When the phone rings……..

7 Dec

So I am anticipating the arrival of my new seed, the phone rings and all hell breaks loose…………….

first a little background info:          Maw is my husbands 99-year-old grandmother.  On February 23, 2013 she will be 100!  Maw has lived in what is now our home, since she was 3 years old.  She gave birth to her children in the main room of the house where the 110 year old fireplace is located, and in the room that for lack of a better word we call the dining room, although we don’t actually “dine” there.  In her better years she was a homemaker, a seamstress, crocheted many a blanket, tended a garden, canned and/or preserved vegetables, fruit and meat, she was a wonderful cook, and a remarkable artist in many mediums — pencil drawings, pastels, acrylic and oil paintings, ceramics and even jewelery making, she read bible stories to her grandchildren, her great-grandchildren and even her great-great-grandchildren and gave art lessons to them after school.  To top all that off she was a hairdresser until she was 90 years old.  A remarkable woman who had(has) a positive impact on many, many lives.

In her 96th year after a hospital stay for low potassium, followed by a fall that resulted in a broken wrist, all complicated by a growing Dementia, the decision was made (by her son) that she would be better off with 24 hour a day supervision.  Therefore she was admitted to “the hospital” to live her remaining years.  We call it “the hospital” because (back in the day) when you put someone in the nursing home it was referred to as “the dying place” and that just wouldn’t do, so “the hospital” it became.  Having spent the previous 3 years taking care of Maw in her home, I volunteered to be one of her primary contacts for any emergency at “the hospital”.

Okay so……….

The phone rang, I look at the caller ID and it says “The Hospital”, &%^$ what now.  Over the weekend we had a call concerning a “possible fall” (nobody witnessed it), Maw was complaining that her right leg was hurting as a result of this fall.  They ordered an x-ray which came back negative for fractures or breaks.  Both myself and my husband inquired as to the possibility that her femoral artery bypass (performed 30 years previously) was failing and were both assured it was not in question.

On the other end of the phone is the “wound care specialist” informing me that as Maw had continued to complain about her right leg hurting, from “the fall”, she had been called in to check things out, ordered a sonogram and found none other than a femoral occlusion!  &%^$ could ya have maybe looked for that on Saturday after me AND my husband asked about it?

I made several pone calls as I rushed to get to the ER where they were sending her, informing my husband, my sister-in-law and Maw’s son of her condition, plus a mass text to the great-grands.  Four hours later the ER doctor is confirming this diagnosis and offering me (us) 2 choices of treatment:

Choice 1:  perform surgery to repair the occlusion. (okay)

Choice 2:  give a round of IV antibiotics and send her back to “the hospital” where the antibiotics will relieve the pain and swelling for (oh) about 3 weeks, then it will become inflamed and painful again.  At that point they would repeat the antibiotics for another 3 weeks of comfort, until gangrene set in, at which point they would simply make her comfortable until the gangrene took over.

NO &%^$, those were my 2 choices!!!

We’ll take the surgery thank you very much!  Who in their right mind would “choose” to allow their grandmother to endure the horror of Choice #2???

Several hours in an ER is long enough for any patient to have to bear, let’s remember however, that Maw has the added bonus of Dementia.  All this time she has been her normal sweet adorable self, so I delude myself into believing that all is well and I am in control of the situation.  This was NOT the case after making the 1 hour trip to a larger hospital where the surgeon was located.  By the time they let me into the cubicle where they had put Maw, Dementia was in full swing and I was in for the ride of my life.  Eight hours into Maw’s ordeal I am exhausted, and my phone is on fire from the calls and texts when my husband walks in.  By this time and after several more tests have been completed, we learn the artery is so deteriorated it can not be repaired, there is nothing viable left to bypass, and an amputation must be performed!

To say her hospital stay was uneventful would be a total and complete lie.  First of course there was the amputation, a major deal in itself.  If that wasn’t bad enough, there was the “discovery of the amputation” multiple times, thanks to the dementia.  Then of course we had “phantom pain”, which is even more confusing for a Dementia patient!  Change of any kind is difficult for someone with this debilitating disease, even something as simple as a new room-mate can be complicated.  The trip to the first ER, followed by the second ER, the loss of her leg, nurses in and out, and the morphine drip had our sweet, sweet Maw in a total and complete dementia episode to the point she barely recognized anyone.

