Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Summer recharge, fast growing chicks, and weed combat.

For all that we sometimes wonder why we are where we are, and think about wanting to leave during the winter, May through October reminds us why we live here beyond just the ideas of why we're doing what we're doing. Some days are just beautiful, and while I'm not a good enough photographer to really capture the appearance of what I wanted to share on the cell phone camera, but it was beautiful. Coming home to this kind of gorgeous lighting in perfect weather is just the kind of thing we need to recharge from stress and fatigue. As you can see, everything is green and bright, and the weeds need more attention which isn't shocking given our time frame this year. I really want to try to make sure I get out and do something about the goldenrod before it flowers this year to try to cut down on how much more grows next year. The other weed that we're having to actively kill this year that I never thought I'd be considering a weed is raspberry and blackberry! On the up side, the rabbits are having some great meals when I just hack down an arm load of raspberry plants and pass them out. So far that's still their favorite treat food which is very entertaining to watch. Even Twilight's nervous babies come out to eat it even when I'm around to interact with them because of how high value of a treat the greens are. I want to feed Goldenrod again because it's everywhere, but I just need to make absolutely sure that it's all goldenrod this time and I don't slip dogsbane or anything like it in with the safe food again.

The chicks have been growing extremely quickly, and I think they've actually had a growth spurt overnight. Right now they're still a bit nervous around me, but I'm able to get closer and closer without their mom giving alert calls. If she does, they're gone, so I just have to be patient. I'd mentioned last time that I'd been hoping that one of the hens had been going broody again because more chicks would be good, but that doesn't look like it's happening. We did have a friend give us some fertile eggs so we could put them under the broody hen to get more types of chickens because we really love variety since we're not doing the purebred thing, but instead the whatever works mutt thing.
Given that we probably won't have a broody hen in time and we have a dozen good eggs that we'd really like to use we're looking at borrowing either a friend's incubator, or a broody hen. I'd be happy with either one, the hen having the obvious benefit of not requiring work to keep the chicks healthy and teaching them how to live. The benefit of the incubator would be trying it out, and seeing how it works since we've never used an incubator. It would also mean things happening on our schedule as opposed to most other things around the homestead which go by the schedule of the weather, the animals, or the soil. It's fine that things go by their own schedule, but sometimes it's nice to have things operate relatively on our schedule. We'll see in the next week if the hen goes broody, and if so, great.
Other things that are happening include the garden doing well. As you can see, fighting the weeds is a constant struggle because we don't have good mulch down to fight the weeds. Eventually we're probably going to want to get wood chip mulch, but that's for when we have a bit more money around to spend. For now, the walking onions are doing their thing, and getting topsets going so they can wander off on their own. I'm going to be picking out some onions from them to use soon. They didn't survive the winter well enough and in enough abundance for me to be poaching from them earlier in the season, but now, well, now I eat onions or they go out of control. It's amazing to me that something called "Egyptian Walking Onion" not only survives winters here (mostly), and can become problematic if you don't eat enough of it. It's ok, cooking is fun, and onions are a good flavor!

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