I heard on the news last night that there have been more than 800 lightning-caused fires in California since last Saturday. A lot of the them were knocked down quickly, but at least 200 aren't under control yet. Being downwind, we get the smoke - lots of smoke.
Last night, we could actually smell it. I even went out front to check things out because, as always, the smell of brush smoke makes me nervous. Today, standing on the deck looking east towards the garden, I can barely see Prison Hill less than a mile away, and nothing at all towards town to the north or over the ridge towards Carson Valley to the south. It's thick enough to make my eyes hurt, so I think I'll stay inside as much as possible today. Our weather forecast says more dry thunderstorms (lightning without rain - it evaporates before reaching the ground) Thursday and Friday - fire season is here.
This morning, Aries went to open up the chicken coop. As usual, first out were Grey and Mrs. Guinea. The hens are used to this - staying inside until the guineas grab a bite to eat and then fly out of the pen for the day. But the bigger of the Barred Rocks is used to bossing her penmates and getting to the food dish first every morning. When she tried that today, Grey let her know that was against procedure. He had her cornered against the fence and was pulling feathers off her backside before Aries stepped in. He said he was afraid Grey would kill her - that he was ready to drop-kick the guinea out of the pen if he could have caught him. Aries put the little one back into the nest box and came in to tell me about it before he left for work.
When I went down there later, the rest of the girls were on the perches, and then later had even gone outside. But the one Barred Rock (I usually wait to see personalities and physical characteristics before naming anyone) was still hiding out in the nest box. So I got her out of there and had her join the rest of the girls out in the pen. I pulled three spinach plants starting to bolt and threw them into the pen in different places. The hens staked out two, but let the new girls have the third, so it looks like everyone will be just fine (as soon as they learn that Grey is the cock of this walk). When I went out to check just now, the newcomers have one shade porch and the big girls have the other. BlackFluff and Baldy have gone broody again, so they're hunkered down in two of the nest boxes. I keep making them get up and out - without a rooster, there's no way they'll be hatching out any babies now.