A few days ago, most of the chickens moved into a chicken tractor C has
since built for them, so that they can still continue to eat fresh plants
and bugs while being safe (hopefully) from predators (coyotes, mountain
lions, bears, weasels, skunks, hawks, eagles...?).
Another dog, trained from puppy-hood to live out there with them wouldn't hurt either. Not sure we're up for that quite yet.
The 100 newly hatched chicks that arrived yesterday (50 for us, 50 for
the neighbors) are safely tucked into the old shed, the newly reinforced and newly dubbed
"brooder shed". C poured a concrete floor in there last week, after we
lost ten chicks in there last summer when a skunk tunneled under and
into the shed, killing them all, only one day before we'd planned on moving them over to the
more-secure chicken coop by the house. (I nearly ended up nose to nose with
R (matter-of-fact-ly): "Are these the ones we're going to
Me: "Yep, but they wouldn't make much of a meal right now, would
Two Sundays ago: While working in the garden that evening, glancing up and
seeing this scene and noticing how spring-like and bucolic it appeared, I grabbed the camera and
clicked away. This was the last time we saw girl-goose (the grey one) alive.
Next morning: They were saying we might be able to catch a glimpse of
the Space Shuttle as it returned to Earth, so we all got up earlier
than usual, bundled up and snuggled together
outside in the cold morning light.
The shuttle landing was postponed
until the following morning but we noticed, while standing out there waiting,
that boy-goose a.k.a. "Spot" was wandering around alone out in the
field with the horses, where the pair had contentedly spent the last week or two, with regular access to the pond, fresh grass, and with a spot chosen to nest, right up against the outer side of the fenced-in chicken yard.
Girl goose was not on the nest and nowhere in sight. Uh oh.
A little investigation revealed all that remained of girl-goose's
feathers and the broken shells of her eggs, both in the nest and
strewn around away from it.
(The week prior we'd found ourselves also short two free-ranging chickens,
only piles of feathers out in the woods. Dang!)
The neighbors had been seeing a coyote lurking around the chicken yard,
and thus our own yard lately. We are tucked in the trees and wouldn't
easily spot him, but the neighbors, from their vantage point, can see him coming and going across the fields.
I like coyotes.
E plays this little word game where, for
of it, he asks you your favorite animal. I always reply "coyote". I
don't really know
why that is, other than that whenever I see them, which isn't often,
always look like they're having fun. They're dogs, after all.
E came home from school that day with this picture.
Boy-goose, who'd always been nothing but a gentleman, had recently been turning
aggressive, coinciding with girl-goose nesting and laying
eggs. He attacked the littlest one of us, E, especially, to the point
boys were carrying sticks with them to defend themselves if
Now, immediately, after girl-goose was eaten off the nest, his demeanor
changed. I hate to anthropomorphise too much, but he truly appeared
confused, and gentled.
All that first day he sidled up to us (even E) approaching quietly and slowly with no signs of
aggression whatsoever, hanging out close by us.
So, I drive in from work that evening to E running out to meet me.
E: "We have two new geese!"
Me: "What? Two new babies? From where? The feed store?"
C had called on an ad placed by someone who was downsizing their chicken
flock but, by the time he called, the chickens were gone,
but they still had
this pair of geese....
Not only were there the two geese, but they were the same age as the
ones we had, and this new girl-goose was also sitting on a nest of eggs,
inside a nesting box.
So, up he'd loaded them, in their box, into the truck, and away back home they came....
After a short introductory phase (including our own getting used to the striking differences in appearance to the geese we'd had up until now) and settling in...
Boy-goose, a.k.a. "Spot", and now new-boy goose, a.k.a. "Sensei", were soon fast friends.
C then spoke with the Fish and Wildlife Department and soon word was soon out around town. A local trapper came out one morning trying to find the coyote. Not sure whatever became of it but, as far as I know, he never caught it. Not at all sure how to feel about any of this.
Well, ever since, the chickens and geese have been confined in the chicken yard, except when we know we'll be outside in the yard with them and/or our dog is close at hand.
And boy-goose, a.k.a "Spot", went back to his old ways of hanging out
right at the windows in the evenings when we're inside. At least we can keep any eye on him there. Here he was while we were inside
watching the film "Gandhi" with the boys (I know, it's hard not to see the irony. the conflicting messages in all this).
Needless to say, things change and happen quickly around here,
if not one day to the next, then one week to the following.
Every morning, oatmeal sweetened with local honey and half a papaya with a squeeze of
lime,and a cup or two of green tea (that we brought there with us, along with our tea strainers) in cups we thrifted
on our very first full day on the island.
Oh, what I would give for a papaya tree growing in my backyard,
a farmers' market like this within walking distance...
or a fresh fish market down the street (we shopped here nearly every day, usually buying the ahi trimming for the much lower price of $5.99 a pound, splurging only twice on some of the other fish, some killer local shrimp, or sushi rolls.)
Dinner: Fresh seafood. Fresh local kale. Fresh local avocados from the farmer's market, when not even fresher, straight off the huge tree growing directly over the top of the place we stayed, on occasion sending "avo-bombs" bouncing off the metal roof , thankfully never in the middle of the night.
Still, eating in wasn't all that much cheaper than eating out, but it was oh-so-good,
and we knew exactly what we were getting and just how it was
prepared. Are we really getting this picky?
Lunches were local bread for me, spelt tortillas for C, with either leftover fish & greens from the night before, or sometimes just peanut butter and fruit spread. Or fresh local boiled eggs with a half an avocado scooped straight from the peel, often with some tropical fruit or another we'd never heard of nor seen before.
(I can't remember any of their names. One looked a little like a green apple. Others looked liked little, spiky, red spheres. Both tasted tropical, sweet, juicy, and yummy.)
O.K, so a couple of nights we really splurged, going out for sushi.