Day 399: Brooding

It’s 1:15 in the morning and I’ve been trying to get some sleep for a couple of hours without success – so here I am. I took a bath, watched Jimmy Carter on the Daily Show talk about eradicating a parasitic worm in a dozen countries, and now I get to see if typing this posting is any good as a sedative.

old-brooder1It turns out I made the same mistake with the ducklings we bought a couple of weeks ago that I made the first time I made a brooder for the cute little baby chicks we brought home a few years ago: they don’t stay little very long! The ducklings have grown from little tennis balls with bills to foot-high eating machines determined to swallow as much of the planet as they can. They’ve outgrown the clever little two storage box brooder I created for them and I’ve been feverishly building a six foot by two by two home for them until the weather is warm enough for us to move them to the chicken yard.

new-brooder3Having designed several brooders over the last few years I’m getting better at things like trapping the edges (so no one gets cut ) of the half-inch metal screen that makes up the sides. I used an air stapler to build my very first brooder and the staples came out with enough force to cut the wire they were trying to hold. The result was metal fabric flapping in the breeze and weeks of re-stapling before I realized what was happening. Now the edges are securely sandwiched between two boards.

I’ve tried being clever with sliding access doors (that warped and became impossible to open), hinged doors (that sagged just enough to make the sliding locks seize), and a dozen other innovations that seemed like good ideas at the time. In the end this creativity is what drives me forward – but barely one idea in three survives the test of time.

About a quarter of our back yard is still snow covered. The ground is still mostly frozen making digging impossible. But soon, soon! There’s a garden to be tilled, a duck pond to be built in the chicken yard, some drain pipes to be buried, acres of freshly fallen limbs and trees to be hauled up the back hill by zip line, and cutting, splitting, and stacking to be done to be ready for next winter.

milo-woodKeeping warm on a cold winter night is a wonderful hobby! It starts in the spring and goes all the way through to fall. And there’s nothing like standing on top of a pile of freshly cut wood. Just ask Milo.

While some people are turning their oil and gas fired furnaces down to 65° or 62°so they can afford next week’s trip to the supermarket we’re putting another chunk of firewood in the stove to treat our bones to a toasty 80°, 83° – even 86° when the old arthritis kicks in. And our fuel is just out back lying on the ground waiting for us to shoo away the cat and be pressed into service.

Yawn! Maybe it’s time to give sleep another try now.

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