We were greatly relieved when they returned her to “the hospital” and she entered all smiles; actually recognizing her room, and belongings.  She completely enjoyed the attention her return brought her as one staff member after another, and one fellow resident followed by others came to tell her they had missed her.  Dementia aside, our little Maw has been a real trooper throughout her ordeal, and we are ever amazed and oh so proud of her.

This past week I traveled with her to the surgeons office for her 4 week check up and staple removal.  We laughed together in the waiting room as she informed me that now she only needed 1 shoe, but they made her buy 2 anyway.  Here she is, our 99-year-old grandmother making jokes about having only one leg.  Gotta love our Maw!

I look back over the stories of Maw’s life and see that it has been blessed.  A few days after surgery she looked at me and said, “All I want to do is go to sleep and not wake up, but God hasn’t taken me home yet so He must have a reason why I’m still here.  What do you suppose that is?”  I held back the tears as I gently kissed her face and said, “Maybe God knows we still need you here with us honey.”

The mirliton seed arrived right on schedule, but of course I simply set them aside.  They sat in the box for nearly two weeks as we tended to our sweet and precious Maw.  They are now safely encased in their little hay filled holes (in the ground) to over-winter until spring.  The fruit trees arrived a few days before Thanksgiving, which has come and gone, and with it a house full of company.   Somehow during all of this we managed to scout out and secure a barn for daughter #4’s reception and set the wedding date for July 29, 2013.

Hhmmm, the fruit trees arrived, one day I might just learn to plan ahead……………………….

Hunt for the elusive mirliton

6 Dec

The last 8 weeks have been busy.  Not too busy to write in the evening, just too many things going on to not get them all jumbled up.  Which would be really confusing for whoever chose to read my blog.  Things are progressing rapidly and I do so want to share so you’re just going to have to bear with me while I untangle the mess.

I have been on a Mirliton waiting list for so long I almost gave up on finding some.  This plump, sweet vegetable also goes by many other names.  The Aztecs, who domesticated it, called it chayotle.  It is christophine or brionne in much of the West Indies, chochoute in Madagascar and Polynesia, xuxu in Brazil, and chocho, custard marrow, pepinella, chayote and vegetable pear in various parts of the world.  Not too shabby for a little pear shaped squash with a thin green skin, crunchy white flesh and edible seed.

Since I grew up in New Orleans, mirliton casserole was one of those holiday dishes we enjoyed.  Not seeing any of these wonderful little squash at the Farmers Market I made up my mind that we should be growing some.  Not knowing anything about the plant or how it grows, I began looking for “seed” in every online catalog I could find.  Many months of unsuccessful searching made me more determined that I simply “had to have” this plant in our farm portfolio, if you will.  Finally one day I hit on a site with more information than I bargained for, only to find out how scarce these “seed” were and that I would have to be on a “waiting list” to get just one.

Here’s the thing, you can’t just “take the seed out of the fruit” and plant it.  You plant the entire fruit, the seed then gets its nourishment to grow from the fruit itself.  The problem is, the fruit you find in the store (to eat) won’t grow here in the states. Or so I am told.  The fruit in the store (being mostly imported) is acclimated to a higher elevation and thus will not grow successfully.  Oh, it will grow, just not well, plus it will be susceptible to many diseases making it a low producer of fruit and a headache for the grower.

There is however one exception, the Mirliton grown in Louisiana (my home state).  Apparently the Cajuns of Louisiana found a way to acclimate this squash plant many, many years ago and it has since been considered a “backyard staple”.  People just have them in their backyard, growing for their own enjoyment, passing seed down to their children and neighbors to in turn plant in their backyards, and on an on this tradition has gone.  Until nature decided otherwise.  The heirloom mirliton of South Louisiana were nearly destroyed by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Gustav.

There was a huge part of me that considered going to the store, buying a “chayote” and sticking it in the ground to see what happened.  Then again, around here, you can only find “chayote” in the specialty stores and during a blue moon at Wal-Mart.  The spiritual side of me believes everything happens for a reason so I decided the waiting list was the way to go.  I mean seriously I had a million other things going on, waiting wouldn’t kill me.  Plus it would mean so much more to me to have an actual “heirloom mirliton” from my sweet Louisiana home.

