andyschickenscratch

city girl meets country living, chickens, adventures, humor

The Store Is Now Closing

We were at the 4-H Regional horse show in Red Deer this spring with Meggie when my Dad (Papa Cliff) stopped in to say hi and after a quick visit he left. I assumed he was heading home but I should have known differently. You see my dad is an addict and he is addicted to fly fishing and everything about it. He started a few year ago tying his own flies and when I look in his fly tying room I can’t help but think that maybe this addiction will require some serious intervention. My Dad has always be a busy man and when he retired after 36 years with the Alberta Forest Service I was happy that he found a hobby to keep him busy. I honestly think that things had gotten a little out of control and I now have proof of that.
We had just sat down for our potluck dinner at the horse show when the text came in, I guess he didn’t head home after all. The text read:

Papa Cliff:

Called 911
Locked in Sportsmen’s Den
Waiting for owner and the RCMP

Now I have to say that I had to reread the text a couple of times before replying with:

Seriously?

Then I handed my phone to Grant so he too could confirm what I had just read.

Papa Cliff:

Yes, locked in was engrossed in the fly tying supplies and got locked in.

At this point I have to admit that I had tears stream down my face from laughing. The Sportsmen’s Den is by no meanings one of the larger hunting/fishing supply stores out there. It is locally owned and located in a strip mall, so while not huge it is a good size store…..apparently large enough to get missed at closing time.

Papa Cliff:

Called the RCMP so that they don’t shoot me when they arrive
Alarm is very loud

Now I am almost doubled over laughing as I can picture this take down going on. In court dad would have to confess his addiction and tell the judge,”honestly your honor I just got “engrossed” in the fly tying supplies.”

Before I could reply again Papa Cliff next text read:

Made it out!

Okay time to phone him and get the whole story, which I might add was even better than the texts. The following is the tale of events told to me personally by Papa Cliff.

After leaving the horse show he thought he would swing in to Sportmen’s Den and see what they had in stock. Upon entering the store he stopped to talk to the owner at the till and then made his way to the back to check out the fly tying supplies. He said that there was no warning, ie the store will be closing soon announcement and he didn’t realize that they had closed. He took his purchases up to the till to pay for them only to discover that there was no one there, “guess he forgot I was in there,” that most of the light were off and that the motion sensors had triggered the alarm when he headed for the till and that the front door was locked. He phoned 911 who put in touch with the responding officer so that he could explain the situation so that they did not come in guns drawn thinking he was a robber. In the mean time the security company was trying to locate the owner. The whole time the alarms were ringing a defining tone and he had no choice but to wait it out. It took about a half in hour for the owner to be located and to free him.

Writing this I can’t help but laugh and think back to being a kid and thinking how great it would be to be locked in a toy store. After hearing my dad’s story and knowing that to him this was the equivalent of a toy store that I am glad it never happened. It will be a story that we share over and over and like all good tales I am sure the events will change some over time. It has not slowed down my dad and his quest for all things fly fishing related but I wonder if he plans his shopping a little earlier.

Have a Beautiful Day!

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Hatching Time…..Ya I got this

You know I have never been very good at waiting, patience therefore is not my strong suit. After waiting 26 days for the ducklings to hatch the true test of my patience was about to begin. Everything that I had read had explained that ducks do not hatch fast and the best you can do is sit on your hands and wait. To be honest it is like waiting for your Christmas present to open itself. The ducklings had internally pipped and the next step was an external pip. Grant said, “a watched egg doesn’t hatch,” and he was right. I headed outside to feed the chickens, feed Plum and her babies, and just get some fresh air. When I came back I was thrilled to see that Grant was indeed right and that a “watched egg doesn’t hatch” which it hadn’t but there was now an external pip.

Bean's egg with the pip

Bean’s egg with the pip

After 12 hours of no progress I helped them a little by very carefully removing some of the shell and outer membrane around the area that they had broken through and headed to bed. I got up again at 4:00am to see that they had indeed made more progress and again at 6:00am. They now had a good section of the shell opened and you could see their little beaks peeking out. But by 10:30am they hadn’t made any more progress and you could see that the inside membrane was starting to shrink-wrap around them and that they were struggling. Oh boy this is not good, they were not going to make it with out help. This is where my knowledge of hatching ended and I knew that I was going to need the help of someone with experience. I looked at Grant and said,”well I am going to have to call the vet and take them in.” The look on his face was that of a man thinking that his wife has had no sleep in the last 2 days and has officially gone crazy. He might have been slightly right in thinking that cause the fact was since the first peep I was running on about 4 hours of sleep, my hair standing on end and I had glassy-eyed appearance. Hard to convince someone you are making sane decision looking the way I did. “Seriously Grant I don’t know how else to help them and I don’t want to have come this far and lose them.” I picked up the phone and called to see if there was even a vet available to help me. As luck would have it the same vet that we take Meggie’s little parrot Charlie to was there and willing to help.
I unplugged the incubator and placed it in a box with a towel wrapped around it and made a speedy trip in to the vets. I couldn’t help but think that explaining to a police officer why I was speeding would result in the same look Grant had given me earlier. Thankful for living in a small town I made it in record time and the girls at the office had a room all ready to go.

