The great chicken massacre of 2014 and the buttressing of Cluckingham…

Alas, there is sad news to report from the Palace of Cluckingham in the Kingdom of Eagle Ridge.  We have known since the loss of our most treasured subject that a foul marauder was afoot in our territory, but we naively believed it to reside solely outside of the fortress walls (barn…).  Alas, nigh three days ago, we were proven wrong when two more subjects were found dead, this time within our fortress walls.  They had been cruelly snatched from their home, drug out from among their kin, and devoured.

Their temporary home deemed unsafe, we doubled down on our efforts to complete their permanent residence.  By the setting of the sun, Cluckingham Palace was deemed secure, though still unfinished.  One by one, our remaining subjects were carried across the Aisle of Barn and into their new home.  They rejoiced and set about their regular tasks of eating, scratching in the dirt, and making noise.  And we, their devoted leaders, slept soundly that night, believing our chickeny subjects to be safe from harm.

We should not have slept so soundly.

The dastardly fiend who had so cruelly murdered her kin struck again, this time killing our second to last speckled sussex.  He was more clever in his ill intent that we had believed, and he had pulled our temporary defenses (wire stretched across where the door will go) away from the rest of the Palace.

This time he left tracks and fur.  We then knew our enemy.

Sadly, the King of Eagle Ridge (Jeremiah) was away, leaving me, the almostfarmgirl Queen of Cluckingham home alone to discover the aftermath of the slaying and to defend my defenseless subjects.

My defenseless subjects
My defenseless subjects
More defenseless subjects
More defenseless subjects

With no King in sight, I did what any Queen under siege should do.  I reinforced the defenses of my subjects, and I called for my Allies to aid me in their protection.

Lady Gabriella was the first to come to my aid.  Using zipties, we tightened the temporary wire down, leaving no gaps through which our dastardly predator (a raccoon, in case you were wondering…) could enter to terrorize our subjects.

Lady Gabriella at work
Lady Gabriella at work
Zipties reinforcing our defenses.
Zipties reinforcing our defenses.

Then, Sir Hezekiah, the user of power tools, screwed in boards along the bottom, for we could not allow the enemy to dig into the Palace.

Finally, I called upon my Sir Kent (my dad – who by the way grew up on a HUGE working farm…erm…I mean kingdom…) to walk the perimeter of the Palace to look for weaknesses in our defenses.

Securing a window that he identified as a fatal flaw in the safety features of the coop.
Securing a window that he identified as a fatal flaw in the safety features of the coop.
Read: Stop taking pictures for your blog and hand me a washer...
Read: Stop taking pictures for your blog and hand me a washer…

We baited a trap for the foul beast who has claimed the lives of four of our dear subjects but have not caught the villain.  However, since the buttressing of Cluckingham Palace, our subjects have been safe from harm.

And, I assure you, loyal readers, the days of the dastardly raccoon are numbered.

 

Advertisements

Llamas and Gardens and Chickens (Oh My!)

Northstar.  (Jeremiah calls him Marvin)
Northstar. (Jeremiah calls him Marvin)

See this face?  This cute, adorable little llama?

Don’t let him fool you.  This is a guilty face.  This is the face of a culprit.  (Admittedly, a very cute culprit…)

Gabby and I had just finished up evening chores, and I decided, probably against my own better judgment, to check on my garden.  (You see, no one was weeding it while we were gone in Orlando, so, while I’ve made a valiant effort to beat back the weeds from the veggies, there are unplanted sections with weeds that are waist high.)  I think I was about halfway out when I realized something was amiss.

To get to my garden, you have to walk through several pastures.  (It actually used to be a pasture itself, but has since been converted.)  At first, I just thought that llamas were in the pasture next to my garden.  Turns out, they were actually making a pasture out of my garden.  I tried to run.  Several awkward, clomping strides later, I remembered that one does not run in welllies (rubber boots?  I started wearing such footwear while working at an internationally staffed sleep-away camp, and everyone used the British term…In America, I think we just call them rubber boots…).  So I stopped running and starting power walking (or something), and I briefly thought about stopping to take pictures–because I’m a blogger, I guess–but then I decided my squash and cucumbers and everything else were more important than photographic evidence.

So Gabby and I chased the llamas out of the garden.  (The llamas were not happy.)  Then I took pictures.

This is a llama footprint
This is a llama footprint
Evidence!  (This is a llama footprint and what was a very nice onion.)
Evidence! (This is a llama footprint and what was a very nice onion.)

They ate several onions.  (I can’t imagine why…)  Knocked over a tomato cage.  Generally ran a muck.

…Actually, they didn’t do too much damage.  In fact, if I let them back in, I think they’d mostly eat the weeds…

Once we were done chasing llamas out, we set about to beat back some more weeds and look over the plants.

Everything, including the weeds, seems to be doing quite well.

Look at all those blooms!
Look at all those blooms!

Nearly every vining plant I have is riddled with blooms.  We should be rolling in cucumbers, zucchini, spaghetti squash, watermelon, acorn squash, pumpkin…and the other stuff I can’t really remember.  (Don’t blame me!  All the rain has washed off most of the garden markers.  Either way, lots of food.)

The tomatillos are loaded!  I cannot wait!

2014-07-01 20.10.03
Admittedly, you can’t really tell from this photo, but we have four tomatillo plants, and they will be pretty prolific.

More tomatoes than I can imagine what to do with.

2014-07-01 20.10.222014-07-01 20.10.12

We found this cuteness in the raspberry thicket.  I imagine there may have been an unhappy bird around when we took this photo.  Other than the picture, we left it completely undisturbed.

2014-07-01 20.19.34

Oh, and my chickens are laying!  They’ve been living in a stall since their coop isn’t done.

The coop, in progress.  My ridiculously talented carpenter/husband has the redesign in progress.  Cluckingham Palace (I WILL have a sign made up) will probably be nicer than our house with shade via a chickeny pergola, insulated walls, lighting inside and out, and a washable surface in and out.
The coop, in progress. My ridiculously talented carpenter/husband has the redesign in progress. Cluckingham Palace (I WILL have a sign made up) will probably be nicer than our house with shade via a chickeny pergola, insulated walls, lighting inside and out, and a washable surface in and out.

Can anyone tell me what kind of chickens I have?  I’m completely clueless.

20140630-215817-79097457.jpg20140630-215815-79095662.jpg

I know, not great photos.  You will see more once they move into the palace, but that won’t be for a week or so.

This one is my favorite...
This one is my favorite…

Anyone know what this is?  She (possibly he?) is my favorite.  Hatched this Spring, I cannot tell if it’s a roo or a hen.  (Please be a hen.  Please be a hen.  Please be a hen…)