Sunday, October 23, 2011

Oregon, and more chickens

"More chickens?" Oh yes, I can hear you now. Why would I get more chickens when I keep trying to cut back?? I'll explain... This has been in the works for a few months. A flock of 11 BBRed Rosecombs, descended from birds I sold 6 or 7 years ago, was available (in Oregon). I'm REALLY trying to work hard on my flock of BBReds, but I've run into inbreeding problems, so I'm thinking these "related but removed" birds could be a big help. Conveniently, Jen needed to go get some waterfowl in Corvallis, so when it finally worked out that the waterfowl were ready and everyone was available on the same day, a road trip was quickly put in motion. So I left here late Friday afternoon and went to Jen's place near Redding. We took off at 6:30 Saturday morning (eww), and got back a little after 9 Saturday night. I can't complain much because she drove, but that does push the limits of a day trip. But it sure beat having to get the birds shipped. It was fun though, pretty drive and we had a lot to talk about, some of which was wildly funny but definitely NOT going on the blog! ;-) Big shout out to my Rosecomb friends for driving down from the Portland area to meet up with us, that was a huge help!!

Look, photographic proof that I was up early!:

Mt. Shasta:

Part of northern CA that has decided it wants to be on its own, or something like that:



Just an observation, but Oregon has a lot of these places... just sayin'...


Ha! I live off Dillard Road, in California! I didn't know I'd see one in Oregon too:


Ha! Sounds like when I have to deal with Creepy Guy when I'm out walking...


Hmm, I think that would aptly describe some people I know... ;-)

Oh my my! Can I visit?!

Driving back down the central valley. It's very very very flat, and all looks remarkably similar:

These are some of the new chickens in their new digs. It's kinda funny, I was describing this as similar to looking at relatives. I know these faces. I'd recognize my bloodline anywhere. They won't all stay, there are specific traits I'm breeding for that I don't see in all of them, but several will make a welcome addition to next year's breeding flock:

And of course I had to curl up and take a power-nap with my favorite little guy when I got home:

Back to work! I'm so far behind it's not even funny.

Friday, October 21, 2011

I will answer

I've gotten a number of sweet emails lately from blog readers across the country, and I want you nice people who have written to know that I really will answer. I feel like I owe you a long email in return, and I haven't managed to sit down and do that yet. I will. I'm not exactly the world's best corespondent. ;-) This seemed like the best place to tell you that!

Saturday, October 15, 2011


I sorted through ALL the birds the morning, except the ever-expanding mob of babies free-ranging around the barn... because they're still young. I found a bunch to go to auction (oh boy I have to get up at 5am tomorrow, whee!), and I moved a bunch around. Time to put the cockerels into conditioning coops...

I am starting to get lots of phone calls and emails about chickens... I swear to you, when I have birds available, it will be posted 1) on the Random Rosecombs sale page 2) on the Random Rosecombs facebook page. All phone calls and emails are getting the same answer right now: "I don't have anything for sale right now. I will in a few months, but I don't know how many or what colors. Please keep an eye on the website for more information. I don't know how they will be priced yet, it depends how many are available." You gotta bear with me on this, seriously. I'm extremely busy, and selling chickens is a REALLY small part of my life, so it's not high priority, and I don't keep a waiting list because despite my best intentions I WILL forget to contact someone and it'll get ugly. When they're available, they're available.... eventually... ;-)

Here's what I can tell you right now about my bird-selling plans for the next few months:

-All the Blues and Splashes will be for sale. They are NOT "pure" Blue, so they will throw some other stuff.
-There will be a very very very very limited number of Black pairs or trios for sale. I'm waiting to see how the males finish out.
-There will be some Brassy/Blue Brassy birds available. I'm not sure yet how many. I may consider offers on the whole flock. We'll see.
-I have no idea about the BBReds. I'm buying some birds (my line, sold years and years ago) some time in the next few weeks, schedule to be determined. I will not make any decisions about selling BBReds until after I have these birds.

