I forgot, harvest starts at the beginning of August

Had a very promising canteloupe, despite the vine leaves being all weird, like they’re blighted.  But then I opened it, and it was green, green, green.  Pretty, though.  Pigs and hens enjoyed it.There’s a couple little watermelons coming.

The tomatoes have hit stride, so there’s 1-2 gallons ripening every day.  I’m so not ready to start canning already.  Too soon.  I wondered if I’d get any of these.  Exactly what the song sparrow couple in the next shrub was also thinking, watching me pick.  She’s taking ALL the ripe ones!!  But I think there’s enough for us all, provided a whole flock doesn’t move in. I’ve been getting a bowl a day. Chamomile flowers!  I’m excited to harvest some of my own.  Itðs something I usually buy. And loads of chamomile seeds, so there will be even more flowers next year.

Baby beefin’

Staredown!The little roosters are beefin’ again.Until one of their sisters runs up, then they’re suddenly and unconvincingly casual. Pepper’s found a new perch. She’s not going to miss any water fountain gossip. Cream Puff jumped up in the walnut tree for some alone time.  Way up in the tree.  Fluffing herself up, walking back and forth on the branch.  Higher than chickens normally go.

Chris got nervous.  She came down in her own time, just when he started to look like he’d go up after her.

And what the heck is this??!  It’s huge, nearly two inches.

Grub generator reboot

(mild gross factor warning for very sensitive – grubs)

My “new and improved” grub generator wasn’t working.  The original buckets were better.

YouTube instructionals notwithstanding, the grubs don’t walk up the vacuum hose.  They don’t negotiate the ridges very well.  What they do do, is crawl around that flat ridge near the top of the Rubbermaid, and they have no trouble crawling straight up the sides of the plastic.  They really make time too, it’s sort of amazing.  They’re on a mission.So I bored a couple holes along that flat ridge on either side for them to fall out,And put on a little tray to catch them.My biggest “move” though, was physically moving the thing out of the edge of the woods, to right in the middle of things at the corner of the greenhouse.  The biggest downside is smell.  It’s not as bad as you might imagine (I don’t think), and the smell comes in phases (as do the grubs).  It smells the day before a “shipment” of grubs come, and doesn’t smell while they’re  productive.  It doesn’t smell, it smells…I can live with it. Smell and inherent grossness on one hand… vs. recycling, free chicken food, and high quality protein supplements for my birds – it’s a good trade.

Moving the box of death into the middle of everything is mostly so that the chickens use it.  And boy do they.  They are always around it, keen eyes out for any escaping grub.  Little Pepper is a real addict. Always at the box.  She’s gonna be healthy.

Even in the pouring rain – I was out there slinging water – I saw the teens running over periodically to check for grubs.Grubs teeming out into the tray. Perchick partaking.  I removed the vacuum hose after the drilled holes proved effective.  Not quite there yet, but closer.  It’s an evolution.

And now, something cute:Chicks (teens) cashed out in the heat.

Itty bitty feather slippers

The little Silkie chicks are ridiculously cute.  There’s five of them; these two and Daisy has three, including the late silver arrival (who’s doing very well).  It’s nice to have Silkie chicks under Silkie moms;  I got used to seeing them with the fast-growing, out-sized “regular” babies.  The moms are so doting, and fierce!The five are all still tiny fuzzballs, even ten days old, and you can see their feathered feet.  I can already tell that this little brown one comes from the “extravagantly feathered feet” stock.  Daisy’s been outside, but we had a big rain day (another one!) and they went back under cover.  Just like yesterday, a thunderstorm rolled over suddenly and torrentially.  SO loud in the greenhouse. I got wings!This silver one is so special.

What the heck are these bees doing?

I took a look at the hive and got a bit of a fright that they were swarming (on foot?).  That clump hanging off of the landing ledge…?

But then I looked at the other hive:How similar is that!!?  My theory is that it had something to do with the heat and the time of day.  In another hour, they were all in the hive for dark.

I was looking forward to going in the hives today, but then there was a sudden (glorious) thunderstorm!  Good thing I wasn’t in the hive thing -the catastrophe would be hard to overstate.  The storm appeared fast and dropped a quick deluge and a breath of cool air relief, and passed by fast.

The chickens all got dampened, to various degrees.  The lightning was still about two km away but the thunder cracked so hard, while I was out feeding the chickens, that the hens all simultaneously started running, flapping, and screaming, but they had nowhere to go to!  Very funny.  They just reconvened a minute later under the trees and coops when the rain came down.

Premature vocalization

THIS little guy was crowing today.

Is he an Oscar, or an Orlando?

It sounded like someone stepped on a squeaky toy.   I think he was appropriately embarrassed and  didn’t do it again.  Hope he puts that project on the back burner for a few months. I wouldn’t have thought it possible if I weren’t looking right at him.

