Friday, July 31, 2009

Post #23 - I wanted rain and I got rain.

It’s been raining on and off for four days now. Supposed to be the same at least through the weekend. The humidity is now so high that it's difficult to keep my hand-rolled cigarettes lit.

A multitude of mushrooms are springing up all over the place. There are even some growing on the back steps just outside the door. A few have sprouted on the small coop the chickens under the porch sleep in. Wish I knew more about mushrooms. Surely one or two varieties must be edible. But I have no idea which ones they would be so I just treat them all as if they're poisonous. But I am tempted to peer over the fence into my neighbor's cow pasture and see if I can spot any of those extra special red mushrooms. know what I'm talking about.

Soon the flies will be here. They always come out after a rain. Lots of bugs come out after rain, but nothing as thick as the flies. Ugh.

The growth in the kudzu is noticeably visible. The grass and weeds have grown too. What’s left of the gardens has perked up a bit but it was too late for a lot of the veggies. Half the kale is dead. The broccoli is still alive but was hit pretty hard by bugs a few weeks back. Keeping my fingers crossed for the two remaining watermelon plants. At least the tomatoes and basil are looking good (assuming you can find them amongst the weeds). I'll be putting a lot of work and faith into my fall crops.

Too bad I didn't plant more sunflowers. Those have done best of all - growing up to eight feet tall with dozens of flowers on each plant. They will make the chickens very happy (if the ants and wild birds don't steal all the seeds first).

Speaking of chickens (aren't I always?): More baby chicks hatched today. Last I checked, three had broken out of their shells with three or four eggs still unhatched. If the chicks can make it through the night without their mother accidentally stomping on them, they'll be okay - at least until they have to face the dangers of the outside world. There should be one more batch of babies before the season is over - Mama Graybie is expecting more chicks in mid-August.

On another happy note, I'm having my house professionally sprayed for ants on Monday. One of the select few people in Alabama that I've told about this blog owns a pest control company and offered to spray for me. He wants to try out a new pesticide and I will be his guinea pig. This is good news indeed!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Post #22 - Didja know?

This year, Randolph County became one of the very few U.S. jurisdictions in recent history to have both cockfighting and dogfighting busts in the same year.

Word on the street (or dirt road as the case may be) is that the Mexicans are still holding cockfights in the county but most of the whites are fighting their birds on a sympathetic Indian reservation in Mississippi.

When the big cockfighting bust went down this spring (a mile from my house), apparently the authorities purposely descended on the Saturday fights when they were likely to catch more white people. The Sunday fights were traditionally "Mexican Day." The story I've repeatedly heard is that Judge Hardass didn't want the hassle of dealing with people who didn't speak English and might have to be deported. I'm guessing, too, that there's less money to be squeezed out of Randolph County's Mexican population.

The cockfight proved to be quite profitable for the court system: 148 arrests. According to those who know, no one got off with less than $500 in fines. Some were fined thousands of dollars. And of course there was plenty of community service to go around - 40 days seems to be the norm. Those that lived more than 100 miles away from the courthouse were given the option of paying off their community service at a rate of $50 a day.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Post #21 - Light at the end of the tunnel

Today was my 29th day of community service. I was given 30 days so this means I have only one more day to go. Or does it?

The community service supervisor told me today that his computer shows I have only done 26 days, leaving four more to complete. I told him his computer is wrong. This is what happens when you use community service workers to do your data entry (seriously).

Of course, the burden of proof is on me. So now I have to dig for all my receipts of each time I paid five bucks to work community service.

I'll be damned if I give those fuckers one extra minute - much less three days - of slave labor.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Post #20 - The Laptop Blues

My new power cord showed up today but I'm still having the same problem with the laptop. Methinks the problem lies with the computer and not the cord. Hurrumph!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Post #19 - How dry I am

It’s not looking like I’m going to make that goal of 41 posts by my birthday on August 7th. Oh well, it won’t be the first time I didn’t reach a goal I set for myself. But at least I got this blog jump-started again and that was the original intent.

An old friend who’s been spending the year wandering aimlessly around the Lower 48 unexpectedly found himself in Alabama yesterday and is hanging out here at Spenardo del Sur for a little while.

Watched storms pass by all day and not one of them rained on me. I don’t even want the rain for my gardens anymore. Fuck, most everything died anyway after two months with hardly any rain. At this point I just want enough rain so I can safely have a fire to burn my garbage.

