Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Poultry Show Oct 23

I love poultry shows, I think that has been established. I have never been to one that I have been disappointed in, even if I didn't win a thing...until now.

I was called at the beginning of the week, and was asked to show because the show had a severe lack of large fowl. With such a shortage, it would be easy to win something, so even though it was Shelby's birthday the day after I agreed to come. I was told it was okay for me to coop out early seeing as I needed to get back home and pick up the cake, clean up some around the house, decorate and get ready for the party on Sunday.

I packed up all of my birds in carriers and boxes the night before and put them in the back of the covered bed of my truck, packed up any grooming supplies, feed and water cups and feed. I also was thinking ahead for once and packed two director style folding chairs for Dwain and myself. It seems at almost every show there is nowhere to sit, so I brought my own seating to ensure a spot to plant myself. I also brought bottled waters in a cooler and some of those Arizona Tea mixers with Splenda. I am trying to stay away from any cokes of any kind.

(Yes, I know...coke is what we southerners call everything, be it Pepsi or Dr Pepper, its all a coke. Pop, soda, carbonated drink...its all coke to us)

I always have to leave the house at an unreasonable time to get to the Monroe show. It is two hours away and I like to get there and settle in without rushing. I got up at 1:30 am and left the house at 3:10 am. There was no danger of heavy traffic, or any traffic for that matter. I do like that fact. As I got into Atlanta I picked up Dwain. He is my best chicken buddy and the only one that will go to shows with me. My husband works a lot, and Shelby is just not going to get up and go with me at that hour of the morning, and I don't blame her. She did show last winter show season and won big, and I commend her for it.

After picking up Dwain we headed straight for Monroe. The directions seemed simple. They seemed simple the last time we went to a show there. They had it at Criswell Park. The directions for that location stated to go past the white church and turn right on Highway 11. No one informed us that there were 127 white churches on Highway 11, and that Monroe should probably be renamed the City of Little White Churches...and I say that laughing softly in jest with a smile.

The directions for this time sounded very simple. Go north on Hwy 11. After you pass over Hwy 78 start looking for the sign that points down the road to the show. Simple...right? But no, it was anything but simple. We rode up and down the highway in the dark looking for a sign, a sign in a sea of little signs all along the road displaying ads for all sorts of things. We stopped at the Waffle House along the road and I began searching on my phone on a message board to see if anyone had left directions. YES! Paydirt! It was on the Britt Family Property. So I googled it, and I got it! It was down some squiggly long country road, first road on your right after passing through Hwy 78. As we started to pull out, I heard a little bantam crowing in the truck in the same parking lot. Dwain suggested we ask him, just to be sure. Thank goodness we did. He said we would never find it to follow him. I thanked him very much and we followed.

Now, as we are going down the road, we don't go the way I expect to go at all. We pull into a parking lot with a building right there, and on the front of that building is Britt Appliance. We pull down the side behind that building to another building.


Why wouldn't you just tell anyone coming to the show to pull down the side of Britt Appliance???? After daylight we did see the show sign, but COME ON!!!

Anyway, we thanked the man again and pulled on in. Hardly anyone was there. Not really too surprised seeing as no one was going to be able to find it until daylight.
First order of business for me is to use the restroom. I go into the building and ask where the bathroom is. There is no bathroom. There are two port o pottys outside. GREAT. No real bathrooms. So I go on and do my the big blue port o potty. At least it was still clean and unused at the time.

Dwain and I began unpacking birds, I stood in line and got my birds tested (all birds must have a blood test for disease before you can show them) while he brought in the rest. After testing and paying my entry fees I took an exhibitor list and found my exhibitor number. We went to the large fowl section to look for the birds coop tags that would put each bird in its place.

Well, when you go to a show, usually you have coop tags with your number, the birds variety, breed and cock, cockeral, hen or pullet. I brought eight birds. I only had four tags, thus only four coops. Well this was not good. I went up to the table up front and told him I didnt have coops assigned, no coop tags, what was going on? He gave me clips and more coop tags, and I, yes I, had to fill out my own and put them on some empty coops so I would have places for my birds. To top it all off, all breeds are supposed to be together. Two of my cochins were on the far end of the table, while two of my others with three other peoples cochins, were on the other end. I think this cost me later on when the judge was judging as he came upon Buckbuck and Babes daughter and had to rethink his judging. He said he didnt see these. I told him I didnt have a choice, that the Andelusians were already tagged at that end. He understood.

