Friday, November 25, 2022

S&C: Thanksgiving Catch Up

Thursday the 3rd was an entertaining day. Partner left early for some work he had to do around 6:30, leaving me to feed and release the flock on my own. This isn't a problem, and I've done it before many times, however this time Partner accidentally took the keys to the office with him. That meant I couldn't feed the wild flock until somebody brought the keys over. Luckily a friend who also uses the office stopped by around 9 AM and let me in to feed the flock.

While letting everybody out for the day, I noticed a traffin jam in one of the nesting boxes. Dora is really trying to be broody, and Scruff wanted to lay her egg in that specific nesting box. Later on when I went to check on them, Fluffy was staring into the nest like she wanted to add to the chicken pile, too.

Fortunately Scruff laid her egg and Fluff settled for the other nesting box, leaving me to steal Dora's eggs and move her off the nest. 

Around lunch time I went out to refill the water containers like I normally do. As I was putting the big water container back, a group of three people rounded the house corner and came up to talk to me. This group was a woman with her daughter and granddaughter who wanted to look at the peacocks. People around the area know they're free to come and look at the peacocks, and evidently the woman's husband has come here before with their grandsons to look at the peacocks. 
When the woman mentioned this, I remembered one morning a few months back when a big silver SUV pulled into the driveway while I was feeding the flock. In the SUV was an older man with two young children, and the man explained that he just wanted to show his grandchildren the peacocks. We chitchatted while I fed the flock close enough for the children to look at the peacocks before he thanked me for my time and left with the kids. 

Apparently what he went home he didn't tell his wife about all the pretty peacocks and chickens. Instead he told her "I met this lovely American girl over there with curly purple hair like the jacarandas in Grafton and she was so nice! I've always wanted to meet an American!"

So I showed the ladies around and told them about the flock and we chitchatted a bit. Unfortunately, the flock was a bit wary of these strangers, especially the very loud and excited little girl, so they couldn't get as close to the peacocks as they would like. Even when I threw out bread, they stayed hidden in the bushes and trees. I told them that if they come in the mornings around feeding time, they'll be able to get really close to the peacocks if they'd like. They thanked me again and said they would be back some day. :)

I told Partner and my mom about this and now we've all joked about the farm's exotic offerings: pet chickens, guinea fowl, peacocks, and an American. LOL. I don't mind it, as I understand that my accent is a bit of a novelty in this small town and everyone is incredibly nice. Plus, as far as I'm aware, I'm the only person with violently purple hair in the area. It's hard to miss when I'm out and about.

This picture is from November 5th. While talking to Mom, Kookie came inside and sat on my desk chair. While I was trying to take a picture of her to show mom, she hopped onto my head. After some wrangling around, she eventually settled onto my shoulder, and that's where this picture came from.
On November 7th I got out a whipper snipper (weed whacker) and put in some work clearing up an area behind the caravan that we've been wanting to clear.
Progress picture...

This is going to be a long term project. We need to beat back the overgrowth in between rain showers and unbearably hot days. This area has been overgrown since before we moved here, so it's going to take a lot to cut down the larger clumps of grass that have formed mounds.
On November 9th, one of the named Cheeps, Pepper, died. I began writing this post the day before, but for obvious reasons I ended up too distracted to finish the post or return to polish it. We still don't 100% know what caused it, but given she had seemed to be smaller than the others for a while we suspect she may have just been born with one of those common 'failure to thrive' conditions and it had finally caught up to her.
Part of the problem with caring for prey animals as pets, such as hamsters and chickens, is they really don't like showing us that something is wrong unless it's really, really wrong. That's why I got in the habit of doing health checks on all my pets while I interact with them. Yes, I'm playing with and giving them love, but I'm also using all those opportunities to check them over for anything I should be concerned about.

I was initially torn about my response to her death. Yes, I cried and was devastated, but only for a few moments before I had to pull myself together and jump into action. Since she had died of an unknown cause, I needed to treat her like she was potentially infectious to the rest of the flock. I cleaned and sanitized all of the chickens' coops, bins, food, and water containers while Partner buried her. When we were done we did a quick check of the rest of the flock. From there, it was time to wait and see if anybody else showed signs of illness. I was certain I would sink back into my sadness once I had a quiet moment. Instead I just... felt fine. Does that mean I didn't care for Pepper? Or have I grown in my ability to take these emotional blows? Or does it mean my anhedonia from my depression is so bad I can't healthily release my emotions?

I've since settled on 'I have have grown in my ability to take these emotional blows'. What started as a simple infatuation with how adorable newborn chicks are has turned into a full on passion for caring for our little (sarcastic) flock, and I've come to appreciate everything that entails - including the sad parts.

Yesterday we had a resident come out in the yard to say hi. This is a Red-bellied Black Snake. These guys are relatively docile and antisocial, however they are also venomous and one of the most commonly-encountered snakes in Eastern Australia. It's debatable on whether there are any recorded deaths from a red belly strike, and any of those supposed deaths predate much of modern medicine and our current snake identification standards. They can be a problem to young children and pets, however.

I found this guy because I heard the chickens right outside the door start their "stranger danger" sounds. I didn't think anything of it since I was expecting a friend to possibly stop by. When I went to check the driveway from the window, however, nobody was there. I checked out front, where most of the chickens were making their disturbed sounds, and caught this little fellow slithering around. 

Don't worry, I didn't get close. This picture was taken from a fair distance away using my zoom lens on my camera. 