I don’t have garbage pickup so I have to burn, compost, recycle as much as I can. But it's been too dry to burn it and it's starting to pile up. Being summer, I can’t just leave it laying around. I’m not worried about it stinking because it’s mostly just paper & plastic, but it only takes the tiniest crumb of food in there to attract those damned ants. So I have to store the trash in the big freezer until I can burn it.

Did I mention the ants that have been invading my kitchen during this hot, dry summer are not regular ants? No, they are the evil sons of bitches known as fire ants. They will sting you. They are evil and they are everywhere. Sometimes I think this big hill I live on top of is nothing but one giant fire ant mound.

I’ve been pretty diligent about keeping the kitchen clean but they will still manage to march straight to the one tiny speck of food left in the sink. The wall behind the stove is dotted with little strips of black electrical tape. Every time the ants find a new way in, I cover it with tape. I even had to cover up one of the electrical outlets.

I’ve poisoned and killed all the ant mounds on that side of the house but it has done nothing to stem the flow of marauders. I suspect they have built a mound underneath the trailer and I will have to poke my head into the dark & spidery crawlspace to take a look for it.

Gimme some rain, dammit!

Hopefully the laptop power cord I ordered shows up tomorrow. Then I can start posting pictures again (and stop using this slowpoke computer from the late 1900s).

Friday, July 24, 2009

Post #18 - Just an observation...

I've never met so many women with neck tattoos as I've met during my time doing community service. You don't think of rural Alabama as place where women have neck tattoos. And they're not cool tattoos either. These are more on the jailhousey side.

Almost all these neck tattoos are the first names of the women. Why would you get your name tattooed on your neck? Is there actually some logic or tradition behind this? Or is it just what the kids are into these days?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Post #17 - A day in the kitchen

Today was all about food. Blanched and froze pounds of squash, zucchini and green beans. Sorted and cleaned a mess of cucumbers that I will pickle tomorrow.

I also recently splurged on a big-ass brisket which I cooked up today. I plan on eating lots of reuben sandwiches. Damn, do I love a reuben sandwich! I took a stab at making my own sauerkraut last week (with beets & apples!) and couldn't think of a better way to eat it than in a reuben.

I even already had a couple loaves of rye bread in the freezer. I have a killer bread connection that hooks me up with shitloads of bread that has either passed its expiration date or is just about to. Every few weeks I get a wide variety of breads dropped off at my house: white, wheat, multi-grain, French, cinnamon raisin, bagels, English muffins, sub rolls, hamburger & hotdog buns... I pick out the choice loaves for myself and dole the rest out to the chickens.

Cleaned out the refrigerator too. Well, I started anyway. Actually pulling out shelves and drawers. You know, really cleaning. Lots of food had reached that critical "use it or lose it" stage. Made a big bowl of egg salad that gave new life to a mess of aging veggies. A forgotten half can of Miller High Life and a limp zucchini can be transformed into beer-battered, golden brown hunks of deliciousness.

After I cleaned the counter and washed the dishes, I set about making a scrumptious reuben sandwich using hot corned beef straight from the oven. Ooey-gooey Swiss cheese. Tangy homemade sauerkraut. Mmmmmm....

I am so full right now.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Post #16 - Shit. Tweak's a boy.

Caught Pasha and Tweak "sparring" yesterday morning. I wouldn't really call it a fight. It was more like intense staring competitions followed by some chest bumping, usually resulting in Tweak running away.

With one baby chick still unsexed and more eggs due to hatch late next week, I may end up with even more roosters. The nesting hen, Big Red, had eight eggs but she ate one yesterday. I'm not going to count my chickens before they hatch but I am counting on at least a couple chicken dinners this winter.

Big Red is actually an all-white factory farm refugee. I have trouble telling her apart from half a dozen other white chickens so I daubed a little red food coloring on her back - hence the name. Pasha's mother was called Big Blue for similar reasons but, since the dye faded away, I can no longer tell her apart from the others.

I usually call these indistinguishable birds by generic sweetieisms
like "Angel" or "Honey Bunny" or, on rainy days, "My Little Muddy Buddy."

If there are more roosters, I want to name two of them Philosophy and Sophistry. It's an Aristophanes reference that I don't expect anyone to get. All that matters is that I'm amused.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Post #15 - A boy...another rooster

I was finally able to establish that one of the chickens born this spring is indeed a rooster. Or, it will be a rooster. Officially it's known as a cockrel until it is a year old.