So, I have every bird in their respective coops, finally. Now its time to get out the hanging water cups and give everyone some water. I usually fill my water jug before I even leave the house, but this time I didnt. So, once again I go to the front and ask where a faucet, spigot, hose, something to dispense water is. Then I was informed that there was no running water there. GREAT. Luckily a man overheard me and had a huge orange cooler full of water and filled my jug for me. I thanked him profusely and went on my way.

After getting everyone some water (you don't feed til after the judging, it fills their crops and the judges can't feel the birds physique as well) we got our chairs and cooler (and at that time realized I could have used some of my bottled water, oops), sat down in front of the large fowl table and relaxed for a few minutes. It was still dark outside, but the lights were on in the building, until they went out. Yep. So everyone that had gotten there later was running around in the dark using their cell phone lights to see. I had groomed my birds the night before and wasnt really concerned, but others were not having such an easy time. So, no toilets, no running water, AND no electricity. Wonderful. The lights finally did come back on about an hour later.

They did have a nice trailer brought in, one of those that cooks inside and serves food. Dwain and I got some breakfast when they opened up. Dwain was sleepy so he went out to the truck and napped. I don't blame him, I would have if I could have. He said later I should have got him up sooner, because he missed the judging.

Before the judging started I met a nice lady from the SC/GA border. She had been told I would be there by the lady I get my cochins from. She also had bought a cochin cockeral from her. She was new to showing and Beth had told her that I would talk to her and help her out. We sat and talked, I looked at her boy, he was beautiful. She told me not to think of her as competition, that she was just wanting to learn right now. I smiled and said to her Yeah! Until you win a couple of times, then you get bit by the bug and want more and more! Its addictive I tell you. I really enjoyed talking with her and meeting her and we hit it off right away. We exchanged phone numbers and plan to keep in touch and see each other at shows.

Now the judging begins. I had never heard of any of the judges there. There was a reason for that, but I will tell you about that later. Lets just go along with the story as it happened. The judge goes around looking at birds, pulling some out to look closer. Back and forth, scribbling things on coop tags. I wait patiently with my new friend. Dwain is still napping so we sat in the two chairs I brought, waiting for results. As he came by, I was telling her about stubs on Polish (tiny hairlike feathers, barely able to see them, but a no no, have to pull those out before a show, usually found between the toes) and how clean legged birds should not have those, he was looking for stubs on my buff laced polish pullet. He peeked over and overheard us and I nodded and acknowledged what he was doing and told him he wouldnt find any on my polish. ;)
He then proceeded to tell me my polish were all underweight. :( I informed him that three out of four were only about seven months old. Polish take a long time to fill out. They are not a heavy bird anyway, they are a more upright slender bird. He said it didnt matter, they were underweight. ????????? Whatever. Again, what I found out later explains a lot about this comment.

As all large fowl judging was over, Honey(my new friend) and I went around looking at the coop tags. I was explaining to her what each scribbling meant and how the judging process worked. There was also a discrepency of how the black cochins were numbered, there were two 'ones' and two 'twos' which makes no sense, they should have been labelled one through four. Again, you will understand this finding later on when I tell you what I found out.

On her tag was the word "COMB". Now, when a judge puts something like that on your tag, it generally means there is a fault with that part of the bird. Later, she was told that the bird was too young, and so the comb was not big enough or some crap. It was crap nevertheless.

