News from the Rabbit Hutch

This morning I found an egg in Candy’s hutch. I’m sure it’s not hers. Whoever laid it sometime yesterday made a nice nest – the egg was securely at the bottom of a cozy hay bowl. I’m hoping that one of you HenCam viewers saw which hen did this. Perhaps Alma? Amazingly enough, Candy, inquisitive rabbit that she is, didn’t break the egg.

My fourteen year old son has to catch the school bus at 6:35 am (!) He leaves in the dreary half-dark. Yesterday, walking down the driveway in a drizzle, he heard loud banging and ringing. As you can imagine, he was startled. But then, he realized that it was Candy, in her hutch, playing with her toy.

Yes, rabbits, even rabbits that live outdoors and stay busy teasing chickens, like toys. I buy parrot toys – the ones with rawhide and wooden blocks – with a bell on the end. These are very safe, as they are made to withstand a parrot’s beak. It gives Candy something to chew on, and, as Daniel found out yesterday, something to make a racket with. Rabbits, despite their quiet reputation, like that.

Ig Nobels

The Ig Nobel Award Ceremony is like Monty Python for scientists. Crazy, exuberant, and dare I say, intelligent, fun. Go see their Web site for a description of the festivities (in the near future they’ll update their site with a video.) It’s hard for me to pick a high point. The Chicken vs. Egg Opera was hysterical. A mother hen sung to her petulant, teenage-sounding, complaining egg. The words were set to music from Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro.” My favorite line was mama hen singing, “Your simpering seems human, Yet you are just albumin.” Maybe it’s funnier in person?

And the Winner Is…

I thought that the chickens should pick the winner, so I wrote entrants’ names on bright orange pieces of paper and put them in the hat. The girls were very interested, and Marge, of course, was very loud in her questions of “what is this?” and “is it safe to approach?” and, most importantly, “can I eat it?” The girls stretched their necks out to peer at the paper and Eleanor pecked at the brass buckle. But, surprisingly, these hens who don’t hesitate to peck my earrings, my shoelaces, my pants legs, refused to peck at the orange paper! I put corn in the hat and they ate that (the hat wasn’t scary, after all), but they didn’t touch the paper. You never know with chickens…

So, my husband picked a name out of the hat, and the winner is Lynn W, who lives southeast of Seattle, Washington, and keeps 25 hens and two roosters!

picking a winner

Compost Surprises

If you’ve ever picked up a gardening book or magazine, you’re sure to have read an article about how beneficial making compost is. Everything you read is true – compost is good for the environment, good for the soil, etc. etc. True, but, honestly, at this point, a tad boring.

But what is exciting about compost happens every year in my garden right about now – a surprise grows and ripens. One year I had huge pumpkin vines twined on the chicken fence and a ten pound pumpkin hanging two feet off of the ground. This year these tomatoes appeared. The best part of this surprise, this gift, is that I don’t remember ever buying tomatoes that look like this. But somehow, the seeds found their way into my compost, then into my asparagus bed (!) and then, ignored for the entire summer, the plants yielded these stunningly beautiful golden-striped, absolutely delicious, best tomatoes I’ve ever grown.

Anyone know what they are?


Win This Hat

Terry and Snowball

This is the very hat that the HenCam delegation will be wearing to the IgNobel Awards on Thursday! You can win this hat (chicken not included) – all you have to do is email me and tell me where you live (no address necessary – just give the general area, like, “outside Chicago” – and also tell me if you have chickens, and how many in your flock. There’s no right answer – even if you don’t have chickens, you can win! Your email address will be entered in a random drawing.

Contest closes on Sunday, Oct. 7, 5 pm EDT. Good luck!