Mirror Mirror.

We had storms here last evening.  Again, with the torrential downpours.  It’s like living in the Congo.  Every time I go outside, I expect to see some rainforest monkey swing by on a vine.  Tom keeps asking me, “When did we move to Seattle?”

The chickens are pretty much over standing out in the rain.  I think at first it was novel and there was a lot of feather poofing, ruffling and shaking before they finally decided that they didn’t like getting wet and scooted into the run.  Now, if the sky threatens rain, they stomp off to the coop before the first drop hits the dirt in the run.  Which makes me feel better since soggy chickens make me think I need to buy them a blow dryer.  As the storm came through last night, I didn’t worry about them too much because I knew they were safely in their coop with the big barn doors closed and the rain was coming straight down so I didn’t worry about the run door still being open.  I knew their distaste for wet feathers would keep them inside the coop where it was dry.

I waited until there was a slight break in the rain, threw on my coop shoes and scuttled out to the coop and of course it started to rain HARDER when I was about half way there.  As I approached the coop, I could here the familiar clucking that I’ve come to associate with the chickens when they are happy and content.  I struggled with the lock on the door…getting wetter while I did…and finally slipped into the dim light of the coop which smells a little chickenish because of the dampness, but the aroma of fresh shavings still hangs in the air.  The birds were climbing on perches, eating some dinner, exploring corners of the coop and scratching around in the shavings.  Dry, content, and busy.  Perfect!

I plopped down on the straw bale outside of their area to talk to them and several came over to check for treats.  I displayed my open hands and spoke to each of them, stroking their soft feathers through the wire fencing.  I didn’t want to invade their space last night.  I just wanted to watch them for a bit.  Not finding my hands full of treats, they endured my petting for a bit and then went back about their business…I can never figure out what business chickens are busy with…but they seem to know, so I just let them go with it.


During my coop decorating frenzy this weekend, I added a mirror that we found on sale at a local store.  Tom liked it because it hung from a rope.  I liked it because it was a mirror.  The chickens were terrified of it when I hung it in the coop.  They got over it pretty quickly and then it seemed as though they just ignored it.  Which is fine…ingrates.  Where I was sitting was just outside of where the mirror hangs and I wasn’t really paying attention to the mirror, because Vinnie was still campaigning for some sort of treat and I was explaining to him that he is really a vulture.  I happened to notice movement by the mirror and watched as Opal, our sweet Buff Orpington, gazed at her reflection for a long moment.  She cocked her head, still looking at the mirror and made a soft clucking sound and watched as her reflection did the same.  Soon, she was joined by one of the Wyandotte Sisters and they both watched their reflections until Vinnie stampeded through and ruined the moment.

I am always concerned with providing a stimulating environment for the flock.  I think that every living being that is able to possess curiosity, leads a much fuller life because life is then filled with discovery and wonder.  Adding a mirror to the coop was definitely a good idea.  I’d rather see them out playing in the run and doing their chicken act outside, but on days like this where the rain makes the run an unpleasant place to be, I’m glad to see that they’re still finding things that interest them due to their natural curiosity.


I think I’m going to look for more “enrichment” ideas for their coop.  If I change them up occasionally, the ideas will stay fresh and I’ll be able to see what their favorites are.  I have a whole list of ideas of things that they might find curious but are still safe for them to explore.

I can’t wait to try them out!  You can be sure I’ll let you know how it goes.

Listen to the rain.

I’ve never been much of an outside kind of girl.  When I was in grade school, I played outside and rode my bike and did all of those things that grade school kids do…but pretty much because my mother launched me off the sofa and told me to go play outside because I wasn’t going to watch TV all day.  I’d go on long bike rides in the country and through our small town and pretend that I was a celebrity and everyone wanted to see me.  I was sort of weird.

Anyway, I’ve never even been camping.  FIFTY this year and I’ve never been camping.  I’m okay with that actually.  Camping, to me, is a 5 star hotel where the hairdryer in the room is on the fritz or room service closes too early.  I don’t like discomfort and to me, outside can be fairly uncomfortable, especially since I’ve moved to southern Indiana where summer temperatures are the same as the daily temperature on Mercury and you’re wise to invest in an asbestos suit to wear while walking from the parking lot to the front doors of where you work.

