Friday, May 31, 2013

A Bird in Ten Thousand

What's the title about?  Well, that famous chicken is actually one of a kind, but there is another statistic that applies to her.  Apparently, chickens can rarely (you guessed it, about one in ten thousand) take on the characteristics of a rooster, if they have something happen to their ovaries and the balance of hormones tips into the high testosterone camp. They aren't truly roosters, since they can't fertilize eggs, but they come pretty close. 

When this happens the chicken's comb and wattles grow larger. 

They will grow spurs.  (She has some pretty awesome spurs for a chicken - especially since she's short on toes from her earlier frostbite trauma.)  

And they crow.  She gets up in the morning and gives a very earnest, but not terribly musical, 'cock-a-doodle-do'. 

Even so, she's still the same sweet chicken that likes to sunbathe and take dirt baths.

 She still likes to pose in picturesque locations.

She's very fond of string cheese.
 Seriously - she can eat the whole stick!

And she likes a dish of morning tea. 

These are all photos I took while visiting earlier this month, because she has only one tail feather and no feathers on her back right now.  

Here's the update after the dog attack.  The chicken is still valiantly fighting for her life.  Her wounds are very bad, but she's a tough little bird and we hope for the best.  Unfortunately, it looks like there might be some infection setting in where the deep puncture wounds are and it's hard to get antibiotics into her.  My sister and sister-in-law gathered worms and centipedes for her last night and she ate them all, so she still has an appetite, but she's losing weight.  Today, she went out for the first time since the dog attack and got to look under turned rocks and logs for her own tasty bugs and worms.  

Many thanks for the good thoughts you've shared and sent her way.  Please keep them coming - she's a well loved bird.   

Monday, May 27, 2013

Good Thoughts for that Chicken...

I was going to try and post a fun chicken update this week, since I got some good pictures and there's lots to tell.  Unfortunately, I'll hold off for now and hope for the best.  My brother and sister-in-law's pet chicken was attacked yesterday by a dog that was running loose through the yard.  He bit her back and pulled out all her tail feathers.  My sister-in-law had to pull the chicken out of the dog's mouth and she's pretty badly injured, but she made it through the night with lots of ministration, antibiotics and determination.  That's one tough little bird.

So, hope for the best along with me - and if all goes well, look for a chicken update or two.   

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Flowers that Bloom in the Spring - Tra La!

The spring ephemerals are some of my favorite wildflowers - and they're one of the many reasons I enjoy wandering around the woods in early May.  They don't last long (hence ephemeral) and are delightfully brave splashes of brilliance rising from the dull brown leaf duff that's been beaten down and leached of color by winter snows.  They are a promise of warmer weather when nights can still be frosty and days can sometimes still bring snow.  So, hum along with me as I indulge in a small celebration of the flowers that bloom in the spring - tra la!

Jack-in-the-Pulpit captured my imagination as a child and still has the power to make me smile every time it blooms.

The bellwort is shy and tries to hide its beauty by nodding under its leaves.  

If you were reading my blog last year, you know I love wild phlox - I still carefully mow or trim around each plant blooming in my yard.  After all, if a beautiful wildflower wants to grow there, I'm going to encourage it any way I can! 

The trillium was one of the first wildflowers I remember learning to identify as a child - they're easy to spot and very distinctive.  There are several varieties of trillium, but only this one was blooming in the forest while I was wandering this year. 

The trout lily ushers in spring fishing, since it begins to bloom just about as trout season starts on the river. 

If you look sharp, the tiny dwarf ginseng might catch your eye.  I love the lacy flowers that look like early fireworks for the wee folk.

There are, of course, many other spring ephemeral flowers, and they may be the subject of another post in the future, since I'm always admiring and snapping photos of the little beauties, but this is probably enough for one day.  :) 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


The first day on the family property, this little fellow was saved from courting death and parked on a nearby tree.  My sister nearly lost sight of him before she got the photos taken, because he blended in so well after being placed out of harm's way.  

You can see why she almost lost the rascal, can't you?  First of all, it's a tiny frog, just about the size of the pad of my thumb and second, it knows the value of great camouflage clothing when hiding or hunting!    Mossy oak breakup has nothing on this outfit!! 

I loved this photo, too.  My sister caught the perfect Gollum pose!   :)

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Leaps of Faith...

Okay, so I just had to share this one!  Remember Max?  The big, sad, starved white German Shepherd that fostered at my house?  (Incidentally, his carved portrait is currently the Stampeaz invoice image.)  Well, Second Chance is having a fund raising event this weekend where people register to have their dogs dive off a dock into a big pool and they get prizes for longest, fastest, etc.  I couldn't believe it when I saw this picture posted this morning on the Second Chance Facebook page!!  Sweet Max got airborne!!  I'd say he's come a long, long way!  

Don't you just love it??  

I'll have lots of vacation pictures and stories in the next week or so, including a.... um.... chicken update.  (And that will make more sense once you see the what I'm hemming and hawing about!  LOL!)

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Welcome Guests

I only see these beauties for a few days each year, when they stop in for rest and refreshment on their migratory way.  They are so beautiful and remind me a little of pinwheels when they fly.  

I wish the rose-breasted grossbeaks found my neck of the woods a hospitable place to nest -- or even spend the cold months, but they prefer further north and further south for most of the year.  I'm just glad to be on their flight path.  :)