That time Ian went gangsta…

Today’s sunnier and drier than yesterday, so that’s good. It’s also cold and windy as hell. I’m about to buckle down and get serious about making bread, but before that I rummaged around chasing a memory to cheer me up. So here’s a video clip from when FW videos were sometimes shot around here, and occasionally we’d do something fun with them.

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Leghorns hiding eggs…

Okay, I’ve been doing this in the Big Chickenhouse for a long time and I’m better at finding them than they are at hiding them. Plus whenever they choose a nest that’s hard on my back, the rocks come out. But I am impressed with their persistence.

The girls had a good day yesterday so I wasn’t expecting much during this morning’s chicken chores. I saw one in a bucket nest, and a small hen was laying in this spot between the sunflower seed barrel and a concrete block that used to hold a waterer. I figured I’d leave her alone and collect whatever was there this afternoon.

But then she got up and moved on her own, and…


Those definitely weren’t there yesterday, so even though they had already averaged more than an egg per hen they apparently stayed busy in this new spot. There are a couple pressed down under the ones you can see – I hauled a dozen newly-laid eggs out right there. A couple of the Leghorns were upset with me: I think they believed they were really pulling off a good trick.

Instinct is a funny thing: None of these hens would ever be able to hatch a nest of fertilized eggs. They’d forget all about them. Brooding and raising chicks has been bred out of them. But there’s still a vestigial part of their pea brains that says – at least momentarily, every now and then – they’re mine, they’re important, and that human is stealing them!

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Nothing ridiculous about this at all…

Big Brother certainly chose the right day to leave.


Wish he’d taken me with him.


It’s been snowing for half an hour.

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When farm boys get bored…

Stolen from the Vulgar Curmudgeon, who has recently changed his address – again…

I gotta say it doesn’t sound happy in operation. Questions as to longevity abound. OTOH I couldn’t have done it, so what the hell do I know?

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Heading out for the Monday morning water run…

…it occurred to me: I sure am bundled up for late May.

Cold, windy, driving heavy rain…this is May in the desert?

Big Brother is on his way back to the Big City. I just this minute got a text from him – he has run into snow.


I should be sitting on my porch smiling contentedly at its new roof and plotting the trim and paint scheme, and instead the sideways rain has rendered it uninhabitable.

This sucks.

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“Done” is a beautiful word.

Next step: Lots of painting. But not right away.

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Two stiff old men…

We could finish today. There’s not much left to do, just the flashing on the west side and the root edge.


But we’re not going to finish today.

Tomorrow’s fine.

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Uncle Murphy tried to do us dirty.

I knew it was going to be windy this afternoon, but normally we can get at least a few still morning hours even on a windy day. So we started putting up the plywood, but those few hours were filled with wind.

By being very careful and clamping or tying down everything that could be tied or clamped, we got the plywood up and VERY thoroughly screwed to the rafters. The incident also gave us much incentive for paying close attention to hurricane straps and such.


Anyway, the plywood is up but we did not push our luck by messing with the metal roofing even though we should have been able to wrap this up today. Tomorrow’s supposed to be less windy.


I have also scored two gallons of the same reddish-brown paint as graces the existing trim, so I have a lot of painting to do but the material needs are handled. The Secret Lair’s porch has a roof!

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Gun Jesus is officially a thing.

So yeah. I truly need one of these.

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“I’m losing my words. “

We broke for lunch fairly early today, though the work was going unexpectedly well, because I hit a wall and for once had the sense to stop. When I’m by myself and I’ve had too much work in the hot sun I don’t always recognize it, and I’ll just waste effort while my mind wanders into the weeds and plays with its toes. In this case we were discussing options for roof flashing, a subject never far from BB’s thoughts, and I was just having difficulty forming common words. It was time to stop, have some lunch and a lot of water, and take half an hour or 45 minutes to get ourselves back to firing on all cylinders.

Speaking of dumb decisions, what’s wrong with this picture?


If you said, “Joel, you appear to be walling up your porch table,” you win. We had to undo a little work to rescue it.

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Done for the day. Tired now.


Big Brother and I are going to have dinner with some neighbors at 4, after which I plan to collapse in a heap.

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Lunch Break

More later…

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Dammit! Mediocre timing.

2 is 1, 1 is none. I violated the rule that bites you when it’s violated.