The other outside thing that bothers me is HUMIDITY.  When I first moved to the area, I worked as a physician extender and had to do rounds on patients at the hospital.  The office that I worked in was across the street from the hospital where I saw patients and I would have to walk outside to get to the back entrance to the building.  I’d get all cute in the morning and have my white coat on (LONG SLEEVES) and the moment I’d step out of the building, my naturally wavy hair would frizz immediately and I’d look like I had a bush on my head.  By the time I’d made it to the hospital, I was drenched with sweat and had quite a stunning sweat mustache.  The patients probably thought they were being visited by some sort of voodoo witch doctor.  All I needed was some face paint and a bone through my nose.

Tom has always said that it’s so humid here that it feels like you’ve been slapped in the face with a wet mattress when you go outside.  My favorite has always been something I heard on a weather forecast one day.  Humidity is air you can wear.  I. Hate. It.  So for the past five years, the extent of my “outside” time during the spring and summer has been to run from the air-conditioned house to the air-conditioned car and vice versa.

It’s been a rainy spring.  By that, I mean the rains have been MONSOONAL.  I think that rain is predicted here for the next ten days, which is another excuse to avoid the wolf spider colony in the garden plot.  It’ll be my luck that they’ll be flooded out of their dens by the rain and come knocking on my door asking to hang out at our place until they can have sump pumps installed.  UGH.

Yesterday, it was raining on the way home from work.  I’d let the chickens out in the morning and I was hoping that they were smart enough to not be standing out in the deluge.  They’ve been pretty good about coming in when they’re supposed to though.  I quickly changed out of my work clothes and looked out at the chicken run.


Whenever the chicken run is empty in the middle of the day, even if it’s raining, I get a little worried.  I always picture a fox sitting in the coop wearing a bib and reading chicken recipes while they quiver in a corner awaiting their fate.  I asked Tom if he’d checked on them and he said “They’re fine…they’re CHICKENS” which is his stock answer when I get all chicken freaky.  I sat on the sofa for a bit and kept glancing out at the run.  No. Chickens.  It was still raining, now REALLY hard, and I started to worry about other deadly but unlikely chicken trauma and finally I couldn’t take it anymore and jumped up and said “I have to go check those chickens” and headed for the coop.

pouringThe rain was heavy and steady as I walked along the path to the coop.  I don’t run.  Anywhere.  When I got to the chicken run, it was already sodden from the heavy rain.  It was very quiet…which made me even more nervous.  Usually, the chickens are in the coop whooping it up and squabbling over things that apparently only chickens understand.  I went into the dark coop and flipped on the light.  They were all cozily snuggled together on the floor of the coop in the shavings, dozing and watching the rain through the door to the run.  With my arrival, they shifted around a bit and then reformed their snuggle pile in front of the run door and went back to dozing.  Opal, the Buff Orpington and Sweetest Chicken on the Planet, got up and peeked through the run door at the pouring rain outside.  She ruffled her feathers and shook them as if the mere thought of going out into the rain made her feel wet.  She watched the rain for a while and then rejoined the snuggle pile of her coop mates.  Vinnie looked at me with sleepy eyes and tucked his head under his wing.  It was clearly a sleepy, rainy afternoon for them.

I sat down in my chair and watched them doze.  Cluck Norris watched me with half-open eyes until he too was too sleepy and succumbed to the sound of the rain on the roof and the dim light of the coop.  The fan blew a breeze through the fringe bunting on the wall causing the glittery ribbons in it to sparkle.  Outside, crickets sang in the downpour which seemed to have picked up in intensity and the sound of the rain on the roof was delicious.  Tom arrived to help me hang a string of bells that I’d found on-line that have a beautiful tinkling sound when they ring.  They’re strung on a piece of cord and separated by beads and the cord ends with a shining brass sun hanging from it.  The sound of the tinkling bells accompanied the patter of the rain on the roof.

coop rain

We talked for a bit and Tom returned to the house to start dinner.  I stayed in my chair and watched the rain falling on the pergola near the pool and marveled at the amount that our morning glories have grown in just the past 24 hours.  The GREEN outside was just incredible.  The trees and grass were happily soaking up the heavy shower and the smell of the honeysuckle behind the coop hung heavy in the air mixed with the smell of pine shavings and chickens.  Occasionally, the silk flags hanging over the doorway caught a hint of breeze and floated slightly.  The wind chime over the run tinkled now and then and the new bells added their chime to the song of the rain and the breeze and the crickets punctuated by the sleepy clucks of the flock shifting in their snuggle pile.

