Anyone who truly knows me knows that I dislike ... no, loathe ... chickens. I grew up with chickens, so it's not like I arrived at my abhorrence of them based on an utter lack of experience. Chickens are nasty, filthy, vicious, disgusting creatures that deserve to die and be offered up on my plate.
This is why anyone who truly knows me will be surprised at the latest addition to the home farm: chickens.
After an unusually warm and wet winter, the bugs are already out in force, especially flies and ticks. I have a strong reluctance toward drenching my farm with pesticides. Nasty chemicals. I don't want to poison my horses or my water supply.
So, I figured the best pest control was natural. What eats bugs? Chickens and guinea hens.
It's a slippery slope I set foot upon.
I put the word out: I'm seeking mature birds, not chicks. (The barn cat will kill chicks.) I'm not interested in collecting eggs or butchering birds. I want bug-eating machines. If you're looking to rehome a few chickens, such as hens that have stopped laying eggs, I'll take them off your hands.
I got a response. Someone in the extended neighborhood had a couple of black silkie roosters he wanted to rehome. I was hesitant: roosters tend to be aggressive. He assured me they weren't. Well, nothing ventured, nothing gained. I picked them up and brought them home.
Now what? They need a shelter that isn't my barn. So, I improvised. We have large, plastic, 55-gallon barrels left over from the alpaca and llama 4-H days. With my husband's assistance, we tossed in some old hay for bedding and lay one of the barrels down in what's left of the loafing shed. He set it on jump standards to keep it off the wet ground. In went the two chickens.
The next morning, I checked on them. They were still in the barrel, quiet and content. I figured they were probably hungry, so I pulled them from the barrel and set them on the ground beside a pan of grain. They squawked for several minutes, then calmed down. A few minutes later, they were doing what chickens do: pecking the ground and eating. So, the chickens know where their "nest" is and they're settling in.
The horses aren't sure what to make of these new critters, but I could grow fond these little guys. They're not aggressive. They're not obnoxiously loud. They're kind of cute.
I'd like to bring home a few more--just a few for bug control.
Good grief, I have chickens.
The Dragon Wore A Kilt
“Dear Lord, it’s an earthquake,” she muttered as the entire car shook again as though the mountain were trying to shrug the vehicle off its shoulder.
Then the earth gave way and the car plunged down. Maggie screamed. Like every silly heroine in every adventure movie, she screamed in terror even though she knew that screaming would help nothing. She slammed into cloth-covered metal when the car hit the cold, murky water.
From across Loch Saorach in the far northeast of Scotland, Connor Matasan watched in horror as the hillside crumbled beneath the car.
“Come help!” he bellowed as he shot out of his chair to run, run as though his own life depended upon it. His powerful legs and lungs
burned as he ran around the loch’s rocky edge. He nearly squeaked in terror as water rose and slid momentarily over the dark, scaly curve of massive and hungry monster.
Loch Ness wasn’t Scotland’s only body of water to boast a water monster; it was just the famous one.
Connor rounded a curve and leaped into the cold, dark, deep water—so deep none truly knew how far the loch’s bottom descended. The sinuous bulk of the monster bumped him gently. It would not harm him for he belonged to the loch as much as it did. But the driver of the doomed car could not be so lucky.
The monster had grasped the vehicle in its toothy jaws. Connor swam past the monster’s bulbous eye and realized he had to surface for air. He shot upward, gulped a lungful of air, and then dove back down, following the monster and its prize. Every so often, the monster would shake its head, the violent swish of the car through the murky water leaving whitish bubbles and eddies of disturbance. On one of those shakes, the vehicle’s passenger side door flew open and the car’s sole passenger floated out. Connor hoped the mysterious and ancient water dragon of Saorach did not realize that its fleshy prey had escaped the metal shell.
He swam around the monster’s lithe, snakelike neck and grabbed a bit of cloth. Lungs burning, he needed air—desperately. The lake monster stilled and fixed a bushel basket sized eye upon him and the barely discernible body he grasped.
Connor’s own eyes narrowed and he sent a warning to the monster to leave well enough alone.
Focus by Holly Bargo
Professional photographer Dana Secrest has a secret and doesn’t even know it. When she storms from her best friend’s home on Christmas Eve—not the wisest decision she’s ever made—security contractor Sam Galdicar follows her to save her from her own hot temper and impulsive action. Upon arriving home, Dana discovers her apartment has been ransacked. Then an attempt is made on her life. She doesn’t know who’s trying to kill her or why, but Sam is determined to protect the woman whose eyes don’t need a camera to see the truth.
“I’ve got to get a new laptop computer.”
“I’ll take you.”
I shook my head. I should have known he’d jump to that conclusion. “No, you don’t have to interrupt your schedule any more than you already have. I was hoping you’d lend me a house key.”
He turned to face me, leaning against the counter. “No.”
“Have you forgotten the state of your apartment?”
“No, of course not.”
“That was malice, Dana. The average, garden variety burglar doesn’t leave behind destruction of that magnitude.”
I blinked rapidly. “I suppose you’re familiar with ‘average, garden variety’ burglars?”
He shook his head and the corners of his mouth curled just a little bit. “You’re not going to distract me that way.”
“Look, Sam,” I huffed, “it’s probably likely that whoever burgled my home and destroyed it did so in a fit of pique because there wasn’t much of anything worth stealing.”
“You plan on keeping me a prisoner here?”
Hard boiled, scrambled, over easy, and sunny side up: eggs are the musings of Holly Bargo, the pseudonym for the author.
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