Dadzoo Learns a Lesson, Perhaps?


I don’t have any pictures for this post.  Sadly Dadzoo didn’t want me to take any pictures, I don’t really understand why, they would have been awesome. Let me tell you why….

You know how sometimes it can be really easy to get so comfortable doing something that you don’t take the necessary precautions? For example, let’s say you keep bees. Let’s say for the past two summers you’ve kept those bees you’ve never been stung, and slowly you stop wearing your protective gear, and even then the bees don’t sting you. Let’s say that one evening you need to put a new box on the hive, a quick job, takes less than ten minutes. Because it is such a quick job and because you’ve never been stung, once again the protective clothing stays in it’s box and for the first time you don’t get the smoker going and you don’t smoke the bees to make them docile. Because, well, you’ve never been stung before and this is a quick job, surely you won’t need the smoke or your hat and drape, surely.

I’m  betting you can guess where this is going….

Despite all your (ahem) preparation you do end up with a sting squarely above your eye brow. But no biggy, sure it hurt, but you’ve never had a reaction to a bee sting before.

And everything looks good….until about 24 hours later, your fore head feels funny, right about the spot the bee got you, and you look in the mirror and it’s starting to swell ever so slightly. No biggy, bee sting will do that, right? Well, then through the evening it swells even more and more, you take Benadryl, still swells, you go to bed, certine it will be fine in the morning.

At five am the alarm goes off, you open your eyes…wait…..your eyes won’t open, well if you try hard enough, just maybe a crack……  You wake up your wife, she laughs, one eye is swollen shut the other about half way. After a call into work, you arrange a work from home day while your lovely, smart, talented wife spends the day applying ice, herbal salves, oils, zone therapy and infusions, by night you can open both eyes, but the swelling is still very much there.  How will things be the next day you wonder? And where did I put my veil and smoker for next time.

Those Little Turkeys!

imageWe have had a lot of fun raising different types of fowl on the farm, they all come with unique traits and challenges. Recently we added turkeys to the flock, they are funny little things and they can be pretty absent minded at times. About two weeks ago the graduated from the brooder to their new digs in a newly remodeled shed.  After about a week of being cooped up we allowed them to free range, figuring they had homed to the shed.

I need to stop doing that, figuring on birds and their tiny brains.

Those turkeys love to range, they go all over and forage like champs, I love watching them.  But something happens at dusk, those turkeys forget where “home” is and bed down wherever they feel like it, the potato patch is a favorite, a cozy corner by some fences, under an old sage brush. So about dusk Dadzoo and I take a stroll down to the turkey shed and look for our lost birdies.  Dadzoo has become quite the expert at herding turkey with two long bamboo poles, I think it comes from his years if experience being a dad to a whole bunch of kids.  Have you ever herded 7 children down a crowded church hall after services? Dadzoo has! Dadzoo, he’s a man of many trades, and turkey herder has been added to the list.

imageFun fact: did you know that turkeys make the sweetest chirping sound and they will call until every last bird from the flock is safely together.

The Web of Protection

This winter has been a tough one for the chickens.

When we planned the chicken coop we tried to think of every way possible to protect our bird during the night from predators, knowing that there would be plenty out here.  We hoped that we had given them enough protection from hawks and eagles during they day, by giving them places to hide, and for the first several months things worked really well.

IMG_5136Then things started to go down hill, quickly.  The chickens figured out how to get into the dog kennel, which didn’t end well for the chicken and eventually for the dog.  Then we started to lose chickens at dusk, that time between when the chickens started to gather toward the coop to roost and we went out to shut their little door.

IMG_5154After a couple chicken kills, we happened to hear the ladies going crazy one night, as we rushed out a big barn owl flew out from under the coop where it had cornered one of the gals and had attacked. It was interesting to see the roosters try to defend the hen, they were super hero roosters.

Sadly the chicken didn’t make it.

We really want to allow the chickens to free range, to produce the healthiest eggs possible, but how do we do that and fully protect our birds?  Fully enclosing the chicken yard would work, but then we might as well just get rid of the chicken and buy organic eggs, it would be less money and less hassle.

Dadzoo installed predator lights,
and they seemed to work…

IMG_5137Until New Years Eve.
I stepped out on the back porch for something and I heard the chickens, once again, going crazy in their coop.  I yelled to Dadzoo as I ran out there, with a broom in hand, he followed quickly behind.  Dadzoo burst into the coop, the chickens were all scrambling into the nest boxes, the roosters were on attack as a big barn owl sat right in the middle of the floor, when it saw Dadzoo he flew up on the wall, clinging to the side with its huge talons and rotated its head to look right at Dadzoo.  They were about 18 inches from each other, face to face, at eye level.  The owl had flow onto the ramp and walked into the little door the chickens used to go in and out during the day!

Oh how I wanted to shoot that bird!
(now don’t go turning me into Fish and Game, I won’t shoot it, I know its protected)

Dadzoo knocked it off the wall with a broom, and then shooed it out of the little door.  The owl sat there stunned for about a minute, then flew off silently, its wing span was about 5 feet.  It was beautiful, and frustrating.