In October 2015, a Generous Reader sent me this…


Only 3 1/2 years ago? Seems longer. Lots has happened since then, and this little thing has been with me every step of the way because it’s still my EDC belt light. If I’m wearing pants, I’m wearing it*. I stand by the early snarky things I said about flashy modes, I have no use for them, but since I have learned to behave as if they don’t exist they don’t bother me and in every other way this is easily the best, most useful flashlight I’ve ever owned.

I’ve been waiting for the battery to fail. It’s a 18650 rechargeable, and sooner or later it was going to start letting me down. In fact it’s been on my mind and I even have one (2, actually, because Amazon seems offended at the thought of selling only one) in my Amazon cart but for various personal reasons haven’t pulled the trigger on the purchase.

This morning it finally happened. Oh, the flashlight still works! It’s not like that Surefire with the forever-cursed CR123 batteries that broke my heart that one time many years ago. It worked well enough to let me do my task in a dark room without electricity, but it wouldn’t go to full bright and it hadn’t been that long since I recharged it. And this afternoon I plugged in the battery for recharging and it showed done in less than an hour. So the battery is failing. Should have gotten a replacement earlier – nobody in the little town nearest where I live sells them.

Rest in Peace


Hopefully it’ll keep me till I get the replacement. I still love this flashlight, but I have a decent spare if I need one in the interim.


*Except for that stupid belt clip, which is useless and was soon lost. I put some gorilla tape around the light body till it fit an old holster.

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“If it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing.”

That was T’s motto, or would have been if he’d started having a motto. And now it’s commemorated.

Boot Hill got its sign.

It is appropriately – and massively – overdone. 😀 Continue reading

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Today’s the day!

If all is still according to plan, at this moment Big Brother is queuing up to board a plane in DFW, where he has been cooling his heels for almost eight hours. He booked this insane route, which (I guess?) is the only way to get here on one of those newfangled aeroplane things.

Of course the aeroplane won’t get him anywhere near here, so he won’t actually be in danger of getting lost in the desert until sometime mid-afternoon. I’m sure he’ll be raring to go by then…

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Never throw away an old tire tube

I wanted to make a second bucket nest but I needed something better to line the cut plastic with. There was some cheap duct tape in the barn but it wasn’t enough to prevent a hen hurting herself. That link in the comments a post or two down suggested using a section of tire tube, and that was just the thing.


I replaced some tubes for a neighbor several years ago, when she wandered into some thorns. Took the cast-offs home and they’ve been so useful over the years that I almost regret charging her for the job.

ETA: Some of the Leghorns are using the round bucket, but I won’t be surprised if they refuse the square one. They seem to prefer lower ceilings. It’s kind of an experiment.

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Here’s something else we’re trying…


I have a few 6 gal buckets I can spare, and more press-on lids than I care to think about. Neighbor L suggested turning one into a nesting box to see if the Leghorns like it.

I also like the idea of subdividing the main nesting boxes. Big Brother is due tomorrow so things are getting very busy here at the Secret Lair – but once the porch kerfuffle settles down I’m going to give that a try. The Leghorns do seem to want smaller, more private spaces. I’m even thinking of half-covering the entrance of one of those boxes, just to see what they do with it.

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Determination

Once a chicken gets an idea in its head…

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Kinda blew the budget yesterday…

A few weeks ago the base of my hummingbird feeder split its whole length and of course started to leak badly. I patched the split with some Seal-All, and that actually worked for a while. But the fix was temporary, the feeder started leaking again, and yesterday I went looking for what might be available locally as a replacement. The alternatives presented were a)this is so chintzy you will actually be able to observe ultraviolet radiation destroying plastic in real time, or b) wow, that’s expensive.

I truly hesitated. This thing costs more than filling a propane bottle from empty…


But I guess it’ll look nice hanging from the newly-completed porch. The hummers seem to like it, which I wondered about: They’re clearly attracted to bright red and aren’t exactly renowned for their reasoning ability. Would they even recognize its function? Yeah, they seemed to figure it out pretty quickly.

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Outsmarted again.

So yesterday afternoon, in an effort to keep the Leghorns from laying their eggs under the nesting boxes, I hauled in a few rocks to block the entrance. This morning I found them scattered about…


…and a couple of disgruntled hens in there, daring me to stick my hand in.


Bother. This afternoon, more rocks. I’ve got lots of rocks.

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