Okay, not a shark attack. But almost as bad: a fox attack.
We're down a few chickens.
Here's the play by play. If the chicken thing bores you, scroll down for fiber-related blogging and other stuff. The other day, I procured some fertile eggs for broody Portia. I put them in the recently used dog crate with some pine shavings and moved her and a few of her 11(!) eggs into it and she freaked out. She wouldn't sit back down and was practically jumping on the eggs so I let her out. She ran around and ate and drank and hung with the other chickens for over an hour. I figured she had snapped out of her broodiness, which can happen.
Then I heard her doing the mommy-cluck that I've only ever heard from Georgia Rae before. She went back to the crate but wouldn't go in and seemed to be looking for her eggs in the nest she had been sitting on just a few feet away. After an hour of watching her being totally agitated, I took one of her eggs and put in the old nest spot. She let out a squawk, sat down, and pushed the egg under herself with her beak, clucking away. I waited until dark and then moved her and the egg into the crate with the other eggs so she'd be safe in case of a fox attack. Yeah. Well.
I went to bed and around 11 woke with a start. I must have heard a commotion or something from outside because I remembered suddenly that I had forgotten to shut the little chicken door on the coop. I went out with a flashlight and sure enough, in the field behind the coop, two eyes stared back at me. Fox. It hopped a little ways away. And there on the ground by the coop lay Violet (the white Araucana chick I got this spring), half-dead and panting.
I ran and got my husband. I'm a sissy.
He picked Violet up (no blood) and laid her in the coop and we did a quick head count. Jin Hui (the other Araucana) and Helen (you know Helen) were both missing from the coop. I checked the dog crate. The door was wide open and Portia was gone.
The fox wouldn't leave. Finally, my husband grabbed the nearest weapon, a BB gun, and popped a cap in that fox's butt, which was enough to startle it and make it run away.
Next morning, Helen came running up to me, from who knows where, in fine form. I believe at her previous home she survived several fox attacks. The girl is clever. (But boy did she not want to go back in that coop the next night....) Violet died during the night. The other two have not shown up yet and probably won't. However, it's not unusual for chickens to hide for days after an attack like that. I don't know how the dog crate door got open, but it is only plastic. I feel terrible for making Portia a sitting duck in that thing, and I'll never know whether she would have survived if I'd left her nesting on the ground. At least then she could have run away.
Anyway. This is how it is with chickens and we fully expected this to happen sooner rather than later. I shouldn't have forgotten the coop door, but it's no different than what would have happened if we'd been out late that night. We'd hate to have to keep the chickens fenced in all the time, so we're weighing the risk of freedom with the safety of being cooped up. We'll see what happens from here. I'm bummed that the two Araucana babies are gone (no blue eggs for us!) and I feel terrible that Portia didn't get her shot at motherhood.
Still, life goes on. I got these two pictures from the garden yesterday:
The heat wave is over and there is sweet corn:
Can you see how perfect these kernels are? They're the kind that pop off the cob when you bite into it. I ate this corn plain instead with my usual butter, salt, and lots of pepper. Yum.
And in fiber news, I'm turning the heel on one of my socks. I'm going with a garter stitch short-row heel that I found at Inknitters. So far, so good.
But now I've got Margene's D/S/KAL on the brain. I started looking into good drop spindles and realized that (a) they're expensive and (b) I may have to custom order one, which takes time. I also realized that I am not an accomplished spindler. I learned after I was already spinning on the wheel, and I only learned because of the Twisted Sisters book (how appropriate). I've never actually spun any quantity of yarn with a spindle.
But I was antsy for some spindling. There was nothing else to do but make another drop spindle to replace the cheapy that I made a few years ago. Behold 1.8 oz. of not-fine-craftsmanship:
Only problem is I haven't moved any fiber to the new house yet, so I pulled off a small chunk of the mohair/wool I bought the other day and am going to dye it up in my next yarn batch. I need to practice, people.
And last, a romantic story that illustrates a point I make all the time ("Men. Sheesh."). Last night was my husband's 25th high-school reunion, right here in our town. He had mentioned to me the other day that there was a dress in a downtown shop window that he thought would look nice on me. I asked him to buy it for the reunion and he told me I should go buy it. I drove by the store and the dress was gone from the window. Since I had never seen it, I couldn't really go pick it out myself, so I forgot all about it.
Then Friday night, I was getting ready to go to a play with some friends when my daughter brought two gift-wrapped boxes to me. Aww. I opened them up and found, not the dress, but a lovely white top in one and a pretty brown prairie-type skirt in the other. My husband came in to see my reaction, which was of joy. Until I saw the label on the skirt. Which said 4.
I am a 10 these days. Sometimes an 8.
When I mentioned this, he said, "I know, but It's the only one they had left."
Do you see the logic here? Then he said, "Well, I told the girl you were an 8 or a 10 and she said she was a 6 and the 4 fit her so maybe it would fit you." Okay.
I returned it and find a similar skirt at a different store yesterday afternoon. Romantic yes. But my point stands: Men. Sheesh.
ETA: Speaking of men, my 17-year-old stepson saw me blogging the other day and asked what a blog was. As some of you may have experienced, it always sounds a bit dorky to explain a blog to non-bloggers. I did my best and he listened politely. Finally he said, "Oh, I get it. It's like MySpace for old people."