All plugged in at the Vets

All plugged in at the Vets

Dr. Trish and her assistant came in and they started right away on what I now refer to as the “egg C Section”. The first duckling they delivered was Beans. Here is where I give the warning that the following couple of pictures my be a little grafic for some people but really they are not that bad. Duckling like chicks diffidently do not come in to this world fluffy and cute.

Beans after her being born by c section

Beans after her being born by c section

Sammy after being delivered by c section

Sammy after being delivered by c section

They both had some yolk left to absorb so I placed them back in the incubator so rest and recover and to get them home.

Out of the shell and resting

Out of the shell and resting

Out of her shell and recovering

Out of her shell and recovering

As soon as I got home I plugged the incubator back in and left them to rest while Grant and I got the nursery ready. I mean if we are going to say that they were delivered by c section we might as well call the brooder the nursery. After about an hour Beans started to waddle around and Sammy was still looking weak. I moved them to the nursery under the heat lamp and hoped for the best. Beans was up and around in no time and her yolk sack was almost completely absored where as Sammy was not looking very good at all. I filled a medicine dropper with sugar water and gave them both little amounts at a time to help get their energy up. By that evening Sammy yolk sack was absorbed too and they were both moving around eating and drinking on their own. Watching them was quite entertaining they would waddle, fall over, sleep, waddle , fall over, sleep all with in a 6 inch area just to make it to the food and water.
They have continued to do great and are on the move now. They have actually adopted Meggie as their Mama and as I type this they are in the nursery peeping for her. It is actually surprising how something so little can make so much noise.
I know that I won’t live down the fact that I took a couple duck eggs to the vet but that’s okay it was totally worth it! I will continue to update my blog on a regular basis with pictures and videos on how they are doing. As for the other 3 eggs there was only one with movement and as of yet there has been no action but we will leave to incubator plugged for another day cause you never know.

The first night

The first night

Bed time cuddles with Meggie and Ranger

Bed time cuddles with Meggie and Ranger

Getting big

Getting big

Have A Beautiful Day!

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Going To The Birds

After seeing Call Ducks online I decided that we need to add some to our flock. I started an email campaign that ended up with a gentleman from Nova Scotia offering to ship me 12 eggs. Well, if we were going to add Call Ducks to our family we might as well make it an adventure. I happily paid him for the eggs and the shipping and he mailed them out via Canada post on a Monday morning by Thursday morning they were received on our end and 11 eggs went in to our incubator. 11 being all the eggs our incubator could hold I placed one under our broody hen Plum for safe keeping.

The box containing the Call Duck Eggs

The box containing the Call Duck Eggs

We weren’t the only ones Excited about the parcel….Our Basset Hound Ranger is a big fan of birds and loved the last two batches of chicks we hatched as if they were his own.

Ranger inspecting the special parcel

Ranger inspecting the special parcel

The box that contained the eggs

The box that contained the eggs

After carefully removing the eggs from their “nest” we candled them to make sure that they had in deed made it safely and that there were no cracks or flaws in the shells. They all passed inspection an into the incubator they went.

