Happy Chickens

The chickens love spring. I don’t know that for a fact but they seem happy and helpful. They’re back to running loose, chasing and eating grasshoppers to help save the garden and munching on spiders to keep their mom from being bitten!

Chickens

Chickens

What’s funny is that they stay kinda segregated and I have no idea how they know which ones are like each other. There are were 14  in one coop so they do all live together and I would have thought they think of themselves as one big happy family but like most human families, there always seems to be some amount of unrest among the chickens.

Above are the red chickens and there are 1o of them. Below are the Iowa Blues and there are 3 of them.

Iowa Blues

Iowa Blues

Then, there’s this one poor Ameraucana. They pick on her mercilessly! 

One Chicken

One Chicken

If we leave her in the coop with the others, they peck on her til she’s bleeding so she now resides in the chicken hospital. I think they don’t like her because they know she lays beautiful greenish blue eggs. What’s weird is in MO, our red chickens were so sweet and docile and our Ameraucanas picked on them and on me and here, the red chickens are evil and conniving and the Ameraucana is docile and sweet. To tell you the truth, I do not like these red chickens at all and if they all ran away from home tomorrow, I would not be sad.

Last night we were at Tractor Supply and they had Rhode Island Red pullets and Buff Orpington straight runs.  Vince said “Are Rhode Island Reds good chickens?” I told him I liked Buffs better but we have no room for more chickens. He looked at me and we both thought . . we could butcher those red ones and the Iowa Blues . . but neither of us said it and we both said “No! We’re not doing that!” and we left with no baby chicks. That’s two out of two trips we’ve left Tractor Supply without getting chicks.  Yay!

Eggs

Eggs

One day last week, I got 31 eggs . . in one day. If our red chickens and the Iowa Blues ran away from home, I would be better off not even replacing them. I’d still get more than a dozen eggs a day . . even without my best layers.

See the green egg . . that’s from the Ameraucana. See the white egg with the pointy tip? That’s from the Anconas (Italian leghorns). Such beautiful eggs!  That basket of eggs makes those pesky chickens worth their trouble.

Pesky Chickens

Pesky Chickens

They follow me around all day long. From wherever they may be, they can hear the door open and they come running. They’re so determined to be first in line . . they pay no attention to what I’m doing and if I stop, they run into me. I’ve learned that if I’m going somewhere in the car (which rarely happens), I have to leave them in the fence and not even let them loose because they will try to get in the car with me. It isn’t that they like me any more than I like them but they know that I often have treats/kitchen scraps so . . the early bird gets the worm. 

Customer Service, Where Have You Gone?

Last week we called the investment company we use because it was time to make my IRA contribution for 2014. Vince was talking to them because I’d rather he do all that kind of stuff but the guy on the phone told him “That account is frozen because of some kind of suspicious activity . . and it’s been frozen since 2012.”  Vince then handed me the phone to deal with it because it was lunch time and he had to go back to work.

Me:  What?  I’ve been using that account!  
Investment Guy: Nope, it’s frozen. When was the last time you used it? 
Me:  Two weeks ago!
Investment Guy:  Well it’s frozen, and has been since 2012, so you can’t be using it!
Me:  Do you see that I’ve been using it?
Investment Guy:  Yes . . but it’s frozen so you can’t use it.

Good grief! This is supposed to be a great company. We’ve dealt with them for 15 years and never had issues so I wasn’t too concerned. He transfers me to the security department that can supposedly “thaw” my account.

Man:  I’m going to ask you a few questions and this is info that was obtained from public records.
Me:  OK.
Man: The first question . . Of the people I’m going to name, tell me which one you know . . and he goes about naming four people.

The BIG problem is that the only one I know is my ex-husband . . from whom I’ve been divorced 20+ years and it wasn’t a nice divorce and I certainly didn’t need to be reminded of him! But, I answered the question and went on from there.

Next question:

Man: You have or have in the past owned a 1996 Chevrolet truck. Was it:  (a) Blue (b) Black (c) Green (d) Lavender (e) I’ve never owned a Chevrolet truck.
Me:  We still own it and it is none of those colors.
Man:  What’s your answer?
Me: None of the above.
Man: You have to pick one.
Me: How can I pick one when it is none of the above. I am looking out the window at the truck. I can send you a picture of the truck!
Man: Do you want me to put “I’ve never owned a Chevrolet truck?” 
Me: NO! That’s not true.
Man: Well, I’ll just pick lavender.
Me: When was the last time you saw a lavender truck?
Man:  I’m not even sure what color lavender is.

