i was working up to a post yesterday about how good my second monday without coffee was; i had no headache, got tons of things done in the morning, managed to keep enough energy to stay functional and get more things done all afternoon, and stayed awake through Song Circle to boot. i will refrain from ennumerating all the wonderful stuff i got done, as it is entirely work related. suffice to say i am reasonably well caught up, given the level of traffic flow through here yesterday.
and then last night the dog suffered a relapse of Stupid Puppy Brain (two kinds, no less), and this morning i am seriously dragging. Thistle has been doing so well lately. She is learning “stay,” she interacted peacefully and well with a barely-walking child at Ostara (supervised, but she was good with the kid), and we have left her under minimal supervision with the hens loose in the barnyard a few times now without incident. She hasn’t been going on long dumb barking jags at night; i haven’t needed to muzzle her in over a month. In short, she has been acting like a dog, and a good one, rather than a puppy.
so last night we get home from Song Circle, and i’m walking out to the yurt, and i hear this half-strangled squaaaaaaaarrrrrrk from the barnyard. chicken in distress. i bolt to the barnyard (with a pile of clothes in my hand, with no flashlight), to find the dog, our dog, inside of Penny’s pen. Penny’s fully-enclosed pen. I shout, she runs out, and i think for a second that maybe she was behind the pen, but that doesn’t account for what i saw, so i run to the pen, and the wire is split open two feet up, and pried off the bottom board along most of its length. she ripped the pen open and wiggled her fool self in there for the specific purpose of tormenting those chickens. the rooster, specifically, though i couldn’t tell that in the dark. i scolded her profoundly, dragged her over to her doghouse and threw her in (i.e., swatted her nose, aimed her fairly abject self in the right direction and shoved, still calling her a Very Bad Dog), and ran back to the house for reinforcements and a flashlight. Alan put shoes back on and Tristan got out of bed to come mend the emergency. They laced the wire back together while i grabbed a light and went into the pen. Penny was fine, off to one side and apparently untouched. Her rooster, however, was pretty badly gummed up. I don’t think he has any actual skin-penetrating injuries—roosters are blessed with a huge fluff of arching feathers on their necks, and a very great many of these feathers are gone, along with feathers all along his shoulders and upper back, and the feathers below that were covered in dog-spit—annoying but not fatal. he was acting sleepy and shocky, and had blood on his comb. The comb is the part that’s designed to take a hit so the more vital parts of the bird don’t get damaged, and he has weathered such injuries before without incident. Though they were inflicted by Soup, the other rooster, last time. which is why this guy is Penny’s rooster (that’s all the name he has, I’m afraid), and lives in her pen, and not in with Soup and the rest of the girls. Penny lives separate from the main flock because she has a deformed foot, and can’t protect herself even by running away; she is just barely ambulatory. it’s not very fair, and the others pick on her mercilessly, what with them being chickens and all. so she lives apart so that she can live peacefully and without constant harm.
When the guys had the wire laced back together, Tristan & I stacked pallets along side the pen, enough to ensure that Thistle could not get in there even if she were dumb enough to try again, though we were pretty sure that after being castigated, scolded, and variously growled & barked at by three of us, she would probably be sorry enough not to do it again—she is smart, she just forgets that occasionally and does something colossally stupid, like attacking a chicken, of whom “protection” is her primary job description. When we’ve got a minute, we’ll reinforce the entire base of that pen with 2x4s, on the outside of the chicken wire, screwed to the 2x2s that form the primary frame. that’ll go a long way towards dog-proofing, even if it will make the thing heavier.
So we all finally got to bed after the ruckus died down and the rooster had been pronounced alive and recovering. and then around 4 a.m., the damn dog woke Alan and I up in one of her dreadful bad-puppy barking-at-nothing jags. it’s a different bark from her threatening, running-other-dogs-off bark, yippy and incessant. I got up and shouted at her, which stopped her for all of ten minutes–just long enough for me to lay down and get comfortable again. then she started up again. I got up, stuffed my feet into shoes and grabbed the muzzle, and went out to the barnyard to tell her that she was still a Very Bad Dog, and wave the muzzle around threateningly—i made her sniff it, actually. she does remember it. i didn’t put it on her, thinking that i would do so if she started up a third time—the point is to train her not to bark at nothing, after all, and given the strength and ingenuity of the dog, the muzzle will last longer as a tool of intimidation than as an actual muzzle. It did the trick; she subsided and let us sleep until the alarm went off, a disturbingly short time later.
damn dog. of course i’m dragging today, between having quit coffee and not getting enough sleep–sleep being the one thing i need to get through this caffiene process unscathed.
in better news, our chicks arrived yesterday. 47 darling little peeping fluffballs. one had a deformed foot, and didn’t make it; another didn’t make it for unknown reasons—sometimes they just have a hard trip or otherwise don’t thrive. I checked in on the other 45 this morning, and they looked sleepy but healthy, vigorously peeping. of course the weather *would* get cold again just as we get new chicks. froze last night, though quite lightly, and it’s expected to do so again twice more this week, possibly even getting down to 27 on Friday night. erk. we may need to set up additional heat in the brooder. we’re expecting both our third heat lamp and our turkeys to arrive today. though it’s possible the turkeys could arrive tomorrow. that is going to be one noisy barn.