tiger_spot: (chickens)
I have now bathed the chickens. I've been meaning to for some time, and have finally gotten around to it. They both had crustiness in the feathers around their vents, which dust bathing and preening was not taking care of, so I stepped in with warm water and soap.

Bathing a chicken is actually surprisingly easy. If I'd realized it would be this quick I'd've done it earlier. They were not precisely cooperative, but I would characterize their responses as puzzled, perhaps offended, rather than panicked or angry, so one hand on top to minimize flapping and one hand in the bucket agitating the water underneath was quite sufficient. The internet advised me to use very warm water and I think that helped.

We'll see how they look when they dry out, and whether they can keep that area clean on their own now or whether we'll need to repeat the procedure in the future. But for now I am quite satisfied with the chicken bathing experiment.


Aug. 12th, 2015 03:18 pm
tiger_spot: (foot)
We have had two deaths in the extended family recently, so Morgan has been seeing various parents be sad, and hearing about some concepts that are new to her, like funerals. But neither of the relatives had been a regular presence in her life, so they were fairly abstract new concepts.

Then one of the chickens died. (Not unexpectedly; Teckla'd been gradually declining in a vague sort of elderly-chicken way for about a year, and one day last week settled in behind the shed and waited quietly until she was all done being a chicken.) So that brought some of this confusing stuff we'd been talking about into sharper focus for her. It's hard to tell how much of it she's understood; she nodded along with all the explanations in the evening, and watched me bury Teckla, and asked questions then, but the next morning she called for her when we were feeding the chickens, and was mad at me for burying her so she couldn't come get her treats. She says she misses Teckla, and also that we should get a puppy since we're down a pet.

As part of her processing, one of her imaginary brothers and sisters (Bean) has died, and there are only two left now (Eggplant and Lettuce). I feel much sadder about that than seems reasonable. Possibly I am sad because Morgan isn't particularly; she mostly brings it up when I am being impatient about her stealing the bike pump to inflate her babies' imaginary scooter tires, to assure me that she'll be quick "because Bean died, so there are only two scooters now."
tiger_spot: (chickens)
This week's question: "How did you get started having chickens?"

When I was a kid, my dad got an incubator and some eggs from a coworker of his who also raised chickens, and attempted to hatch about three dozen eggs (over the course of several batches). He wound up with seven slimy little chicks living in an old refrigerator box in his workshop. (I was expecting fluffy cute chicks, and they did turn into fluffy cute chicks pretty quickly, but as it turns out the inside of an egg is full of slime! Who knew.) They took ill, and four of them didn't make it. Of the remaining three, Spot and Feathers turned out to be roosters and had to be returned to the farm, but Blacky endeared herself to us by laying eggs and eating grubs, and lived a reasonably full chickeny life before some kind of nocturnal predator broke into her coop.

So I had fond memories of chickens.

Then, when we moved into our last apartment here, I started biking past the police station on my way to work. There were three or four chickens who lived across the street from the police station that I would frequently see milling about in their front yard, scratching in the police station's lawn, or crossing the street on the way from one side to the other. Huh, I thought. Keeping chickens in Mountain View must be legal.

So I looked up the city code and started haunting the forums at Backyard Chickens. After we bought the house [livejournal.com profile] brooksmoses designed a coop that followed all (well, most of) the relevant rules and suggestions, a friend who worked at a pet store hooked me up with three-day-old sexed chicks (thereby skipping all the really difficult parts), and that was that. They lived in a cage with a heat lamp until they were big enough to go outside and the coop was finished.
tiger_spot: (chickens)
Everything bad always happens to Phoenix. I find blood in the coop and discover someone's hurt a foot, it's Phoenix. Someone gets harassed by all the other chickens -- Phoenix. I back up and accidentally step on a chicken, the dog decides it's fun to see squawking and flapping, the run door blows closed while a chicken is walking through it -- Phoenix.