The sound of the rain on the roof lessened a bit and I saw my opportunity to dash back to the house to help with dinner.  Although, I could have stayed in that coop, listening to the rain and its accompaniment for hours.

I think I’ll spend more time outside.  I think especially when it’s raining.


**I shared this post on the Backyard Farm Connection Hop! and Homestead Barn Hop


I had the day off today because my daughter had an appointment for root canal this morning.  She’s eleven.  I didn’t even know eleven year olds were capable of having a problem that would even require root canal, but I’m completely phobic about anything to do with dentists so what do I know?

About an hour before we left for the appointment, the doctor had us give her two Valium.  Those started to work in about 20 minutes and I thought we were going to have to carry her in a bucket to the appointment because she was so relaxed.  I, on the other hand, made Tom go into the procedure with her because the sound of a dentist’s drill causes me to lose consciousness.  Sometimes, if it SMELLS like a dental office, I can’t even go inside…you know…that dentisty smell.  Fortunately, this place didn’t have that strong smell and I wasn’t forced to puke into my purse for the hour and a half that I waited in the waiting room while being tortured by The Disney Junior channel.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful for pediatric oral surgeons.  This guy was a gem.  However, when I’m the only one in the waiting area and I have to listen to the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse “HOTDOG” song a couple of times, I begin to wish for either the remote to change the channel or for a speeding truck to come through the waiting room to put me out of my misery.

I finally went to the window and they told me I could go back to the room if I wanted.   I didn’t hear any drills, so a grabbed my stuff and headed back to where I could see Tom sitting in a room.  When I came through the door, Emma was lying on a reclining chair, covered with a satin and minky blanket, watching TV on the ceiling and wearing the nitrous oxide mask.  She waved at me like she was on a float at the Rose Parade.  I couldn’t believe it.  When I went to the dentist as a kid, the guy practically put his foot on my chest and was not exactly pleasant.  There definitely was no TV on the ceiling at the office that I went to.  They finished up with the procedure and took off the mask and Emma sat up and giggled.  In fact, she laughed all the way home and then passed out in bed for two hours.


So, I think that was much better than I predicted.  I was sure that Tom would be dragging me unconscious to the truck with a puke filled purse.  I was SURE that Emma would throw up all the way home and that there would be screams of pain from the room while they did the procedure.  Instead, she laughed at everything she saw on the way home and babbled on about people who have phobias about ducks and people who have phobias about phobias and people who have phobias about big words.  She even used the word “paradox” in a sentence and I know sober adults who can’t do that.

Dental science has apparently come a long way.

It rained ALL day yesterday and by “RAINED”, I mean it was pretty much a constant torrential downpour.  I had let the chickens out in the morning during a brief period of drizzle and they’d all merrily scooted out into the run to have their morning round of “I’M IN CHARGE…NO, I’M IN CHARGE” with each other.  Every morning…same thing….they all run outside and then spend 15 minutes trying to prove to each other how big and bad they are.   I usually just stand there and watch and it always ends up the same way with Cluck Norris reminding each one of them that HE is in charge and then they all settle down and look for delicacies on the ground that might have appeared overnight but usually haven’t.

When I came home from work in the afternoon, it was simply POURING.  Thankfully, the chickens had decided that the 2 inches of water in their run was not any fun to stand around in and the run was vacant.  I waited until there was a slight break in the rain and put on my coop shoes and dashed out to the chicken coop.  When I swung open the barn doors, they were all huddled together in the shavings looking a bit damp and decidedly forlorn.  Nobody likes a wet chicken…even wet chickens.

Since they were all inside, I thought I’d just shut the run door since it was supposed to rain heavily through the rest of the afternoon and evening.  Of course, when I entered their enclosure, they all got up and stampeded out the door clucking wildly which sounded oddly like they were laughing at me for thinking that I could close the door and keep them inside so early in the day.  I yelled “You aren’t going to LIKE IT out there!”

Did I mention it was POURING again?  So I just stood there and waited.


They were outside for all of two seconds before they all stampeded back inside.

I tell them and tell them things and they just don’t listen.