You can't tell the sex of a chicken until they're about six weeks old. I've read that an expert chicken sexer can tell on the day the chicken hatches but, if you don't figure it out that first day, you have to wait six weeks until the secondary sex characteristics appear. The chicken in question is actually eight weeks old. I'm just a little slow. Today I saw a green sheen in his emerging tailfeathers - just like my other two roosters. Dammit, I wanted a hen.

When he was tiny, he had a penchant for riding around on his mother's back. Probably because he saw siblings squashed beneath his factory farm mother's big dinosaur feet and figured her back was the safest place to be. It reminded me of a person riding a giant elephant and I started calling him "Pasha."

There is one other chicken the same age as Pasha that I still haven't figured out if it's a boy or a girl. I call that one "Tweak." A mix of game rooster and factory farm refugee hen, Tweak is white with a few black smudges. Tweak was hatched and raised by Mama Graybie, the bad-ass hawk-hating hen that takes no shit from nobody.

I really hope Tweak turns out to be a hen. If not, he'll most likely be the one who ends up in the skillet.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Post #14 - It wasn't all that bad.

The parents left this morning. Just a short weekend visit. It was much easier to handle than a long visit. I have a pretty low threshold for lecturing, beratement and interrogation. A weekend is about all I can handle.

The newest baby chick, only 10 days old, has just started investigating the great outdoors. Keep your fingers crossed that it can make it through the next two weeks without being eaten by anything. Those first couple weeks outside are pretty dicey for little chicks - little bite-sized morsels just running around out in the open.

The only other equally dangerous time for them is the first 24 hours. The large factory farm refugee hens have a tendency to accidentally squash their newly hatched babies. The newest baby chick had three siblings who were all squashed by their mother.

Another factory farm refugee is currently sitting on eight eggs. If all goes well, they will hatch in two weeks.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Post #13 - The parents arrived this afternoon

It only took my Fox News-loving father 3 hours to start bitching about stupid Democrats. We weren't even discussing anything remotely political when he suddenly hijacked the conversation and turned it into a monologue about how dumb liberals are.

Sigh...this is going to be a long weekend.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Post #12 - Tales from Community Service

Gather 'round, dear readers, for another installment of Tales from Community Service. Today's episode is about corruption. Nobody really seems to know the whole story but this is what I've put together from conversations with community service workers and courthouse employees.

A couple months ago, two young men from a neighboring county were sentenced to community service after running afoul of Randolph County's antiquated and Draconian alcohol laws.

One morning, a county commissioner requested a few community service workers to do some lawn mowing and other yard work. Nothing all that extraordinary - until you consider that this work was apparently performed at his house and the houses of clients of the yard service business he owns. Work that he charged those clients for. Work that community service workers provided for free. Were forced to provide for free. Hell, each one of them actually had to pay money because community service requires a $5 a day "user fee" on top of eight hours of slave labor.

The two young men from a neighboring county had been on that yard work crew. One of them told his father the story when he got home. Oh, did I mention that his father is a judge?

Apparently Judge Dad called Judge Hardass and some hell must've broke loose because the story was the popular courthouse scuttlebutt for two weeks. I haven't heard anything about it recently. They've managed to keep a lid on it so far and no word of it made it into the local paper.

I once had to wash a county commissioner's car. At least it was a county car so I guess it could be considered county business. Still, it's n
ot really what I'd call "serving my community."

Monday, July 13, 2009

Post #11 - BUGS!

About two inches of rain fell yesterday and last night - more rain than this place has seen in around 6 weeks. Now the land is overrun with insects. Holy shit, they are everywhere!

Most noticeable are the June bugs. They were loudly buzzing all over the place today. They fly right into you as you walk around. You could hear them pinging off the tin roof of the porch.

Right now, the window screen in front of me is covered with dozens of little brown beetles that are attracted to the light.

The most impressive bug I saw today has yet to be identified. I've never seen one like it before. It was three inches long, not including the antennae. It was about the size of my index finger. It kinda looked like a shrimp with really long legs. I'm still trying to figure out what the hell it was. None of my usual bug identification websites are of any help.

I'd post a picture of it but my laptop is currently out of commission. The power cord died and I have to get a new one. Until then, I'm back to using the ancient turn of the century machine that runs Windows 98. So no photos for a few days but at least I still have internet access.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Post #10 - As if there wasn't enough already on my plate

I have a hundred projects going on right now.

