Sunday, June 7, 2009

Yorick, nearly 2 months old and almost out of his baby fuzz.

Charlene Browne, International Chick of Mystery...

One of two hatchery's choice chicks.

Getting them to hold still for photos can be difficult....

Dear Abby and Ann Landers, the Buckeye chicks. They just seem to have that inquisitive beak and beady eye

I think these are Cuckoo Marans. I only ordered one Cuckoo, but the other could be the other "hatchery's choice" chick.

The Welsummers. Seen from the top they've got chipmunk stripes down their backs.

Also hazarding a guess as to identity; I ordered 5 Wyandottes and there are five of these, so....

Buff Orpingtons. Pretty -- and not going to be mine, but I suspect I can arrange visitation!

The new clothesline, although I didn't actually HAVE clothesline on it at this point.


While I'm rummaging for the camera...

I'm also reflecting that too much of what I'm exposed to right now is getting me down, and I need to cut back on the doom'n'gloom reading to balance events out. To wit: the relationship with the neighbor kids across the street is turning somewhat toxic, so it looks like there won't be too many playdates between them and the Banshees anymore. Agh. (That whole situation triggers my Almighty Judgment Complex, something that I try very, very hard to stuff in a small hole and fumigate to mitigate -- but it insists on finding escape routes and never really goes away.) I hate conflict. I hate it. It may be a lovely chance to teach the Banshees about which situations they can handle and which ones I have a right to insist on adult intervention on, but I still loathe, despise, and would do almost anything (except neglect the Banshees) to get out of dealing with conflict.

An acquaintance has recently decided to get out of an organization she's been with for just over three ages of a long-lived cat, and she's done it with a dazzling fireworks display. Which is worrisome; temper or not the woman's got the patience of Job and integrity up the wazoo so if she says there's something wrong there is something wrong. It appears she's gone into heavy seclusion. I'm going to miss her. It makes me question my ties with the organization and how deeply I want to be involved with it -- of course, the frustrating part is everybody who knows the true and bloody details is barred by a confidentiality agreement from discussing those details. It might not be a big deal, exposed to the clear light of day, but since it's never going to be out in the open it's going to be twice as big as Godzilla and very much uglier in the back of my admittedly fertile and febrile imagination.

Good friends are getting divorced. That ALWAYS sucks, even if it's the only viable solution.

The economy sucks, the political situation sucks, airline travel sucks -- especially if your plane doesn't stay in one piece -- and lately I've been reminded constantly that there are loud, vociferous, and violent people who believe that they can do my thinking for me much better than I could ever hope to. You see, the laws of the United States of America don't apply to them as long as they have their firm belief that God alone holds them righteous and a good supply of ammunition to back it up.

I need to take pictures of fluffy feathery ping-pong balls. I need to post a photo of the not-quite-two-month-old gosling with the ducks he's very nearly larger than already. I need to admire the annoying wild mustard in the front yard; it has a tap-root that goes down to New Zealand but it surely is pretty when it blooms. The bills are paid and there's money left over and for once I'm not being stupid about spending it. I need to hold the Banshees close and know that right here, right now, they are all safe and sound.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Going Postal

Yesterday I received a call from My Pet Chicken; two of the chicks I'd ordered hadn't hatched out as scheduled so they wanted to know what I wanted as a substitute. "We have Aurucaunas [it might have been Americaunas; she distinctly said 'Easter Eggers' but both have been known by that title], Welsummers..." I said, "Welsummers, I want the Welsummers." She said, "I do also have some Cuckoo Marans..." I replied that I reallllly wanted the Welsummers, that those were the birds I'd wanted when I'd done my order modification but theyhadn't been available. I guess everything works out the way it should on occasion. Yayy! So I settled down and waited. And I knew that there was no way in the world they were going to get here today, but I still got up at 6:30 a.m. to wait for the telephone call from the post office. No call, phooey, but expected.

And then at about ten minutes to 2 p.m., I get a call. From the post office. Chicks are here! Yayyyy! I have to wait for DBS to get home so I can run off, but his running around didn't take very long, so at 2:30 I was at the post office to pick up my peeping, cheeping box.

Except that they didn't have it there. The woman behind the counter said that the back room boys had told her it had gone out for delivery. And I said to myself, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?! (Internet lingo is getting pretty rife AND ripe around here.) She repeated that it had gone out for delivery and would I like to talk to a supervisor? I most certainly would, thankyouverymuch. It's June in the High Desert; it gets hot. The thought of day-old chicks sweltering in the back of a delivery jeep made the hair on the back of my neck raise up and catch fire. The supervisor comes out and I say that someone had called me to tell me that my chicks were here and that I had said that I was coming to get them and yet they had gone out for delivery?? How in the heck had that happened and fergoodness' sake, why? He took my name and address and, once he had determined that I didn't know the name of the gentleman who had called me, got the attitude of "I don't have to help you so I'm not going to be helpful. But I'll go look for the form of the thing." He came back and said that there were no packages waiting for me. I said I wanted to know how the heck this had happened. I told him that I had had live birds shipped to me before through this branch and I had never had them go out to be delivered to my home address, I had always been called to pick them up at the post office. He said, "Live birds? You mean chicks? I thought you said checks," and promptly went back to look again...and he found them this time. ThankyouThankyouThankyou. But the ordeal wasn't quite over, although the rest of it is not quite as dramatic. I told the lady that the supervisor turned me over to that I had to open the package in the office in the presence of a postal employee in case any of the birds were dead. She got it into her head that I would somehow think that dead birds were the post office's fault. No, I said, I need to do it this was so that the breeder has an independent witness to show that I hadn't killed the bird -- that if there's a dead bird on delivery, I needed to fill out a postal form and that way the breeder would know I wasn't trying to pull a fast one. "Well," she said in a fretful, near-snippy tone, "You can't fill out forms here anymore. You have to go home and do that online." Oy. And what if I don't have a computer hooked to the internet? Why in the merry name of the ghost of customer service long-dead do businesses have to make things harder for their customers? I love online service, I really, really do, but some things need to be handled in person -- and not everybody is hooked into the internet.

Still, the chicks are here and they are adorable. I'm still trying to figure out who's who in this melange; the original order was for 1 Chantecler, 1 Cuckoo Maran, 3 Buckeyes, 3 Buff Orpingtons, and 2 random brown egg layers. The modified order was as above, plus 5 Wyandottes, I believe Golden Laced but now I don't have anything saying just which variety. What I got was 1 Buckeye and the Chantecler replaced because they just didn't hatch out to order (but yayy! I got Welsummers for replacments!) and the rest of the order is the same. But the coloration of the five Wyandottes looks to be like Cuckoo Maran, and I have two birds that have the racing stripes of the Wyandottes. I think I've spotted the two Buckeyes and the Buff Orpingtons are unmistakeably blond...does anybody else think I'm going to be up half the night googling chick pics and racing back to the brooding area to see if I can recognize someone? The Welsummers were easy to pick out; they're striped like auburn-headed chipmunks. We'll have a couple of months to get things sorted out; I'm brooding everybody until they're feathered in and can go to their permanent homes. It was always my contention that people could claim they wanted this or that breed, but when the birds got done feathering all bets were off. Except that I know exactly what I want and I've got it: one Welsummer and one Buckeye. This oughta be interesting!

Pics tomorrow, just before I go haring off to build that shelter that was supposed to have been done last week .