Thursday, May 15, 2008

Whippoorwill sighting!

I had a rare treat this morning. It was just before dawn, around 5:30am. I was outside with the new Bear puppy waiting for him to potty in the front yard. I always go out with him and the weenies when it's darkish, in case there's a stray bear or coyote lurking about hoping for a tasty treat. This morning I was enjoying a cup of tea while I waited, and listening to the Whippoorwill calling from somewhere in the back yard. I love his song, and am fortunate that he and his mate return each year to nest nearby. He got quiet, and I knew he was moving to another spot to take up his song again.

To my complete surprise he flew right across the path in front of me and landed on a log not ten feet away. In the light from the porch I could make out every detail of this elusive bird, even the white stripe around his throat glowed. I stood very still so he wouldn't get spooked. He knew I was there, and Bear was only fifteen feet or so away. For some reason he didn't pounce. He too froze like me, seeming to know what a special moment the three of us shared. Whippoorwill stayed where he was for maybe thirty seconds, then flew up and away to land in an unseen tree along the drive and once again take up his sweet song.

What a blessing, and a reminder of how close to this land I have grown in my twelve years here. I will carry that memory in my heart and enjoy his daily song even more.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


The chickens seem to be doing well. Two weeks and counting and I’ve managed to keep all of them alive. They have most of their feathers now, and look a bit moth eaten in a few places where pin feathers are still coming in. They’ve grown a great deal, and have started eating a wild bird seed mix and herbs from my garden in addition to their commercial chick starter. And they catch and eat every bug and fly they can. I found some recipes on an Organic Chicken list I joined ( , nice list) and will be purchasing whole grains later this week to add to their diet.

Here's a couple of pics of the chickens.

I moved them outside a week ago, into a chicken tractor made from an old Akita crate, with one of the converted dog houses as a chicken house. All that is set up inside a dog kennel, so I can have double fencing between them and my curious dachshunds and Akitas. They love being outside. I put their heating pad inside the chicken house under their perch for extra warmth and it came in handy last week when the weather took a turn and got cold and rainy again. I put a tarp over the crate so their area stays dry. The first two nights I closed the door, but after that I’ve just left it open and they seem fine. Next week I’ll turn them out into the large dog kennel their tractor is inside, and give them a week or two there before moving them down to the pasture to their permanent home.

I got them a dog of their very own too! He’s a Great Pyrenees mix puppy I call Bear, and he likes them. Right now he stays inside their big kennel whenever I’m away. He showed mild curiosity toward them the first day, and now ignores them. He sleeps lying up against their cage and they peck at his fur. He’s quite different from the dachshunds and the Akitas, who wouldn’t hesitate to eat them. Hopefully I’ll be able to leave him with them as they mature and he’ll be protective.