My Chookyard: Colditz by the Coast?
5 June, 2011

Poultry facilities: Note adequate food and shelter. Water (not pictured) also clean and ample.

I have previously alluded;

https://madammorgana.wordpress.com/2011/04/30/garden-of-unearthly-delights/

to one of my chook’s remorseless attempts to burrow out of the yard.

Chooks aren’t noted for their sharp wit, or propensity for forward planning, or reasoning… actually, chooks are pretty much noted for egg-laying and being tasty seasoned, crumbed and fried.

But still,  I keep questioning the motivation of this chook. Known as “Briana” by her former owners, we call her “Rooster” since she moulted her tail feathers, grew in a new more impressive set practically overnight, beefed up her comb and then turned on “Tikka”, who used to rule the roost.

Inside the yard, there is food, water, shelter, congenial company and plenty of opportunity for scratching, sunning, dirt-bathing and pecking. In case you’re not up on poultry husbandry, that sums up the whole gamut of chook behaviour other than rooting – we don’t have a rooster.

In fact, my chookyard has got it all over a Malaysian immigration detention facility – the only bamboo canes used in my yard prop up the tarp.

Despite her freedom to live a life of luxury, troubled only by wondering how many bacon rinds might be in the kitchen scraps and when they’ll be tossed at her feet, Rooster insists on staging elaborate breakouts.

Chook tunnel: note the use of sticks as buttressing

Pictured is Rooster’s latest tunnel. Note the use of native sticks and garden debris as buttressing.

"Cover for me, you two. Look innocent while I go under the wall!"

Why, Rooster, why?

Is it because, now you’re a drag king, you share some men’s misapprehension that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence?

Do you find it funny when the cry “Chook’s out again!” goes up, we corral the dog and all rush out to round you up again? Do chooks even have a sense of humour?

All I know is, if this keeps up, Rooster will get to experience the novel delights if being inverted in a killing cone… just before I slice off her ungrateful, tunnelling head.

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Garden of Unearthly Delights
30 April, 2011

Bromeliad stir-fry

Okay, “Unearthly Delights” is gilding the bromeliad a bit, but with Aunt Irma due, all I really felt like doing today was snarling at anyone within a 100m radius and eating left-over Zombie Jesus chocolate.

This is a couple of Broms planted in an old wok that had Teflon dandruff, and the lid of our superceded Weber. The lime-green ground cover is Yellow Sedum or Cedum… the bloke I brought it from wasn’t sure. I like to think its “See’d Um” as in:

“Wow, look at that spectacular Chartreuse groundcover!”

“Yeah, I seed um.”

Charcoal Bat Plant

Bat Plant: up close & personal

This little beauty is a Bat Plant – the evil Goth cousin of the Madonna Lily. I’d like one as my funeral adornment, please. Just bung the whole old Weber on my biodegradable recycled cardboard box, then stick it back in front of the chookyard when we’re done.

You can see a wedge of Tikka’s arse in the first photo. Yep, she’s tunnelling her way to freedom again. Just call me Colonel Klink.

Cause and Effect
26 April, 2011

Christopher Walken as the Angel of Death.

In a lyrically traditional piece of symbolism, the Angel of Death passed over my house on Easter Sunday. We enjoyed a low-key and major-incident-free celebration with family and close friends. As one might expect from the events of Christmas, though:-

https://madammorgana.wordpress.com/2010/12/25/oh-goddess-the-horror/

for those of you whose merciful memories have suppressed the Yuletide incident – we came unstuck yesterday.

Magic Man, like the proud little digger he is, shed blood on ANZAC day. It all started when I was at blissful repose, inside the makeshift cone of silence I’d cobbled together from headphones, my internet connection and Youtube. Magic Man came rushing into the room, face twisted in anguish, gabbling something or other than for some reason I couldn’t interpret. Oh, the headphones – right. When I took them off, I heard:

‘A chook’s gotten out of the chook yard and The Dangerous Dog is out, too!’

Since the Dangerous Dog was doing his best to trip Magic Man up – i.e. arguably inside at the time – I failed to panic.

‘Settle down, mate. The chook’s gotten out before.’

And it has. My chook yard might as well be Stalag 13, the number of times this chook has escaped. It may be that Tikka is so stupid – even by chook standards – that she can’t realise we’ve got a free-ranging hound out here and she’s got food, water, shelter and companions in there. It may be that she’s a poultrine freedom fighter, protesting her interment at Villawood by the Sea. It may be chaos theory in action. Whatever the root cause, the kids and I have got re-capturing and returning her down to a fine art. We sprang into action.

Livestock corralled, we conducted a forensic assessment of the scene of the crime. There was clear evidence of dog-digging along the front fence line and a new gap along the back fence.

‘Aha!’ we concluded, ‘DD tried to dig in and Tikka panicked and fled out the back through a tunnel she’d made ready.’

The bloodshed came when he tried to patch up the yard. To cut to the chase, Magic Man stumbled backwards and stepped hard onto the upturned edge of the Weber lid. Which, as it happens, is sharp enough to gash a gusher into the sole of a 10 year old’s foot.

There was wailing, there was a great deal of invective hurled at Elf Boy – who was blamelessly on the other side of the backyard at the time, there was limping, there were tears. I got him in the shower first, to rinse off the archaeological layers of mud, blood and chook poo.

Elf Boy tried to help by yanking his brother’s dick ‘To distract him from the pain in his foot.’

I responded with a string of curse words delivered in a tone of voice so many octaves below my normal pitch that for a moment I wondered if I’d finally been possessed by an incubus.

In conclusion, I patched Magic Man up and after another day’s rest and elevation of the affected limb I hope he’ll be fit for camp. Some of it, at least. They’re only travelling 40 clicks or so south from us, so I can always go and change his dressing if required.

Needless to say, though, I’m fearful of the terror the Labour Day long weekend might hold. Stay tuned.