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a gorgeous drought

October 10, 2012

It’s been 39 days since the last chicken death, when Maxine escaped and crossed paths

with a predator, probably a raccoon.  That loss knocked the flock down to five from 13.

We added five new ones in early September.  Although I hadn’t planned to name them,

that intention quickly evaporated and they became Garbo, Gilda, Minelli, Tippi and Zy.


About a week ago we bought three more.  Two were named at once, to honour a pair of

our dearly departed favourites.  Princess Two carries on the legacy of Princess Layer,

and katy pays respect to kate.  The new ones look strikingly like their namesakes, both

of whom were beautiful.


Here’s the original Princess . . .







. . . and here’s kate.








The lone unnamed hen has the moves of a ballet dancer, a neighbour noted, so I

considered “Margot” for the legendary English ballerina Margot Fonteyn.  But that

sounds a lot like Garbo, and I didn’t want to confuse the girls.  Now I’m leaning

toward “Twyla” for Twyla Tharp, the American dancer/choreographer.


Tharp was born on a farm and was named after Twila Thornberg, who was selected

“Pig Princess” at the 89th annual Muncie, Indiana, Fair.  She also once did a dance

called “Cacklin’ Hen”.


All 13 ladies are getting along well.  As we did with the five we got in early September,

we kept the newest three isolated on one side of the coop for three days.  When they

were liberated, I was there all day working on the greenhouse, so I could make sure

they were greeted nicely.


What few disputes we had were started by the three oldest birds, what with their sense

of entitlement.  I had no problem calling them out for misbehaving, except that Sally

is now as blonde as Brenda.  When one or the other pecked on a rookie, I’d yell “Brenda

or Sally, stop that!”


The greenhouse is looking good.  I should have it weather-ready by tomorrow.  Friday

we’re supposed to start getting the rains that usually come back in mid-September.

We’ve been having a gorgeous drought, with crisp nights and perfect days.


Monday was one of those perfect days, brimming with golden sunlight.  That allowed us

to move our Thanksgiving Orphans’ Feed to the back deck, which was fortunate because

we had 15 folks here.


I had planned to take some photos to share with you, but the camera wasn’t working.  I

think it was just dead batteries.  I made no effort to check, though, because the scene was

flowing so well, I didn’t want to leave it or disrupt it.


Some of our neighbours are apprehensive about being in the blog.  I wanted to respect

that.  To varying degrees, we’re all out here in the forest for a reason.









  1. October 10, 2012 12:34 pm

    A lovely post, as usual!! I’m enjoying a beautiful day here in LA (that’s Lower Arkansas!). Best to you and Jude!

    • October 11, 2012 7:58 am

      Thank you as usual. Your e-mail address was at the end of your comment. I don’t know if you meant to have it there, but I removed it out of respect for your privacy. Did the drought ever end in LA?

  2. Gordon permalink
    October 10, 2012 2:28 pm

    If you need names in reserve for future ladies, may I suggest “Miss Mona?” As head of the Chicken Ranch in Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, she’d be perfect.

    • October 11, 2012 8:13 am

      Excellent choice. “Miss Mona” is at the top of the list. And congratulations on your recent marriage.

  3. October 19, 2012 4:21 pm

    I don’t know how on earth you manage to remember all the chickens’ names, but good on ya! We have no chickens, but we have several batches of kittens in the farmyard every spring since we moved here to Golden Grain Farm. The first year, all the kittens’ names started with an A; the second year, a B; this year, a C. I figure this will help me keep track, at least, of how old they are as the years go by and some of the cats live long. If they’re lucky.

    • October 22, 2012 7:51 am

      Remembering the names isn’t hard, seeing their legbands to identify them is. What is your feline census?

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