Henry and Ygraine doing what they do most of the day. (Ignore the messy floor, which I’ve TOTALLY PICKED UP since then.)
This fiber-optic connection kicks ass. That was a 153MB video straight from the iPhone, and it uploaded to YouTube in a minute or so. 50Mbps download speed is very nice, but 25Mbps on the upload makes a great many online tasks a great deal shorter.
We had a door put into the back wall of our garage. it has a doggy flap in it, so the dogs can get into the fenced-in yard from the garage without anyone having to let them out through the porch door.
It’s interesting to see the ability of the dogs to adjust to this new entry/exit after five years of being let out through the porch door exclusively. Henry is the smartest of the bunch–he figured it out in a few hours. The others sort of get confused every once in a while and seemingly forget the new door temporarily.
Ban, bless his pointy little head, is as dumb as a bucket of gravel. He just let himself out through the garage flap, but on his journey across the yard his little doggy brain has erased that locational information to reuse the storage capacity or something. Now he’s standing in front of the porch door and barking desperately to be let in. We’ll see how long it takes him to remember/discover the unobstructed door a hundred feet to his left that leads back into the warm house. I suspect I’ll have to get up and let him in by early afternoon so he doesn’t turn into a dogsicle.
We’ve had a rainy, buggy summer here in Upper Cryogenica, and I am greatly looking forward to the fall, which is my favorite season.
How buggy has it been up here, you ask? Buggy enough to support the breeding of this truly monstrous orb weaver, who is in residence next to the Castle’s main portcullis (behind the split to spare you arachnophobes):
Lawn maintenance and landscaping: not my favorite tasks in the whole world. They do, however, provide a handy excuse for unsheathing a machete.
Funny thing about the chickens: as skittish as they are when it comes to unfamiliar sights and noises, they don’t mind the lawnmower at all. They’ll graze right in front of it and will only grudgingly move out of the way when the mower is close enough to almost bump them. Moreover, they’ve learned that the mower chases off bugs (and shreds the ones that don’t get out of the way in time), so they actually follow me around when I mow to catch the refugees and broken bugs. It’s like having my own little phalanx of poultry Secret Service agents around me when I mow the front yard.
Someone requested an update on the state of the novella, so here it is: it ain’t done yet. I had to spend most of my writing time the last few weeks on edits for Book #2, and then the kids were home from camp and we went off and did some family things together. I still intend to finish and release the novella in August, but depending on how much (or little) editing it needs, it may be September before it’s in sellable shape. I’m not going to finish something and then upload it to the Kindle store ten minutes later because OMG THE MONIEZ—there are way too many first drafts masquerading as finished product out there as it is. But rest assured that a.) it will be out soon, and b.) it will not suck.
These birds are riding the thermals over the local McDonald's parking lot. They do this EVERY MORNING. I'm guessing the kitchen throws out a good deal of heat, because there's nary a wing flapping in that flock.
The girls have been confined to the run and their coop since last summer. With the weather finally nice, and the bugs finally out in force again, I decided they should have some recess time outside in the afternoons again. They love their freedom, risky as it is.
We’ve had the most annoying kind of winter weather in the last few days. We got about three inches of snow Thursday night, but because the temperature hovered right around freezing, it was already too wet in the early morning to clear with the snowblower. (When the snow is too wet, it just kind of breaks into shoals that get pushed around by the snowblower chute.) So I had to clear our driveway by hand with the big sled-type push shovel.
Temperatures on Friday and Saturday were in the 40-something range, which means all the snow turned into slush and water. The chicken coop was a muddy mess that looked like the birds were reenacting WWI trench warfare on the western front. I had to put down a few pallets to give them dry feet temporarily.
Last night, temps dropped down to fifteen degrees, and guess what happened to all that water and slush? That’s right: SKATING RINK.
I always feel bad for the birds when temperatures dip that low, but the feed store assured us that these are cold-hardy birds that are fine without any sort of heat in their coop right down to zero degrees or less. And sure enough, they were hopping out of the coop this morning for their breakfast just like any other day. I’ve actually read advice against providing them with heat, because they’ll get used to it and then end up freezing when the power goes out and they have to spend a night or two without their heat source. Seems a little harsh, but people have been keeping chickens in the winter for thousands of years without the luxury of indoor heating, I guess. The coop has electricity via weather-proof extension cord from the garage, but the only things hooked up to it are the electrically heated water fountain and the chain of Christmas LED lights for added daylight on the fringes of the day to keep the egg production going.
This is my first livestock of any kind, so it’s still a learning process. But hey—they’re still alive and active, so I must be doing something right at least.
Doggie #2 of 4 has a hematoma on his ear flap. Taping down the ear to prevent him from shaking it didn’t work, and the hematoma has increased in size. So I’m about to take him to the vet again, which will make my third vet visit in four days. He will likely need a surgical drain & staple procedure, which runs about the price of a new iPad these days.
For Christmas, everyone is getting a dozen chicken eggs this year. Maybe there’ll be enough left in the till to buy the kids a copy of “101 Fun Games With Perishable Ovoids”.