William, my splash cochin got Champion Asiatic. WONDERFUL!!! My buff laced polish pullet got Champion Continental. FANTASTIC!! Shirley, my silver laced polish got Reserve Continental. GREAT! So I had won some stuff, and I was excited and happy. But wait...who won Champion Large Fowl and Reserve Champion Large Fowl? I mean, sheesh, I was a shoe in easy right? What happened? Even Beth just knew I would surely take home one of these places. Nope. Same exhibitor, won both, with two sumatra hens. I am sorry, but I have seen much better sumatra hens. I am not one to whine about losing to a better bird. I bow down to a better bird than my own and will always give tribute to a rightful winner. But not this, this was just not right. But, I would go home with something right? A trophy or two, or a plaque, whatever, so I went on up to the trophy table and started looking to see what I was going to recieve. I mean there had to be something there, there was a table slam full of stuff. Looking....looking. Not seeing anything. I see random stuff, weird stuff, like Best Phoenix, and even Second Best Phoenix? But there were none of those in the large fowl??? I was confused. So I asked.

"Oh everything here on the table is for the juniors except three things. The only thing for the adults is Champion Large Fowl, Reserve Champion Large Fowl and Champion Bantam.

??????????????????????????? Uhhhhh HUH??? Jilted, I walked away. He told me next year they would try and do better.

Some shows, small shows, don't have the money to get stuff. This is a medium sized show for the area. I have brought home four plaques AND a trophy from ONE show from this show in Monroe before.

I am all for promoting the juniors, but, they need to remember WHO pays for the juniors entries and WHO brings the juniors to the shows. Sometimes the parents are not exhibitors, but sometimes they are. Without the adults, and their money, there would be no juniors. So lets feel the love for the open show too, even if its just a little something, if you win, you should get a ribbon at the least! I was not very happy. I was not lied too, I won alright, I was told I would win, but I had nothing to bring home to show for it to put in with my other wins.

Well, poo. It was time to pack up and get out of there. I wasn't feeling any obligation to stick around for anyone so Dwain and I packed up and left. I didnt even take any pictures, and I am sorry for that, but I just wasnt feeling very happy. Plus it was too dang dark in the building to take any decent pictures.

Headed down the road I felt relieved to get out of there. What a waste of time. I know I should feel good about the good marks, but taking home a little piece of paper with scribbling on it just didnt seem very prestigious. Most of the birds I took were already proven champions, so I didnt have anything to prove, so to me it was a waste of time, gas, and money.

Now, onto what I found out later about this show. When you read this, if you are still with me, I know this is long, but if you are still with me, this explains a LOT!

First of all, I found out the show was put together haphazardly in a matter of weeks. Second of all, someone in the club that runs that show 'lost' 1500 dollars. Yeah, classy huh. Next, I found out that the judges they scraped up at the last minute had JUST gotten their judges license, so they werent even wet behind the ears. Totally inexperienced.

I talked with a friend of mine who's kids showed there, and she said when she asked the judge later what he deemed wrong with one of the kids birds his statement was,
"I just didnt like the bird". YOU DONT SAY THAT WHEN YOU ARE A JUDGE!!! You have to tell the fault in the bird according to the standard of perfection of that bird! Especially when kids are involved in learning! I was disgusted. She said even SHE could see the fault in the bird they picked for champion in the juniors, the back was not right on the bird at all. So, you see, all that I mentioned before, makes sense now. They didnt know what they were doing.

A lot of people you see at shows are not good sports and will complain because they didnt win. I promise you I am not one of those, and neither is she. We have just seen enough and been showing long enough we kinda know what is what. The judges are supposed to know much more than an exhibitor, but this time, that was not the case.

I have to honestly say, I wish I would have stayed home and took all of Saturday to prepare for Shelby's birthday party. I wouldnt have had to stay up past midnight preparing if I had stayed home. I was talked into the show with the notion I would be adding to my collection of plaques and trophies, and when that didnt happen, I was disappointed and pretty unhappy.

On a side note, I looked up some trophies online at found some really nice trophies with chickens on top, really cool looking ones for anywhere between 5 and 10 dollars each. Engraving and shipping was free. So I dont see what the problem was. Bad planning, that was the problem, and lack of money, because someone felt they had to pocket 1500 dollars. The trophies they had were very cheesy and chintzy looking, bordering on ugly, some of them. Guess they got a deal, cause there were plenty of cheap looking ugly trophies.

