Monday, January 31, 2005


These are some of the eggs from our chickens. You can probably tell that I'm fascinated by the whole different-color-egg thing.

From front to back, these were laid by:

White Leghorn
Buff Orpington
Easter Egger (Ameraucana)

Egg color varies not only by breed but by individual.

Most of the Dominique and Buff Orpington eggs are indistinguishable, but a couple of individuals lay darker or lighter brown eggs, and one lays the pinkish eggs like the one 3rd from the top.

One of the Lakenvelders lays tinted (cream) eggs like the one shown here, and the other one lays pure white eggs.

We only have one Easter Egger pullet left but the other one we had laid green eggs of this same color. They are not true Araucanas or even true Ameraucanas/Americanas, they're just hatchery Easter Egger mutts.

I read online that most hatchery birds lay green eggs instead of blue, but true Ameraucanas lay only blue eggs... not sure if that's true or not.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

I knew it

One of the (supposedly irrational) fears of my childhood was that a drawbridge would open up while I was on it. My parents always assured me that it could never happen, but of course I knew better.

After hearing this story on the news this morning I had to call Mom and say I told you so.

How in the world did that poor 79-year old woman hang on for so long? Maybe she goes to the gym.

Friday, January 28, 2005

A Visitation of Cows

The grass is always greener over the neighbor’s septic tank.

There are two places where we are separated from a neighbor’s land by water.

Several times a year it rains hard enough or long enough to make the creeks rise more than just a few feet, and the force of the water knocks the fences down.

Cows are a lot more observant than you might think.

More observant about fences than the neighbor's workmen, most times.

They view it as an invitation to visit us.

Jasmine the wonder homestead dog chases them back where they belong.

But they get spooked, and run fast enough to tear up the soggy ground. They also leave us smelly presents.

This month it happened often enough for me to start thinking about free BBQ.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Vapor trails

While walking near the swamp, we saw some contrail reflections among the branches.

Later, the sunset made them look like angry cuts.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Muscovy love

Amorous Cairina moschata domesticus.

Last summer our friend Jen gave us three white Muscovy ducks (one male and two females).

In the world of domestic ducks, there are Mallards, lots of ducks derived from Mallards, and Muscovies.

In researching Muscovies I was surprised to find how long they'd been domesticated - at least 500 years and possibly more. Columbus saw them in the West Indies.

They don't quack like other ducks; the males hiss and the females make a sort of trilling noise. (The trilling is actually a soothing sound. The hissing, not so much.)

They don't walk like other ducks; the head lunges back and forth while the tail wags from side to side. They pretty much do this when they're standing still too.

They don’t like the water as much as other ducks, but can fly better than most.

They are also fairly ugly. They have bright red warty areas around their bills. The wild version (in Latin America) is mostly black, and is infinitely more attractive. Domestic Muscovies are usually black and white. To me the pure white ones are more handsome.

Everything is exaggerated on the males: their size is much larger, they exhibit bigger lunging movements and more tail wagging, and they have an expanded warty area (for extra ugly).

You might wonder why we wanted them.

Because homestead lore claims that they love to eat mosquitoes. Really though I think that ducks love to eat just about any bug that they can catch.

You can make pets out of chickens, especially if you start handling them when they're very young. But you'll never make friends with a duck. They just don’t want to have that much to do with you.

In this the Muscovies are also different, especially the males. Ours likes to follow us around.

If you stand still anywhere in the yard for more than a minute he'll be right beside you, lunging, wagging, and hissing. If you stand still long enough, he'll nibble at your feet.

While you're still thinking “Oh how cute!” he'll start pulling on your pants leg. At first it seems funny, but if you don't move away within a few seconds, he’ll alternate pinching and stabbing you with his bill. Hard!

Once I figured out this behavior, naturally I tried not to stand still for very long if he's around. But sometimes he's insistent and will run after me. Muscovies are the cheetahs of the duck world. You can't outrun them.

I'm divided on whether this is hate or love on the part of the Muscovy... territorial response or misplaced affection?

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Who am I? Why am I here?

1. Crass commercialism.
I came across the following in a newsletter: "I have a web site, but most of my new online customers find me through my blog."

I have to admit, that's what made me want to start an online journal.

So, buy some handmade soap if it appeals to you.

2. The far-flung.
For family/friends who are far away, so they can peek in on us whenever they like.

3. Me me me.
As a record of sorts. (How long ago did we put that fence up? When did we get those Cuckoo Marans?) Plus, I just like to talk about myself.

About Kingfisher Farm.
We are located in rural Blount county, Alabama. The county seat is Oneonta, which is allegedly an Indian word meaning "place of many rocks". Between us, we have lived in several other places (10 Alabama towns, 4 states, and 4 countries) but never anywhere that allowed free range chickens.

About the subtitle:
"Tell me I haven't been walking around all day like that."
It's common for me to realize, often in the middle of the day and especially when away from home, that I still have my pants legs rolled up. Or hay stuck in my hair. Or an egg in my pocket!