But bad things will not be happening to Phoenix any more, because she died this morning. I found signs in the nest box a few weeks ago that something had gone seriously wrong in the egg-laying tract of one of the chickens (a series of shell-less eggs, along with some rather disturbing lumps), and presumably whatever tumor or system failure caused that is behind her demise. I don't think she was in pain at all; she was a chicken, and chickens put an awful lot of energy into not looking sick, but she seemed like a happy, active bird right up through last night.

I will miss my scaredy-cat Fifi-bird.
tiger_spot: (chickens)
There have been somewhat fewer eggs than usual this summer. Partly this is an expected decline as the hens age, but it's seemed like a bit of a steep drop-off lately. Today, while I was rummaging around behind the orange trees picking up dessicated oranges, I found another reason: Dragon's secret nest. She had 10 eggs back there, which is something like two weeks' production. No wonder we were short in the nest box!
tiger_spot: (chickens)
Dear chickens:

I know I just said how much I was looking forward to hosting Easter egg hunts now that we've got all these little toddler buddies, but that does not mean you need to get started hiding eggs now. The nest box has been provided specifically for this purpose, and all of you except Dragon have always done an excellent job using it for its intended purpose. I realize, Teckla, that Dragon is an admirable bird and would totally be in charge if you weren't, but that does not mean you need to improve upon her ideas.

Besides, next to the defunct fountain is a terrible place to hide an egg. Rampaging predators such as the dog would find it just as quickly as I did. Under the coop is at least protected from weasels and snakes and things.

Nest box: there for a reason.

Love and scratch,
tiger_spot: (chickens)
There is a fine and venerable tradition in anthropology of taking any artifact or behavior that does not have a purpose that is immediately apparent to the observer and declaring it part of a religion.

Herewith I describe the chickenly ritual known as The Laying of the Sun.

This ceremony occurs between first light and full light on days determined by a complex, possibly lunar-influenced, ritual calendar. It is most frequently observed just before the summer solstice, though occasional celebration occurs all year, or at least the parts of the year in which (a) I am awake already when the sun comes up or (b) we've left the bedroom window open.

During the ritual, one chicken (usually Norska, I think, although they're hard to tell apart by voice) takes the role of Mother of the Sun and re-enacts the original laying of the sun, with fanfare and song. Note that this re-enactment does not include the production of an actual egg; egg production happens much later in the day and is typically accompanied by much less fanfare and very little song. The troubles and strife experienced by the Mother of the Sun are described in lurid and exacting detail by this High Priestess, supported at intervals by a full chorus of all the other chickens. The song then shifts into a profound and celebratory triumphal march, again supported at intervals by a full chorus of all the other chickens. Possibly they are re-enacting a Narnian sort of singing the world into existence[1]; the song's division into clear individual segments tends to support a narrative interpretation.

Once the ritual is complete, the chickens go about the usual business of the morning. The ceremony does not appear to be accompanied by any fasting or particular ceremonial foodstuffs, nor by any complex personal preparations or alterations to the ritual space.

There are, however, occasional rehearsals.

[1] As described in Lewis, C.S. (1955). The Magician's Nephew. London, England: The Bodley Head.
tiger_spot: (chickens)
Collectively: girls, noisy birds

Teckla: Tecks, Tex, Asshole

Norska: Miss N

Dragon: D, Miss D

Phoenix: Phi, Fifi, Little Red
tiger_spot: (chickens)
Phoenix gets the Golden Snowball Award for excellence in winter laying. She's been chugging right along, straight through the solstice and everything. Go go reliable bird!

(Norska and Teckla, on the other hand, are total slackers. Their heads have gone all pale, too, so they're not going to be back to laying any time soon. Lazy chickens.)


Nov. 20th, 2011 02:31 pm
tiger_spot: (chickens)
A little over a month ago, Phoenix and Norska started molting.

Phoenix dropped a dozen or twenty feathers over the course of about a week, then got right back to laying. She looked, at the worst, slightly disheveled, although the other chickens picked on her for it anyway. (That is what it is like, being the omega chicken.)

