The following video shows what happens when the Jolly Folly Farmers decide it's time to remove the large pile of debris left from renovating the Jolly Folly Cottage and trimming up the Jolly Folly Foliage last year. When we piled it high in the backyard, we thought we'd have a burn pile. Then we took in rescue equine who live in the pasture behind the yard................. change of plans.
Some of you know why that fact matters, others are wondering why we didn't just burn it anyway -- it's just wood, right? True, true, but in general, fire and horses don't mix. It's probably their innate survival instinct leftover from their ancestors who roamed the Great Plains. With millions of acres of dry, tall, unbroken grassland, lightning could start a forest fire that would consume millions of acres at an alarming rate. Those fires moved so quickly across the flatlands that not even wild horses could outrun the flames. That's part of the reason that horses are, in general, more naturally terrified of fire than any animal I've ever seen. The memory of those ancient fires still lives in their DNA and terrifies them to the bone.
So.............. with a bonfire no longer an option, I called four different companies with large chippers for trees to see if I could pay them to come chip it. Two of them drove by to see the pile. None of them called back with an estimate. When I followed up with the ones that had at least driven by to see the pile, I received no response. Probably because the pile was rather large. That meant it would, as usual, fall to us to figure out how to make something happen at JoFoFa because no one would even let us pay them to do it. I'm guessing you have figured out what we did over the long weekend by now. Four trips is what it took. The county stockpile they use for chipping is 2,680 pounds heavier thanks to JoFoFa, our wallets are a bit lighter having paid the tipping fees, and our backs are a little stiffer having moved the wood.
However, where there was once a pile of wood, there is now Hen Heaven. If we had paid someone to come in and haul or chip the wood, they wouldn't have worked around and with the chickens. While we were loading and shifting logs, our little ladies scampered around curiously. Farmer Tom kindly knocked the roly polies from the logs as he moved them and our ladies were delighted. So, for your enjoyment, I will translate the following video. Those sounds you hear are the excited mumblings of free roaming hens foraging on the roly polies (that's armadillidiidae for you scientists and woodlice for you in the UK).
So, for future reference, should you be walking and happen upon excited chickens in the future, do not be alarmed. You will now be able to speak their language.
Listen for the low sounds. These sounds combined with scratching translate to: "yumyumyumyumyum"
Listen for short sounds. These translate to: "oh boy! oh boy! oh boy."
And, the look of love they bestow upon anyone who will open up a rotting limb for their inspection needs no translation. It says, in complete clarity: "THANKS DUDE!!!!"