Archive for the ‘chickens’ Category

Lots of Nature

Sunday, April 5th, 2009

I had a number of adventures Saturday, and lots to report. I headed out to the lake early on, to meet one of my many friend’s named Laura for Kayaking. I had a chance to turn on the water after a long winter, and found no sign of leaks cracks or damage to any pipes. That is a huge relief. I got the hot water heater up and running, and no problems there as well. The water was rusty and didn’t taste very good, it needs to run for a few more hours I suspect before it begins to be pure and clean.

The place is a bit of a mess, things blown around, branches from the willow all over, and of course branches from the trees that were taken down all over. We have a pile of brush the size of two cars – that is normal cars, not may car 😉
Lots of bonfires in the future!

Laura found a dead turtle in the water, partly decomposed. We tossed it out further. It had a very high round shell, not a painted, not a slider, it may have been a snapper but I’m not sure. It was about five inches long, so an older one.

The wind was high, the sun was up, it was work to get the kayaks to the end of the lake. Once there we spotted a red wing blackbird right away – and he was a brilliant black with red/orange contrast. We thought about going into the channels at the end of the lake but no only had the paths moved but there was a Canadian goose already sitting on a nest, and very perturbed to have us find her. She stayed on the nest, but her neck was stretched out in a clear sign of fear and hostility. We backed out quickly.

Just about then a sand hill crane came overhead, very low, and it’s beautiful sandy wings and red banded head were crystal clear as it cam into land in the grass. It may have been just 15-20 feet away. It was silent, and awesome.

The mute swans were a ways away, and didn’t pay an attention to us at all. After a bit of time to meditate and consider mothering and our mothers who have passed on we let the wind whip us back down the lake. Going to that spot is an annual event for me, today is the 16th anniversary of my mom’s death, and many of her cremains are there at the end of the lake.

It was a fast ride to come back to the dock, and very fun, although we were a bit wet from being splashed by the waves and exposed fingers that got wet were almost painful.

I had a quick lunch in the sun looking over the water, and took off for park Lyndon, just 3 miles away. The trail there is marvelous, passing through beech/oak forests, pine trees, aspens, and I think I saw tamarack last time but not this time. I ended up on a trail the had three boardwalks (one heaved up at a steep angle from a tree that fell). On the first part of the path, there was an ant hill boiling with black ants. The huge mound had about four openings/exits and each had clusters of solid ants pouring in and out in circles about 3 feet in diameter. It was just solid moving mass of ants. Nala and I were on the path, at least 5 feet away, but she started picking up her feet as they began to find us.

I had no idea the ant populations would be so great this time of year. It was a jaw dropping sight.

The woods was quiet and then the sandhills were nearby, and their cries were load and frequent. I love that sound. I was glad the trail I was on seemed to be bringing me closer, and Nala went into a frenzy of hunting and tracking that was odd for her. I don’t know what she caught scent of, but she was desperate to find it. She pulled us after that scent for at least 10 minutes before she let it be.

She was fully loaded with her dog back pack carrying all of my stuff (water, phone, fruit, keys, etc.). So she was getting a work out!

I ended up on a road, a passing stranger said it was Embry. So instead of proceeding, I turned to go back along the same path. My sense of direction is pretty bad, and I had no idea where I was actually. So I went for the safe course. On the way back, the sandhills were again loud and wonderful, and came in to land as we watched from the boardwalk. There was also an area with frogs calling desperately for love. I had lumped all those early frog calls together as spring peepers, but was recently corrected by an on-line correspondent. He let me know that the earliest calls are Chorus Frogs, with a sound like dragging your nail across a comb. Then the peepers start, later the other frogs and ending with the bull frogs.

Sure enough, some of those calls had that staccato call that could be like a comb sound. Chorus frogs. Never heard of them before, so I’m happy to have that bit of information! Some were clearly the clear sound of the peepers, but I could hear both.

That walk was about 90 minutes, so back to the car to the cabin to check on the water and think about if I wanted to stay the night or make a visit and head home. I left the option open, but considered that I would have to do a lot of cleaning and it owuld be a cold night and morning with possible snow.

Off to visit one of my other many friends named Laura, and her new home. A lovely place on a good chunk of land, and at this time of year on a lovely seasonal pond. She was visiting some neighborhood horses, so Nala and I walked over to hang out with the horses, and it turned out, chickens.

Nala went nose to nose with a painted pony, and was also thrilled to find a whole field of horse manure. I minimized that experience. She really wanted to play with the chickens, it was fun to see them all get behind the rooster when she tried to charge the coop. Again, I spoiled her fun by keeping her on a tight leash.

I headed home to enjoy the comfort here, and to wake up warm and cozy. But still ignore e-mails, phone and hide out as much as possible. My need for time off is larger than it has been in a long while. But the day spent exploring and active was a great solace. And later today I’ll be at the Festifools. I may leave Nala at home so I can fully enjoy it – my plan is chocolate ice cream cone and a silly hat.

Why Keep Chickens?

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

Well this video sows that they can do much more than lay eggs.
They are PEACEKEEPERS! Rabbits on the other hand… well… you thought you knew.

Chicken Permits

Thursday, August 7th, 2008

A permit to raise chickens in Ann Arbor is available as of today, on line. I plan to go through the process. It may take another month yet to get the neighbor’s OK (I have side to side neighbors OK and waiver but haven’t talked ot the back neighbors who have very deep yards and and very far away from me). I don’t see any trouble, so I hope to have chickens by mid Sept. – time enough for them to settle before winter! Guess I’ll have to add a new category to the blog to report on the chicken progress!

I think having chickens, bees, vegetables, herbs and wild greens makes for a great urban yard!