Monday, December 30, 2019

A most unusual bird!

Meet the Hoatzin!

This beautiful, pheasant-sized bird is native to South America's Amazon and Orinoco deltas. Like many of the birds on our list, it's the only species of it's genus, which is part of why it's so evolutionarily distinct. They're herbivores, feeding mainly on leaves, fruits, and flowers, but because of the way they digest those plant parts, the birds wind up quite stinky. In fact, the Hoatzin is also known locally as the "Stinkbird" for their vaguely manure-like odor. For that reason, it isn't threatened by human poaching; it's sort of a last-resort meal. You'd have to be really, really hungry to try to capture one of these critters.

Why is it weird? There's a very good reason it's such a foul smelling bird. The Hoatzin has a digestive system unlike any other bird, and actually more like a cow. They have a foregut that they use to break down the plants they eat using bacterial fermentation. It's not a rumen, as ruminants like cattle have; instead, evolution operated on part of their digestive anatomy called the crop, a feature common to birds, to make it function much like a cow's rumen. As a result, the crop is so large that it displaces muscles that otherwise would have been used for flight. Hoatzins can still fly, just not all that well. 

But wait, there's more. 

The Hoatzin has another feature unique among all the world's birds, and it's one that makes it a strong contender to inspire the next SyFy horror flick: it's got two claws on each of its wings!
The wing-claws let the chicks move about tree branches without falling into the water below as soon as they hatch. It's an important feature to avoid becoming the next meal of a Great Black Hawk. When a hawk attacks, the mature Hoatzins fly about to distract the predator, while the chicks hide under thicker cover. If spotted, the chicks do an avian version of stop-drop-and-roll. They plunge into the water, swim away, and use their claws to haul themselves back onto land, up the tree, and into the nest. Because of its claws, some researchers have wondered if the Hoatzin was a direct descendent of Archaeopteryx, which had three claws on each wing. Others think the claws are a more recent adaptation, having emerged as a result of the selective pressure caused by predation. Either way, the Hoatzin may be the most badass bird around. They're a good reminder that dinosaurs still live among us.

H/T to:


Today's funny :o)


One of the new girls....

...... is not feeling well. Don't know what is wrong with her. She's in a heavy molt and just wanted to be held. The weather is icky and maybe she was just cold.


The other hens were chasing her around, so she spend most of the day in the nest box. 

The rest of them are fine.

 Getting their Cheerio snack:

Benji looking for more!

Can you tell the damn deer have been back? This was left near the deck:

They must be after the bird seed that falls out of feeders....


Friday, December 27, 2019

Today's funny :o)


The day after Christmas

We had a beautiful sunrise!

But still so darn cold in the morning!

The gange when I let them out - Benji stayed up on the roost bar:

Finally decide to grace us with his presence:

Still have some snow left:

My goldfish are getting FAT:

Made two trays of lasagna for Christmas:

Not much of it left anymore......


Thursday, December 26, 2019

Friday Night Steam

For Terry:

Watch The North Carolina Countryside Whirl By On This Unforgettable Christmas Train

The Christmas season ushers in joy in so many forms, including events that create lasting memories with family and friends. In the Tar Heel State, there is a variety of Christmas train rides where you can do just that. Among them is a fantastic Christmas train at Tweetsie. If you haven’t experienced the Christmastime magic at Tweetsie Railroad then there’s no better time than this year. None of us are getting any younger, but at this enchanting Christmas event, we can all feel like a kid again.
The Christmas Train at Tweetsie Railroad begins on November 22, 2019. It runs on Friday and Saturday nights from November 22, 2019 through December 28, 2019. Tickets are $44/adults, $38/children age 3-12, children 2 and under are free. Tickets include admission to the entire park and the general Christmas festivities. Learn more on the official website for Tweetsie Railroad.
Address: 300 Tweetsie Railroad Ln, Blowing Rock, NC 28605, USA


Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Merry Christmas.....

                                                    ..... from our home to yours!

May your Christmas
be joyful, peaceful
and bright and filled 
with the love of that 
very first night!

Chickenmom, Hubby and the gang :o)

Monday, December 23, 2019


....when the whole family gathered around the TV? 

Sit back and enjoy a by-gone era!


Today's funny :o)

Gotta love this UPS guy!


Oh, deer!

Saturday started off cold....

.... and then we had company in the afternoon:

and ended the day with a beautiful sunset!

Sunday morning was COLD!!!!

Still had plenty of snow left!

In the afternoon, it went up to almost 40!

The gang decided to venture out of the pen:

Even Benji came out for a while:

Lots of snow melt:

Hubby surprised me with these - oh, the aroma of roses!!!!!


Friday, December 20, 2019

Friday Night Steam

It's Winter! Let's enjoy some steam 'n snow!

Nevada-California-Oregon 12
Southern Pacific 18
SP 18 at Laws.jpg
SP 18 at Laws, California in 2017

Type and origin
Power typeSteam
BuilderBaldwin Locomotive Works
Serial number37395
Model10-26 D 285
Build dateDecember 1911

 • Whyte4-6-0
 • UIC2′C
Driver dia.44 in (1.118 m)
Tender weight87,000 pounds (39 t)
Tender typeWhaleback
Fuel typeOil
Boiler pressure180 lbf/in2 (1.24 MPa)
CylindersTwo, outside
Cylinder size16 in × 20 in (406 mm × 508 mm)
Valve gearWalschaerts

Performance figures
Tractive effort17,800 lbf (79.18 kN)

OperatorsNevada–California–Oregon Railway
Southern Pacific
NumbersNCO: 12
SP: 18
NicknamesSlim Princess
LocaleEastern California
RestoredJuly 2017
Current ownerEastern California Museum
DispositionOperational, currently on lease at Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

To see more:


Today's funny :o)


Some pics from the ice storm


In the afternoon a snow squall came through:

10 minutes later:


Tracks by the coop - don't know what it was!

We took a little ride:

So much ice!

Our road:

Had to keep changing the gangs water every couple of hours - it kept freezing!

Hopefully it warms up a bit!


Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Hats off to 'ya!


Today's funny :o)

According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, while both
male and female reindeer grow antlers in the summer each year,
Male reindeer drop their antlers at the beginning of winter,
usually late November to mid-December.   

Female reindeer however, retain their antlers till after they give
birth in the spring.

Therefore,  according to EVERY historical rendition depicting
Santa's reindeer,  EVERY single one of them, from Rudolph to Blitzen,
had to be a girl.

We should've known…..

ONLY females would be able to drag a fat old man in a red velvet
suit all around the world in one night and not get lost.