Friday, May 15, 2009
There's a reason they call it chickweed (Stellaria media). Chicks love the stuff. And it's not just chickens that love it. "Little birds in cadges (especially Linnets) are refreshed with the lesser Chickweed when they loath their meat whereupon it was called of some "Passerina"--John Gerard, in his 1597 English text on medicinal plants, Herbal or General History of Plants. Humans can also eat chickweed, but that's another entry altogether.
My little peepers come running lately when they see me approach the Peep House. They know I'll more than likely be giving them treats of chickweed, which they dive into and scarf down with wild abandon. If they were puppies, they'd be rolling in it.
One peep is almost always the first one to greet me. I call him/her Livingston because I think he/she looks a lot like a seagull (some may not be old enough to even have a clue what I'm talking about) with his/her gray head and dark eyeliner. Livingston is very friendly and likes to follow me around, or just hang out nearby if I happen to sit on the cement block I use as a chair while I do nothing but watch the peep antics. I'm not sure how long it will be before I know if Livingston is a he or a she. If it turns out to be a little pullet, I guess I'll change the name to Livvy.
And I'm thankful to still have 31 peeps today! Yesterday Toodie sounded the alarm while she was outside in the dog yard. I could tell from her bark that an intruder was nearby. When I went to check the peeps, I discovered that the gate had blown open (Horrors! It was an extremely windy day and our latch failed), and there was a strange cat a few feet away from the pen. A very pretty long-haired cat, I think it was a female looking for love in all the wrong places, from the sounds of it. I did the pssssst noise at her and she ran off into the woods, but returned later and continued to hang around most of the day. Toodie was not amused, nor was I. I was very concerned, because a cat would have no problems getting into the peep pen, and the little peepers are still small enough that a cat could take one out with no trouble. I had a hard time counting the peeps yesterday because they move so fast, and with 31 to count, they're just all over the place. After a bit of a struggle, I did determine that all 31 are still healthy and happy. And that makes me and Toodie happy.