Monday, May 21, 2012
These are my blocks for the do. Good Stitches quilting bee - they will make up our May quilt. Such a simple idea and a clever way to use up little fabric scraps. I think the finished quilt is going to be lovely, don't you? I keep meaning to get outside with my (borrowed) camera to take pictures of the garden. For the first time in 11 years of gardening I have a really productive garden. Nothing about gardening has come naturally to me - I now have a library of organic gardening books which I consult before planting every vegetable. Seems there is more to gardening than sticking seeds in the ground and hoping the varmints don't get them. I've been mixing up fish emulsion and stirring in bone meal, turning the rotting vegetables into the compost pile and all kinds of other stinky organic things, and it is paying off. Hooray!
Spring has also brought us a wealth of new chickens. A few months ago I picked up a box of 39 day old chicks at the post office, which were divided between us, my dad, and my urban-farmer friend Jessica. Then we noticed that 4 of our hens had gone missing. After last year's baby chick surprise, we figured they were off sitting on secret nests of eggs, and so far we have been right about two of them. Crazy Red Hen laid a clutch of eggs in an old box in the garage and hatched out one baby chick. I'll spare you the details, but let's just say that if you are going to hatch out a baby, don't do it in a box in the garage. Her sister, Crazy White Hen laid a clutch of eggs in the attic of the barn. We only discovered her there because Brett thought a rat was scrabbling around up there and barged in on her ready to attack. Fortunately the intrusion wasn't enough to convince her to leave her nest, and she has hatched out two super tiny little blonde chicks. So far so good on those little guys, but I'm not sure how she is planning on getting them down from there, or how she was planning on feeding them. As it is, I have to make sure she is supplied with food and water since they are not on the ground to find these things themselves. *sigh* Needless to say, my chicken chores have vastly increased. After I make the usual check of the old flock (food, water, gather eggs, make sure no eggs have been eaten, socialize a bit), then tend to Egg Eater Hen (she is quarantined since when she is with the other hens she eats their eggs), I check in on our mail-order chicks to feed and water them, play with them to ensure they grow up gentle and friendly, and make my way to the garage to make sure Crazy Red Hen hasn't done anything, well, crazy, and try to cheer her up with a handful of scratch. Then I scale a precarious stack of scrap wood and tools into the barn attic, heave up the floor board under which Crazy White Hen is nesting (and I do this at great personal risk, since she is ready to attack me at any minute, being unaware that I am the only thing keeping her and her babies alive) to give them food and water that I have hauled up with me. Yes, all of this is done with a 6 and 3 year old in tow, asking questions all the while. I love having baby chicks but sure wish we had some functional mothers taking care of them. I have more and more appreciation for those homesteading women - taking care of a farm is hard work!