Norska shed pigeons-full all over the yard. She looked like she'd been used to dust things. All her tail feathers fell out. Now she's grown everything back in and looks much more respectable, but she hasn't started laying again yet. I tap my feet impatiently.

About a week and a half ago, when Norska was starting to slow down on the feather-splosion, Teckla started molting. She, too, has been leaving little piles of feathers behind any time she stands still for a few minutes. She's not cranky about it this year like she was last year, which is nice. Also she is much, much funnier-looking.

These are the pictures I would use to embarrass the chickens in front of their dates, if the chickens had dates or understood the concept of embarrassment. )


Oct. 14th, 2011 02:46 pm
tiger_spot: (Default)
We have entered the dark time of year.

Lately, I'm getting up on train-catching days before the sun is properly up and biking home in the last little trailing bits of sunset. That means it's time to start buying my lunch more often, so I can take it out to the park and soak up some sunlight while it's there.

The other day, I went and bought lunch at the Indian place around the corner from my office, as I often do. However, it was cloudy and yucky out, so instead of taking it to the park I sat at the counter and watched the kitchen go. I knew the place was busy, but I hadn't realized quite how busy. I was really impressed watching all the various cooks zooming around doing six things at once, fetching and patting and frying and passing things off to other cooks and plating and serving and generally doing the well-oiled machine thing. An overclocked well-oiled machine.

One advantage of getting up before sunrise is that I cannot possibly be woken up before the alarm by the chickens or wild birds or anything, because nothing whatsoever is stirring out there. The chickens have been slow with egg production lately; Norska and Phoenix are both molting, so they're out of commission for a while. I may give in and buy store eggs again to support my ice cream creation experiments / late-night chocolate cake needs. (The five-spice syrup, by the way, worked stupendously. Piña colada next!)


Lunch today was exciting. I made a new recipe, kale bread, which is a fried Indian flatbread with kale, coriander, and chilis in it. They came out fairly tasty, although next time I am going to knead by hand, not using the food processor, because the food processor isn't really big enough and just makes a mess to clean up. Also I put too much water in, so the dough was really sticky and had to be overfloured to work with properly. As a proof-of-concept they worked, but I think I can make them better next time. [livejournal.com profile] brooksmoses helpfully fried them for me while I was finishing up the rolling and making a salad to go with them.

After the frying was done, the pan got a little overenthusiastic and set off the smoke alarm, which set off the dog, who remained agitated for quite a long time. One of the other alarms decided that ten minutes after the first one had gone off was a good time to start beeping for a battery replacement, which I'm sure reassured the dog not at all. He decided, after the beeping had in fact stopped, that the best thing to do was let himself out the front door. After being retrieved, he tried the back door (open to the screen to let out the smoke, so that one was easy). After being retrieved from there, he was not any happier about existence, and kept running around whining like something was making a noise I couldn't hear, although none of the other alarms were beeping or anything. After I sat out back with him for a while, he calmed down (and did a great job ignoring the chickens). Sunlight is magic, I guess.


I have noticed that some of my shirts are fitting differently in the arms and shoulders lately. I can only assume that I'm putting on muscle from climbing. In the abstract, this is good, but it is making it even harder to find shirts that fit, which I frankly didn't expect was possible.

Clearly I should only wear tank tops from now on.


The other day, coming home from the train station after Sociological Observation Shopping[1], part of my rear bike light fell off. I didn't realize it at the time -- I thought the noise was me running over a plastic cup or something of that nature. The next morning I checked the spot where the noise occurred (in the park) and found the light cover and the batteries. I reassembled the light and continued on my way. Unfortunately, the cover fell off again later in the ride, and before I could safely retrieve it a great big car ran right over it and pulverized the poor thing. (I did manage to get the batteries, which had not been pulverized.)

So now I have a nice new rear light. The screws holding it to the rack don't want to go in very far, so I'm a little concerned about its stability, but it seems to be doing okay so far.