November 3, 2012 the waiting came to a halt.  The Bywater Mirliton Festival was taking place and there would be a limited amount of “seed” available.  Fortunately this information came a week or so before the event.  Now, Bywater is a tiny community in New Orleans, Louisiana and therefore a 6 1/2 hours drive from our farm. 😦  I contemplated driving to the festival and back in one day, a crazy idea I know.  Fortunately I have an absolutely adorable sister and brother-in-law living in Lakeview (20 minutes from Bywater) and they agreed to go to the festival.  Honey, they scored me 5 Mirliton seed fruit.  Whoo Hoo!

The following Monday morning, after carefully packaging up these 5 precious seed, my sweet sister shipped them to me next day express mail.  Of course that will take 2 days to get to me as we are so far into the boonies it’s not funny, 2 day mail takes 3 days and so forth and so on.

Tuesday morning I got up anticipating the arrival of my new seed.  We had a busy weekend with the newly engaged couple and I was still trying to decide on a good planting location as these 5 mirliton would require 50 feet of trellising come spring.  Being election day I wanted to watch as much of what was happening on the political front as possible, so I decide to double up on the “house chores”, which would free me up for planting when my package arrived on Wednesday.

At noon, all hell broke loose with a phone call.

To be continued………………………………..

Oh no, not again…? :-)

24 Nov

Most of this year was spent planning the wedding of daughter #3.  That successfully carried out Ralph and I thought we would have some time to relax, catch up on the farm, and enjoy the holidays.  hahahahahahahahaha

We got home from wedding #3 and barely unpacked when boyfriend #4 decided it was time to pop the question.

Two weeks TO THE DAY after wedding #3, daughter #4 became engaged!

Lord help me, please!

Hahahahaha     hahahahaha     hahahahaha

Hahahahahahahaha     hahahhahahahahahaha

Hahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahaha    hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

Okay, I feel better.

We’ve had some pretty difficult trials and tribulations in the past with the boys/men our daughters have chosen to date/get involved with.  My biggest fear has always been that they would end up with someone who treated them badly or abused them in some way.  That is of course every parents nightmare.  And I suspect we came close a time or two.

I don’t know what we did right, or what we didn’t do wrong but somehow, someway, all 4 of our precious babies have ended up with men that are perfectly suited for each of them.  As an added bonus, they all fit in, compliment and complete our family!

So even tho I am once again in wedding mode, things I want to get done on the farm will take a backseat to another wedding, and my job title will continue to be wedding planner instead of fledgling farmer………

I couldn’t be happier!

Freedom, but at what price?

1 Nov

I keep reading posts from other chicken bloggers that have prompted me to write this story.  Having lived through a chicken massacre, chicken security is a big issue with me.  Beware of things that go bump in the night?………………………….The days my friend, are just as dangerous.

I love my chickens, not as much as my husband or my children, or even my dog Stella, but I do love them.  I make sure they have good food, abundant water and kitchen treats, and they in turn give me those wonderful eggs.  Sad to say, but they are also like a good dose of therapy — no matter what is happening in my life, a visit with the girls has the ability to lower my blood pressure and bring a smile to my face.

There was a dual purpose for our chicken adventure.  Namely bug control in the garden.  I have watched my husband fret over tomato horn worms for years now and even helped pick those little buggers off his precious tomato plants more times than I can count.  Chickens of course would help alleviate this problem, less work for us is always a plus.

Having had chickens in the past I met with a considerable amount of resistance from the man.  He had his fill of chicken security and didn’t want to go there again.  It would be different this time, I encouraged him, we actually  live here now that’s gotta make a difference.   Assuring him that I could come up with predator proof living arrangements for a flock of defenseless animals took some doing.  Then of course there was the statement that had to be made that I wouldn’t “spend a fortune at the Vet’s office” if one of “my” chickens got attacked by something.  Not an entirely true statement, but I had to make it anyway and of course if that ever happens I’ll definitely get the “I told you so” statement in return.

When you live on a farm that has been in the family for multiple generation, the raising of animals (like chickens) comes and goes with each generation.  Many years ago, my mother-in-law (Nana) decided she missed having chickens on the farm and wanted to get her own flock.  Being the good son he was, my husband obliged her by building a 6 foot tall enclosure attached to the old chicken house.  He even went so far as to bury two feet of wire in the ground for their added safety.  Several hens were purchased from the local chicken lady and all was well.   So enjoyable were these new hens we added ducks and turkeys to her flock.

Nana and Maw (her mother) were happy, the chickens were happy, the children loved collecting eggs, we loved eating the eggs–all was right with the world.

NOT!!!

