Monday, January 16, 2017

Poncho Met His Match You Know

It rained and rained, and all our many puddles are full to the brim.  The paths we use regularly to the outbuildings and hay pile are squishy and the mud seeps around the dormant roots of the grass and forms a dirty slosh to coat our boots and contaminate our dogs.  Wendigo doesn't care if she spatters mud all over herself and anyone in her vicinity!  This morning, I didn't even make it from the front door to the car with clean clothes because she insisted that I would want to play with a filthy toy and rubbed it all over my jeans while I was trying, in vain, to tip toe through the puddles and save my work shoes.  

In my day dreams I can afford stone pathways and an entire barn full of dry straw - Wendigo and I would happily skip from stone to stone sprinkling straw on any mud that dared to threaten our perfectly clean paws.  While I'm dreaming, I'll go ahead and add a large mud room to the house, so that dirty boots aren't piled up like a barricade by the front door, and we don't have to excavate our dining rooms chairs from the many layers of dirty barn clothes, work gloves, and headlamps that end up draped over the chair backs.  

It may have rained all weekend, but it didn't stop us of from getting out and enjoying the mud.  We did some remodeling on the donkey's side of the barn.  We took down the painted board and tarp that were covering the north wall, and replaced them with some sturdy plywood.  I hauled cartloads of wet straw and hay from Rufus's stall, and hauled in carloads of sand and clay left over from the rocket mass heater project.  Groundwater was seeping into the stall in areas where Rufus has excavated the floor, and drainage from outside was flowing into the stall.  I used the sand and clay mixture to build up the floor and hopefully redirect some of the drainage away from the stall.  Now that the wall is more solid and the floor is a little higher, I'm hoping that the hay I put on the floor will stay dry and he won't have his feet in the mud.  We'll see.  All that work left me sore, but happy.  Plus, I have a giant pile of good stuff to compost for the garden.  Thank you, Rufus!

Not everyone had a happy muddy weekend.  I'm baby sitting my parents chickens, and the appearance of new roosters caused an upset in our flock.  Even though the visiting roosters are contained within the spare chicken coop, Poncho and Cogburn, our roosters who have always peacefully co-existed, got stirred up and fought each other.  For real.  Their hackle feathers were sticking straight out, and they would jump and claw at each others faces.  We couldn't break them up, and had to watch as proud Poncho, our beautiful flock leader, got his ass kicked by Cogburn, the young upstart.  

Once the fight was over, Poncho ran from Cogburn and cried like a little chick while blood trickled from his comb and wattles.  He was wet too, so the drops of blood spread making his feathers pink.  

He was missing for a while and when we finally found him, he was hiding in the corner of the barn, looking sorry.  

He wasn't in the coop last night with the other chickens, and we couldn't find him anywhere.  I was relieved to see him this morning, but his feathers were wet with mud and blood, his comb is crusty from cuts, and his left eye is swollen nearly shut.  Not a single hen was with him, and Cogburn was strutting his stuff and crowing with his new position as head rooster.  The hens don't seem to mind.  Poor Poncho.  

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