They stood around looking indignant and shaking their feathers to rid them of the raindrops.  I felt sorry for them and gave them a bunch of scratch to dig for in the shavings and when I left, they were happily scratching in the shavings already having forgotten that they needed pontoons on their feet if they wanted to go out into the run at any time in the near future.

This morning, the 2 inches of water in the run was gone and they were able to stampede through the run door and into the watery sunshine that had finally made an appearance.  The run was a little bit wet, but covered with green fallen leaves which they sorted through and checked for tastiness.   I watched the daily argument about who was in charge which was quickly ended by Cluck, who I think is a little over the whole thing happening every day.  When I walked back up the path to the house, I could hear them happily clucking to themselves with an occasional “peep-peep” from big, bad Cluck.

Thank goodness…back to business as usual…which is good for me because I don’t know how to put pontoons on chickens.



I’m not good at Mondays.  Come to think of it, I’m not good at Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday either.  I’m very good at Friday afternoons, Saturday and Sundays.  Unless you want to count being productive as being “good” at it, in which case…I’m not so good.  Hey.  We all have limitations.

It wasn’t a bad weekend.  The BORBs made it to their new home with their new people and it turns out that they were not a chanting, axe-wielding, hood-wearing, satanic cult.  Nope…just a little girl who is raising chickens for 4H who currently has 30 pullets.  THIRTY.  The BORBs are going to be busy young roosters and they’ve already sent me a note asking me to forward their mail and to please stop worrying about them because with 30 girlfriends, they don’t see a problem with this new situation at all.

The rest of the flock, back at our place, has calmed down considerably since the two buff colored bowling balls are out of the picture.  Yesterday, at “WEED TIME” there was no fighting, no pecking and no chicken screeches that typically occurred whenever any one of them approached a pile of weeds being eaten by one of the BORBs.  In other words, there’s peace in the valley.   Cluck Norris has reclaimed his post as high-ranking rooster but still spends most of his time preening by himself, watching the flock from a distance with one eye on the sky and reading “YOU TOO CAN BE A SCARY ROOSTER”.  He’s such a loner and it seems as though he WANTS to be friendly, he’s just so suspicious of everything and everyone.  I think I need to take him to the bookstore for a different book…perhaps “PARANOIA WILL DESTROY YA”.  Either that or we step up the hugs and compliments during the nightly “YOU MUST LOVE US OR ELSE” chicken boot camp that Greg and I are running.

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Vinnie, (he’s the barred rock that we think is rooster that’s in drag as a hen) and Cluck have actually had a couple of those ridiculous rooster showdowns where they get in each other’s face and fluff up their hackle feathers in an attempt to look bigger than they are.  Cluck is very good at it (you know…he’s reading that book).  Vinnie gets all fluffed up for about 4 seconds and then turns around and walks away like “It’s good dude…no worries…and why are you such a GROUCH.”  Vinnie, if he is a rooster, is obviously low man on the totem pole…or rooster pole…or whatever chickens use.

We’ve had a LOT of storms this past weekend.  On Friday afternoon, after I snuck out 15 minutes early (OH STOP IT…I’m salary), the first thing I noticed was that the sky was a bit…mmm…OMINOUS and by ominous, I mean freaking scary looking.  I live just five minutes from where I work, and by the time I was three minutes into the drive, it was raining drops the size of saucers.  I can deal with rain…I sort of like it even when it’s a downpour.  However, I turned a corner and suddenly was hit with winds that rocked my SUV (and not like the way The Foo Fighters rock it, I might add) and the rain became so heavy that it was impossible to see the road.  Because nothing will stop me when I’m heading home on a Friday, I just kept going but was a bit concerned when mature trees were…um…in shapes that they aren’t normally able to achieve.  Later on the news, it was reported that we’d had 120 mph straight line winds that had moved through the area which apparently is what caused the tree origami during the ride home.   Fortunately, we had no damage to the large trees on our property, but much of the area had not fared as well, and damage to homes, trees and property was very heavy.  I’m just glad I was in the car because my hairspray only goes up to 110 mph winds.

The rain (and over an inch fell in about 15 minutes) flooded the front walkway to the house because one of the drains that are strategically placed in various areas to PREVENT flooding, was stuffed with maple tree seeds…you know, those stupid helicopters?  They’re ruining my whole groove because they are EVERYWHERE and you absolutely can not sneak up on the chickens when there are seed helicopters crunching under your feet. I could have driven around to the back of the house, but then Tom’s truck would be between my SUV and the house and of course I had no umbrella…not that it would have helped in the hurricane force winds.   So, I called Tom.

