Monday, June 30, 2008

Sometimes he gets it wrong

Isaac loves to use big words. I love to hear Isaac use his big words. This morning he told me he found his cereal a little threatening.

On the subject of cereal, it is so great you can now buy guaranteed gluten free General Mills Rice Chex in pretty much any store. This is Isaac's new special treat. He just loves it. I have no idea what he meant when he said he found it threatening. It was said with a big smile. I asked him two and half hours later what word he had used to describe his cereal this morning. He just gave me a big grin and said, "Threatening."

Isn't he cute?

I was getting Emmeline out of her seat and noticed this little guy in the zinnias and cosmos outside the kitchen window. Excuse the piece of cardboard. It's supposed to be over by the watermelon plant not too far to the right. He is so tiny and he was sitting right on the zinnia leaf underneath before I ran to grab my camera. He is leaning over in the pictures and grabbing the seed head of a cosmos. If you look you'll see the seed head isn't there in the first picture because he had to lean over pretty far to grab it. I guess cosmos seeds are yummy? I wish these pictures were better! It's taken through a grimy window and screen though.

I love having a large bed of flowers right under the kitchen window. It really draws a lot of birds. Later in the season we have hummingbirds. I love how they will hover in front of the windows looking in. None of the other birds seem as interested in us. But the hummingbirds always seem curious. Our regulars are a couple of families of cardinals. Not long before I took these pictures Emmeline and I were enjoying one of the male cardinals sitting atop a tomato stake in the garden.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

For the Baltimore grandparents

This is that sweet dress y'all bought Emmeline. I love how she looks in it. It's such a nice simple old fashioned dress.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Old Easter Egg

David took one look at this and said, "It looks like we left that Easter egg out too long!"

Roses and Dill

I planted the dill around the rose because I thought they would look pretty together. Those are some daisies there in the center I started from seed this spring. They have been growing wonderfully. I can't wait to see them bloom next year.

We had a lot of zucchini to pick today. No surprise there, huh? I have 5 trays of sliced zucchini in the dehydrator right now to put aside for the winter. I watered the corn and the cantaloupe. I mulched one of the beds of corn while trying to avoid the giant wolf spider living in my pile of straw. *shudder* And I got a bed of black eyed peas planted and watered today. I am trying to keep up a steady pace of planting year round and putting up what I can. Tonight from the garden we are going to have glazed baby turnips and sorrel and amaranth greens with our dinner.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Spiders and Stuff

I was inspecting the corn today. The tassels are out. It won't be too terribly long till we have some corn. Isaac is so excited. He picked this corn out and considers it his. I noticed this one spot where a spider had encased this whole section, laid eggs and they have hatched. It's fascinating and disgusting all at the same time.

Can you spot the bug in this photo?

Here are some of our tomatilloes. We have green and purple. We have a pile of Jalapeno peppers in the house right now that the children picked a little over enthusiastically yesterday. In the herb garden I have a nice patch of cilantro. I just need the tomatilloes and tomatoes to finish ripening and we are set for Mexican food!

Here is how the potato bed is doing.

There are two bed of cantaloupe here in the center with three hills each. On the right is a bed of corn we planted later than the one on the left. You can't really see it but it's there.

Alpine Strawberries and Yugoslavian Red Lettuce

I have always wanted to grow these. I started a flat over a decade ago and missed watering them and lost them all. I bought some more seeds this spring and put them in the freezer to stratify. They were planted a couple of weeks ago. I now have 2 flats with a total of at least 100 seedlings. I am so excited. David is making fun of me over how frequently I bring up how excited I am about my alpine strawberry seedlings.

It's an awfully hot time of year to be planting these. But I just couldn't fit them in this spring. My light stand only holds so many flats and things like squash and tomatoes were of a higher priority. We started several hundreds plants inside. It's so much fun and always exciting when things germinate.

This week I am working on my list of what to buy now to plant this summer and fall for fall and winter crops. Isaac wanted to know what I was so excited about this morning and it was Yugoslavian Red Lettuce. I spotted this gorgeous lettuce late spring in The Cook's Garden catalog. I can't find it on their website now so I am assuming they sold out. I don't know that it will be a good fall lettuce so I might wait till spring but I'll admit I can't wait to grow it.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

This is what happens when your five year old picks up....

...and you need to take the laundry down to the basement anyway. It's better than the other day when I gave up and went outside barefoot because I could only find shoes for my left foot.

Monday, June 9, 2008

It'll be ok

Daddy won't make us do this much longer.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Colorful modern cloth diapering

All on a dual purpose zip line. The chickens like the change of scenery. Emmeline likes a dry behind.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The slaughter WILL continue

I called DNR and we can legally kill raccoons. Our neighbor can also continue to feed them legally. They have our name down to borrow traps but we are looking at a 14 week wait so we will just have to buy our own.

The slaughter has begun

I hope it's the end! This morning we discovered 10 of our 37 chickens were missing. All that was left was a few feathers on the ground outside of one tractor and the mangled remains of one of the cochins under the apple tree. Wouldn't you know they didn't steal any of the roosters in the less well secure tractor. It looks like the local raccoons can open the sliding locks we have. So now we need something more complicated before nightfall. I am so angry for those poor birds. The raccoons opened the back door and just reached in and grabbed them while sleeping in the nest boxes I assume. I wonder how much raccoon traps cost?

Monday, June 2, 2008

We know we've been discovered

This morning I walked by the kitchen window and noticed chickens flapping around out of the corner of my eye. I looked over to see a hawk sitting on top of one of the chicken tractors. I was on the phone with David at the time. I wish I had taken a picture before opening the door and hollering at it. It had a narrower body than most of the hawks around here and was gray with white strips. Very distinct stripes on the tail from what I recall. I am not having much luck figuring out what kind it was. I only saw it from behind so I have no idea of the belly color. But I have no recollection of seeing any brown on it at all.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

I can put my shoe on


Here's our handsome rooster!

He is really rather tiny. He should weigh under 2 lbs when he is full grown.

Chicken a la King

Everyone is looking for some tasty bugs in the garden.

This is a pretty little hen. She is a blue Mille Fleur. They are extra tiny even for bantams it seems. They are the smallest of all our chickens. The Porcelain Mille Fleurs we have are the smallest of the Mille Fleurs. She was very curious about the camera.

Here is one of our white Silkies. They are fascinating to look at. If I recall correctly white Silkies are the original color of the Silkies. They are less endearing to me than most of the other hens though. There is something just rather odd about them. David and I read the other night about how Marco Polo shared about Silkie chickens when he came back from his travels but no one believed him. They called his book The Million Lies. Chinese folk medicine says they make an extra nourishing broth. I guess we will find out one day. Their skin and bones are black.

One of our four Buff Orpingtons. I like them a lot. They seemed a rather rough lot when they arrived. Being larger than the others they just kind of step on the other chickens to get past.

This is another Mille Fleur here. You can see her feathering is black rather than the bluish color of the first bird. They take a couple of years to develop their full patterning. I wish I had gotten a picture of one of our Mille Fleur roosters. "Cock of the walk" comes to mind. They are very handsome and prone to strut with their beautiful tails and foot feathers.

Thirty-seven chickens have survived. I am having a hard time imagining getting rid of any of them. We ended up with a lot more hens than roosters even though we ordered straight run. A few roosters will have to go but we will keep a couple. We are talking about just building a large coop and chicken run to hold them and rotating with the chicken tractors. The chicken tractors will be ideal for any setting hens and chicks.