Peace is always disturbed by a phone call, don’t ya know.  The first one came and it didn’t really ring a huge alarm, in my head.  (It’s just a dog after all.  We have dogs, you have dogs, everybody has dogs in the country, except of course Nana and Maw. Chase the thing off and it’ll go home.)  Sure enough after making the short 1.02 mile trip to the farm, no dog.  Unfortunately the phone calls didn’t stop there, they became more frequent and more frantic.  Each time warranted a trip to the farm, inspection of the coop and run, long conversations in the yard–a retelling of the events by Nana and Maw.  One particularly bad incident required 48 stitches to a turkey breast.   Finally, the great white hunter had enough and decided it was time to go a hunting.  Seriously now, he would get all dressed up in his hunting gear and even cover his face with camo paint, then he would go hide himself in various shrubs and bushes at the farm.  He would hunt at dusk, he would hunt at dawn, he hunted so much I forgot what he looked like.  Then one glorious day he returned from the hunt cussing, damn chickens, damn dogs, damn those stupid chickens….Not to be left out I came back with- what the hell happened now?   He proceeded to tell me how he had gotten to the farm at 5 a.m. that morning, went into the kitchen, told Maw morning, got a cup of coffee and then settled himself downwind from the chickens.  He sat in that same spot for near 2 hours and was about to give up and come on home when he spied the culprit down the street.  He watched that dog as it made its way down the driveway headed for the coop.  He got aim on the dog as it paced back and forth along the fence, eyeing the hens, calculating its next move.  When that dog began to dig a hole underneath that damn fence, he popped off a shot and sent that dog running with a butt full of bee-bees.

Oh crap, I said, did you kill it?  Then of course, I got that “have you lost your mind look.”  No I didn’t kill it, he said, But somebody’s gonna be making a trip to the Vets office and I hope it’s costs them a fortune!

Peace returned to the farm…………………………………………or so it seemed.

About 2 months later we went to the farm for Sunday dinner.  We’re in the kitchen having a good time, talking about this, that and the other.  All of sudden Nana says, “Oh something got one of the chickens the other day.” WHAT!!!!!  She had gone out there to feed one morning and collect eggs when she found its body.  Literally just the body inside the fence, no head.  Since there was nothing anyone could do, she just bagged up the carcass and put it in the trash.  Lovely, just lovely.  The great white hunter of course calmly and sweetly read her the riot act.  How on earth could he possibly figure out what “did that” if he has no carcass to inspect.  GROSS!!!

Whatever it was revisited the farm several times over the next 6 months, taking out one bird here and one bird there.  And always the same MO, ripping off the head and leaving the body behind.  According to the great white hunter potential murder suspects included:  raccoons, owls, and weasels (including ferrets, fishers, mink and martens).  My love for animals no longer includes those from the disgusting animal category.  Periodic hunting “trips” were unsuccessful.  Didn’t really matter though, carnage would come soon enough.

The call came bright and early on a Saturday morning.  Frantic doesn’t even come close.  No time for hunting gear today.  It took him less than 2 minutes to grab what he needed and shouted over his shoulder he’d call us when it was done.   This time the weapon of choice held a bullet.  The dog had brought his friends!

I stood at the door in shock and watched as he floored the car down the road.  This is bad, I thought, real bad.  My husband is normally a calm, cool, collected, calculating sort of person.  Mulling every situation around in his head until a solution can be found, to the point that his “procrastination” drives me insane.  You would know the one time he actually answers the phone himself I have no clear picture of what’s happening.  I grab the phone and dial the number for an explanation.

A pack of dogs I’m told have attacked the farm.  They are all over the place!  TEN by head count!  The ruckus was so loud the neighbors called the police, fearing one of the ladies was being mauled in the yard.  They arrived on the scene within moments of each other and quickly surveyed the situation.  The 6 dogs that remained stood breathless and bloody as dead and dying birds lay everywhere.  I can not tell you what went through my husbands mind when the policeman informed him there was “nothing he could do unless he saw an attack with his own eyes”.  As if on cue the lead dog made a mighty jump and landed inside the pen, grabbed a bird and jumped his ass right back out!  (I kid you not!)  The two men eyed each other and words did not need to be said. A service revolver was pulled and shots rang out, injuring the dog who never stopped running with that bird in his mouth.  They pursued him across the street and found him behind a downed log, shots rang out again as the officer finished his job.