[1] Sociological Observation Shopping is like shopping, but without the expectation (or in this case the fact) of buying anything (well, lunch and cream puffs, but those hardly count). It's much less stressful than the other kind. Oh, and we went to Paxton Gate, which I will have to take my sibling & sibling-in-law to if they ever come visit, because it is awesome. I wanted to buy them this lamp with chicken feet and a sort of bathysphere aesthetic and an anglerfish/lotus flower thing on a stem and a tentacle, but it was too expensive. (Aha. Not this one, but a similar one.) The website looks all respectable; this is a lie. The store is full of disreputably alarming things like mouse skeletons dressed up as cherubs and taxidermy unicorn heads and bowls full of penis bones and strings of dried pufferfish. Occasionally you get this feeling like you're being watched, and of course you are, by six things that have been dead for years and have their heads swapped around on the wrong bodies.
tiger_spot: (chickens)
Today, Teckla and Dragon are hanging out together, while Norska and Phoenix are in the coop. Are they having dominant/subordinate chicken support groups?
tiger_spot: (spots)
I have questions! These questions are from [livejournal.com profile] mrissa. If you would like lovingly handcrafted questions of your own from me, comment below and ask for them.

1. What is the most unexpected thing about the chickens?

Sunday, I cleaned out the coop. This is not unexpected, just obnoxious, but it's important background. So I cleaned out the coop, filthying up many rags and dampening much ground and wearing myself out entirely, then covered the bottom of said coop with nice clean rice hulls to replace the rather horrible mess of sand and food dust and god-knows-what that had developed since the last time I cleaned out the chicken coop. Ah, bliss. Clean bliss.

Each morning I scoop out obvious lumps of waste and deposit them in a small trash can near the coop for later transport to the compost heap. Monday morning, while I was bent over depositing a scoop, Dragon kicked a bunch of rice hulls out of the coop onto my head. The unexpected part is how they then filtered down into my undergarments.

Rice hulls are itchy.

2. The sword in your icon: how often do you pick it up? Can it be sheathed without drinking blood?

That particular sword is a cavalry saber. Like the shirt I'm wearing in that icon, it wasn't (and isn't) mine, just brought along to share for the photo shoot. (When I was in the UT fencing club, we did a photo shoot for a calendar for a fundraiser one year. The calendar did not come out well, but the original pictures were excellent.) I don't think it actually had a sheath, so its blood-drinking requirements are unknown to me.

I don't pick up any other swords regularly these days either, which is a shame.

3. What part of your life would be hardest to explain to your 20-year-old self? your 10-year-old self?

Hmmm. 10-year-old me I think predates our AOL subscription, so perhaps the amount of socializing and information-finding I do online would be hardest to explain. Or I could go into detail about how to get a mortgage -- I don't really fully understand that now and I've done it, so explaining it would definitely be a challenge. "Why I don't really, 100%, with every fiber of my being, want to go to Mars" would also be a tricky one.

20-year-old me... I'm not sure. I was going to say certain aspects of my job situation, but 20 was after I'd graduated, so the seeds of that were already well-planted and predictable. (Not inevitable, but obviously likely enough.) It'd be slightly depressing to explain, but not actually difficult. This sense I've been having lately of my life being fated, in a seasonal circle-of-life kind of way, would probably be hard to explain to a lot of 20-year-olds but I don't think I was one of them. Politics, maybe, but 20-year-old me had vivid recent memories of the World Trade Center towers coming down and would not have been surprised by anything. I may have to fall back on the mortgage again.

I wish 40 or 50 or 60-year-old me would come explain something. It doesn't have to be anything difficult.

4. What is your reading missing most these days?

Spanish. And picture books. But I will get to those.

5. What do you wish you could send out as a postcard (image, text, whatever)?

Plans for a low cost, very safe, easy to build teleporter. Or possibly the resume and cover letter to end all resumes and cover letters; that'd be handy to have in a nice easily-distributable format.

Four Eggs!