Next entry I will have pictures and all about Shelbys birthday! A happier entry for sure!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Going to a Show

This Sunday is Shelbys 16th birthday. There is a show in Monroe on Saturday. I wasnt going to go because usually her long time friend Tiffany and her mother being my long time friend, comes up. Tiffany and Shelby are six days apart, so we usually spend the weekend together and I get a cake with both their names on it and they blow out the candles together. We find a haunted trail or something to go to, go out to eat, just have a good weekend together.

This time, for the first time they arent coming. I dont know why other than she told me she has family in town and wont be able to make it. Shelby was very disappointed. Being as this is her 16th I wanted to have something going on!

She has another long time friend she grew up with, Matthew. Ian is long time friends with Adrian and I with his wife, Teddy. I called in a friend favor and asked if they would come on up Sunday and help us celebrate Shelbys birthday. She said she had been thinking about us a lot anyway and would love to bring her whole brood up for the day.

I am going to cook out on the grill, baby back ribs, Shelbys favorite. Potato salad, french fries for the kids, baked beans. We will have birthday cake and icecream too of course.

It will be a great day indeed, the Lane family are all great company! :)

So, in light of not having a full weekend of goings on, I am going to fit in that poultry show. Brian, VP of the club putting on the show called me night before last wondering what hole I had fell into because I had not entered any birds for the show. I told him I still didnt know what was going on that weekend, but would find out. After texting Karen and finding out they werent going to make it, I was free to go.

Brian made it irresistible for me. They are having over 700 birds so far, and only ten of them are large fowl. Bantams are an easy out for people to me. They are easy to show, and you dont have so much to do with them to get them ready. For instance. Just getting one giant cochin ready yesterday took two and a half hours. A bantam is easy to handle, easy to bathe and easy to blow dry fast. I choose to show large fowl because they are so much more dramatic looking to me. So, with only ten entered, and I easily could enter eight, I accepted. I don't want to get cocky, but it should be an easy win for me to win something, so I will do it. He even said I could coop out early after I was judged, take my winnings and head out if I had to. I do need to pick up the cake on Saturday and do some last minute preparations for Sunday.

So its a win win for all. Here are William and Jocelyn all bathed and blowdried. These are my Giant Splash Cochin pair. They look so great!



I will also be showing a pair of black giant cochins, Buckbuck and Babe (III). The Babes mother, a great champion who won many times over for both Shelby and I passed earlier, late in the summer, but we keep her memory alive with her daughters.

Also, I am throwing in a pair of my young bearded buff laced polish to see how they will do. I will show Shirley, and one of Kuckoo's up and coming great looking daughters. Shirley and her are bearded silver laced polish.

So wish me luck and I hope to have a great show! I won't sleep a wink more than likely as I get quite anxious before a show the night before :)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Coosa Valley Fair Exhibit

I was making my weekly trip up to Tractor Supply to get all the animals feed and the manager was there and told me about a guy that came in and left his phone number on the door for a poultry show he needed entries for at the Coosa Valley Fair in Rome. Ears perked up I took down the number and called him. It was not really a real show, not like I go to. The judges were not ABA or APA sanctioned, it would have just been fair officials judging. So far he had no entries. So I asked him how many coops he had. He had fifteen. I told him I could fill them all easily and he said "Oh no! We have to let any others that want to enter enter their birds" I said well, I thought you wanted a show? He relented and said he did, but could I wait until right before the fair opening to see if anyone else had entries. I agreed to that. There was only one other person that turned up with birds, and it was an employee of Tractor Supply. He filled three pens and I took the others up. I went up a couple of days before the fair as the head honcho wanted to meet with me and let me see the setup beforehand so I would know what was going on, so I made a quick trip up and it was a nice set up, plenty of room in the coops for large fowl, so that is what I brought.

I don't work with the public much. I can be a social person when the need arises, but normally I keep to myself. Of course I was a bit anxious about the whole thing.

I told him I was not interested in judging or ribbons or anything of that nature, but that I would be more of an exhibit and I showed him a few pictures on my phone of birds I would be bringing. He said he would pay me a hundred dollars. That was good with me, since I was originally going to do it for free, but I didnt tell him that. Little did I know, before it was all over with, I would be wishing I had gotten paid a lot more for it that I did. As I said, I don't usually do this sort of thing, so I was feeling my way through.

