Archive for June 7, 2009

I Wanted a Nice, Portable Chicken Corral, but Nooooooooo!

A few years ago, I was trying to raise pastured broilers for home consumption and needed movable chicken pens to house them in. SwampMan pronounced the pens inadequate and too lightweight. SwampMan then built me some that would take two strong men at either end to pick up and move. Of course, I don’t have four strong men with me at all times at my beck and call (okay, at any time) and so daughter and I had to move them by ourselves. Asking SwampMan to help move them involved too much complaining about how it isn’t HIS damn livestock and he’s not going to walk out there in the heat. When I pointed out that he built pens that were too heavy for me to move, he told me that was my problem, not his. When the last of that season’s broilers were executed, dressed, plucked, and stuck into the freezer, the broiler pens were left in the pasture where they remain today. I can’t move them alone, and daughter, my helper, went and married a sailor (probably so she wouldn’t have to help move those chicken pens any longer) six years ago.

So, fast forward to a few months ago when I knew I was going to be unemployed, the economy sucked and likely to get much worse, and I started sticking eggs in the incubator because, well, I suppose it is a family tradition in hard times. My great grandmother had an incubator and income from the hundred leghorn hens producing eggs, with the roosters turned into Sunday dinner. She preferred the leghorn hens, crazy though they were, because they laid the biggest eggs on the least amount of feed. Her chickens helped get the family through the depression. Come to think of it, so did my grandfather’s illicit delivery of moonshine. Hmmmmm.

Anyway, I had some nice little plans drawn up for my hen housing, and SwampMan pronounced them too small. The hen pens were of a size that I could easily move by myself, and I could keep my different chicken breeds segregated. Also, they were inexpensive because of that darned unemployment thing. But nooooo. SwampMan had a better plan.

So, I am now the proud possessor of two chicken pens that are almost ready to be joined together into one large grazing/shelter area, neither one of which can be moved by myself. If each arm was capable of lifting 200 lbs. while dragging an additional 200 lbs., I STILL wouldn’t be able to budge the dang thing.

I already know what the answer to that objection is. That’s YOUR problem.

Oh, SNAP. I was having a great time using the computer while SwampMan is asleep when I suddenly realized that SwampMan said something about us finishing the chicken pens before he goes to work in the morning. Aaaack! That means I have to be up in 5 hours!

Dang. This unemployment thing isn’t working out quite as well as I had hoped.

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More Peddlers Noted On The Roadside

Just in my tiny town I’ve noticed a big increase in roadside peddlers. Everything from boiled peanuts to guinea pigs to BBQ to home-made rap CDs are being sold. We may be unemployed but we are by Gawd working at something.

I need to get back outside and help SwampMan stretch shadecloth across the top of a new dog kennel that is being used as a portable pasture for some laying hens and growing chicks. I wanted to protect them from roving predators long enough for Pup to come to the rescue yet leave them with some freedom to eat grass and bugs so that I’ll get eggs with that brilliant orange-red colored yolk.

My actual egg laying breed chicks won’t be laying for another 10 to 15 weeks. My SwampChicken chicks will lay smaller eggs on practically no feed, a trait that may make them more attractive as the economy continues to crash.

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It’s About Damn Time Somebody Asked Some Questions!

Via Politico 44, a letter being circulated for signatures by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer:

Dear President Obama:

We are writing to express our concerns about General Motors’ and Chrysler’s decision to close profitable automobile dealerships across the country, and urge you to ask GM and Chrysler to delay final action on proposed closures pending further review of the decision to consolidate dealerships and the process by which Chrysler and GM selected the dealerships to close.

Closing these dealerships will put over 100,000 jobs at risk at a time when our country is shedding jobs at an alarming rate. We also question the criteria being used to determine which dealerships should be closed and the fundamental fairness involved in this effort. It is our view that the market rather than leaving it up to the manufacturers whose poor leadership contributed to their demise. Furthermore, we believe car dealers will be key players in any effort to revive the American auto industry.

We believe the dealerships are one of the auto industry’s key sources of strength and the manufacturers should continue to honor their agreements and contracts. The dealerships, and their more than 1 million employees, form personal relationships with customers that often contribute to brand loyalty and will be key to General Motors’ and Chrysler’s recovery following this economic downturn. While we understand the desire to reduce the number of unprofitable dealerships, no one has yet sufficiently explained the need to close profitable dealerships.

We recognize that efforts by your Auto Task Force prevented the total liquidation of General Motors and Chrysler, as well as their dealership networks. We commend your efforts to help these businesses survive these challenging economic times.

However, we are concerned that manufacturers are closing profitable dealerships to circumvent current contracts which could require expensive buy-outs under normal conditions. We are also concerned about allegations that dealers that have previously stood up for their rights against the manufacturers are being targeted by these closures. We believe that the forced closures of profitable dealerships needs to be scrutinized by the Task Force to prevent additional future financial loses to General Motors and Chrysler and job loses across the United States

We may consider legislative proposals to ensure that dealers and their employees are treated fairly, and we look forward to your timely response.

If the dealerships are happy and selling cars, what damn business could it possibly be of the federal government?

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