Aug. 15th, 2011 09:33 pm
tiger_spot: (chickens)
Today all four chickens laid eggs!

To celebrate, here is a quiz. )
tiger_spot: (chickens)
Monday, when I got home from work, I noticed that Phoenix was huddled up in a corner of the run looking unhappy. Teckla and Norska were both out in her general vicinity, ignoring her entirely and not harassing her in any way. Neither of these things is normal.

Upon picking Phoenix up for investigation and snuggling, I noticed that my hands were bloody. Well, that at least told me what sort of injury to look for, and some first clues about where on the chicken it might be.... Somehow or other, she tore off a claw (ouch). Since the other chickens weren't being super-obnoxious about it, I let her stay in with them, and she perked up and got more active later in the evening. I'll keep an eye on it in case it gets infected, but it looks like it should be fine eventually. Still, poor girl.

This morning, I let the dog out on the porch while I was feeding the chickens. The chickens decided it was a good morning to make a break for it, and dodged around me as I was coming in to take off across the yard. "Oh boy!" said the dog. "Running chickens! I'll follow this red one!"

No chickens were harmed, but I'm sure a lolloping 80-pound predator is not a happy sight for a bird to get in the rear-view mirror.

I tell you, if something's going to go wrong it's going to happen to Phoenix. A month or two ago she managed to take a divot out of her beak somehow. For a while there it looked like I was going to need to clip off the remaining side bit before it got overgrown and started interfering with pecking, but she managed to wear it off evenly without any intervention from me.

On the plus side, she's started laying. Her first egg, Monday, was a gorgeous dark brown with light speckles, a bit bigger than Dragon's first few tries here. Today, there were definitely two new-layer eggs, and one's brown so I think it's hers, but it's so light that I almost wonder whether Dragon laid twice (unlikely, but possible).

I've been getting a lot of broken eggs lately, and it occurred to me today that perhaps, now that the junior chickens are laying, they will stop pulling hay out of the nestbox and it can stay and perform its useful padding function. So now the box is lovely and hay-filled once more, and we will just see about this jostling the big eggs around so much that they break.
tiger_spot: (chickens)
Dragon laid her first egg today! Right in the nest box like a good hen, well-formed and fully shelled and everything.

Huzzah for Dragon!
tiger_spot: (Default)
Today I set up the tent in the backyard so that we can introduce the dog to it and make sure he's generally comfortable with this new object and familiar with the basic Rules of Tent ("This is inside. Do not pee on it.") before we take him camping. So far I have learned the following things:

1. The diagrams in the tent assembly manual are misleading and not comprehensive.

2. It is possible for one person to assemble the Giant Tent of Doom, but I don't know that I'd recommend it.

3. Assembling a tent in the backyard startles the heck out of the chickens.

4. Boy, it's hot out.

5. These stakes bend really easily.

6. As it turns out, Dragon can slither through that space in the dog crate[1].

7. Teckla reacts to accessible junior chicken just exactly like one would expect (i.e., the sort of chase that ought to be scored to "Yakety Sax").

8. These color-coded buckles on the tent & rain fly are really handy.

9. Galen thinks the tent is pretty cool.

10. He shows no inclination to pee in or on it (though it is in the yard, and he is in general not all that willing to pee in the yard), but he thought maybe it would be a fun place to dig. The workings of the doggish brain are inexplicable.

11. The tent walls statically attract dog hair with a force greater than the force of gravity. This looks kind of cool but is probably going to be a pain to clean up.

12. The correct way to enter or exit the tent, according to Galen, is with a high, graceful leap over the little sill with the zipper on it.

13. The vestibule has a tendency to pull off the stakes if they are not firmly sunk into the ground. I am not willing to bother sinking stakes into the ground any more firmly than they go when I step on them when the tent is set up in the yard for dog introduction purposes.

14. The air mattress inflating pump should not be stored with the batteries in it, because one of them leaked. I have cleaned it up and think it will be okay once it dries out, but checking whether Galen has an issue with air mattresses will have to wait for another time.