“Hey I’m sitting in the driveway and the walk is all FLOODED.”

He knew I’d sit in the car until next week instead of slog through the water in my work shoes, so he came out in the deluge and dug helicopters out of the drain while I skittered around trying to avoid deep puddles and screaming because I was getting wet.  He’s a good egg.

The rain also meant that my weekend plans of getting the garden in were pretty much washed out…almost literally.  The entire weekend was predicted to have repeated bouts of this storm nonsense which meant that the plants that I still haven’t thinned would go on to be unthinned and unplanted for yet another weekend…if they hadn’t blown away in the 120 mph winds.

Rain always makes me panic a little about the chickens.  I’m firmly convinced that if they don’t have the wherewithal to come in out of the dark, that I’ll find the whole lot of them standing in the rain looking bedraggled and sodden.  Nobody likes a wet chicken.  In the past, whenever there’s been even a HINT of rain, I’ve raced outside to the coop to make sure they were all safely contained inside…or called Tom and Greg obsessively until they went out and dragged them inside and locked up the coop.  Fortunately, during the huge wind/rain event Friday, they were all snug in their  coop.  With the rain predicted for the rest of the weekend, I was pretty sure they were going to have to spend the weekend inside the coop which meant I was going to have to entertain them…because I’m insane.  So, I made the decision that I was going to let them go outside over the weekend and if it started raining, I was going to let them figure it out.

Saturday afternoon, it started to sprinkle.  The sprinkle, quickly turned into full-out raining.  I’ve strategically set up the chicken run (again because I’m insane) so that I can see it from two different vantage points, the sofa and the deck…and since it was raining, I was NOT on the deck.  I looked out from the window behind the sofa and there they stood…in the rain…in the run, fluffing up their feathers and looking slightly annoyed.  I decided I wouldn’t watch…if they were going to drown in the rain, I didn’t want to witness it.  I didn’t watch for all of 30 seconds before I was back at the window….because I’m insane.

The run was empty.  They had gone inside!  Apparently, when I didn’t show up with a sack of scratch, they decided they’d had enough of standing around waiting in the rain and had broken camp and gone to the coop.  My shriveled black heart swelled with maternal pride.  Apparently they also know, that no one likes a wet chicken.

power toolsThe rest of the weekend was fairly unproductive.  I ranted about the rain and garden, ranted about stuff on the island in the kitchen, and ranted about having more laundry than the people on “19 Kids and Counting”.   I finally settled down on Sunday and baked some of the BEST chocolate chip cookies I have ever had (no lie) and baked some bread.  Sunday afternoon, on one of my visits to the coop, I found Greg outside the fence of the run showing them a power tool.  I think I’ve severely underestimated them because they were FASCINATED.  Greg held a drill outside their reach and spun the drill bit several times which I honestly thought would send them careening into another county.  They were fixated by the sound and the spinning bit.  Vinnie edged closer…and closer…and Greg stopped spinning the bit for a moment.  Vinnie ran up…pecked the drill bit and took a giant step backward just to make sure that it wasn’t going to get him when it started making that insane WHIRRING noise again.  They stood and watched with one eye while Greg talked to them about power tools, never taking their eye (just ONE eye) off the spinning bit.  He’d stop it and they’d edge closer to see what it was…he’d start it again and they’d all take a step back, but not really in fear…because they were hopelessly curious about that tool.  It was sort of fascinating.  I might give them a list of things to do that involves power tools!  However, I’m not letting them go to Lowe’s with my credit card anymore.

vinnie drill

So, the weekend summary is this:  120 mph winds and torrential rain will screw up your hair and your shoes if you have a tree full of helicopters in your yard.  Chickens, although they act as if they have no brain, will stand around in the rain waiting for you to take them in only if they think they’re going to get handfuls of “CLUCK YEAH!!” scratch, if they go inside.  Otherwise, they will go in just fine on their own, albeit with a surly attitude because they didn’t get any “CLUCK YEAH!” scratch.  Also, chickens love power tools and I make the best chocolate chip cookies, not only on the PLANET, but in the universe.


I’m participating in Homestead Barn Hop #159!