At that point, I pretty much unloaded on him about the ex-husband and the color of the truck. He didn’t care! He just had to get enough correct answers to questions to unlock my frozen account that I should not have been able to use for the past 3 years but I had been using.

Then he told me that I had to change all my user ids and passwords. We did that. He told me to wait about half an hour and then log back in using the new info and change the password from the one he had just reset. I waited about 30 minutes, tried it. It didn’t work. I waited another 30 minutes, tried again. Didn’t work. Called back, talked to someone else. He couldn’t figure out what the first guy had done but my original user ids were still working, though none of the passwords worked so he walked me through changing everything. Then about 3 hours later, I got an email that the user ids and passwords had been changed . . and this was all what I had done with the first guy so once again, none of the passwords were working and I had to call back and go through it all again. Grrrr!

To make matters worse, our investment “advisor” called yesterday and was telling me that since we’re getting closer to retirement age, he had some recommendations for us. “Would tomorrow at 10 a.m. be a good time to call you so we can spend half an hour or so talking about some options?”  Sure . . 10:00 would be fine.

Do you think he called? Nope. Do you think I’m seriously considering changing where we have our investments? Yes! I am just a tad frustrated with them.

Spider Bite Update

The best news is . . I can walk again! My foot is very sore and I can’t put much weight on it and I can’t wear a shoe (except my slippers) so there’s not much outside work getting done. The muscle (or is that a lump of fat?) in the back of my leg is very sore and that didn’t start til yesterday but the severe pain in my foot seems to be gone. Mostly I’m sitting in the recliner with my foot propped up. Our doctor is watching the red spot but he’s fairly confident there isn’t going to be a problem. It will be a few days before we’re sure.

To clear up a few things . . I’m not a doctor so I’m not giving medical advice but for me, going to the ER or to the doctor immediately was NOT necessary! For a brown recluse bite, it’s the tissue damage that follows a bite that’s the real problem, not the immediate bite itself, and the tissue damage takes a few days before it shows up. I did call the doctor on Saturday morning and he told me he wanted to see me on Tuesday if there was any sign of necrosis. So far, there isn’t.

Also, there is no antivenom for brown recluse bites. Our hospital doesn’t even keep it for black widow bites . . I went to the ER when I got bit by a black widow because I had always heard if you got bit by a black widow, it was certain death. Obviously . . it wasn’t true in my case. 

Had I gone to the ER, they would probably have given me antibiotics as a precaution and I was already taking those. They may have given me a tetanus booster and I had that in January. They may have given me pain meds, which I had from when I had kidney stones.

We’ve lived with brown recluse spiders for almost 20 years. They were as bad or worse in KY and we had our share of them in MO so we researched and knew what to do in the event any of us did get a bite.

I appreciate your concern but you’ll find that I am not one to run to the ER unless I know I have no other options . . a kidney stone and I’m in the car with the first pain, but for anything not totally necessary, I’m not going there. But, don’t worry . . I will use my head and make the right choice when faced with that decision.

The second thing is . . I did not have on flip flops when I got bit. It was probably worse but I had on Vince’s Crocs that have holes in the sides. What’s funny is I always shake them out before putting them on but this spider was in the grass.

I went out with one of the dogs. We take them out on a long leash and most of the time, I never get off the porch but on Friday, I decided to walk probably 25′ out to the closest pear tree to see if it was going to bloom. It was in that grass around the pear tree that the spider got me. I saw him as he crawled into the hole in the shoe but I couldn’t get my foot out in time.

You know what else is funny . . not one time when I’ve been bit did I have on flip flops. Yes, the Crocs were not very safe. The black widow was in my muck boots. As I always do, I shook them out and beat them on the concrete before sticking my foot in there and there was still a spider in there that got me. The scorpion bit me in my living room when I was sitting in the recliner. It had apparently crawled up Speck’s quilt that was hanging over the edge of the chair and touching the floor. You can bet nothing touches the floor now and I shake the heck out of every quilt, towel, shirt . . eveything! I examine the bed with a black light before crawling in at night.

I’m amazed that people raise kids in this part of the world. I can take it but if I had small children, I don’t think I could stay here. It scares me for Addie to even come and visit here. I can see us checking the bed for “monsters” every night with a black light. I’m thinking I’d better buy an extra black light for her to take home because she’s probably going to love it.

Vince did tell the neighbor . . one more bite and we’re probably outta here! I’m weighing my options . . do I get bit again so we can move back to MO or do I try to avoid spiders and scorpions for the rest of my life?  I figure that since we haven’t been here three years and I’ve been bit by two spiders and a scorpion . . chances are slim I’ll make it very long before something else gets me so I think I’ll start packing!  :)