New Blog Site!

From now on, I'll be using Blogger instead of LJ. The new Jack's Henhouse/Velvet Sparrow blog is here:

I've transferred all of my old LJ entries over there. I'm in the process of revamping my chicken and origami websites; blog and websites will all be incorporated into one area and a universal look from now on!

For now the old chicken site and origami site are still in place until I can finish thrashing out the new look.
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    bouncy bouncy


Yeah, the watermelon was pretty much a scary, scary thing after the chickens got done with it.

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    scared scared

How To Feed Your Chickens A Watermelon

First, properly prepare your melon.

Then, place watermelon within range of a flock of chickens. There will be much milling about and chickspicion. The huge, intimidating-looking rooster with 4 inch spurs will keep a cowardly sensible distance from the scary melon at first and let the hens go first.

Finally your huge coward of a rooster will dare to approach.

This can only get funnier as they eat down into the horrified melon and REALLY have to stick their heads in there.

I figure by tomorrow it'll be truly zombie-like.
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    amused amused


I think I'm dead, or should be.

Gotta say this graph from our local Air Quality Index station at a park about 1/2 a block from our house, according to showing our air quality from 8/22 to today, is one of the scariest things I've ever seen.

According to this, on the 22nd, when I took the pictures of the yard I posted, our air quality went from 13 at 11AM, to 31 at noon, to 201 at 1PM, then ROCKETED to 985 at 2PM, staying there for 5 hours before dropping to the still-insane-but-better reading of 228.

After experiencing it that day, and the subsequent choking levels of our air, I'm tending towards believing it. Other highlights include AQI readings: 8/23 336, 8/24 355 and 8/25 427.

Right now we have a reading of 343.

Anything over 300 is classified as 'Hazardous', the worst category for air quality there is. I feel like I'm living in Beijing.
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    shocked shocked

In Which My Life Hooks A Sharp Left And Goes Offroading Into The Ridiculous

So because of the massive amounts of thick, nasty smoke from the Rim fire near Yosemite, we had to take the extreme step today of bringing ALL of the animals into the house.


Including 4 cage birds, a dog, a bunny and 50 chickens. Thank God I do not have horses.

To say that this was neither easy nor joyously experienced by all is a massive understatement.

We prepared by clearing out anything chickens could break/accidentally choke to death/poop on and laying out our handy thrift store sheets to protect the floor and furniture. Some of my paint cans came in handy, as did the roll of blue painter's tape.

Weedcat at first stayed by the back door and stared unhappily at the ceiling until I caught on and turned off the ceiling fan. None of the others gave a hang about the thing, but he did. They all stood around looking like they were politely waiting for a bus, no doubt wondering what the Hell was going on. We plied them with various goodies to keep them occupied and distracted until it got dark enough for them to roost.

Which they did on my kitchen island, table & chairs as planned. The youngest babies hied themselves up on the island early on and stayed there. We have two broody banty hens at the moment and they were NOT happy being away from the nest boxes, but we'd tried to accomodate them by draping the sheets so there were dark hidey places for them to go sit.

Meeko liked this paint can.

Finally they were all tucked in for the night...

Wait...what's that up there...?!

Oh, fantastic, it's Pele, who considers herself Queen of the Wild Chickens. After a struggle and much outraged Pele squawking, husband unceremoniously grabs her and puts her on the ground, where she remains...

for about 5 minutes. Then, right in front of my eyes, she flies from the ground straight up to the top of that cabinet again.

This time she got a military-style wing trim, which put an end to her adventures.

Lord, at least the dog behaved.
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    tired tired


So thanks to the Rim fire at west end of Yosemite, which has been vomiting smoke into our valley for the last 5 hours, we've gone from this:

To this:

Just plain nasty. So glad I moved out into the country for fresh air...
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    crappy crappy

I Has A Crop!

Harvesting it took all of 30 seconds, mind you...

But it counts, damn it, IT COUNTS. Out of three tomato plants this is the only tomato so far. Our soil here is so very laughably poor, even WITH adding bagged garden soil, compost, etc. But I'll keep after it, with work (and pulling trash out of it) it can only improve.

Since I had so much free time open up after this, I actually thought ahead for a change and made little chicken & vegetable broth discs for use in the upcoming cold months for the dog and the chickens.

Once they are frozen I'll pop them out of the muffin tins and store them in a bag in the freezer, then when I need one just grab it. This winter one of two of these mixed with warm rice will make nice treats for Dusty and all our assorted chickens.

Lastly, last evening after the afternoon thunderstorms had passed we had a lovely sky.
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    bouncy bouncy

Wait, Wait, WAAAIIT!

I have to admit, when I found the FIRST piece of rebar driven into the ground like freakin' Excalibur, I growled imprecations at the previous tenants.

Last night when I found the second, I whimpered.

There is no doubt in my mind that each of these is at least 6 feet long and was meticulously and maliciously painstakingly hammered into the ground just to screw over the future homeowner. They aren't in line with the sprinklers so I doubt they are marking out anything to do with them. I also fully expect to find more of the things.

Nearby these two chunks of ankle-breakers are the two wads-of-concrete-with-rotted-wood posts postholes I uncovered. None of them line up so it's pretty clear they are unrelated. Now I have to figure out WHY they hammered rebar into the ground with such malevolent enthusiasim.

Whatever the answer is, lord it can't be good.
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    crazy crazy

Unexpected Visitor

So tonight I'm watering my pitiful little plants, trying to get them to grow and not die AGAIN...and after I water my China Doll plant I see this gal:

Even though I splashed her a bit she remained where she was, although she wasn't exactly blending the best.

Nuthin' like a great big bug on a little bitty plant.
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    amused amused


This was suddenly flying around my kitchen at 11PM last night:

And yes, he really was the size of a hummingbird. I spent an hour looking for him, wondering the whole time if I'd really seen him or what...finally found him perched on the broom and blending. Sneaky bugger was trying to gaslight me.

After his photo session, I captured him carefully in a cup and released him outside to go thump around someone else's house.
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    shocked shocked