03/23/06 to 03/27/06
I have to start this page with a sad story, but it gets a lot better.  Two weeks ago,
on the 13th, we went in with our neighbor on an order of baby chicks, to be
shipped from Iowa.  Their minimum is 25, our neighbor ordered a set of 25
random brown egg layers, and we were going to split them 3 ways.  Then Richard
and I added a rooster and 2 blue egg-layers to our order, so we would have
ended up with 8 to 10 chicks.  Well this company ships every Saturday, and it was
VERY cold St. Patrick's weekend.  Anyway, who knows what happened, but they
didn't get to the Brady post office (which then sends them to our local post office)
until Tuesday morning, and they weren't peeping anymore.  I was hoping that
maybe a few of them would thaw out and be good as new.  I know, that was
probably wishful thinking, but we will never know because the mail man was afraid
they might have died of avian flu, so he put them in a plastic bag!!  
Well, we were all sad about it, and Marsha, our neighbor, didn't want to reorder
because of it.  She wanted to wait until a local feed store got some in near Easter
time.  Of course, I now had my heart set on having chicks and we had already
bought chick food and everything.  I also wanted blue egg-layers, and knew I
wouldn't get those in a feed store, so after several calls to the hatchery, the post
office, and the mail processing center, we reordered.  But remember, in order to
meet their minimum, we had to order 25 chicks, which was no problem since I
wanted a lot more than that, but what are we going to do with 25 chicks?  When I
told Marsha our plan, she also added 26 to my order!!  So instead of an order for
28 chicks, the hatchery ended up with an order for 51, and they got generous and
added 7 free chicks.  
Since I wasn't taking any chances with the new batch, I had them set to call me
from the mail processing center in Abilene, rather than sending them all the way
through the slow country mail system.  The hatchery shipped on Saturday, and I
was so anxious, I called the center in Abilene at 7::00 AM on Sunday and told
them to be on the look-out.  I called them again at 11:00 to check, and they finally
called me at 12:45 to say they were in.  The guy at the mail center was so funny.  
He said if I wanted to talk to them, he would put the phone in the box for me.
Now came the challenge.  I was so excited, and I had to drive exactly 100 miles,
trying to do the speed limit.  I thought we would never make it.  We got the
chicks--all 58 of the little peepers, and headed home.  Richard conveniently
"forgot" to bring his wallet, so he said he just couldn't drive.  Which meant, of
course, that I had to try to pay attention to the road for 100 more miles while he
kept peeking in the box and playing with the chicks.  We didn't dare open the box
since there were 58 chicks in a box that was about 12" X 18" with a partition
down the middle, separating Marsha's chicks from mine.  We made it home with
no accidents (No car accidents, I think we did have a few chick accidents.  They
didn't come potty trained.)
How cute huh?  
What a mess of
chickens.  We
have white,
brown and blue
egg-layers, and
even some
bantam chicks.  
They're the
miniature
chickens.  I
figured we
would need
those to keep
the miniature
cows company,
when we finally
get them.
Well, the thing about chicks is they peep, ALL the time.  I thought some of you may
have a hard time imagining the noise if you've never heard it, so I took a video.  Its
dark down in their box, and the flash doesn't come on with video, so it's not that
great a picture, but the noise is the reason I took it.  Just listen:
Now just imagine how loud that
noise sounds in a 25 foot trailer!
 (Or how much space they take
up.  It looks like a little box, but
it's about 1/6th the size of our
living room.  They will have to be
inside for a while, it's too cold
outside.  Lucky for you, video
doesn't pick up smell too!)   
Now imagine twice that many
peepers, for 90 miles in a
sedan.  
Now that the exciting chick news is out of the way, I'll tell the rest of the stories.  On
Thursday we spent ALL DAY at the stupid Home Depot in Brownwood buying too
much money worth of lumber so Richard could build a chicken coop.  Friday I went
to Brady to do laundry and run errands.  In between everything I've been filling in
the trench.  Still no help from my husband.  After he got the bottom of the trench all
level, he moved on to coop building.  Said I could handle the trench by myself.  I'm
starting to think it may end up as 'trench warfare' before long.
But, mostly what I have been doing it looking at birds.  I know, it sounds like a
boring old-lady hobby.  I used to think so too.  But, Richard's brother got me a
"Birds of Texas" book, and I have been enjoying spotting birds so much!  Since I
don't want to bore those of you who, like the old me, think bird watching is 'for the
birds,'  I have put all the birds I've identified on a page dedicated to the birds of
Rancho Cielo.  You can link to it from the bottom of the home page, or from the
bird link below.  Any time I find a new bird to add, I will put the little bird logo on the
bottom of the next web-page, and you will be able to link from it to see the new
stuff.  Fun huh?  I have even found some birds that don't quite fit any of the
descriptions in the book, so if you know what they are, please tell me.
Whenever you see this
bird on one of my
web-pages, I means I've
added more birds to the
list.  Click on the bird to
get to the bird page.
Once the coop is built, we're going to start on a guest cabin/laundry shed, since I
know everyone wants to come down to visit the new chickens.  
Think this means we're really ranchers yet, or do we need to get a few cows
before we're official?