Saturday, February 14, 2009

Rancho Relaxo

When daytime highs are in the single digits and there's a foot of snow outside, playing in the yard isn't particularly enticing. Rachel and I like to sit down and relax with a book by the wood stove in the evenings. Henry does his part to enhance the tranquility.

Things finally warmed up a bit last week. We went from below zero to 65 degrees in a few days, and the snow disappeared. All of the formerly frozen doggie-mines deposited in our yard over the last few months are thawed, laying in wait to hitch a final ride on my unsuspecting boot. I'm also reminded of the fact that our yard is still a mud-pit as a result of the water line installation last fall.

With the snow gone, its fun to play outside again. But all is not well at the Hayman Road Farm.

Lurking in the bushes is Fergus, the Evil Rooster of Death. After a couple flap-and-scratch attacks (Fergus thinks Henry is moving in on his ladies) sent our brave young farmer running back inside, we decided that it was time to fight back.

Armed with a beekeeper's helmet and a big stick, Henry was ready to show Fergus who was boss. We weren't entirely successful, however. A rooster flapping in your face (even while wearing a bee-veil) is still scary enough to force a hasty retreat.

Rachel has mentioned that Fergus may "need to go into the stewpot" -- an idea which Henry is in full support of. I'm hoping we can work out a more amicable solution.

We're apparently not the only people with this problem -- I noticed another rooster has been offered on our local Craigslist because "our son is scared of him".

Despite Fergus's obvious shortcomings, he does seem to serve a good purpose (aside from the obvious one of keeping all his ladies satisfied). He's exceptionally good at keeping the flock together. Whenever a hen has to run back to the coop to drop off an egg, Fergus is there to guide her back to the flock with a good cock-a-doodle-do. When one of the hens turns up a pile of tasty worms, Fergus is always there to announce the find as the other hens come running. I'm not sure what other predators (besides Henry) he may be fending off, but it seems as if he could do some good there as well.