Archive for the ‘Farmer Nyel’ Category

It’s Chicken Tetherball Season!

Monday, June 3rd, 2019

The ladies have been laying to beat all records — five hens and five eggs a day for many, many days in a row.  It’s as if they hope a good report to Farmer Nyel will bring him home  more quickly.  Don’t I wish…

He is proud of them, though, and I told them so this morning as I hung up a new regulation tetherball-for-fine-feathered-athletes.  They were on it like the tournament had already started.  If you haven’t seen a game of Chicken Tetherball in the flesh (or feather), you have missed quite a treat.  The ball, of course, is a head of cabbage, and the girls seem to the manner born.  Without any introductory explanations or special encouragement, the  play begins as soon as the referee (that would be me) gets out of the way.  I did tell them that the equipment was according to Farmer Nyel’s specifications and they seemed extraordinarily pleased about that.

The internet is full of suggestions for games for chickens.  Some are complex — like filling a remote toy pickup truck with scratch and then releasing the chickens  to chase after the truckful of treats.  The online video was with turkeys and was hysterical.  They run flat out after that pickup and if you’ve never seen racing turkeys (or chickens) you just haven’t spent enough time on the farm.

However, I’m more inclined to try the spaghetti game.  I haven’t seen this done, but apparently you hang a strand (or many) on the fence and then watch the fun…  I can’t quite imagine what that “fun” is exactly,  but I’m willing to share next time I have a pasta dinner so I can find out.  Whatever transpires is supposed to be hysterical.

Farmer Nyel is more interested in chicken tricks — like getting them to jump through hoops.  Fortunately he has more patience than I and I’m thinking that getting his ladies to do a simple circus act or two might be a pleasant summer pastime for all of them once he gets home.  Stay tuned…


Where there’s a will…

Monday, April 1st, 2019

Wheelchair Gardener

The sunshine began calling early yesterday morning.  By noon, Nyel had positioned himself (in his wheelchair) in the kitchen so that the sun was beaming through the window right onto his face.  There he sat, smiling and reveling in the warmth and the light.

“Let’s get you outside,” I said at lunch.  “I think we can do it – between your walker and the wheelchair, I think we can manage the step from house to porch and from porch to lawn.  Don’t you?”  He did and so off we went.  It all worked like a charm!

“And, while you’re here…” I suggested.  And before you could say fuchsias and geraniums, Nyel was equipped with a tarp in his lap and a pair of garden snippers in his hand.  I carried each of the hanging baskets and each of the geranium pots, one by one, and Farmer Nyel worked his pruning magic.  While he pruned, I worked in the west garden bed, weeding and planting nasturtium seeds (even though I think it’s too early for them.)

The Tendr Touch

We were outside for about two hours.  Maybe more.  There was a steady stream of visitors who, seeing the “Temporarily Closed” sign on the church, read the bronze plaque in the churchyard instead, and tried to figure out how to pronounce the “Tsako-te-hahsh-eetl” sign over our gate.  Neighbors Mark and Sandra came by on their walk and hung over the fence to visit a bit. A duck or two flew overhead.  The roosters crowed every now and then and the hummingbirds came by to say “thank you” for refilling their feeder.  It was all absolutely perfect.

Maybe we’ll do it again today – at least the getting outside part.  I’m trying to dream up another garden chore that can be done from a wheelchair…  But reading a good book and Clapping and Cheering for me occasionally will work, too!  I need all that C&C I can get! (It’s right up there with R&R!)

Reunited At Last!

Tuesday, January 29th, 2019

Coopward Bound!

Yesterday, with very little fanfare, Nyel mounted his Knee Scooter and headed east.  Through the south garden, over our scraggly winter lawn and down to the chicken coop.  The girls and boys, ever attuned to goings-on beyond the coop, gathered at the hog-wire fencing and watched his approach.  They were quiet – perhaps awe struck – as they tried to figure out what was coming their way.

I thought briefly of the rabbits in Watership Down and their fear of motor vehicles which they called hrududil (plural for hrududu.)  I wondered what chickens would call a knee scooter and if they even recognized that it was Farmer Nyel who was propelling it.  As always, it’s hard to tell with chickens.  It was even hard to tell with Farmer Nyel – I don’t know if he was expecting a little more fluff and flurry after his three-and-a-half-month absence.

Waiting for Farmer Nyel

Perhaps of greater importance to the flock was their release from confinement.  As soon as I was safely back in the house and out of harm’s way from that killer rooster, Farmer Nyel opened the gate and let them into the yard – also a first in three-and-a-half months.  He reports that they were initially a bit tentative but, with the enticement of some scratch, they were soon off and pecking – Backyard Chickens once more, ‘just as God intended” as our friend Ti would say.

Nyel spent an hour or more doing his Farmer due diligence – cleaning the coop, putting fresh cedar shavings on the floor and in the nest boxes and, generally checking things out. As requested, he called from his cell phone when he was ready to head back to the house.  I wanted a picture of Farmer and Flock and was willing to brave a confrontation with you-know-who to document this big red-letter day.


But, no worries.  When Farmer Nyel paused in his homeward trek, all seven chickens gathered round for the offered treats with ‘nary a glance at me.  The little red hen even ate from his hand just as she had done in the past.  Who knew there was enough memory space in that teeny-tiny brain to remember that trick!  Nyel didn’t let on but I’m pretty sure he was pleased.  As for the chickens… I’d wager they were, too.