A Few Quick Notes

April in Paris sweet pea

April in Paris sweet pea

I don’t think I can express enough my love for all things pea.  This is my very first sweet pea blossom, and while it may be late, holy moly it’s glorious!!  Sweet peas rank right up there with with roses for my favorite flowers, but unlike the rose, they are quite fleeting.  They generally are Spring and Fall bllomers and they don’t like dry or heat (yet here they are blooming during our hottest days of the year – yesterday was our third 95-degree day in a row!).  They are annuals and must be planted as seeds at the right time and under the right conditions for you to get rewarded with the heavenly-scented blooms, and no matter what you do, once they are done, they’re done.  Dead and gone.  You’ve got to do it all over again next year.  But they’re worth every ounce of time and effort.  I can smell the perfume of even the one flower when standing several feet away.  This pic is from yesterday, when there was only one.  This morning I have several more and the scent is euphoria-inducing.  These first-bloomers are April in Paris, which are creamy-white, tinged with lavender… bred by Dr. Keith Hammett of New Zealand to bring back old-fashioned sweet pea perfume in a modern, large bloom-style.  I think they are incredible.  I bought my seeds from Renee’s Garden.

sweet peas, etc 004

Revisiting Cherry Grief

OK, I admit it.  I never got past stage 1 – denial.  This:

May 26

May 26

Turned into this:

today, July 5th - English Morello Cherries

today, July 5th - English Morello Cherries

So sue me.

Egg Count

Yesterday: 3 (our biggest day so far!) – 2 EEs, 1 Marans

Today: 0 so far, but one EE was just in a nest singing the egg song, so I think we might get at least one.  Also, Dorothy was again hanging in a nest.  No eggs from her yet.  I am a bit concerned that all the noise from the fireworks that surrounded our house last night may have stressed them and put them off laying (which can happen).  We shall see.

A note on Marans eggs –  we have now gotten a total of 4 Marans eggs.  As far as I can tell, one Marans lady lays smooth, dark, cocoa-brown eggs.  The other lays lighter brown with dark brown speckles.  At least that’s my theory.  I will get you a picture for comparison later.  My camera is charging right now.

A Note on Roosters

Soup

Soup

First I’ll mention that since my one run-in with JB, all has been peaceful on the Western Front.  He has not attempted any further funny-business with anyone.  That doesn’t mean he doesn’t still have potential, but so far so good.  I mention this partly because Cori over at My Empty Nest Days is now experiencing some issues with JB’s brother, Mr.  However, it sadly sounds like she’s had quite a bit more trouble than we have had so far.  Her Mr. has attacked just about everyone who has come in to see the chickens and yesterday, he drew blood on her.  This makes JB’s one attempt to swat me with his wings sound like a walk in the park!  Also, her Mr. doesn’t seem to be learning to be a gentleman – no dancing and courting, no calling for hawks, no handing out treats to the ladies.  So, it seems that she has made the decision to no longer keep him.  I understand this, fully.  I sit here wondering if perhaps it is because he lacked competition from other males?  Maybe because I have four boys, they have had to learn to be nice to the ladies in order to compete for their affections?  Who knows.

Anyway… I have four roos and that’s too many.  Cori – if you send Mr. to the soup pot or to another home, and you are interested in one or even two of my four boys, let me know.  I have been going back and forth on how to reduce my population anyway, and I would love to know that they went to a great home like yours.  Then again, if you don’t want to risk it with another Marans, I fully understand that too.  However, in my reading about Marans, their temperments vary quite a bit – they can be wild and even aggressive, but they are most often very docile and easy-going.   At this point, all of my other boys are gentlemen to the ladies and they all work together on looking for hawks and good food for the girls.  JB is surely the highest-strung of them, and he’s not so bad I don’t think.  He will certainly make pretty babies :)

Soup, body shot

Soup, body shot

Anyway, on this same topic, I thought I’d mention a shift in the roo social dynamic that seems to be happening.  Starting a few days ago, JB now allows Soup to mate with some of the girls.  JB stands right there while it’s happening and he acts excited, clucking, hopping, etc, but he doesn’t kick Soup off.  The girls also more or less allow Soup to do it.  If Scruff or No Name try, which they often do, the girls scream and flap and run away.  And if they can’t get away, JB comes rocketing in and kicks the boys off.  Anyway… Soup is definitely #2 nowadays, but I think he’s working on being #1.  He’s quite a bit bigger than JB now and he’s starting to crow more often.  I think JB would lose if they fought.  Yesterday, Soup had a little hole in his comb which is scabbed over and mostly healed today, but I wonder if they had a little scuffle.  Not that I’ve seen, but who knows.

Soup most certainly isn’t as pretty as JB, but he is bigger and he has a much more proper comb for his breed – as you can see in the above picture, he has five true saw-toothed points.  JB has more than five and they are skinny and crowded.  And one more trait that gives Soup a bit of an edge over JB these days, at least in my book, is that Soup lets me touch him a little.  JB leaps three feet into the air, squawking and flapping if I try to touch him.  But Soup doesn’t mind.  He’s not snuggly, per se, but he’s calm and tolerant of me.

In summary, JB is still head honcho, but Soup is moving up in the world and has some good traits.  Scruff and No Name are at the bottom of the group currently.  But, poor Scruff would love to have his own ladies.  He’s always dancing for them and calling out, “hawk!!” and he mostly gets ignored.

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