When I arrived with my birds on the first day I was excited to share my beautiful birds with the public, educating them and expanding their way of thinking about chickens. Remember, I am in a rural area and most people have never seen any of the more exotic and unusual breeds.

I got everyones food and water cups set up, put shavings on the floor of each pen and got them in their coops. I was told that I could leave my birds there each night as there would be security patrolling the grounds. I only saw security personnel maybe a total of two times the whole five days I was there. There was no way I was leaving my champion prized birds there anyway. All the "I am sorry, we were watching" doesnt bring back a bird from being injured or stolen. So each day I came and set up, and each night I packed up every stitch of everything, food cups, coop cards, everything. It was a lot of work, but I know people would have messed with stuff, so in the long run it was worth the small amount of aggravation as opposed to a large amount of aggravation.

After the first day and night I got home and was pretty tired. The second day I got up and did it all over again. This day was 'Kids Day'. It was nerve racking and very stressful. I had one sign that said "Please Dont Put Your Fingers In Cages". In light of that some genius boy about nine years old read the sign and proceeded to tell his friends, "You can't touch these on THIS side of the table, but you can on the OTHER side". Because of course I assumed people would see the sign and common sense would tell them not to put their fingers in ANY of the cages. My fault for assuming.

Throughout the day I had kids blowing on the birds, banging on the cages, yelling at the birds. I had some parents that would stop their kids short and tell them not to put their fingers in the cages, to stay back, and so on.
I was very glad for the day to be over and to pack up and go home. After the second day I was wondering what in the world was I thinking.

Third day of the fair. Senior Day. The best day I had, wonderful day. I am thinking it is because I am closer to this crowds age than children. I talked to some wonderful people that day. Lots of stories told to me, lots of really nice people. I really enjoyed most of the third day very much.

On the fourth day I had made more signs.

I made another "No fingers" sign for the OTHER side of the table, and I made two of these, AND I wrapped yellow CAUTION tape around the edges of the table.


You may be surprised, or maybe not, to know that an adult in his 60's thereabouts was one that threw a pizza crust into one of the cages. I also found peanuts in the shell in another cage. What makes people think it is okay to do this? My birds are show birds. They don't eat junk food. Their diet is made up of things that is healthy and good for them. Just because I put my birds on display for the public does not give them the right to do whatever they want with them.

So, even with all the signs, caution tape, and me sitting right there I still had people being weird. I had an elderly woman come up, she put her hand and arm right through a cage to touch a bird. WHY? I asked her to please not do that. She came over to talk to me and starting telling me a story about how she grew up around chickens.

There is a sign at the Georgia National Fair rabbit exhibit. If I ever do this again I will make a sign like theirs. I wish I had taken a picture of it. It roughly states this:

Please do not touch the rabbits

Even if:

You have owned rabbits, have rabbits, know someone that owns rabbits, think that this sign doesnt mean you, if you have a dog, cat, or some other pet,

and it goes on and on, because that is what you have to do with the general public. Now, even though this sign is there, they have had to wrap each cage in fine mesh wire. It used to just be on the bottom half of the cages, you know, going halfway up the sides. Not anymore. Now it is all the way to the top. Because people just can't behave.

Onto the fifth day. I was so tired. I was beat down and had a new respect for anyone that does any kind of exhibit at a fair. I got there and set up. I was told today was going to be so busy. It turned out for some reason Friday was the hectic day. Saturday, either I was just so tired I didnt care anymore or it wasnt as busy. I was told I could pack up early that evening. I was told it was going to get weird. While I was packing up it did get weird. There are some strange people that come out after dark on Saturday night at the fair. People kept trying to talk to me as I packed up and I just kept on packing. If I had talked to anyone for long I would have never gotten out of there. There were packs of teenagers doing weird stuff in front of the cages and I wanted to get OUT OF THERE. So I did. I had two middle age ladies who appeared to be drunk running their keys back and forth across the cages to get the birds to look at them to take a pictures. Crazy.