I remember getting to the farm and seeing these two men crossing the street as I turned into the driveway, thinking why on earth are y’all over there?  My husband gave me an angry look as I exited the car and shouted for me to get the kids in the house immediately.  When I passed the kids off to Nana and Maw they just shook their heads in disbelief of the morning.  I didn’t have to walk far past the back door to see what carnage lay before me.  Words can not describe the massacre.

These were no feral dogs, my friend.  We’re talking about well fed dogs with collars and tags.  This atrocity was not done out of hunger, this was pure and simple sport!  Anger does not even come close to how I felt about these irresponsible dog owners that thought nothing of letting their beloved pets roam free.   Oh yeah, I forgot, the dog that was shot with our hen in his mouth belonged to a friend of the policeman!

No words could be said as we cleaned up the destruction left behind.  This lovely “pack of pets” left not one bird unscathed!  Of the few that were still alive, their injuries were so severe we had no course of action but to relieve their suffereing.  Damn dogs wiped out our entire flock!

So yea, it took some convincing to get a flock again 10 years later.  Yep, I’m paranoid about security.  For now my girls will have to settle for their extra large coop and their extra large enclosure with it’s 1/4 inch wire fence and chopped greens and weeds from the garden.  I long for the day when we have completed our stock panel fence, as it will encompass not only the 1 acre yard around our house, but the coop and the smaller garden as well.  Crazy me, I am even in the process of planning to hang avian netting “above” that garden so the girls can roam “hawk and owl free”.

For all those chickens lovers out there that “let your girls out” and then “leave to go to work”, you are so much braver than I am, I just can’t take that risk.   I implore you to rethink this practice.

By George we have an egg!

28 Oct

                                                                   Isn’t that the cutest little white egg you have ever seen!

If you have ever raised day old chicks to egg laying status you know that waiting for that first egg can seem to take forever.  Buff Orpington, Dominique, Barred Rock and Rhode Island Reds begin laying at or around 24 weeks, that’s 168 very long days of feeding, watering and cleaning up after an eating, and pooping machine.  These are the breeds we have at our farm and I knew this going into our chicken/egg endeavor.  Patience is a must on a farm.

Taking on abandoned hens is another story.  You have no idea of their age or health status.  Many things can cause a hen not to lay:  lighting, stress, feed, water, disease & parasites, temperature, molting and of course age are all factors.   For the last 2 weeks our 6 (formerly homeless) Leghorn have been given;  a hen-house and run to themselves (no rooster bugging these babies), Purina Layena Omega 3 Plus feed, hen scratch, treats of chopped greens from the kitchen and daily fresh clean water with vitamins and electrolytes added.  It took a full 8 days and 40 degree temperatures for these poor frightened creatures to venture into the hen-house at night.

I have been looking for this first egg and finding it was exciting (it doesn’t take much).  I knew the girls were young when I took them on, but how young was the big question.  The addition of this egg means they have reached maturity, which makes them at least 18 weeks old, as Leghorns begin laying at around 4 1/2 to 5 months of age.  It will be interesting to see how long it takes for us to have 6 eggs in the hen-house, especially with the cold front that just came in.

Fall Garden

25 Oct

Having learned my lessons from the great pumpkin disaster I have been babying our tiny garden for several weeks now.  Determined as I am to “produce something” this little plot of land is regularly stripped bare of any and all living things except what I personally planted.  I have even been faithful to the every other day watering ritual that has become part of my life.

This is day 45 in the ground.  Waiting on maturity is painful.  Broccoli are supposed to be “mature” at 45-50 days…..

I don’t think this is going to be ready to eat in  5 days?

Cauliflower: matures at 75 days                                                                       Brussels Sprouts: matures at 85-90 days

                                 

Green and Red Cabbage: matures at 60-120 days

Chinese Cabbage: matures at 50-85 days

LOL, I am laughing at myself as I never imagined being “worried” about how my broccoli was growing.  I normally just go “pick it” at the store.  This is new and nerve-wracking, but fun and interesting all the same.

The MOH is usually the one doing the growing.  I don’t usually pay that much attention.  He gives me orders on what to do for the day, weed, water, harvest and I have blindly followed instructions.  Fertilizing, bugs, and disease (of plants) have never been my specialty, that was his job and I was glad he had it.  If one starts researching, it’s just way too much information.

