Meet Red Toe. He is one of what has turned out to be five roosters. (Yep, that's right. After all that hemming and hawing about how many roosters and how many hens our gender-mysterious chicks would turn into, we ended up with five and five. As a former math teacher I find this hilarious.)
Red Toe is so named because of the lovely red nail polish he sports on one toenail - Flartus's suggestion for how to tell our chickies apart. We wanted to distinguish this particular rooster from the rest because he's so darn friendly. He's a keeper. He's the one who comes a-running as soon as he sees one of us near the chicken yard, and who used to climb onto Kim's lap for a snuggle when she settled in for a session of Chicken TV. (She can't do this anymore since the chickies started using her chair as a roost in her absence. Poop. Enough said.) Since our plan is to keep only one rooster and send the rest to the stew pot, we don't want any cases of mistaken identity - hence the toenail polish.
There were big changes at the chicken corral today. Shortly after this nap time photo was taken, the roosters were separated from the hens and will remain that way until the fateful trip to the slaughterhouse for four of them. They have their own enclosure in the coop, and their own fenced-in and disco-dance-themed outdoor area. We knew this was going to have to be done eventually, but we decided to do it now because the roosters are repeatedly chasing two of the smaller hens away from the food.
We have been busy painting and otherwise sprucing up our guest room in preparation for a visit from my dear, dear sister next week. I can't wait. Sister Kim (it gets a little confusing when the two Kims are in the same room...) is keen to have a repeat of our canning and preserving sessions last summer, so I've got my eye on what's ready to harvest from the garden. There are lots of beets we can pickle, but I think that's about it. Definitely none of the tomatoes or apples we canned last year - it will be a couple of weeks before there are sufficient quantities of those ready.
Onions, though. We've got lots of onions. Yellow onions, red onions, shallots and leeks. Mucky Boots is a fragrant place these days...