Posts Tagged ‘Rhode Island Reds’

Ri-Ri, when we first met him and thought he was a girl.

Hello! It’s been a long, long time, hasn’t it? There is much news to be had from the Little Farm by the Cemetery. Since I have officially graduated (though not walked,

because our graduation ceremony was canceled in Icepocalypse ’13), I have had to descend down the emotional job-hunting tiers from “a computer science professional who is anticipating and expectantly qualified to begin at entry level” to “an over-educated hack, despairing and ready to go throw in at McDonald’s.” I’m serious, people. If I had known it would be this bad, I would have done a year ago what I’m doing now and just signed on with Blue Cross/Blue Shield. I would have saved myself a year of school and stress (and about $12,000). Alas, computer programming jobs around here are highly competitive. There are networking jobs galore, however. Go figure. I have two degrees, my loves, and neither my over-grammarian self nor my over-geeky computer-talking self is appreciated. I keep telling myself if I get hired on at Texas State Technical College as an advisor or the assistant to the financial aid department (which could still be a thing, who knows?), I will go back to school as a networker. Then I could have THREE degrees that are useless to me.

But that’s the way of things, right? You make your road, and sometimes you hitch a ride and things are smooth and swift, and

Look at that proud comb.

And Ri-Ri now. I can’t believe it, either.

sometimes there’s a fork in it, and yet other times the horse picks up a rock in its shoe, and you have to stop and dig it out. Yes, in my analogy, we’re in a buggy and not a car; just go with it. I’m reading a lot of Sherlock Holmes right now.

Naturally, there are also the times when the earthquake splits the land in half, and you end up going way off course into the brambles just so you can get to the road on the other side of the divide.

And that’s what I’ve done. And I’m still not sure I’ve found the road yet, or maybe I wasn’t meant to be on one. What was supposed to end in a lucrative computer science job with one of the three software developers in the area has ended in me scrambling to throw my resume at everything from the odd receptionist position to administrative assistant jobs. I am currently hired, pending the formality of a drug screen and background check, at Blue Cross/Blue Shield. I have, in the past, used the word “just” to describe such positions, as in “Just an administrative assistant.” Let me tell you what: when there’s nothing to be found and your dreams of a decent working wage are flying up the chimney like so much burning ash, there is no “just” about it.  You learn to slough off professional pride like a snake changes skin in summer. So what if you’re above and beyond educated and qualified? So is everyone else.

Sorry for the mixed metaphors. Apparently my literary brain has no idea what season it really is.

I have chalked it up to the fact that I’m not supposed to have a job. That’s right. “Can’t do it,” says the universe. After all, I am getting into the groove of homeschooling my 15-year-old son, and that requires brainspace of its own. We’re feeling our way along, and it’s a challenge when most of the big, popular sites suggest something akin to school-school, just…at your kitchen table and using a lot of stuff you have to pay for. If I wanted that, well, it surely is cheaper to do it the regular way, even if the high school wants $10 for something every time I turn around. So we’re going more of an unschool/hybrid approach as I prepare him for the new GED test. We’re shooting for April of 2015. He’ll be 17. And he’s definitely going to be a happier kid because of it.

Today I started teaching him how to write code. If you’d said to me ten months ago, “Hilary, you’re going to teach your kid computer programming,” I’d have kindly asked you to put down the pipe.

We’ve also gone gluten-free, since he and I suffer a rollercoaster ride of mild to severe varied symptoms I won’t bore you with. With which I won’t bore you. So I, the reluctant grammar-nut chicken lady with the chef husband, have had to relearn to cook. Sheesh, if I had a JOB on top of everything, I’d be losing my mind. Oh, wait…

What does all of that mean for Straight to Chickens? I’m not sure yet. You may see ever so much more of me as the stress of not having work clears up in the dubious joy of mandatory overtime, or you may see this blog dissolve in a swirling maelstrom of the writer’s block that comes of having too much else inhabiting the brainspace. We’ll see.

But yeah…the universe isn’t going to give me more than I can handle, right? That is, it’s not going to drop a bigger Grand piano on me than will allow me to walk away accordion-style, birds cheeping over my head in woozy little circles, right? I know you’re seeing Wile E. Coyote right now; it’s okay.

Rhode Island Red tweens

Rhode Island Red tweens

But put all that away. Grand pianos and swirling maelstroms aside, we have new chickens! We have a half-dozen sleek little Rhode Island Reds. They’re about six to eight inches tall, and they’re just lovely. They’re quick little buggers, but a little less standoffish than the silkies were. Rob has rigged up some…rather fascinating structures out there, among them a thing meant to a) use up leftover brew store paraphernalia, and b) make feeding and watering a breeze ™.  Trust me when I say the former is going better than the latter, if by “use up,” you actually mean “construct a monstrosity that almost looks like it could come alive in a postmodern Hayao Miyazaki flick as some sort of chicken…feeding…golem.” I don’t even know.

Anyway, if you observe said monstrosity below, the red “nipples” down beneath it are actually blocked with T-shaped plugs that the chickens can push up to get dribbles of water, the concept being similar to the ball bearing at the end of a rodent bottle. The white PVC pipe delivers food but apparently needs work, as evidenced by the lack of food supply from the top of it. I’m…okay, I’ll say it. I appreciate hubby’s hard, hard work on the chicken-feeding-and-watering-golem-future-overlord, but they’re birds! They eat off the ground. When he gets it working properly, I might have to start convincing it that I’m its friend, and that just sounds like too much effort.

The older ladies are getting the water concept–that is, when it doesn’t freeze solid–and at least one of them has the food concept, as I saw her pecking mash from the end of the pipe (in its prototype hours, when it actually, you know, had food). The chicks are still sort of scratching around on the ground confusedly, going, “I smell food, I think.”

A large construction of PVC and metal with a water supply up top.

All your feed are belong to me.

In other news, one of the silkies is brooding. She has two Barred Rock eggs and two silkie eggs under her. She’s very serious about it, only leaving the eggs to eat, drink, and, on sunny days, bathe in whatever warm dust she can find. This is why hubby wanted silkies. They will apparently brood anything. Currently she is cozy in the henhouse with a radiant heater, what with it being face-numbingly cold outside in West Texas. Her job is sitting on those eggs, and she does it well.

What else? The sheep are growing day by day, and I can’t remember if the lambs are meant to go in February or March, but I’m ready. They’re big and fat and fuzzy and expensive to feed, now that there’s no grass to be had.  We’ve known for a while that one of them is male and the other is female, and I’m not sure what that means for us. Stud the male out? Eat him? Train him to pull a cart?

What is it with me and carts today?

I don’t know, kids. I just don’t know. I’m hanging in there. Job starts February 17th. Meanwhile, I’m off to go cook…hamburger? Chicken? Something without flour.

Pork chops.

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