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Tribune Staff

Two Powell Lady Panthers started their season by qualifying for the state swim meet Saturday in the first varsity competition at the Powell Aquatic Center.

Maddy Jones opened her final season as a Lady Panther by qualifying in the individual medley, and junior Anya Tracy earned her spot at state in the backstroke. Tracy finished second with her swim and Jones third.

Finishing with one of their best days in years, the Powell High School boys golf team took fourth at last week's Lander Invitational.

“We had a very good weekend on probably the most challenging course we play all year,” said PHS head coach Troy Hildebrand of the Thursday-Friday tournament.

It really didn't matter to me what the books said. Or what I learned by Googling. Even the wisdom of experienced poultry hands couldn't keep me from it.

Every day — multiple times, mind you — I found myself drawn to the chicken coop in the backyard where I had lovingly placed a brand new nesting box in the darkest corner (following directions to a “T”).

I'd hold my breath in anticipation and slowly lift the lid/roof of the coop. Peering in with my trademark eternal optimism, my eyes would first go the nesting box, then, upon finding it empty, quickly scan the rest of the coop, thinking surely one of our hens must have decided to lay that long-anticipated egg. No such luck. Oh, the crushing disappointment.

This went on all summer, even though everyone, and everything I read, assured me it wasn't quite time for them to be laying. I experimented with different bedding (grass clippings, leaves, shavings) and got another nest box (don't ask me why I thought if the one remained empty, another box would entice fair hens to lay).

I even put golf balls in each nest after reading that the balls resembled eggs to a fair enough degree to convince hens to deposit some more.

Bliss evidently considered the golf ball idea a good one, since she now tosses every golf ball she comes across — and there are many of them around our house and garage — into “Chicken Land.”

Alas, all the effort was for naught — and I'm sure to the great amusement of the more experienced poultry people who got word of our endeavors.

That is, until the one afternoon when I wandered into the backyard and saw one, two, three hens ... Since they usually stick close together, I feared the absence of the fourth meant she'd met the same fate as the unlucky Black Bart. Quickly determining that Henrietta was the missing beak, I began my search for her.

It didn't take me long to find her, comfortably ensconced in the base of a lilac bush — and with five beautiful little pullet eggs underneath her! It was like a miracle.

I gently gathered the eggs from beneath her and took them into the house. Bliss was as excited about the discovery as her mother. After some celebration and the requisite admiration of the eggs, I decided since I couldn't be sure how long they'd been outside in the hot summer temps, it would be best to blow them out, thus preserving the memory of the girls' first eggs.

Since that lovely afternoon discovery, my four little hens have been laying quite regularly (or at least three of them have — Ginger, I know, is not quite old enough).

However, it's been quite the undertaking to convince them to lay said eggs in the nesting boxes. It seems they would prefer to stash their eggs in various suitable nest-like places around the perimeter of our yard. For the time being, our formerly free-range fowl are spending much more time locked up until they can be persuaded to lay their eggs in the right place — lay in the box, get some freedom.

Hens, I'm learning, are a little slow on the uptake (consider the morning I found two eggs, smashed, on either side of the coop.) Apparently, a couple of them decided it wouldn't be a bad idea to perch on top of the coop to lay eggs. That whole bird-brain thing? There's justification behind it.

Yep, every day is like Easter morning at our house — with no dresses or church!

Our egg hunt uncovers homegrown treasures: Henrietta's dark, chocolatey-brown eggs; Water-Head's larger eggs, the color of coffee with cream; and Pearl's, the lightest in color, little more than faint beige.

And, if we're particularly blessed on a certain day, we'll actually find one or more of the eggs in the boxes.

It's a horrible situation Powell residents never expected to occur in our own backyard: 157 cats seized from a local home.

On Thursday morning, dozens of felines were removed from a rural Powell house and transported to the Park County Fairgrounds. From here, many of the cats were taken to animal shelters in larger communities, where they await adoption.

While the recent case of cat hoarding is extreme and difficult to comprehend, it also highlights the importance of spaying and neutering cats and dogs.

Cats and dogs in need of homes are nothing new in Powell.

Strays, unwanted pets and abandoned animals often find themselves in the local City of Powell/Moyer Animal Shelter, where they wait for someone to adopt them. As a no-kill shelter, the local organization houses felines and canines for as long as it takes — sometimes, animals have waited a year or longer to be adopted. Once, a dog waited three years before it finally found a home.

Currently, the shelter harbors about 15 cats and a dozen dogs.

If more residents spayed and neutered their pets, fewer unwanted animals would end up in the animal shelter.

All adult animals awaiting adoption in the shelter are spayed or neutered, said Elfriede Milburn, president of Caring for Powell Animals. If a kitten or puppy is adopted, its new owners are given a certificate to have it spayed or neutered at a discounted price.

The Humane Society of the United States estimates that 6 to 8 million cats and dogs will end up in animal shelters across the nation this year. Unfortunately, many shelters are unable to keep animals long term, and an estimated 4 million cats and dogs are put down each year in America.

It's clearly a national problem, but the solution can start locally. To help prevent animal over-population, spay or neuter your cats and dogs. Rabbits aren't the only animals that multiply like rabbits.

(Dec. 30, 1912 - Aug. 27, 2010)

Doris Clark, a long-time resident of the Powell Valley, died Friday, Aug. 27 while residing at the Powell Valley Care Center. She was 97.

(September 5, 1934 — August 26, 2010)

On August 26, 2010, God called the greatest man that ever lived home. Feliciano “Felix” “Chano” DeLeon, was respected and loved by all. He was a very giving man, and he gave his love the best.

(Oct. 15, 1922 - Aug. 25, 2010)

Lifetime Byron dairy farmer, Wilder True Hatch III died Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2010 at the New Horizons Care Center in Lovell, surrounded by loving family members. He was 87.

(Jan. 21, 1947 - Aug. 28, 2010)

Ramona Montanez Romero died Saturday, Aug. 28, 2010, in Lovell. She was 63.

(Aug. 25, 1945 - Oct. 28, 2010)

Joyce Marie Gibbs Tryon, 65, died Oct. 28, 2010, after a long courageous battle with breast cancer.


Northwest College goalie Becca Sangster stretches for a ball during Tuesday afternoon drills. Sangster and her 17 teammates will officially usher in soccer as a sport at NWC when they face Dodge City (Kan.) this Friday. Tribune photo by Randal Horobik

NWC soccer teams open Friday at Dodge City

What began as a vision on paper just eight months ago will step onto the pitch in the flesh this Friday as the Northwest College Trappers open their first-ever soccer seasons. The program was created last December by a vote of the Northwest College Board of Trustees.

“It feels like it has been a long time coming,” said Trapper soccer coach Rob Hill, whose life has actually been more of a whirlwind since learning early this year that he had been tabbed to build the Northwest College programs from the ground up.

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