Now, let us discuss the 'other' birds brought to the fair. This alone was stressful. He had brought some very bad looking polish and silkies. I am not talking about them just not being show quality. I am talking about they looked like they had been caught in a fan and chewed up. The first day I was way too busy to look at them closely, but the second day I looked closer and I figured they probably had mites on their body, but I had already took precautions for that by spraying my birds to keep them off. Then I saw it. Some of his birds had LEG MITES. Oh yes, in the chicken fancy this is dreaded. They are very contagious and very hard to get rid of once your bird has them. It is also very painful for the bird as the mites get under the scales of the legs and secrete waste, pushing the scales up and crusting up the legs down to the flesh. Very irritating and painful.

I freaked out. I went over to the TSC display and told him he had to remove those birds right away. I explained why and that I could in no way take a chance on my show birds getting such an ailment. He said they didnt bring a cage, but they would remove them the next day.

TWO days went by before they finally removed them. I told the head of the fair about it. We ended up pulling out more cages from his storage and putting them on the ground under the table so I could get the table clean with bleach water and let it dry. I told him I would fill the other three cages with fine birds the last two days of the fair. Over the days those birds were still on the table I sprayed all my birds legs with permethryn spray every day, freaking out the whole time. I even put a cardboard divider between my birds cage and the others. By the time they were removed the TSC guy wasnt speaking to me anymore. I don't care if he doesnt like it, he wouldnt have gotten through the door at a real show. At one point one of the polish hens began pecking away at the roosters butt, at the base of the feathers because it was so inviting and bare. Fairgoers were freaking out because there was blood on her face, blood on his butt. I kept telling people I was sorry but they were not my birds and I had already asked for them to be removed. Terrible, so I went and told the guy who owns them and he said he would phone his wife, but no one ever came, no one did anything.

On a good note. I was told by the president and the secretary of the fair that they had never seen so many people over in the barn, that is was truly a fantastic display and attraction, and wanted me to do it again next year. I want more money, thats all I can say. ;)

I take the good with the bad. If I had a dollar for everytime I heard
"I never seen a chicken like that!" or "What is that?" because they didnt realize it was a chicken, I would be rich. It is fun to people watch. I had one poor ignorant soul come around 'educating' his boys on them.

"THEMS FIGHTIN' CHICKENS RIGHT THAR BOYS" as he pointed to the buff laced polish.

I laughed and said, no sir, that breed is actually very docile and friendly.

He proceeded to tell me "Well, they ain't got them SPURS fer nuthin' !!"

and I said well sir, all roosters have spurs. The concept was lost on him. I shrugged and went on to talking to other folks.

I made signs, with the breed, a brief history of the breed, and the chickens name. People still came up and said, oh yes, here it comes, "What kind of chicken is that?"

I have had some time to destress and deflate and I laugh about it now. This is not a complete account of all my encounters. There were more bad ones. I yelled at some kids to STOP banging on the cages and keep their fingers out on the fourth day, parents standing right there. I had some good encounters with folks that wanted my email or phone number to buy birds from me this coming Spring. I even met a guy that his daughter shows, he lives in Arkansas. I sold him three great birds. We are friends now and that made it worth it. I had one wonderful lady that paints and she wants me to send her some pictures of my birds so she can paint them. I met some really nice people. Sometimes I had a great time, sometimes not so much.

Would I do this again? I really can't say right now. I can say I know I am not cut out to work for extended periods of time with the public. Hard as I may try, I don't hold up well. ;)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Florida Vacation Part Four

I am making at least two entries today. I have made one below adding to my family's vacation story, so don't miss it! :)

One of the mornings I managed to wake up early. I was ready to capture that sunrise and see the world come to life from a night of slumber.

As soon as I could see well enough I went down the lighted path over the dunes to the last steps to the beach. I sat there on the steps for a few minutes til I could see better on the beach. There was an older couple sitting in chairs waiting on the sunrise together. It was so sweet. Later they pulled their chairs to the water and I took a picture of them. This is where I want Ian and I to be one day, watching that sunrise and enjoying our retirement years on the beach.


Here are some shots I took before sunrise...and then just after, and on into the morning.