[1] I moved the junior chickens outside yesterday. They're in the plastic dog crate that Galen chewed up, tucked under the coop in the shady part of the run. I covered the chewed-up bits with duct tape so nobody would get scratched, but there was still a space below the door where plastic was missing. It looked a little borderline as to whether the small chickens could fit through it, so I figured I'd give it a try and fix it later if it turned out they could. There is cardboard there now. Also yesterday, I got out all the material needed to divide the run into two parts so each set of chickens could have outside space until the little guys are big enough to be safely combined with the older chickens, then looked at how much space the dog crate takes up, how difficult it would be to arrange a temporary divider in a way that still allowed access to the crate for feeding and cleaning, and decided that the first idea I'd had, where each pair of chickens can alternate days out in the run, was in fact a fine idea.


Apr. 13th, 2011 04:19 pm
tiger_spot: (chickens)
1. Galen was out sunning himself on the porch this morning, as he likes to do. Eventually, he decided he'd had enough, but I was back in the office and not handy for door-opening duties. So he let himself in.

Intelligence is not necessarily a desirable trait in a dog.

2. His other I-am-too-smart-for-my-own-good behavior lately is substantially more annoying. When we're out on walks, he's supposed to sit and wait for permission before crossing a street. (This is a safety measure.) He's quite good at this and knows darn well what he's supposed to be doing, although occasionally he gets confused at oddly-shaped curbs. Lately, he's taken to sitting beautifully and quickly... so long as we are headed away from the house. As soon as we turn around and start walking back towards home, he's all "Okay, okay, so the rule is, first I sit down, then we cross the street? So if I don't sit down, we can just turn that way and keep walking, right? Right?"

Not right.


I figure if I just don't let this work, in the sense of changing my mind about where we are going, he will eventually give it up, because walking, even in the direction of home, has to be better than standing on a street corner for minutes on end, right? Right?

3. The little chickens are seriously into flying right now. Eventually they'll be back to the usual chicken jumping with a power assist, but right now they've got a good combination of low weight and thoroughly feathered wings. I don't remember Norska and Teckla doing this, but these two are definitely going through a stage of I Am a Bird and That Means I Can Fly! Today, I was standing near the brooder holding Phoenix, and Dragon climbed out of the brooder and flew over to my shoulder. Awww, she likes me! (Or she was just trying to stay close to the other chicken, but I'll take what I can get.)

4. The Humane Society Silicon Valley is having a set-your-own-adoption-fee event for adult dogs and cats all month.

5. Speaking of dogs and cats, I must brag on Galen for a minute here. This past weekend, we went over to [livejournal.com profile] brooksmoses's place to help clean things, and Galen did very well with the cats. Julie went and hid in the dresser, as usual, but Beatrice stayed out in the main part of the house and remained unmolested for hours. She was a little discomfited when he went to see what the meowing was about, but as [livejournal.com profile] brooksmoses said, "I don't know what you're complaining about; you called him." (And he was perfectly polite in his investigation, not even running to get there.)

Towards the end of the visit, Julie came out to see what was what. Unfortunately, the exaggerated cautious slinking was a little too interesting, so Galen stood up to see what it was, and that startled both cats enough that they left the room and didn't come back out while we were still there. I'm amazed they got that far, though -- I didn't think Julie would ever consent to be in the same room with the dog.
tiger_spot: (chickens)
We have determined, over the course of the past year, that two chickens just don't produce quite as many eggs as we tend to go through.

Therefore. )
tiger_spot: (Default)
Hello, living.

I am not sick any more. It got me awfully behind on things, but I seem to be about caught up. Now I shall catch you up.

Our Thanksgiving trip was quite nice, and I have here on my desk a giant hard drive full of all the home movies ever, courtesy my sibling. Yay sibling!