It seems like I've been painting the bathroom forever. It's mostly done but I still have a bunch of trim and hard-to-reach areas to finish.

I'd pulled a couple boxes of my grandmother's old papers out of the closet and started sorting through them. The livingroom is littered with piles of bank statements, phone bills, letters, greeting cards, receipts and other 20th century ephemera. Everything I choose not to keep goes in the shredder and then onto the floor of the chicken coop. (All those colorful greeting cards and envelopes have given Frankencoop a very festive feel.)

The gardens are in disarray. Non-stop rains in May kept me from planting as much as much as I wanted. Non-stop sun and 100-degree days in June killed about half of what I had managed to planted. Blueberries dried up on the vine. Peaches shriveled and dropped from the trees. Even the wild blackberries have turned to dust. Locals are saying the deer are eating more than usual from their gardens. One neighbor lost an entire 1/4-mile row of peas the night before they were to be picked. So far the deer have left me alone. They probably can't see my veggies because of all the weeds.

Mowing kudzu is an ongoing chore. The kudzu is the only thing that doesn't seem to be affected by the drought. The goat shed is in dire need of repairs. Frankencoop needs a lot of work too.

The dry weather has also made the ants organize search parties into the kitchen. No matter how clean I keep it, they keep patrolling until they find some crumb on the counter or a dirty fork in the sink I didn't wash right away. Somedays, I mop the floor twice. I follow their parades to locate the tiny hole they're coming from so I can plug it up. But they just find another tiny hole. Last night, they started coming through a wall socket. They're like an unstoppable zombie horde. I'm worried my kitchen will be completely covered in electrical tape before the summer is over.

I'm having to store my garbage in the freezer. It's been too dry to burn it but, if I leave it out, the ants will get into it. Fortunately, it rained today so I can burn the garbage tomorrow. Hopefully the rain will also get the ants to let up a little.

Anyway, all this crap (and more) is going on. Everything is a mess but that's okay because I'm basically a hermit so nobody has to see it. Or so I thought...

My parents called last night to tell me they're coming for the weekend - THIS weekend. My father has decided to go to his high school reunion on Saturday - the first one he's ever attended. They will arrive Friday.

So now I have to drop everything and whip this place back into parent-friendly shape. They are going to flip when they find out they can't watch TV. I lost all the network channels in the DTV switch. I only get half a dozen PBS stations and couple Jesus channels now.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Post #9 - Horseback riding

Went for a sunset horseback ride this evening. It was the first time I've ridden in over 15 years. The last time I was on a horse, I galloped down the the beach in Santa Barbara on one of the prince of Malaysia's polo ponies. (For the record, the prince was nowhere around and probably would not have approved.)

But we're not in Santa Barbara anymore, Toto. Tonight, I traveled over the river and through the woods on the back of a gigantic Belgian draft horse. (It's one of the same horses pictured in a recent post.)

After three hours of straddling that humongous beast, I don't think I'll be able to walk right all weekend.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Post #8 - Alabama Abstracts

In researching the history of this rural backwater where I now live, I often come across little story snippets that I just fall in love with. I have a bunch of these. I may have to trot a few out if I'm to meet my goal of 41 posts by August 7th.

The local equivalent of the poor house was the pauper farm. Back in the 1930s, one of the residents was an old blind black man named Lewis, a former slave. His wife was buried in the pauper cemetery on the property. Lewis would often visit her grave and keep it clean. He would feel his way to the grave, locating it by a broken lamp he'd placed there. Other residents would move the lamp to other graves in order to trick Lewis into keeping those graves clean too.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Post #7 - Books & Bruises

B.J. Boomhauer is a collector. His farm is strewn with packrat treasures as small & common as wheatback pennies and as large as an early 1970s firetruck (that still runs). He and I trade a lot of junk...err...vintage treasures. I guess the distinction depends alot on whether you're the buyer or the seller.

He knows I like books. I don't just enjoy reading books, I like the tangible item itself - sometimes the content is irrelevant. I have lots of books and, like vinyl records, seem to accumulate them without even trying. One day, B.J. called me up and offered a box of books.

What kind of books?

I don't know. They're books. You want 'em?

How many are there?

I don't know. It's a box. It's full. You want 'em?

