We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.
It is not just in some; it is in everyone.
[Marianne Williamson]

Saturday, February 09, 2008

wet Wet WET!!!

Lots to tell, but must be a lightning fast update, which is very appropriate considering we have had non-stop thunderstorms for the last week, with more rain than I have ever seen!

I am SO busy at the moment, as I am sure you can imagine. I am working 9-5, three days a week and it is going very well. They are very pleased with my research skills and ability to write professional documents. So far I have been doing mostly criminal and family law - not very pleasant - but I have had the chance to work on one environmental law case - the clients are charged with dumping waste on their property, but it was all clean fill - soil, clay and rock - and I managed to find out that it is classified as "virgin excavated natural material" which is exempt from requirements for a waste facilities licence. There was no environmental impact from their activities as it was just a very bare paddock they were trying to improve after centuries of grazing. The lawyer I am working with is very impressed - now he can't wait to take the council to court, but it is more likely they will just drop the charges altogether.

Wombat is doing very well. The driveway is an absolute river, and on several occasions this week the causeway has been so flooded that no-one could get in or out. Even the four-wheel drives were giving up!!! Luckily it has always been down enough for me to cross (very carefully) on my way to and from work.

On Wednesday the rain was so heavy on the way home from work that I would have had to stop if there wasn't a van in front of me - we crept along at 40kms and I followed his tail lights as I couldn't see the road - there was that much rain beating on the windshield! Very scary & glad to get home safely (I found Wombat and Yeti happily watching Bob the Builder and ignoring the thunderstorm - very sensible)!

Wombat gets a bit tired of being cooped up, but enjoys the different activities (we made biscuits today - roosters, butterflys and teddybears - which was fun). Whenever the rain stops for a moment we go outside and splash in the puddles or sail paper boats down the driveway or explore the waterfalls where the water is coming across the road into the dam. I really need to take my camera and get some pics as he is getting very big now and I haven't taken any photos for ages - too busy playing with him on my days off!

I don't think I've mentioned the chicken saga - the little chicks we hatched have been doing well, living in Mitch's parrot cage on the verandah and are almost full grown. We got 3 hens and 3 roosters, in addition to the 1 rooster and 5 hens living out in the chook pen.

I was starting to get desperate to let the littlies out with the others as they are really making a mess of the indoor cage now they are getting big. Then tragedy struck. Wombat and I went out to feed the big chooks one morning and were met with an unusual silence. When we got in the pen we found one of the hens lying in a corner with no head. She had been attacked by a cat. The next day we lost another hen in the same manner. We then transferred Stevie (the rooster) and the 3 remaining hens into "the bunker" - a 1 mtre x 50cm steel cage in the shed. They lived there in safe if somewhat cramped conditions for nearly a month while Yeti blocked every hole and possible entrance point in the pen.

When we were sure there was no way a cat could get in, we released them back into their home. They were very happy for a few days, and then we came out one morning to find our handsome brave Stevie lying dead (VERY SAD!!!!), so it was back into the bunker for the hens.

Meanwhile the 'little' chooks on the verandah were getting bigger and the need for outside quarters more and more desperate. Yeti stretched another metre and a half of wire all around the top of the pen and carried out a whole pile of other improvements, until we were absolutely sure there was NO way anything could get in or out of that pen.

We released the hens and waited, holding our breath. They were ecstatic to have their freedom again, and we watched anxiously for a week and a half to make sure they were safe. When nothing more went wrong, and the hens seemed very relaxed, we released the 6 little chooks (now quite big chooks) for their first run outside. They were SO happy, scratching and pecking at all the grass in the pen. When I went to check them at lunchtime, they were all snuggled into little dust baths and it sounded like they were purring!!!

Then I went to check on them after Wombat's nap and.... you guessed it, another casualty. This time it was the smallest of the young roosters (thankfully not Wombat's pet, Joe). Well, we spent the afternoon chasing chooks, and all 8 survivors (3 big hens and 3 medium size hens and 2 young roosters) went back inside to Mitch's cage.

Conditions are cramped and yucky, especially as it has been raining so much I can't even put them outside in a temporary pen while I clean the cage - I have to scrape out what I can, when I can. Let me tell you that wallowing in chicken shit when you are pregnant is NOT the best fun I have ever had!!! I am very careful and so far everyone is staying healthy - one stalwart hen is even laying an egg every day!!! but OH I can't wait for them to have a new home.

Our only choice now is to cover the whole pen in wire (way too expensive) or take down the wire Yeti put up and use it to build them a new predator-proof home. If I knew which cat was attacking them I would strangle it on sight. I suspect Smoky, the stray kitten that MIL adopted. It grew up and had kittens, which we sold (keeping one - Fuzzy - for Wombat) and that's when the attacks started. We never had a problem before then, but I can't really accuse her without proof.

We just have to build a home for the chooks that she (or any other cat) can't get into - and with the rain the way it is, that's not going to happen anytime soon. *Sigh* They take so much less time to look after when they are outside, and it is so much better for them, but what can you do??? One side benefit is that they are much more used to being handled now, and will even let us hold and pat them. (Joe is the exception, he has been friendly from the day he hatched... as soon as his wings were strong enough to fly, he flew out of the cage while we were feeding them and landed on Wombat's shoulder. Since then, he has been Wombat's friend - though Wombat is still not quite sure about the relationship ;P )

Mitch is also less than impressed, sitting in his small wire cage watching the chickens poop all over his palace... but at least he gets to go outside every sunny day, so he can't really complain.

Here is a pic of Wombat with Joe in mid-December. He still has some of his baby feathers here, but two months later Joe is turning into a very handsome rooster, ready to replace his father Stevie. He has even started crowing recently!

Must go - Wombat is having his nap and I have a hundred things to finish before he wakes up. I'm really hoping to finish making him some waterproof overalls today, as changing his clothes 6 times a day is difficult when it is too wet to wash and dry them - we have several clothes airers sitting in front of heaters and the airconditioner at the moment!

Wombat is enjoying his days with Daddy, but is also very glad to have me home on my days off. The only problem is he often doesn't nap for Daddy, but we are working on that. This week he has also started using the big toilet. When I started work he had a few poopy 'accidents' which had not happened for months and months, but since we started offering to take him to the big toilet instead of using potty, that has all stopped again.

Hope all is well with everyone.

Finally, here is the long-awaited picture from the ultrasound - almost a month ago now! Everything is going well with the pregnancy and I feel quite healthy. I have even managed to squeeze in time to do my yoga each evening before bed, which makes a big difference after sitting at a desk or in court for most of the day - I am out of practice at doing that after spending so long chasing David around all day!

The first day after yoga, I felt great, so on the second day I really got into the stretches. The next day I felt like screaming everytime I moved - I really thought I had damaged my abdominal muscles, but that night I was very careful and did only one repetition instead of 7, and the next day I discovered I could make the pain go away if I just tightened my bum muscles and tucked my backside under to support the baby's weight on my hips. Since then all has been well.


Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Bad, bad, cat! I'm sorry about your chickens. But I'm happy to see an ultrasound photo. Big hugs to the Wombat.

Steff said...

Thats a wonderul clear photos :) what a healthy bub
ebay has some chickn coop plans HERE or maybe even something of this design that you can move around the yard HERE ope you find a way to keep the henny pennys safe soon