I have an actual video loading of this sunrise. It is taking awhile, but I will post it as a seperate entry after it finishes.

Thursday was a laid back day, we didnt do a whole lot. Ian was burned up and Shelby was tired. I of course, was still rarin' to go. I couldn't get enough, but I soon gave in and relaxed with them. The next morning I sat on the back patio and took this picture. Soon after we were packed up and back on the road. We took the scenic route up the A1A home. As we passed some of the homes for sale on the highway we pondered and began to talk of how if we were going to move here, we should really go all out and do it up and get a place actually on the beach. Yes, there are VERY expensive homes that are actually on the beach..but...we started looking...and that, is a story for another day. ;) I will post the video as soon as it is done uploading onto Photobucket. Thankyou all for coming by to see me. I really appreciate the comments and visits. Its time for me to get going and get some animals fed and watered this morning. Y'all have a fantastic day!

Florida Vacation Part Three

One of our favorite restaurants down in Florida is Saltwater Cowboys. It is on a swampy/marsh type area at a dead end road not far from the hotel. They have swamp cats there. What are swamp cats you ask? They are the cats that have taken up residence there and live there around the place. You can see them laying on the wrap around porch outside the french doors, or fooling about out in the marsh. I have to assume they have them spayed and neutered as the population doesn't explode. I have never seem more than three or four.

We got there early before they opened so we sat in the truck a few minutes and then ambled up to the doors when it was closer to time for them to open. Here is what it looks like walking up to the door.








When we got inside we were the first of course so we got a good table in the corner and could see out all the doors and windows. After we ordered I went around and took some pictures of the inside.










A genuine jackalope! ;) He he...

We got our food and I had this...


Shelby had this...


and Ian had this...


We enjoyed our dinner very much. A few more pictures, and another seperate entry coming up!




Thursday, October 7, 2010

Coosa Valley Fair

I haven't disappeared this week! I promise! I am busy doing a chicken exhibit at the Coosa Valley Fair in Rome this week. I will be back after this busy week.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Know It All?

At what point do we stop becoming a novice at a hobby? I am not just talking about chickens. I know others things they love to do. Crocheting, knitting, painting, photography, all sorts of things we love to do and are good at it. So when do we stop thinking we might be good at it, and start knowing we are good at it? I don't know. I don't presume to know more than all, but I think I know a pretty good bit about chickens. I have been steeped in raising chickens for nine or so years now. Thats not a long time for some of the people that have done it for so long. I do believe one thing though. I believe the internet is a wonderful tool for learning. I learn things on almost a daily basis about chickens. Whether it be health issues, or breeds I didn't know existed, showing, I am always learning. So I don't think I will ever 'Know it all'. To presume that would be closing myself off to learning from others and nobody likes a know it all anyway.

So how to you balance the fact that you know a lot more than a lot of people, but you don't know it all, and yet have a feeling of satisfaction that you know a pretty good bit, without coming off as a know it all. I don't know. I hope that no one thinks that about me. No one has given any indications of such, but that doesnt mean anything. You never know what people are saying behind your back.

Why am I bringing all this up? Well, there are so many people both young and old that get involved in keeping chickens that don't know a thing about them, and so when things go wrong, they freak out. I educated myself a long time and read up a lot before I even considered getting chicks to raise. It frustrates me to hear ignorance just flowing freely out of peoples mouths. Case and point. Recently I heard a lady say that she has had chickens for a couple of years so she does know some. Her problem was her rooster/hen ratio was outrageous. She had eight hens and four roosters. The roosters were doing nothing but what roosters do, all day long, and tearing up the hens in the process. She was told to get rid of three if not all of the roosters. She was worried about a decline in egg production with just one rooster. Well, if you know anything at all, roosters stress hens out. NO roosters are a hens ultimate dream. If your not hatching, you dont need any roosters. She actually thought you needed a rooster to get eggs at all from a hen. Common sense dictates that is not true, but I gave her too much credit. I have run across uneducated chicken owners time and time again, and it drives me crazy. Pick up a book, Google how to care for chickens, SOMETHING. :(

Well, I didnt plan on ranting about that, but I guess it just kind of came out. My line of thinking was not really aimed at that tonight, so I will switch over to what I wanted to talk about.