Anyway, here's some pics from my day:

That Blue Brassy Splash pullet is such a camera-whore:

Blue pullet:

Splash pullet:

Super nice BBRed pullet, definitely NOT for sale!:

Brassy Back and Blue Brassy Splash cockerels:

Blue cockerels:

These dark BBRed cockerels are half Brassy Back. These are likely to be my breeder males next year. Yup, they're too dark, but the BBRed line needs some help and I'm really pleased with these two youngsters so far:

Pure BBRed cockerels. Yeah, they're pretty... but will they grow sickle feathers? Time will tell, but I'm worried. I'm having a huge problem with sickle feathers, mostly in the BBReds. They don't drop the baby feathers, or will only drop one, so they either get no or one long "adult" sickle. I can't explain it. I don't EVER breed these birds but it keeps happening. AAAARG!

what's that smell?

Okay, at the risk of sounding like a crazy person, I'm just going to ask if anyone has any idea what this is all about...

There's been a weird smell in the neighborhood lately. I first smelled it about a month ago, so strong that it woke me up in the middle of the night. It smelled like fireworks... that burnt sulfur smell of a spent firework. I had to shut my window it was so strong. The following morning I was sure I must have dreamed it. But I've smelled it a few more times since then. Only once in daylight, usually at night, and sometimes down the road a half mile or so. Mom's smelled it, and one of my neighbors even texted me a week or so ago late at night and said "does it smell weird outside to you?"

At 2:30 last night it was so strong it woke me up again, blowing in the window on the breeze. It was less sulfury this time, hard to describe... sort of a cooking smell, like BBQ, but in a gross way, kind of a nasty undertone to it, like something dead? By morning the air is normal.

Does anyone have any idea what this could be? Do you think someone's cooking meth around here? Does it smell like that? Any other ideas? At least I'm not the only one aware of it... It's really quite disturbing though.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

second place

My pumpkin got second place today. The winner was the large jack-o-lantern next to it. Third place was the one with the planets on it. Congratulations to the winners! :-)

Saturday, October 08, 2011

pick my pumpkin!

It was pumpkin-carving day today!

Actually, the day started bright and early with the Rooster Crow Competition, part of Wilton History Day, held at Dillard Elementary School. I took two birds, and they didn't win. By a long shot. A very very long shot. One of them crowed five times in twenty minutes, mostly within the first two minutes of the competition. The other crowded once, in the last minute of competition. The winning bird, a large game rooster named Ronald, crowed something like 53 times in twenty-minutes. OMG.

Thoroughly trounced, I sent the boys back home with Mom and drove out to Sloughhouse for the annual Harvest Festival and pumpkin carving contest. I participated last year, and won. I've been scheming for a while, because I'd really like to do that again. ;-) About a week ago I decided on my image, so I got a small pumpkin and did a practice run. Turned out lovely. This was my practice pumpkin:

Bonus points if you know what famous engraving I'm spoofing, by the way...

So this morning I showed up hoping to find a large version of the same variety of white pumpkin. Ooops, what I hadn't realized was that they don't get much bigger than that. My planned design was way too big, so I used a REALLY big white pumpkin instead, which was a different kind, and then I ended up having to ink it because it was NOT orange right under the skin, and I really hadn't wanted to have to ink it... but I digress. Here's how the day went:

Picking the perfect pumpkin:

"Uh, yeah, sure, I can carry it..."

"Holy Crap, where's a big strong man when I need one? This is really heavy! Why didn't I get a cart? What am I trying to prove? I'm going to be horrified if I drop this... Just keep walking..."

"Look at all those pumpkins!"

"Okay, now what?" Well, what was next was 5 hours of sitting on a straw bale with an itty bitty carving tool...

The blank canvas... actually I do have the outline dotted on this picture, but you can't really see that too well.

Sometimes I had an audience. Sometimes my audience was small. "Patience young grasshopper..." ;-)

But, hours later I had my design all engraved. It just didn't show up very well (sorry, forgot to photograph that part). So I made use of Jan's stash of art supplies and mixed a nasty dye concoction (the fingers on my right hand are brownish purple...) and inked the darn thing. I wish it hadn't stained the background... but that's okay. Still rocks pretty hard, I'd have to say!

So, if you're out there tomorrow, please be a dear and vote for my pumpkin. You can't miss it! I'll tell you tomorrow how everything turns out! And maybe by the middle of the week my hand will look normal again.

And did you figure out what famous image that's based on? ;-) I know my engraver friends will know!