When we started this project (?) he complained about the addition of new vegetables that he is not accustomed to growing.  Tomatoes, squash, zucchini and turnip greens are his specialty.  His tomatoes are so indescribably awesome family members beg to be invited over for summer dinners of nothing more than a tomato sandwich, there are some of us that will only eat “his” greens as there is no comparison to the pale store-bought variety and it would most certainly be considered a sin to open a “can” of greens no matter what time of year.  The man definitely has a green thumb.

The garden looks good, but I’m not holding my breath—the pumpkin fiasco taught me that.  My daughter asked me yesterday how we were keeping the bugs out of this particular 3 rows.  Yes, the squash bugs are still out there and now we have the added bonus of blasted grasshoppers, munching away on whatever.  Keeping these rows down to dirt is no doubt helping, but if you look close enough you can see a few holes here and there, more likely from the grasshoppers.  This is a nightmare I do not want to revisit, so there is a fine mist of DE on the leaves of each plant.  Apparently I am a fairly sick minded individual as it just tickles me pink to see a dead grasshopper, and I am thrilled beyond belief when I successfully manage to stomp one into oblivion.

To be continued……………………………..

Chicken rescue

19 Oct

A few days ago, I received a phone call from a friend (M.) that does home health care.  Seems her patient, a woman with early Alzheimer had, well basically been taken advantage of by some jerks.  She had allowed them to live in her rent house free of charge PLUS paid them $100 a week to take care of her, run errands and cook meals.  In exchange they had every so nicely ripped her off of around $30,000 writing checks on her account she did not authorize.  Nice people huh?  While they were living fat off the hog, they also talked her into building a chicken pen and letting them keep chickens on another piece of adjacent property.  I don’t know the entire story, however these users disappeared some time ago, hence the need for my friend to come in and take over the job.  Yes, M. works for an agency and let me tell you, she takes care of her people.  Lovely as these people were, they of course left the chickens behind.

That’s what the phone call was about, the chickens.  They had been left for several weeks with nobody coming back to feed and water.  M. had been doing her best to help when she made her home visits.  But let’s face it, 20 some odd birds eat and drink a lot and her main concern was with taking care of her patient.  The birds had to go.

As they were waiting on a call back from animal control I was contacted as a second option for a new home for these poor birds.  As I pondered how many I could take on myself, I made some additional phone calls to potential homes as did M.  We soon learned Animal Control  would charge for removal and I suspect put down all birds as there are no facilities for unwanted fowl.  Unfortunately that’s life.

Adding new birds to an existing flock when you have no idea of their health condition, is not an advisable adventure.  For one thing you could be introducing disease into your own flock, for another you mess up the entire pecking order and you may find yourself with a few injured birds on your hands.  Fortunately I have two separate pens and could use one for quarantine.

Now I have rescued animals before and spent oodles of money bringing them back to health.  We even rescued a puppy once, only to find out the poor thing had distemper, $400 and several trips to a vet later the poor thing died in our laundry room anyway.  So I am a little hesitant to knowingly bring disease onto my property.  I made the decision to “take a look” at this flock of unwanted birds.

I arrived at the location to find 20 chickens and a rooster in a pen probably 10 feet by 10 feet, 3 waterers bone dry and not a morsel of food to be found!  I do not understand people at all!  Somehow the birds looked pretty good, skinny as all get out but “clean”.  No doubt in part from M. periodically bringing bird seed and giving water when she made her home visits.  Since she had found another home for the birds in addition to myself, I decided to take the 6 Leghorn as I do not currently have this breed.  I caught each one relatively easy  and quickly assessed they were all in need of a good meal.

I also noticed that every comb was very dusty looking?  Supposedly these are “young” birds, not yet laying eggs according to M.  Since there are absolutely no eggs or even egg shells in this tiny pen I have no reason to doubt her assessment.  But why the dusty combs?  I’ll have to research that one.

They are now happily ensconced in our small pen.  Good food and vitamins applied, I will be making a health assessment over the next couple of weeks.  Later they will get a good worming and a dose of antibiotics for good measure.  I don’t normally medicate my birds unless absolutely necessary and since I don’t know what the previous owners did I’m not about to “over” medicate these scrawny little things until they have had a few good meals under their belts.

LOL, these are some of the most skittish birds, let me tell ya.  They are as frightened of me as a mouse of a cat on the prowl.  I can only assume it is due to lack of human contact.  Perhaps in time they will come to trust me and greet me at the gate like our other flock.