Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Must Be My Week For Snakes

It's been another crazy day at the Shoebox Ranch. I was bringing laundry in from the clothesline and the cat was fixated on something by the sink. I had my hands full so I'm unable to look at the floor. I figured he'd cornered a mouse or something. Nope, not a mouse. A snake. So I set everything down as fast as I could and tried to grab the cat. Unfortunately just then the snake headed under the dining room table, which is shoved against the wall in our long and narrow kitchen/dining room. Then the cat is out of reach. The snake hugs the baseboard and disappears behind piles of boxes. I finally get the cat away from the boxes by squirting him with a spray bottle filled with water. I go around behind the boxes and see the snake's tail. Not a rattlesnake thank goodness. Not a gopher snake either. Its creamy yellowish tan.  I grab the tail but it feels like it is breaking in my hand so I let go. I don't know how else to describe it but it went 'crunch' in my hand.  Then I got the cat out from under the table again and threw him in the bathroom and shut the door.  Then I got a hold of the whole snake in the middle somewhere. Bad idea because it's whipping its head around and I don't want to get bitten. I'm trying to steer it into a bucket. No luck there and when I let go it dives back to the baseboards.  It is still back there somewhere. Haven't seen it since and there was no way I could move that huge pile of boxes and no where to stack them if I did. I waited hours for my boyfriend to get off work, but he had other deadlines and things to do.  So at this point the snake is still back there somewhere, unless it escaped while I wasn't looking. Darn, I didn't really want to go to bed knowing there's a snake in the house.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Poor Snakey Snake

We were watching a roadrunner in the front yard when my boyfriend spotted a snake along the fence line. I couldn’t even see it. Between my poor long distance vision and the snake’s natural camouflage, I just couldn’t figure out where it was. So he took his camera out and took photos. It’s a gopher snake about 5’ long. And it was badly tangled in chicken wire. We gave it fifteen minutes to see if it would untangle itself, but then we went in with gloves and wire cutters. After we freed it, it made its way to the nearest creosote bush. 
Gopher Snake


They eat vermin.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Our Six New Laying Hens

I'm happy to report that all the new chickens were alive and well after their first night in the coop. Today Guy continued digging a ditch around the coop so he can bury some wire fencing to keep the former chicken massacre from happening again.

The barred rock and the ameraucana chickens are slightly smaller, and I've noticed the yellow colored ameraucana keeps trying to hide behind the bigger chickens and seems the shyest one of the bunch so far. The barred rock is the bravest. She was the first one to jump out of the coop onto the run.

Keep in mind I'm not an expert and the names were the best guess of the woman working at the feed store. 

Four of the six new pullets.

The light colored Ameraucana tries to hide behind the bigger chickens.
Two black sex links in front. Ameraucana in the back.

Rhode Island Red Pullet
Barred rock pullets don't have their black and white coloring yet.

Black sex links in the front.

Bock Bock Here

Today I visited the Diamond B Feed Store in Lucerne Valley, Ca with a special goal in mind. It was time to pick out six new hens for our backyard coop. I wanted to replace the 4 we lost. Since these were a bit smaller, we decided to get 6 pullets in case some of them didn't make it. The oldest ones are about 5 weeks.

I got 2 Rhode Island Reds, 2 Black Sex Link, 1 Ameracuena and 1 Barred Rock. I brought them home just in time to tuck them into the safety of the coop for the night, so I don't have any photos yet. Our last chickens only lasted 4 days so surely the odds are in our favor this time.