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Monday, May 18, 2009

Weeding, weeding, weeding ...

If that was not our busiest weekend of the year, we're doomed. Mowing, mulching, repairing, planting, watering, weeding, weeding, weeding ...

Plants are doing well, direct seeding less so. It's either too hot and dry for the seeds, or drowning and cold. The yo-yoing seems to do them in. Most years, too, it's either aphids-to-the-max or slugs-to-the-max, this year they are beating us up alternate weeks, seems like. Meanwhile, we doggedly throw starts at the failed spots in our seeded beds and keep up our other tasks -- introducing new chickens to flock, putting the summer awnings on the south side of the house -- alternately shivering in rain boots and staggering around, sweat pooling through the gaps in our sunblock.

Coffee in the morning, at about 6 a.m., is our down time and discussion roundtable.

"What was that with the Rosies last night?" (These are the Rhode Island Reds.)

"They've never been outside before. And I think they're not used to so much daylight. So when everybody went in to roost, they stood around outside in the dark because it looked more like home to them. What did you do? I saw you out there but I thought you were in with the Annies." (Ancona ducklings have their own temporary run.)

"I found the Rosies huddled near the door so I shone the light in their eyes; they got up liiiiike thiiiis (demonstrates) and mooched in like kids caught staying out at recess. If chickens had lips they would have all pouted."

"Funny! But we have to do that, or they'd take to the trees and never use the barn." (We both pause to think of reports of a new cougar in the neighborhood.)

"Marley is having to learn new stuff, too." (This is the young cat Daughter brought us in exchange for Donut, who is retired at fourteen.) This morning I let her out, and she flew right across the yard at a little sparrow who was putzing about, just on the other side of the fence."

"And hit the fence."

"Full force. She came back and asked to be let back in, walking a bit sideways-fashion. The look on her face said 'Don't ask', plain as day."

"Aww ... but she's spending more time out, especially at night."

"Mnh ... but hasn't left any mice on the doorstep yet."

"Well, there was that one shrew."

"It's a start. Kinda. More coffee?"

And so the day begins. But outside, as the shadows shorten, it's already getting a bit hot to be up on the ladder ...


  1. I love that your birds are called "The Rosies" and "The Anies". We name our birds by group and type, too. Our Barred Rock hens are all called Phyllis. They say not to name your livestock, but we find this makes it easier to distinguish between one group and another when talking. All future Barred Rocks will also be called Phyllis. We have some up-and-coming chicks of different breeds that haven't been with us long enough to name yet. We have to wait for a name that fits.

  2. I'm sure all barred rocks are called Phyllis! What could be more appropriate? Although I've noticed Chanticleer (a gigantic Buckeye) calls them all "Hey YOU!"


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