Speaking of cameras, the weather is finally good enough for me to put in the time to relearn my 70D and attempt to take better pictures of the flock. Everybody is so comfortable with me, it would be a shame not to use that opportunity to take some gorgeous and close up pictures.

I don't know what else to say without dragging this post out to an even more ridiculous length, so I'm just going to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving and hope your holiday goes just the way you'd like.

Thursday, November 3, 2022

S&C: October 31-November 2

 Monday was a self care day. I ended up cutting off a couple inches of my hair to get rid of some split ends and make the heat a bit more bearable in the coming months. Then I put on a face mask and relaxed until Partner brought home the package my mom sent. The package had a bunch of my soap bars, some nail polish, some decorations for the house, and some wax! It's been so long since I've been able to melt some wax and make the caravan smell nice. I popped in some Sweet Lavender Marshmallow Cake from Sniff My Tarts and enjoyed the smelly goodness while hanging out with the chickens. I did end up washing the last set of linens I had been holding off on. Besides that, Monday was a really relaxed day.

Tuesday it rained, so I took advantage of that and spent the entire day decorating and organizing on UO.


I'm nowhere close to done, but I'm very happy with the progress I made.

I decided to ignore the date and decorate the house with a Halloweenish theme. Hopefully I won't run out of steam and will finish up this house before Thanksgiving so I can enjoy the early holiday season color scheme before adjusting the house to fit winter and Christmas more. This has been a fun experiment as I've figured out some of the idiosyncrasies of a ServUO server vs OSI servers. I also got stuck several times when I knew of a specific object I wanted to use, but did not have on this server. In any case, the castle isn't as empty as it was looking before. Trick or treating is still active through the end of November as far as I'm aware, so I may go trick or treating and get more spooky decorations.

Tuesday night we were plagued with high winds that ripped a bunch of palm fronds off the palm trees that litter the property. We're used to fronds falling occasionally, and they're an eternal source of stress for me due to their size and weight and general danger when they fall, but that night was something else. It felt like every time we finally fell asleep yet another frond had fallen and managed to hit every possible piece of tin roofing within a five mile radius on the way down.

Wednesday, yesterday, started off great. The Babies and Roostyboi were very polite when I let them out, and Roostyboi went into his daytime coop with no issues like he normally does. Kookie and Crumble didn't give us any trouble when we let them out for the day. I stripped the bed completely and started a load of laundry.

Instead of grabbing food for the flock immediately, we made the mistake of moving all of the fallen fronds into a pile out of the way. This upset the flock, and they all went running to find a place to hide. Initially we weren't too concerned, but after I finished feeding the wild flock and returned to Partner to help finish letting the Cheeps out he informed me that he couldn't find Kookie.

I ended up finding Kookie hiding in some of the lean-to structures built along the back of the sheds, but when I went to retrieve her she ended up running deep into the underbrush near the water way. That was my fault for not waiting for her to stop being so freaked out from the fronds. Normally she doesn't run from us, and if anything she ends up attached to our hip until we give her our contractually obligated Lap Time. Her running off wasn't great for us, though, as we now know that if Kookie gets her silly butt stuck or lost she will do absolutely nothing to remedy the situation.

Thus began an hour long trudge through the sheds and underbrush to try and find her. Eventually Partner had to head off to work and I needed a moment to hydrate. While I was inside, I put on a healthy heaping of sunscreen (no repeats of Friday's burning, please!) and clipped my hair up in a hat to prevent it from getting caught in everything. I also grabbed a set of gloves and shears, because the pathway to behind the sheds was overgrown and painful to slog through in my search for Kookie.

After about an hour of going to town on the underbrush, Kookie poked her head out from whatever hiding place she found and started happily foraging around. I was able to walk up to her and pick her up with no issues. Kookie happily trilled in my hands while I carried her out from behind the sheds and brought her over to Partner to say hi. We ended up putting her back in her bin as she needed to lay an egg.

While Kookie sat in her bin, I hopped into a voice and video call and showed my Mom a video game Partner has been working on in his free time just to get the hang of game creation and have some fun. I also showed her the work I had done in UO, and told her about my eventful morning. We chitchatted a bit and I ran some treasure maps in the game while we talked.

After Mom got off to get ready for bed, I thought I would return to UO and continue decorating. More laundry needed to be hung, though, so I did that instead. While I was out I refilled the water containers. The mattress cover was dry by this point, so I started making the bed. Once the bed was done, I realized the weather was ideal for finally cleaning the floors. While taking some trash out I also cleaned up some of the eggs that have piled up on our counters. 

The rest of my day was spent cleaning. I cleaned baseboards and moved every piece of furniture to sweep, vacuum, and mop the floors. I wiped down walls and windowsills of dust that has become a fact of farm life. One of the windows was extra dusty as the wind has blown in a bunch of dust and crap from outside, so I took an hour to thoroughly clean the window and blinds. By the time Partner got home from work, the entire floor was clean and I was very much done with doing anything that required movement or thought. I took a quick shower, we ate a bit, and I stayed upright for my hair to dry enough to lay down before I succumbed to exhaustion. 

I feel a lot better now that stuff is a lot more clean, but I keep getting distracted by what still needs to be done. I'm not unfamiliar with needing to dust and clean; Yellow Dust season in Korea was nasty. It seems like it's on a whole new level here, though, and at any moment it always feels like there's something that could use a good dusting or tidy up. Since I've cleared a walkway to the area behind the sheds, I may take a whipper snipper back there to help tidy up the overgrown grass. We've been wanting to do that for a good while, so this might be the best opportunity to get started. Who knows if that'll end up happening though; as Deb likes to say, it's always something. LOL