While I was sick, my permanent retainer succumbed to the pressure of years of flossing. I had my dentist remove it, polish off the remaining adhesive, and recommend me some orthodontists to consult about whether it (and/or my top retainer, which has been broken for years) should be replaced or altered in some way or whether I can just have teeth like a normal person now. I am really enjoying having the back surface of my front teeth back, so I intend to be very thorough about explaining to these orthodontists, when I get around to calling them, that I do not care what my teeth look like as long as they are more or less symmetrical, I did not want braces in the first place so the effects of said braces wearing off are irrelevant, and really they should only recommend I do or wear anything if not doing it is going to hurt or make it hard for me to eat. I like eating.

I made cookies for a holiday cookie swap and swapped them for other cookies yesterday. They are mostly gone now. The swapping-party was fun.

Andres put the house lights up and we hung the wreath on the door, but we haven't got a Christmas tree yet. This feels late to me, but we will go fetch one and decorate it up this weekend and there will be plenty of days of Christmas tree. (The live tree we used to have is no more; it was scraggly and horrible anyway, because of having been painted blue before we got it, and it's hard to keep container plants alive outdoors here. Or, as Andres put it: "You murdered Sparky!" Yes. Yes I did.)

Galen has been doing fairly well learning Rally Obedience. The class proper is over, but the instructor has started doing drop-in classes to cover the Advanced and Excellent exercises. He's still having trouble with right-hand finishes, which I expected given how long it took him to learn left-hand finishes. He's having trouble with them in really interesting and consistent ways, which reveals a lot about his thought processes and learning style, but it would be nice if he would just get the hang of them already. Also, apparently he really likes backing up (this was one of the new exercises last week, although I vaguely recall working on it a little bit just as a trick a while back). I should practice that this evening just to see if he's still as enthusiastic as he was in class.

Galen also had a veterinary incident a little while ago. Google has dispensers containing a particular kind of chewing gum that is high in xylitol, an artificial sweetener with some antibiotic properties. Unfortunately, xylitol is also extremely toxic to dogs. Someone spilled some of the gum, and Galen, who loves gum, found and consumed it instantly. Three pieces of the stuff is a lethal dose for a dog his size, so Andres rushed him to the vet, and he was unhappy for the rest of the day but is fine now.

The chickens have been molting. This is an unfortunate state in which feathers fall out, new, itchy, poky pinfeathers grow in, no eggs are laid, very little food is eaten, and tempers are even crankier than usual. (I would be cranky, too, if my feathers fell out in this weather.) I think Teckla's about coming out of it, though -- somebody's been starting to eat a reasonable amount of food again, and all the feathers clogging up the bedding-scoop have white spots so they're definitely Norska's. Also she's been merely her normal level of cranky the last few days, rather than the Bitch Queen From Hell she was last week and earlier.

Cathy is sick again, poor thing. She has a well-deserved promotion and accompanying massive raise to comfort her in her extremity, but it's awfully unfair to be sick again already.

Tethys is no longer sick, which is surprising but good. I was expecting her to need to stay on the antibiotics to manage the respiratory disease, since that is what the boys needed, but one course seems to have cleared it up. Hurrah!

As of yesterday, all the presents that need to be shipped have been ordered and/or mailed. I thought I had about half the household Christmas present shopping done, but then I got an e-mail that one thing I ordered wouldn't be in until after the new year (and did I perhaps want to cancel, which was very nice of them to ask, so I said no, I'll save it for a birthday present or something, but I should come up with another little Christmas thing in the meantime) and decided to maybe add a few things here and there, so there will be more happening on that front. Also the first of the presents I ordered to come to me arrived, so I can begin wrapping now. We probably need more ribbon, I think we were low last time I used some.

Tomorrow I will begin using the Clipper public transit payment system. I think I have set it up in such a way that it will actually work, and if this is so I will e-mail the various companies involved to tell them how to do that, because their customer service departments were well-meaning but entirely unhelpful. Or perhaps I will be ignominiously ejected from the train. We'll see.

... and I think that is the entire contents of my brain at the moment.

How are you?
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