The Giving Tree

Since we humans have pulled our lumbering and flipper-legged mass out of the primordial ooze we have been hard-wired to fear the darkness. The setting sun would have us scurrying under rock, climbing into canopy or slithering into backs of caves. Huddled and shaking we clung to each other waiting for the warmth and relative safety of the morning light. For in the darkness lies danger. Danger known and danger barely perceived. For it was a night such as this that brings me to your internet doorsteps today.

In the darkness outside of my (slightly more modern) cave a great terror arose from over the Pacific Ocean. The great storm. Dark and terrible it rained down it’s icy droplets and howled through my village (of San Diego) with apparently powerful winds. All of which I slept through without stirring a titch. I didn’t even wake up when my beloved coastal coral tree was split in three and came crashing down on my roof, my fence, and the street respectively.

All my regular readers will know that this tree was my absolute favorite tree of all. I have written about it so often. The way I propagated it from a measly branch cutting, how it magically grew faster and bigger than any other plant I’ve ever planted, and how I prune it so thoughtfully and thoroughly.

The last link there being one I should have revisited last winter. The winter I decided to not do my annual pruning because I was “too busy” to tend to it. Too busy to remove the great mass of branches and leaves that is likely the very reason why she couldn’t withstand the night terror of a storm that did her in. Mostly.

Friday morning found me doing the normal routine. Butt scratching, a shower, bask my glorious facial hair in the sun of a hundred gods, and then walk the dog. I left the house and began the walk when I realized there was a giant mass blocking our path. In my morning haze, it took a few ticks before I realized what had occurred. This was what I walked right into…

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The Easter Horde.

Happy Zombie Jesus day everyone! Nothing screams (or peeps) Easter morning quite like the sound of a pack of newly hatched chicks. I tried to time their hatching for this morning for significant spiritual impact. They arrived a bit early though. Despite my efforts to stuff them back into crumbling shells. Tenacious and screaming for life, play, and a bit of fresh air they rose a little bit before the Jesus did. Timing is everything.

So no meaningful #Easterjesuschicks without a modicum of revisionist history. So it goes.

It is time for the MYD farms to renew the flock. I now have a small pack of freeloaders that produce fewer and fewer eggs. If any at all. More troops have been deployed to the cozy and warm depths of a darkened incubator via my good friend Aaron over at the East County Zoo. The hens I’ve gotten from him have always been happy and healthy beasts. He was also so very kind to have hand delivered the fertile eggs to the MYD Estates and Luxury Center on his way into town. Well played East County Zoo!

I selected Easter Eggers to help bring some splashes of color to my egg cartons. Aaron also brought over a breed he’s working on which is a mix between a Ayam Cemani rooster and a Black Australorp hen. He asked if I was interested in hatching it. You don’t have to try too hard to talk me into hatching any experimental breeds of any creature. As illustrated below.

So I said yes and loaded up the butt nugget oven. set the knob to Uber Cute Fluff Butt and waited.

There is something within us all. Deep in the gooey center. Lurking and slumbering as we walk this world of coarseness and slander. There in the depth dwells a dim light of hope and pure joy. One of the choicest ways to summon this light is to gaze upon the perfectly round and poofy backside of a fuzzy little baby chick. Then, POW! All the feelings!

Side note: You can really intensify this feeling if you stuff seven baby chicks into your stupid beard-face while they wiggle tiny beaks into neck fat warm cuddle pockets. Try to make your stupid beard face look like a hens ass if you’re able. Wash afterwards of course. Followed by the anointing of the oils. Performed by vestal virgins obviously. I’m no slouch.

Well folks, as you can probably gather with your sexy huge brains, I’m about to show you a bunch of baby chickens. On Easter Morning. No charge at all! So go ahead kids and release that warm light from the cockles of your inner nethers. For I present to you…The Horde!

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Welcome to the World Knuckles! See her hatch below…

Spring has brought an unplanned addition to the Mind Your Dirt farms. Last month, I borrowed my neighbors rooster to see if I could breed some of my more productive egg layers. I gave him two weeks with my harem of special ladies to work his magic.

With such a handsome boy, I thought it would be a simple task. But try as he might, and try he did, none of the hens were having his macho bullshit and posturing. All except for one. His sister Violet!

This unnatural coupling was very troubling for me and my rigid morals and world view. I did my best to sway them away from such sin, but to no avail. I finally had to remove him as he was really torturing all the other hens for not putting out and things got bloody with one of my girls! I had enough of the violence and was feeling like I was running some sort of a terrible sex slave trade. I ran into the run and he and I battled. All the girls, save Violet were hiding behind me while he and I sized each other up.

After some bites and cuts, I was able to get a hold of this brute. Back to the neighbors with you sir! While you’re there, I suggest you learn how a gentleman should behave amongst such high caliber ladies. #henstoo

I then set out to incubate all the eggs that followed. Out of the 30+ I tried incubating, the only ones that were fertile were Violet’s eggs. Just my luck, the one breed I didn’t want to hatch was the only one that would. English game hens are cool and all, but not much on the egg laying tip. So it goes.

Below is the incubator I’m testing out. It works great for a little hobby setup and turns the eggs automatically. It also has an “eggy” design that I kinda dig. Very groovy and far out. man.

After so many infertile eggs, I decided to allow one of Violet’s eggs to fully incubate. She was growing broody and motherly so I felt bad for her. Well, last Saturday, that egg has hatched! The process took most of the day so I set up my little viewing station and waited.

Hatching viewing station alpha

I’ve never hatched my own eggs before so I was curious if there would be any imprinting happening if I’m the first thing she sees. Imagine your very first sight being a drooling giggling idiot ape! Poor girl.

Gah!! Take it away!

The moment of truth, and the reason for this post, was when she finally struggled to break free of her tiny eggy prison. I was able to get a really lovely little video of it and I wanted to share with you good and noble folk. So without further adieu I present to you, the birth of Knuckles the English Game Hen…

Knuckles big debut!

Sorry about my stupid and sappy commentary. I was admittedly overly-moved by the whole experience as I have a rather mooshy core. But I was right about the imprinting! Knuckles and I are like peas and carrots already. I have her in my home made brooder now and she is all poofy and clumsy and adorable and perfect.

It seems like she won’t sleep until I put my hand inside the brooder. The she floops on over and nuzzles into my fingers before totally blacking out. Then I sit there for far too long afraid to move an inch and disturb her little nap. It’s all rather ridiculous. She even comes running up to the edge when Sasha comes in for a visit. This little poofball is all love.

Home made brooder with a view
Learning to walk

She had a hard time learning to walk. She kept on falling back on her bottom in the most adorable way. Her right foot had some issues with all her toes curling in an unnatural manner. I found this on Pinterest and am giving it a go. Toes crossed it works.

Baby chick shoes!

Now it looks like she has one flipper on as she pads around the brooder.

Learning to drink

There will undoubtedly be many many videos and photos coming up on the social medias, so be sure to check in on the regular! She’s also beginning the habit of trying to wiggle her way into my beard for safety and comfort. I’m trying to capture that on video but it’s not easy juggling so much clumsy cuteness. It’ll happen though. Until then, take it all in!

Putting the baby down for the night
Bedtime for Knuckles
My eventual future…