Exactly two months old today

I’m like, You!  You are barely 12 inches tall at your full stretch.  You have nothing to crow about yet!

The teens are so cute!! Bright yellow, big feet, that they have yet to grow into, like puppies.  The teens have a set of baby sibling tag-alongs- the four young chicks of Ursa’s, and they (teens) tag along on the Family (Philippe and the Cheeks etc).  Galahad escorted them down the path to the house the other day (And here, at times, there are snacks), and now they show up daily, but they feel better if the Family is already there.  Moochers of the future.

But which is which?

That would be Oscar and Orlando up front.  I don’t care how tall you stand, you’ve got no business crowing about it.  Clearly, Toffee’s offspring. Philippe was finding it warm today.  Another record setting hot one, and most of the chickens were adopting Airplane Pose.Ursa Minor’s four chicks have been on their own for a week.  Surprisingly early!  I haven’t looked if they’re still cuddling in the coop, but during the day, there seems to be no further attachment, except to each other.  They’re a little peeping squad.  They seem to be role-modeling on the teens these days.

It’s really something: now I’ve got chicks that were born here, that were born to chickens that were born here, and their behaviour is remarkably different from the first gens.  They’re so confident. So early – still tiny, miniature chickens still fuzzy around the neck- and they project Yeah, I got this, world!  No questions or hesitancy.  I’m a chicken!  Hear me r–!   Oh, wait…”

So it’s come to this

I knew it was a thing.  I didn’t know it was an industry. (Totally worth the click). 

I missed my calling as chicken seamstress.

I have a couple hens who would be really into that tutu (I’m thinking of you, Cheeks).  I believe hens have enough self-awareness to have a sense of pride in appearance, and it would feel like an extra nice tail.  I remember clothing changing the demeanor and status of Jean Jacket.

I could use a couple chicken saddles, too, for Cheeks and Puffcheeks, who are both getting ragged from being Philippe’s favorites (he likes his ladies bearded).  It’s not like they run from from him, though; they are both constantly at his side, from day one, so I didn’t think there was anything I could do for them but perhaps a protective mantle of some kind…  that I’ve been designing in my mind…but of course, it’s already been done, and done big.

Enjoy the chicken accoutrements story:)

Bugs, good and evil

I think I have a squash bug problem:I dispersed them with soapy water, but they have the military might.  There are honey and bumblebees rolling around together in the funnels of the squash blooms.

It’s true what they say about bees loving Echinacea (coneflower).  I’ve found them NOT easy to grow, though, so I’m very pleased to have some mature, and even better, for them to be established in a perfect place in the garden (that is not always a given – too close, too sparse, wrong height – lots of ways to put plants in the wrong place)I have some that grew from direct seeding last year, and I painstakingly got a few seedlings started this year that are still very small, not blooming. The blooms are glorious, and popular! This Tonello bean has ambitions:Just past 8′.  Its friends wer happy to turn the corner.

Ah, the honeysuckle is happily established on my garden shed.  I hope, long term, that it turns out to be a good location:The tobacco is blooming!  This one in the greenhouse is about waist high.  The others, outside, have not got so big (yet): This is a sad pepper plant.  Chickens think pepper foliage tastes great, and they are a major threat when they get into the greenhouse, especially when the peppers are smaller.  There was an incident…but the peppers recovered.    This one by the door the chickens stretch their necks through to pluck what they can reach.   By the way that snow fence on the door instead of screen has been a pollinator lifesaver.  I did have screen with gaps for the insects, but they still would often get trapped.  This year, I’m seeing almost zero dragonflies and bees getting “stuck” inside.  The key is the orange colour that draws them, so they go right to the door whether going in or out.  But it lets air throurgh and keeps chickens out, except for their little necks.

Snake eggs

I was doing laundry, and you know how weird stuff gets left behind in the washer?  There was this odd, plasticky, flexible, inch-long “pod” left behind.  I thought at first it was some kind of bean, or seed pod, and naturally I tore it open, and it was actually something VERY FAR DOWN ON THE LIST OF THINGS I EXPECTED TO FIND when I opened it.

In fact, I’ve never seen one before, and was excited with the discovery, but also sad, because it was dead from the laundering.

It was a tiny snake!  Tri-folded, like a letter, to fit in its little pod.  If it were hatched- and it must be nearly finished incubating,  because it’s filling up its envelope- it would be about 3 inches long.  Fully recognizable as a tiny little snake.

Stranger, later I found another egg the same size, this one outside, and dessicated, and I’ve no idea how either of them came to turn up near us – were the eggs laid in hay bales, and got shaken into the rolled up cuffs of my pants?  It’s a mystery, and that’s my best guess.

Happy about living naturally