Bzzzz April 22nd, 2011

April is quite a yel­low month, isn’t it? I mean, there’s the for­sythia, the witch hazel, the daf­fodils. If that weren’t enough we can now get our aza­leas in shades of orange-yellow. And don’t for­get that drop-dead beau­ti­ful mag­no­lia ‘Yel­low Bird.’ (I want.)

You know what? I don’t care. After see­ing brown, brown, brown all win­ter long, I like a nice, bright yellow.

Bring it on.  In fact, let’s do some masses of yellow.

Harry and I have been slowly adding to our daf­fodil col­lec­tion. We started near the house by the dri­ve­way. Last fall we planted a group­ing about a quar­ter mile up the driveway—a sunny lit­tle patch to greet visitors.

I even added a few cro­cuses and mus­cari in the mix to see how the deer would like them. They didn’t.

Next fall we’ll add even more yel­low. For another yel­low April.


Posted In: Flowers, Gardening

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Bzzzz March 16th, 2011

I’m sorry to leave you hang­ing like that. It wasn’t inten­tional. Thank you for the cards and let­ters of concern.

Pre­vi­ously in my life I was bat­tling the wicked rooster, Ricky Ricardo, who had it in his tiny lit­tle chicken brain that he needed to mur­der Tina Turner for spurn­ing his amorous advances. He had pur­sued her into the woods in the attempt, threat­ened me with bod­ily harm for try­ing to inter­vene and basi­cally fright­ened the rest of the chick­ens into a state of dither I had only seen when a fox or hawk was after them. Things were bad. I faced a tough decision.

Ricky Ricardo looked as if he were assem­bled from spare parts.

To tell you the truth, the end of the story was already writ­ten when I posted the first part of this two-part saga. My pro­cras­ti­na­tion in telling Part Deux was part “life” and part “I hate to tell them what really happened.”

So, here’s the story.

I knew that I had to inter­vene. I could either let Ricky Ricardo con­tinue to ter­ror­ize the chick­ens and per­haps risk los­ing Tina Turner who couldn’t get back into the coop or I could intervene.

Tina Turner turns heads. No won­der Ricky Ricardo was obsessed with her.

I tried to find that myth­i­cal coun­try home for bad roost­ers but, alas, they don’t exist. No one wants a mean rooster for their flock—and cer­tainly not as a pet.

As a backup, I tried to find some­one to “take him away” (euphemism for “Just don’t tell me what you did with him”). Alas, even the hearty coun­try folk here in Calvert County can’t be both­ered with butcher­ing and pluck­ing a mean rooster just to end up with a stringy bird stew.

Short of a solu­tion, I decided I at least needed to get Tina Turner to safety (lit­er­ally out of the woods) and sep­a­rate the bad boy Ricky Ricardo from the good chick­ens. I decided to use my mag­i­cal powers—a can opener and a can of corn. Did you know chick­ens react to corn the way an addict reacts to the crash of a meth truck?

I man­aged to lure most of the good chick­ens into the coop. But every time Tina Turner tried to slip inside Ricky Ricardo would lunge after her, send­ing her skit­ter­ing back into the woods in fright. It took all my wiles and cun­ning, but I finally man­aged to out­wit a stoopid rooster. I dis­tracted him toward the oppo­site side of the coop while simul­ta­ne­ously giv­ing Tina Turner the high sign that it was safe to make a dash for the door. I swear, I think she knew what I was doing. She finally reached safe haven.

That left me with the bad boy Ricky.

I tried to entice him into the small Eglu—the portable coop I use for sick or injured birds or as quar­an­tine for new­com­ers. He was being either espe­cially smart or espe­cially stu­pid, but either way, I wasn’t able to get him into the Eglu.

By this time I had been out­side in the dark and the cold with my hands in a wet can of corn for about 45 min­utes. Par­don me for my cal­lous­ness at this point, but I had given it every­thing I had.

Ricky Ricardo, you’re on your own for the night. Tina Turner did it. Now it’s your turn.”

Yes, I tucked in the chick­ens and left Ricky out in the cold.

The next morn­ing Ricky was rag­ing around the yard, act­ing like King of the Hill. Most chick­ens peck here, wan­der a bit and peck there. Not Ricky. He just ran around. And ran around. He kept cir­cling the chicken coop try­ing to fig­ure out why the other chick­ens were in and he was out. I noticed that Tina Turner refused to leave the inside of the coop that day.

Ricky ran around all day. I tried again to herd him into the Eglu, but he was hav­ing none of that foolishness.

I’m free!”

The next morn­ing Ricky Ricardo was gone.

I called him. I looked for him. I kept think­ing he would wan­der back into the yard with sto­ries to tell about his walk in the woods. It didn’t hap­pen. After some more look­ing I even­tu­ally found a few feath­ers that looked sus­pi­ciously like some­one had left them in haste.

I think The Cir­cle of Life solved the Ricky Ricardo problem.

It’s a sad thing to lose a chicken, although per­haps less sad when it’s a mean chicken. Still, Ricky Ricardo was con­ceived, hatched and raised here Chez Bum­ble­bee, so it was a sad day.

I don’t believe I was the only one who felt that way. Remem­ber Edith, Ricky’s sur­ro­gate mother? She began to search for him. For the next cou­ple of days while the other chick­ens would for­age for bugs, Edith was wan­der­ing around look­ing into the trees. She flew to the top of the coop for a bet­ter view. She was look­ing for something—or someone.

I try not to anthro­po­mor­phize my chick­ens (too much), but I believe that Edith was search­ing for Ricky Ricardo. Moth­erly feel­ings are pri­mal, after all.

So there you have it. The Bal­lad of Ricky Ricardo. Bye, Ricky.

Posted In: Chickens, Gardening

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