11 eggs in the incubator ready to go

11 eggs in the incubator ready to go

The first week went great and when we candled the eggs the start of the second week we were happy to see that 8 of the eggs were developing and discarded the 3 that weren’t. It was a few days later that we started to notice a faint odor coming from the incubator, something that with our chickens eggs never happened. I wrongly thought that it was the little bit of poop that was on the eggs that was starting to cook. The smell continued to get worse and got to the point that it could be smelled even when the incubator was closed. At this time we were mostly staying in at the Stampede and had come home the morning after the Big and Rich concert only to discover that the smell in the house was almost unbearable. I have to admit that after a night of indulging Budweiser that this was not a welcoming odor at all!!! I turned on all the air freshers in the house, opened the windows and took a couple Advil so that my head would stop throbbing enough that I could Google the solution to this awful problem.
It turns out the solution was and trust me I checked every website that came up on my search was to smell each egg individually. The odor was caused from an egg gone bad and if left the bacteria can grow to the point that the egg will explode and ruin the rest of the good eggs. Okay, now after of night of living like a rock star it was not only my head that was hurting but I wouldn’t say that my stomach was committed to holding on to its contents either. I had no volunteers to help me with my investigation, so I said a little prayer and set about discovering the culprit in the smell crime. Another thing that each website said that there will be no mistaken which egg is rotten, that when you smell the bad one you will know it for sure, oh goody! I remember thinking back to my younger days and how my dad would punish me if I miss curfew or was not feeling too “perky” the next morning by making me mow the lawn in the heat of summer, or help with yard work when all I wanted to do was crawl in to bed and sleep off the not fun part of having a fun night out. Seriously, sniffing for rotten eggs when your hungover is not recommend if it can be avoided, which in my case it couldn’t.
Time to bare down and get it done. Meggie and I took the eggs in to the washroom as it is the only place in the house with no window so that we could candle the eggs as well. I picked up the first egg as if it have a ticking time bomb inside (which technically one or more of them did) and gingerly placed it close to my nose and sniffed, nope nothing no odor at all. Okay that’s one down 7 to go. I repeated the same method a few more times with the same result. I was almost starting to get complacent and thinking that Google had led me astray. On to egg number 7, by now my method had become quite bold and I would just pick the egg up and sniff it to get it over with. Now it is important to remember that the reason that you are smelling each one individually is because the rotten one will be VERY obvious……Sniff sniff “oh sweet mother of….” don’t panic I had found one of the bad ones. My stomach rolled dangerously close to losing everything, my eyes now watering and Meggie asking, “Is it bad?” Well that was an understatement!!!! My gag reflexes were now kicking in and I was left holding the darn thing because I was scared if I moved the bomb would go off. My Ninja like reflexes had totally abandoned me and I was left there trying to understand how something so little could smell sooooooo bad. I dispatched Meggie to go get a bunch of grocery bags and when she returned I very gently placed the egg inside them. There I lived through that (barely) and one more egg to go but I felt safe in the knowledge that the rotten one was safely contained in 8 layers of plastic, couldn’t be to safe when it came to keeping the smell confined. Sniff Sniff “oh sweet mother of……” gag reflexes displaying their strong desire to rid me of water I had slowly drank that morning, full on tears now running down my face, a second bad egg was found. It too was placed in the protective bags and I couldn’t help but wondered if they had ever considered rotten eggs as Eco friendly weapons of war. The rotten eggs confined in the bag, the other eggs were placed back in to the incubator to continue to develop which they were doing till two days ago when that oh so familiar smell started to creep out of the incubator. Not disabled this time I quickly went through and smelled the remaining six eggs and it did not take long at all to figure out which one it was.
We have now entered lock down on the 5 remaining eggs, this means that humidity is increased and that we stop turning the eggs as they prepare to hatch. They are due on Wednesday and I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am. From all the research that I have done Call Ducks tend to have a hard time hatching and may require help. This will mean that from the first pip I won’t sleep but that’s okay because it has been a long 25 days to get to this point. I well make to update my blog and keep you posted on how they are making out.

Have A Beautiful Day

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Time To Shine Up Your Boots

The intermission in my blogging has been brought to you by the 78th annual Ponoka Stampede, this year it was June 25th to July 1st. It is absolutely amazing to watch our small community of 6500 grow by the thousands! The Stampede offers free camping at the grounds and holiday trailers of every shape and size begin to roll into town. Soon all the camping spaces are full and it is a sea of RV’s. Being a city girl I have to admit that I don’t mind the extra people and traffic at all and like most of the locals I know to stock my pantry before hand. We used to be part of the get out of dodge group but for the past 5 years we have hauled our trailer to the grounds and dug in our heels for a great time.
To me the Ponoka Stampede offers a rodeo experience that you can’t get at the big city rodeos. The infield bar and concession is a common meeting place for people with infield seats. There you can visit with old friends, meet new ones and hangout with the stars of the rodeo world, to me it’s like being back stage. I mean when is the last time a person went to a big sporting event and got to hang out with the players? I have to say that every year I have had more fun then the last and always think it couldn’t get any better.
Like all people that are fans of the rodeo world I have my favorites and I have been very lucky to be able to meet them. Because it’s a rodeo one of my favorites was a four-legged star named Willy a Steer Wresting Horse. Not only did I get to meet Willy but I also got to sit on him. Seriously you could not wipe the smile off my face that day.

My smile says it all.

My smile says it all.

My husband Grant has his favorites too, Gary Rempel is one of the best pickup men on the rodeo circuit. One of the things that Grant has always admired about Gary is how he can rope anything and in 2010 Gary roped a bull just as it jumped into the crowd at the CFR. Grant and I met Gary in 2011 at the Stampede and he gave Grant that very rope. The rope is now proudly on display in our family room in a shadow box with a leather tag on it that Gary made that simply reads Gary Rempel 2010 CFR.

Our daughter Meghan is of course a big fan of Barrel Racing and her favorite is Lindsey Sears and her horse Martha. Meghan got to meet Lindsey and Martha at the Ponoka Stampede in 2013.

