Funky Chickens.

The chicks are fast growing into chickens, sprouting real feathers.
Some of them have been given names.
Like this one.
Edie named this one Ozzy, after her favorite rock star, mostly because of the black lines around her eyes.

That was before we saw the mohawk too.
Ozzy is quite vocal of a chicken and lives up to her name.
She is our punk rock chicken for sure, because of course we have a punk rock chicken.

Cuddles aka Rosebud aka Rose aka Ruby. 
She’s the neighborhood kids favorite and so everyone has a different name for her (Li has a new name for her almost daily), also the smallest and sweetest of the chickens.
She’s now sprouting feathers on her legs and feet.
She was grey as a chick, but her feathers seem to be coming in more white as she gets bigger.

This is Butters.
There is some concern Butters may actually be a rooster, given her(his?) size and aggressiveness, although I noticed when I was down there today she’s not as aggressive as she had been.  She has been the biggest chick since they were about 3 days old and along with Ozzy, was one of the first one named.

Brian’s named this one Kramer, after the TV character.
She’s a little Krameresque I’ll admit.

Most of them have funky plummage on top, even if they aren’t named.

The chickens are a major source of entertainment for the kiddos around here.  We have been throwing scraps from the compost bucket into their yard and covering it with leaves, hoping to attract some bugs.  (And growing some nice fertilizer while we’re at it.)
In other news, the squirrels have not attempted to enter the house in a few days.  That doesn’t mean I’m leaving the back door open when I leave the house, but I at least feel comfortable leaving it open when I’m not in the kitchen.  I noticed today however, that they have fairly well stripped my tomato plants of fruit over the last 48 hours, so I guess it’s let them have their way in our house or it’s my garden.  We’re still not entirely sure about a dog, but if I’m going to have tomatoes ever again, I am clearly going to have a build a fence.  Either way, looks like my next major digging project is going to be a fence.

We are not alone.

The whole block, at least our side of the street, is under seige.
I went down to Betty’s yesterday and she told me the tale of how she was standing in her kitchen when she heard a noise.  She looked up and saw a squirrel trapped between her kitchen window and the screen in front of it.  When she opened the window, the squirrel fell through the screen and landed on her kitchen counter. 
You can see the outline of the squirrel in the hole.

Since this is the internet and I can’t pose for you in person the way the squirrels position themselves when chewing through the screens, I got fancy with technology and drew you a stick squirrel.  It’s other foot was below the window line.
Perhaps this one gives you a better idea. The red blob at the bottom is it’s tail.
See it now?

It did some damage to her kitchen window too, trying to chew it’s way through the wood.
Seriously, we are under siege.  We have set the hav-a-heart trap and have gotten the main offender, the one we call Fatty, which was the biggest of all the squirrels, the one that sitting on our porch earlier this year, Pat thought was a small groundhog that had gotten really brave.  No, it was that big of a squirrel.  A few smaller ones have been caught and taken care of as well.  Are we going to have to trap every last squirrel in the neighborhood?  We have dozens of them, it could be never ending!
I’ve even broken down and suggested we get a dog.  Yes, we need a fence, but we have everything we need to build one – you see, we were going to get a dog many moons ago and got everything we needed to build a fence, but then realized that it was going to be a lot of work to build said fence and a baby wasn’t as much work at the outset, so we had a baby instead of getting a dog. I later realized that we could have left the dog home alone much sooner than we could the kiddo. Also, I’m not a dog person.  I’m a cat person.  Who is married to someone who is highly allergic to cats.  And before anyone says, oh, he can take allergy medicine for that, let me tell you, he can and does but he still has pretty horrific allergy attacks around cats that aren’t pretty.  So, we don’t have cats.   And because I have long suspected I would be the one to take care of the dog the most (confirmed when we borrow friend’s dogs just to see how it would go), I have not been quick to get a dog.  But clearly, this squirrel problem is going to take a bigger solution than what we are currently doing.  I may just have to get a dog.  Damn those squirrels.

There’s a new post up over at Cville Swaps, plus the announcement of our latest swap date.  Go see what I’ve been up to when I haven’t been battling psycho squirrels.

I refuse to live in that sort of neighborhood.

I live in the sort of neighborhood where we leave doors open all the time, especially the back screen door. The kitchen door pretty much only gets closed and locked when we go out of town.  It’s that kind of neighborhood. Or was, until yesterday.

(Click on the photo for a larger view of our unwanted guest.)
The squirrels that I spent most of last summer complaining about because they ate everything in my garden, a dozen plants worth of green tomatoes plus every last peach on the peach tree, leaving me exactly none last summer, have now chewed through the back screen door and as I discovered yesterday, are now entering our house and helping themselves to whatever they can find in my kitchen when we aren’t looking.  I came home from the pool yesterday to find jars of dried fruit scattered on the floor and two packs of buns nibbled through.  Needless to say, it’s ON.
Pat set the hav-a-heart trap
immediately as I walked around ranting about how the squirrels must GO and this morning I discovered we caught a raccoon.  Seems there’s endless wildlife feasting around our urban homestead. I guess I should be happy the raccoon didn’t enter through the ‘wildlife door’ because it might not be able to let itself back out the way the squirrels seem to have figured out and I don’t want to deal with a raccoon in my kitchen.
We still have some peaches left on the tree (it’s a late ripening variety, so they aren’t anywhere near ready to be picked) and there are plenty of tomatoes left on the vine, although while weeding yesterday I found 4 green ones that had been picked for me and something ate the first two ripe ones.  I don’t mind sharing a little bit of food with our neighbors, no matter what persuasion they are, but this breaking & entering has gone too far.  I’m taking the neighborhood and my house, back from the squirrels, because dammit, I like living in a world where I can leave my back door open all the time.  It’s a good world to live in.