Animal house

The kids are growing up. *sniff, sniff*

Over the past few days I’ve seen Marshall definitely trying to fulfill his rooster destiny with the ladies. So far, none of them are having anything to do with him.

I must say, he really needs to work on his approach if he wants to get anywhere. Reaching out and rudely grabbing a hen by the neck feathers then trying to jump her is so…sophmoric.

Marshall’s crude approaches may be one of the reasons I’m seeing such an interesting roosting pattern these days, too. Little Selma — one of original 3 Red Star hens — started sleeping in the same coop as Marshall and Speedy, abandoning Maisy and Betty. Actually, I’ve seen Selma slip in the other coop here and there over the past month or so anyway, but once Missy died it has become a regular occurance.

Then a few nights ago, Betty moved coops, too. This left poor Maisy all alone at night. I just couldn’t let her spend the night on her own so I moved her to the coop with the rest of the chickens. After all, it is getting down into the teens at night and I think that warrants snuggling up with others. Plus, recall that all my Red Star hens are *still* molting and don’t have the benefit of full plumage right now. Tonight, I had to move Maisy again. This is getting to be a routine!

I sort of think that Maisy doesn’t want to bed down with Marshall in the same coop. She has evaded him every time he tries to get her, and then turned right around to show him who’s boss. Maisy is one tough female!

Then today we reached another milestone: Speedy laid her first egg. Hooray!! It’s a beautiful, small pullet egg for sure, and coupled with the eggs I got from Maisy and Betty, today we are back to a 3 egg day. Woot!!

Good thing the chickens are doing so well, as the dogs seem to be on the outs with each other. This afternoon, Sadie and Hannah got in quite a snarl fest with each other, and they continue to slink around giving each other the stink eye.

I think that my heightened tension and low mood may have something to do with their problems. Plus I’ve been much too indulgent of Hannah lately, which also tends to tip the balance in how they interact with each other. Dogs are so *different* than people. My being more lavish with attention and letting Hannah snuggle up to me on the couch leads to a change in hierarchy, which leads to a fight. Oy, the challenges of trying to balance my human need for snuggling and affection with the dog perception that this means a change in the pack leader structure is so inconvenient, to say the least!

I’m going to have to take another Xanax tonight, I just know it. Today the bank’s appraisal of the house came in and tomorrow the lawyers meet. I’m tense with anticipation: is it worth holding onto the house if that is *all* that I get? Would I really be comfortable with a bunch of monthly bills that I must pay all by myself, with NO cash reserve in the bank to back me up if needed? That’s the way it is looking, my friends: house or cash. Which will it be?

I know Mark will take the cash and gladly, but I really didn’t want to uproot myself and turn my life even more topsy turvy than it already is. If I gave up the house, I’d have to give up my garden, my chickens, and possibly my dogs. I’d have to pack and look for alternate housing. I’d have to show the house and put it up for bid in this crazy, scary real estate market.

I’m hoping that Mark and his lawyer will see the fact that I want the house as a good thing for them and cut me a bit of slack. He could take his chance with the housing market and get no assured rate of return on his investment, or he could take my assured equity cash out of  a certain amount with some concessions — help with the closing costs and legal fees, for example.

So, we’ll see how things go tomorrow. For tonight, I’ll take what comfort I can in single malt scotch and big pharma.

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4 thoughts on “Animal house

  1. Keep the house!
    And I have a chicken question–do the chickens need to have a rooster around to lay eggs? Or is it something that happens magically all on its own? I confess I am ignorant in all things egg-related.

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  2. Kara — You do NOT need a rooster to get eggs. Hens will lay eggs regardless of whether they are mating with a rooster, although the eggs will not be fertile and therefore would never hatch chicks. Most people aren’t interested in fertile eggs, so they don’t keep a rooster. The only reason I have on is that one of the baby chicks I raised over the summer turned out to be a rooster, not because I want to begin a chicken ranch!

    As for the house thing…it makes me very, very sad to think about giving up the house. But I did tell my lawyer that if necessary, I would negotiate around it. I just can’t see how it helps me to put myself in a potentially very risky situation where I would have to wait until my first paycheck after the divorce was finalized just so I could buy food, pay the gas bill, or even pay bus fare. When I say that it could come down to house or cash I really mean it as something that dire.

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  3. About the house: what if you, er, took in a roommate or two? A lot of people do this to good effect, though it obviously requires some adjustment. On the other hand, it is really nice to have someone contributing to a portion of heat, electric, and roof-over-head! This way, you could keep the house, not be stretched so thin with the bills, and also not have to worry about leaving the house empty when you went on a trip. Down the road, once the housing market picks up again, you could sell the house if you wanted to. But you wouldn’t be forced to sell in a down market, where you will be lucky if you can even recover your equity. Another possibility: just rent out the basement, to an arts or crafts cooperative, i.e., people living in tiny apartments who want a place to have big tables and storage and lay out their work. But … these are just idle thoughts. We can talk more over tea!

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