I went to Tractor Supply today to get my weekly feed load and the manager happened to be there. I had brought Phoenix and he was wearing his cute bumblebee diaper overall thingies. He was the center of attention all over the store of course. He is such a fine example to change peoples perception of chickens, roosters in particular, as pets.

So the manager mentioned some guy had come by wanting to put up a sign to anyone wanting to enter chickens into a 'poultry show' at a local Fair coming up this next week. My ears perked up of course. He said the guy was having trouble getting anyone to enter. I said I would give him a call and see what was up. I called when I got home and I asked him some particulars. He said a lot of people had been talking, but not actually entering their birds. He has 15 coop holes to fill. Thats not all. So I asked him if this was an actual show or does he just want some birds for exhibition for the fairgoers to see. He said mostly for exhibition but there would be ribbons and prizes too. I don't think he knows what a real poultry show is. A real poultry show has ABA and APA sanctioned judges, is usually put on by a poultry club, you have to get your birds tested for disease before cooping in, there are rules and guidelines for a show. So, from what I can tell, this is just an exhibition, to someone like me. Fine, I get that, even if he doesnt.

I asked him if the coops were for bantams or for large fowl. He was not sure. I don't want to bring some giant cochins and try to stuff them into a bantam cage. I don't think that would even be a consideration, they would take up the whole cage. Either way I told him I could fill all the holes if he wanted me to. He gasped and was taken aback and said to me that he wouldn't want me to do that, that he would reserve me four holes. I laughed. Four holes, yeah....right. I told him I thought he wanted to have some great looking birds for fairgoers to see, and what would happen if no one else brought birds? He saw my point and said we would wait to see, and if no one had called him back to enter more birds by tomorrow evening he just might let me do the whole poultry exhibition.

He wants me to meet him tomorrow so I can look at the coops to see what they can accomodate. He mentioned putting more than one bird in each coop if they were bantam, which is fine, if I bring some trios and pairs of bantams that are already together and get along with each other. In a real show this does not happen. Each bird is cooped in seperately, no exceptions, at least I have never heard of it. Another thing is, no one waits til the day before the show to confirm an entry. There is a deadline for entering birds, usually three to four days, sometimes five days before the show. You have to have time to wash and groom your birds, get them ready. I will not be doing that, especially since this doesnt really 'count' per say. My birds look pretty good, I will do some spot clean up, but it takes a lot out of me to really get ready for a show, especially if I am showing more than just a few birds.

Now, what I want to know is, why do I do this sort of thing? I am not generally an outgoing person. I don't really try to help strangers. I keep to myself most of the time. Thats why I live in the country, to be left alone most of the time. I don't know this guy from anyone, but I saw that he needed help, and yes, it had a lot to do with the fact that it was chickens, but I called, and I wanted to help. He says he wants to have a real show next year. I will give him our local poultry club heads number and maybe he can work something out with him for next year.

I don't know what he thought was going to happen with fifteen holes, no way to notify anyone of an exhibition. He could have probably gotten some local 4H kids to do the show easy if he had contacted them.

I realize most people dont know who to contact, how to go about it, so I will try to help him out and get him hooked up with the right people for next year.

I don't know why I want to help total strangers sometimes. It doesnt happen often. As I sit here and type this I am shrinking back into my shell thinking, why did you do that? I could have had a perfectly quiet week, and now I will be transporting birds back and forth all week to a fair. He said I could leave them overnight, but there is no way. No amount of "Oh we had someone watching, I dont know what happened" or " I am so sorry this happened" will replace a prize winning champion bird of mine. So they will come home with me, and I will be right there the whole day when they are there. I know it will be nice, it will be fun. After all, if I am the only one bringing birds, then my birds, and I, will be the center of attention. There are not a lot of times I like to be the center of attention. When it comes to chickens and talking about them though, yes, I do like being the center of attention. :)

I know you were probably expecting my third and last installment on our vacation, but I didn't have it in me tonight. I just felt like rambling a bit. Had to get some thoughts out.