IMG_5142After the “Great Owl Attack” Dadzoo and Chocolate the Chicken Whisperer searched for another solution.

IMG_5141They created the amazing invisible chicken saving web.

IMG_5143Together they strung fishing line from the top of the chicken coop to the fence posts around the chicken yard in a loose grid pattern.  The theory is that the owl will swoop down, feel the fish line and back off, but since it can’t see the fish line it doesn’t know how to get around it, or what it really is, so eventually it will stop trying.  This, we figure, will give the chickens enough cover at dusk for them to get settled and in the coop and for Chocolate to get out there and shut the door.

IMG_5138If you look really close you can see the fishing line shinning in the sunlight.

IMG_5147The Web of Protection has been up since the first of January and so far there  have been no owl attacks, despite the fact we have seen and heard the owl since then.

IMG_5153So it seems our girls are safe
at least for now!


I generally think women should be capable.

I don’t have a problem with division of labor and gender rolls in general.  Here at the “zoo” Dadzoo and I have our rolls, our division of labor.  Mostly it runs along traditional gender ideals.  I don’t work outside the home, Dadzoo does.  I mostly handle the day to day caring of the home and children, Dadzoo brings home the money and takes care of the more physical chores involving our home.  That is basically what we have done, and it works for us.  However, there have been times where one of us has had to take over for the other.  I have found that it makes things much easier if I am at least capable of doing Dadzoo’s “stuff” even if I am not proficient at it.  (As a side note, he does a much better job taking over for me, than I do in taking over for him).

For example, Dadzoo mows the lawn.  He always has, and has never expected me to do it, he would rather it wait a week than have me mow it.  In the 11 years we have had a lawn to mow I think I have done it two, maybe three times.  While it isn’t really my “job” and I don’t do as good of a job as he does, I am capable of staring up the mower and mowing the lawn.

However, in all my pride at being capable, I found myself bested by a clock.

Yep, a clock.

For the last week Dadzoo had been out of town.  He went to a (well, THE) Microsoft convention in Orlando and I stayed home to hold down the fort.  Typically in the summer I am a sleep late kind of gal, I like things to be slow and unscheduled.  Well, that isn’t working out so well so far.  Punk #1 has to be at the Jr. High at 8:00 for summer band, which means I have to get her up at 7:00 so we can be leave by 7:45.   (Yes the school is 15 minutes away, that means it is a 30 minute trip to drop her off).  Seven o’clock might not be early to some, but for me it is, in the summer I really try to stay in bed until at least 8:00, more if I can, but being the good mother I am (ahem) I will drag my behind out of bed so my oldest can play the flute.  Anyway… in order to make sure I am up by 7:00 I need to use the alarm, and the alarm isn’t my “role”, Dadzoo handles that.  It is on his side of the bed, he sets it every night and handles exactly how it is run.  Well, late Sunday night (in actuality Monday morning, after the zillionth time checking the door, windows, kids and every strange noise) I went to set the alarm for 7:00.  Blah!  In my bleary eyed tiredness, I couldn’t figure out how to change the time on the darn thing.  After, what felt like a good half hour, probably more like 5 minutes, I crawled into bed and just left it at its default time, 6:00 am.  Promptly at 6:00 it went off, and I hit the snooze button 6, yes SIX times, because heaven forbid I get out of bed before 7:00 on a summer morning.  Now, you would think the capable part of me would figure the darn clock out during the day when I was fresh and wide awake, but the uncapable part of me forgot until that night and so I once again went with the default time, and that is what I have been doing all week, waking up at 6:00 am and hitting snooze every 10 minutes for an hour.

Here’s to being capable!

I will be so glad when Dadzoo gets home and he can just wake me up at 7:00 and I won’t have to fiddle with than dang alarm clock.

Just Ask

I had a conversation several weeks ago with a lady at one of my punk’s soccer games.  She had asked when my due date was and I told her, adding that I am due three days before the kids go back to school, and that Dadzoo was going to take about 2 weeks off work so he could play “mommy” at all the back to school activities.

She then said “Oh wow, my husband would never do that, unless I ASKED him to,” with a very dramatic eye roll.

I had to pause for a second or two.

I then said, very casually “Oh, well Dadzoo (except I used his real name) is really willing to help, but I have to ask as well, he doesn’t know what I need unless I tell him what that is.”

We then chatted for a little bit and parted ways.

That conversation made me think, a lot.  Why do we (women) think that they (men) should be able to just sense what we need?  I wouldn’t be expected to go into work for Dadzoo, sit at his desk and just know what needed to be done.  How can I expect Dadzoo to just walk into the house and just know what needs to be done?  One could argue that if he has to step over toys to get to the couch that he should just know they need to be picked up, but then again he could argue that I should just know that e-mail is checked before the ticket queue at the office (which I don’t really know, I am just guessing).

It leaves me to wonder how much happier we would all be in our relationships if we could just give up the idea that our spouse should just know, and instead we just asked for what we needed?  For me personally, Dadzoo is always happy to do and be what I need, I just have to ask first.