as we get out of there. I hustle to put Annie inside and get back out there and help everybody – and the fucking door latch is stuck. I pound on the door and after an eternity C. hears me and lets us in. I dump Annie and we go to the chicken yard to assess the slaughter.

I am such a moron.

Mrs. Davis is the worst, with tears on breast and thigh, and feathers ripped off down one side. She's sitting, stunned and bleeding. The bird on her back has a couple of puncture wounds on her wing and side, and some missing feathers. Everybody else seems OK. Angry and upset, but OK. The two chickens have gotten the hell out of Dodge. Chickens are pretty smart.

So that's how we end up in the bathroom, putting stitches in a polka-dot fowl. It's pretty horrible. C.'s hands are shaky as she pushes the big curved needle through guinea skin, which is surprisingly tough. I hold her on my lap, keeping her head tucked under my flannel shirt. I can't help but see childhood chicken dinners in Mrs. Davis's drumstick, her thigh muscles showing through the gash in her goose-pimply skin. We baste her with betadine, rub antibiotic ointment into her skin, close the gaping holes. C. says she has sewn up birds before – Thanksgiving turkeys, to keep the stuffing in. This is a little different.

I don't eat chicken any more.

She's our oldest guinea, the only one left of the first four – Mrs. Davis and her three daughters, the giant Connies. She's a royal purple, dusty purple with a polka-dot undercoat, and our only exotic guinea. She's a good bird, steady and industrious, but not over bright. She's often left buckWHEATing plaintively on the far side of a fence while the flock moves on. I hope she gets a chance to do more of that.

Several hours later, Mrs. Davis is still alive, sharing a darkened cage on the washer with victim No. 2. The electric heater is on and the room is toasty. If we can keep her from getting chilled or shocky or infected, she'll might make it. Injured birds are delicate, though.

I'm really sorry. I'm not speaking to Annie, but we all know who is responsible. That moron over there in my recliner.