Of course I'll take them. They're free. Maybe there's something interesting in there. Perhaps even something I could sell. Instead, what I got was a box full of romance novels. Lots and lots of romance novels - Harlequin, Silhouette and the like - some dating back to the mid 1970s. I get a chuckle out of the covers but, as a literary genre, nothing in the box interests me.

Well, one thing was interesting. A big portion of the books were all love stories centered around Arab Sheikhs: Surrender to the Sheikh, Hide-and-Sheikh, One Night with the Sheikh, Sheikh Surrender, Taming the Sheikh... There were dozens of similiar titles. I cannot help but imagine some repressed Baptist Alabama hausfrau getting all hot-n-bothered in the Wal-Mart book aisle, fantasizing about her dusky desert warrior.

Which reminds me...

Remember when I posted that photo of the big bruise on my ass that I got from a dog bite? You may or may not be aware that many people across the globe have a fetish for bruises. It's a fetish I never really gave much thought to. I certainly wasn't thinking about it when I titled the photo "ass_bruise.jpg." So now, if you do a Google image search for ass bruise, my ass bruise is in the top ten results. Put those words in quotation marks and it's the first image returned.

I get up to 50 unique hits a day from people doing image searches for
ass bruise. People around the world are looking at my bruised ass. A good percentage of the hits - perhaps a third - come from Middle Eastern countries such as Iran, Egypt, Kuwait, U.A.E. and Saudi Arabia. (Eastern Europe comes in second). Apparently bruised asses are popular in that part of the world.

Bet that Dixie hausfrau never read about anything like that in her romance novels.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Post #6 - Tales from Community Service

I guess it's time for me to start catching you up on community service stories. This one dates from early March on what was my eighth of forty days of community service (of which I only have five left).

A lot of people showed up for community service that morning - thirty one. Up until then, at least on days I went, there had never been more than fifteen. The increase was mostly due to the cockfighting bust that netted 148 arrests. (Since March, the number of people showing up for community service has grown. Thirty is no longer unexpected. Sometimes a dozen of them will be women.)

Seven of us in attendance that morning were women. Rather than put all of us to work cleaning the courthouse (the usual duty of women on community service), our supervisor put all but two on road detail - picking up trash on the side of the road.

I was actually pleased to get a break from the tedium of the usual janitorial chores. Fact is, there just isn't enough work at the courthouse to fill the day. Everything is usually done by lunch and then you have to pretend to be busy for the next few hours. As the number of women assigned to the courthouse increases, so do the hours spent pretending to be busy. So it was a relief that I was being sent out on road detail.

In addition to the bright orange vests all community service workers are required to wear, we were each given a bunch of bright orange garbage bags and those grabby things that old people use to get stuff off of high shelves. Six workers set off on foot to the east, me and five others headed west. My crew consisted of five women and one man. Two of the women took one side of the road and the rest of us took the other.

I'd met the guy before on other days I'd come for community service. We both own goats and chickens and have discussed them over smoke breaks. I'd never met the woman before. She was about my age and eight months pregnant with her eighth child. I was surprised they would put a woman so far along in a pregnancy on road detail but it really couldn't have been any worse for her or the baby than the Marlboro Reds she was smoking.

It was a beautiful sunny day and we leisurely strolled along, picking up trash and engaging in conversation. It really wasn't a bad way to spend the morning. Best find of the morning was a brand new dog leash with the price tag still attached. Weirdest find was two ziploc bags full of (presumably) dog shit - about a mile apart from eachother.

A couple hours into our walk we came across a small business. The pregnant woman wanted to go inside and see if they had a soda machine (or "drink box" as she called it). She set down her trash bag and grabby thing, took off her vest and dropped it alongside. While she went looking for a drink, me and the man sat down on a nearby fence for a smoke.

After she came back (no drink box but they did have a bathroom), we all had one more smoke. When we got ready to get back to work, the pregnant lady discovered her vest was gone. Where could it possibly be? We were only sitting maybe 15 feet away from where she'd left it. A glance across the street solved the mystery.

There, in the front yard of a house, was a medium-sized black dog wearing a bright orange vest. The dog had crossed the street, stolen her vest and somehow managed to get its neck through one of the armholes.

Fortunately, that was the same day I day I started carrying my camera to community service.

After a few hours, one of the community service supervisors picked us up in the van and took us back to the courthouse for our lunch break. There's a couple picnic tables across the parking lot that we're allowed to use for breaks.

