30 May 2011

Gone to the birds

I tried to kill us all yesterday.  Not on purpose, of course.  I was just being my usual self.  We came home from church and started getting ready for lunch.  The chicken was ready in the crock pot and I made a potato salad Saturday night.  All we needed was for me to do the easy task of opening a can of corn, putting it into a pot and turning the burner on, which I thought I did.  Silly me, I turned on the front burner that just happened to have my recipe binder on it.  Stupid, stupid.  About a half second after I realized something smelled like it was burning, the house filled with toxic smoke. 

At this point, I never know if I should turn off the burner and grab the baking soda, or yank the burning thing off of the burner.  I yanked.  And I turned off the burner.  It seemed like a good compromise to me at that time.  Unfortunately, the burner was stuck to the notebook, so I yanked the whole shebang out of it's spot.  And then I couldn't breath so I ran outside.  Have I mentioned before that we live in a basement?  Very few, very small windows in a basement.

Lunch was served outside a few minutes later than I intended.  I like eating outside, except it was very cold and rainy.  With windows open and fans running, we decided to go for a drive and visit some friends that we never see anymore.  It always takes an emergency to bring friends together...  They very kindly opened their home to us for a few hours and even served rhubarb cheese cake.

Our time outside in our yard caused the kids to adventure around a little differently, I guess.  They made some interesting discoveries in places that I have been everyday.  Notice anything interesting in this picture?  I hadn't.  It's just where the hose hangs.

Look a little closer...

Remember back a few months when I was pondering the ring neck pheasant egg situation?  We have a nest, right here in our own backyard.  I have never seen a hen, but my husband says he saw one a few weeks back walking along that fence.  There are 12 eggs.  The kids counted them before I knew what they had found.  Hopefully, the hen, if she comes back, already knows what my kids smell like and won't abandon the nest.  It may already be abandoned.  This find caused me to do some more research.  Apparently, hens are kind of careless at first about where they drop eggs and will sometimes make a "dump nest" where they lay some and then just leave.  I figured that was the case, since we haven't seen a hen around for a long time. 

Then I read more.  When a hen finally selects a nest site, they lay one egg per day and may keep going until they end up with 20 eggs.  During this time, the hen only comes to the nest to lay her egg and then she leaves again.  When she is all done with egg laying, she begins to sit and rotate the eggs.  Incubation is about 24 days and most chicks hatch toward the end of June.  Even though they are "born" on different days, all the chicks will hatch at almost the same time.  Isn't that crazy?  Twenty kids all at once... she must be crazy.

Given that it is late in the egg laying season, making it perfect to hit that late June hatch date and that she only would visit the nest once per day making it probable for me to miss her, I'm hoping that this is a genuine nest that will be used to hatch out all of the eggs.  I don't know why that excites me, but it does.  I just hope that my kids handling the eggs won't ruin it.  They now know to leave the nest alone for the next week.  If it stays the same, we'll know that it is abandoned.  If a hen shows up, we'll pretend we don't see her.

Fueled by this great find, the kids flew around the yard looking for more amazing things.  This is what they found and were again warned to leave it alone.  A few weeks ago, we watched a wood pecker working on this spot in an apple tree.  Everytime we came or went, he was there.  I guess it's a he.  I really don't know.  Now, there's some little wood pecker chirping away inside.  It amazes me how perfect of a circle they can make.


  1. How fun! Not the burning notebook thingy -- finding the nature in your yard. Love it! :)

  2. Oh, I bet that stunk! Whew!

    Eggs..... can you borrow an incubator if she doesn't show again?

    Our telephone pole has several of those perfectly round nest holes. funny that the pole didn't snap in last week's storm!