Meggie and her favorite Barrel Racer Lindsey Sears and her horse Martha

Meggie and her favorite Barrel Racer Lindsey Sears and her horse Martha

Every year I think that was the best Ponoka Stampede, how could it get any better? Well it did this year and I capture it with selfies. At this point I would like to point out I am not a professional selfie taker and you can tell by the photos. Seriously I need longer arms to pull of a good selfie. Okay here we go….

I was trying to take a selfie with CrAsh and this guy kept photo bombing us.

I was trying to take a selfie with CrAsh and this guy kept photo bombing us.

Yeah, I didn’t know it was Corb Lund, Alberta singing star and that nights entertainer. I was showing my girlfriend Theresa the pictures and explaining that this guy kept photo bombing us. “You Dork!!!!” she said “that is Corb Lund!” Now I have to say I love Corb Lund and his songs but I guess I didn’t really know what he looked like. Some of my favorite songs of his include, The truck got Stuck, Hair In My Eye Like a Highland Steer, Going To Shine Up My Boots

Take 2

Take 2

Next are the voices of the Ponoka Stampede, Dr. Lynn Phillips and Les MacIntyre

Dr. Lynn Phillips Rodeo Announcer

Dr. Lynn Phillips Rodeo Announcer

Les McIntyre Rodeo announcer

Les McIntyre Rodeo announcer

Oh look who just walked by another Alberta singer Gord Bamford

Gord Bamford who's hits include Drinkin Buddy

Gord Bamford whose hits include Drinkin Buddy

Concert Night and this years entertainment was Big and Rich. My friend Kathy said that since I had gotten all the other selfies she wanted one with me and Big and Rich, challenge accepted. First was the meet and greet but they have a lot of people there waiting to get their picture with the band so a selfie at that point was not an option. I was standing off to the side with my friend Wendy visiting and before I knew it the crowd was gone and Big and Rich were still standing outside their tour bus. Well god hates a coward so I asked and yep you guess it, I got a selfie.

the Meet and Greet with Big and Rich and Cowboy Troy

the Meet and Greet with Big and Rich and Cowboy Troy

Now for the selfie

Challenge accepted and completed.  Selfie with Big Kenny

Challenge accepted and completed. Selfie with Big Kenny

Finally what has to be my favorite moment of the Stampede, I got to meet my all time favorite Tie Down Roper…..Matt Shiozawa. He was also kind enough to give me a rope. Now I didn’t leave this Kodak moment to my selfies and lack of ability to take a good one. You can actually watch Matt rope right now in Pool “B” at the Calgary Stampede.

My favorite Tie Down Roper

My favorite Tie Down Roper

Finally selfies with 2 of my favorite cowboys, my dad who we all call “Papa Cliff” and my husband Grant.

Me and Grant taking in the rodeo

Me and Grant taking in the rodeo

Me and my Dad

Me and my Dad

As I write this I can only wonder want next year will bring? I believe life is an adventure to be lived and can’t wait for next year!

Now for a quick chicken update, Plum our little black hen hatched out 6 of the cutest little chicks ever. She has proved to be a great mom and I really enjoy watching her show her babies how to scratch and look for treats in the dirt. I will post pictures and video soon. Also the Call Duck eggs are due to hatch next week. I candled 2 days ago and we have 6 eggs that have very active ducklings in them. I have never been so nervous for a hatch before but hopeful that everything that will go well.

Have A Beautiful Day

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Celebration of Now

Discover Your Inner Truth

Miles Away Farm Blog

The how to, from scratch, growing, harvesting, preserving, fermenting, savoring food farm blog

Ask Sophia

Bingung? Lagi ada problem? Masalah dengan pacar? ortu? atau mau nanya tentang iman Kristen? Anda pun bisa bertanya kepada Sophia

Hannah and Je together

Small talk of Je Lee

Verve Photo- The New Breed of Documentary Photographers

Photographer and photo editor Geoffrey Hiller has created Verve Photo to feature photographs and interviews by the finest contemporary image makers today.

Old World Garden Farms

Gardening, Cooking & DIY Living

Two Thirds Done

thoughts and experiences of a 72 year old boy

The Chatter Blog

Living: All Day Every Day: Then Chattering About It

Beetles In The Bush

Experiences and reflections of a Missouri entomologist

HarsH ReaLiTy

A Good Blog is Hard to Find

retireediary

The Diary of a Retiree

China Bystander

中國外人

The World according to Dina

Notes on Seeing, Reading & Writing, Living & Loving in The North

Must Be This Tall To Ride

I'm a single dad documenting his journey. A guy trying to walk a higher path. And messing up. A lot.

Yellingrosa's Weblog

Poetry, Visual Arts, Music and IT Tech

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A blog full of humorous and poignant observations.