Just as we were getting ready to head back out, we were told we had to stay at the courthouse. Turns out someone told the judge that women were picking up trash on the side of the road and he sent word down from on high that women should never be picking up trash on the side of the road. I'm not sure what the reasoning is behind this but nobody ever questions Judge Hardass.

So all the women from the road crew had to stand around the courthouse for the rest of the day, trying to look busy. And that's how yours truly came to be one of the last women to work road detail in Randolph County.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Post #5 - Tractor-schmactor

While most farmers around here have big tractors and other heavy equipment, a couple people I know are still farmin' it old school. Here's a picture of one of the locals on his way to spray his field with pesticide.

Given a choice between a tractor and these horses, I think I'd go with the horses.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Post #4 - Hawk in a Box

Looks like those buttons won't be going on eBay after all. I mentioned them on my Facebook page and a couple friends expressed interest them. I'd rather they have them than some random internet stranger. Besides, one of them has already agreed to pay me in stinky bleu cheese and good coffee beans.

My last eBay sale was a pleasant surprise. I put ten old Dead Milkmen Newzletters up for sale not knowing if anybody would even want them. They ended up going for almost $25.

So far this year I've only had four chicks hatch and two of them disappeared one afternoon a few weeks ago. The most likely culprits are either a cat or hawk. At first I suspected the former but now I think it may have been the latter.

A couple days after the chicks disappeared, I heard a ruckus coming from Frankencoop. The chickens were worked up about something.

When I entered the coop, I found a very agitated Cooper's hawk throwing itself against a screened-in window, desparate to escape. Some of the chickens had fled to the other room while the rest (including my he-man rooster, Sanchez) were cowering in the closet.

Only Mama Graybie - the fiercest, meaniest, orneryest hen to ever lay an egg at Spenardo del Sur - was challenging the hawk. She was all puffed up and screaming at the top of her lungs, dancing around and gettin' all up in that raptor's grill.

Mama Graybie has a chick this spring and is an incredibly protective mother. You do not fuck with her. She has a sharp spur like a rooster's on one of her legs and she will cut you, bitch.

My little chola chicken

Last year, one of her babies went missing. The next day I noticed one of the cat's had a slit throat. Not a little cut but a big gash that displayed the inner workings of his neck. I assumed it was the work of Mama Graybie - a theory supported by the fact that the cat has not gone near the chicken coop since.

I was surprised the cat survived. The wound never got infected and eventually healed. You can't even see the scar anymore now that his fur has grown back. I gave him the gangster-inspired name John Gatto.

So, there I was - trapped in a small space with a large, agitated hawk. The room used to be my grandmother's bathroom. It is about 8'x8' and still contains the bathtub and toilet. There is a wall between the bathroom and the door leading to the outside - a door the hawk can't see and apparently no longer remembers. I didn't want to leave it alone in the building with my birds so I had to deal with the situation using only what was close at hand.

There's a large cardboard box with a large hole in the side that the chickens use as a nesting box. I put the eggs in a corner and emptied the wood shavings onto the floor. Since the hawk was still at the window, I was able to position the large hole over it and trap it against the screen. I slid the box down to the floor.

I grabbed a sheet of cheap faux-wood panelling I'd taken off the wall a long time ago and was using to block the light in a nesting area. Sliding the panelling between the box and the wall, I then tipped it over so that the now-covered hole was facing the ceiling.

Great. Now what?

The door only opens halfway due to warped floorboards and the box is too big to fit through without breaking it down. The box is also in bad shape and I have no idea how long it can safely hold the hawk.

I ran to the house for three important things: the camera, a loaf of bread and a pair of welding gloves.

When I got back to Frankencoop, the chickens had calmed down. I lured them outside by scattering the bread on the ground. With the flock safely out of the way, I went back inside.

I gingerly lifted a corner of the panelling while blocking the hole with an old broom I keep in the coop (great for knocking down cobwebs). I snapped a few photos and then put on the gloves to protect my hands from its razor-sharp talons.

I quickly realized I would need more than two hands if I was going to just grab the bird and release it outside, welding gloves or not. Instead, I dragged the box around the corner to the half-open door and tipped it over. I removed the panelling and the hawk flew outside.

But we weren't home free yet. Built on the back of the house is a pen covered in chickenwire, no bigger than the bathroom we just left. The hawk still had to make it through the 3'x3' door that it originally came in through. I shut the door to the house so the hawk couldn't get back inside and used the broom to (gently) guide it through the pen door and back to the open sky where it belongs.

I'm outty, y'all!