A Chicken Named Dog

Adventures with a Flock Family

Month: August 2014

Day 18–Final Part

I have related the events of day 18 in our hatching attempt last fall, and I have outlined some of the differences in approach that we identified for our second attempt this last spring.

A little over six months apart, I can’t even begin to calculate the odds that on the same day of our egg maturation that we would, again, be faced with a power outage.  We beat the odds.  On Day 18, the power went out, again.

The storm came through at a little past 9:00 in the evening, dumping buckets of rain in a matter of seconds.  As we looked out the front door of Grandma’s house, I suggested, seeing the rain blowing sideways, that we wait a few minutes before loading the car to drive around the block to our house.  In five minutes the storm had blown through, the rain had stopped, and the power, flickering at first, went black.

Racing around the block we noticed that branches and leaves littered the road, and our neighbor on the upper corner (we live in the middle of the block) had a sixty year old pine tree lying across the power lines.  Grabbing a penlight, we confirmed our fears that the incubator was off with a temperature reading of 90 degrees–already a full, ten degrees cold.

With no power, no indication of power returning anytime soon (there would be more trees across the roads all around the neighborhood) and no backup generator, I grabbed a raincoat and boots, Becca grabbed a heavy winter coat and with chicks in the incubator, we began driving around with the heat on high angling the lid to catch the hot air.

Driving around we were able to survey the damage of what, we would learn later, was a “tornadic event.”  The news and weather service would not call it a tornado (perhaps for the sheer, straight winds that were also detected), but there were lots of twisted debris going all directions. Driving around we were also able to determine that the power knocked out all of the gas stations, Wal-Mart and the regional Meijer stores.  When the low gas light came on in the 4Runner, this became an issue.

Realizing that the power would be out for quite a while, gas running low in the 4Runner and Becca sweating buckets in her winter coat, we opted to devise a plan B.

Plan B consisted of finding a source of power.  Our options were limited: Papa had a small generator that he couldn’t get to work, and I remembered a auto-power converter that would plug into a cigarette lighter/power source in the car and allow a house plug connector to be powered.  We started with the generator after I searched the house for a half hour looking for the power converter.

Another half hour later, after using all of the gas in our mower can on the generator that would not start, I was, again, looking for the power adapter.  I gave up.  We borrowed Papa’s Yukon and continued to drive around, this time looking no only for gasoline, but also a handy little power converter.  It was not 1:00 in the morning.

Just shy of 2:00 in the morning, we decided that if a gas station was open in the area (only one that we could find), it was definitely not carrying a specialized power adapter.  So we carried the incubator into Grandma’s house, updated Tori on our search and looked to come up with a new plan.  Five minutes later I was locating the adapter in the location that Tori indicated that it would be.  I should have started there to begin with.

With our car out of gas, we backed up the borrowed Yukon, plugged in the adapter toThink 1 takes a look an extension cord and plugged in the incubator.  With the heat from the car and Becca’s constant attention, we had maintained temperature to within a few degrees of optimal.   By waking up and starting the car a few times during the night, our ramshackle power work-around carried us through the next morning when power, thankfully, was restored.

All eleven eggs made it hatching.

Hardy freebies


This last spring one of the garden catalogs offered a “free” bulb (we had to pay shipping).  So, I took a chance and sent back the card.

A few weeks later I received by $6, free bulb, which I promptly put in a good spot to get it planted.  Three months later I found the bulb in a box.  A week later it was planted–there were some follow-through issues.

The bulb (it might technically be a tuber) lay dormant to the point I was convinced I was cheated in a marketing scam (ignore the four month delay in planting–I was working myself up into a good, self-righteous state).  Then after a good soaking rain: sprouts.

So, my free elephant-ear something (I have lost the description) is now growing next to the first garden box.  Yay for hardy freebies.



Pole Beans are coming in.

This year, in our experiment with hardscape (see Amish Ikea post), we constructed two parallel trellises for pole beans.  Even at over 6 feet high they weren’t tall enough, so, you may have guessed, we strung between the two for an arbor effect.

Stringing line between two trellises makes a pole bean arbor.

Stringing line between two trellises makes a pole bean arbor.

The effect is in full bloom.  It looks wonderful.

Stanley likes apples


Well, he likes the leaves. He did not, though, like the actual apples when offered for a treat.Stanley eating apple tree leaves

We are still looking for a good treat to help train him. So far he takes to a leash fairly well. The goat harness came in today, so we will see how that helps in leading him around.

Can goats eat “stickers”?

I grew up in West Texas where we called these little toe terrors “stickers”.  They were the bane of barefoot fun, and I was deeply saddened to see them this far north. They have shown up, in small numbers, in our garden, and each year I try to cull and kill them into extinction.  They are winning.

The official flower of Texas

The official flower of Texas

As we were taking Stanley on a tour of the garden today, watching him sample all the plants (weeds only right now), I offered him a sticker plant. He ate the whole thing like it was a pod of peas. Hi did not seem to mind the pokey “peas”. Is this ok? I would love to get him these terror peas, but I am unsure of his gastric health. I mean, they say that goats eat everything, but does that mean everything? Will he self-regulate?

Meet Stanley. He’s a goat.

Pappa, as part of his campaign for state circuit judge, has been making the rounds to the local fairs. Last Thursday he sat in on the 4H small livestock auction.

“Oh, that poor boy is not getting a good price,” he says and starts bidding up his animal. Shortly, after the auctioneer shouts “sold!” does Rebecca lean over and say to him. “You just bought a goat.”

I got to the fair shorty after, and we wondered off to check out the


poultry when we stumbled on the goat and sheep pens. Finding “Kid Rock” wasn’t too hard, and we started talking to the young 4Her about his goat.

Tori’s text was short and to the point, as it came in about that time: “Pappa doesn’t want to butcher the goat. Can I keep him?”

Stanley is now penned and quartered with Bruiser the anti-social rooster. We shall see if that will be enough companionship for poor Stanley.

How do you raise a goat?

I hear “Tweetin” around here…

Hi All: Our tweets now appear in our blog!  Yay.

Technology has been tamed, just a bit.

And all the chickens say, "tweet, tweet."

And all the chickens say, “tweet, tweet.”

Our Twitter handle: @AChickenNamedDog.

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