Friday, May 31, 2024

Uff da

I shouldn't have wondered what else this month might have in store for us. It has been quite a day – and week.

After working in town Tuesday-Thursday (my part-time job and covering Rick's office for his secretary) and trying to get the loud clunking in my car diagnosed (it refused to reveal itself to the technician – of course), today has been a whirlwind of at-home chores. I got up early to do the vet clinic payroll and review with Rick what he had gotten done on the garden water lines, then did barn chores, chopped thistles, trimmed and swept the front walkway, and worked to complete the water lines. Then I came inside, gathered a load of laundry, went to the basement where the washer is – and spotted a small puddle beside the upright freezer where we keep fruit. With dread I opened the door and found everything thawed. So I hauled all the dripping bags and containers upstairs, stashing what I could fit into our refrigerator/freezer and plotting how much I could use up for potluck dishes and supper (not nearly enough).

While doing all that, I was keeping my ears alert to chicken squawking through multiple windows opened for that purpose. Our next-door neighbor on the east lost one of her two hens to a raccoon Tuesday evening; I chased a raccoon away from the hen yard yesterday afternoon (my chickens had retreated, squawking, into the henhouse), and this morning I learned that last night our same neighbor beat off a raccoon that had grabbed her last hen by the rump and was trying to drag it over the fence. Good thing I was listening, because I did hear squawking, ran down and found a raccoon halfway up the 6' fence of the run! So yep, the hens got shut in early again, and will stay in until we have the chance to turn their run into Fort Knox.
Hens, still safe

Pullets, still safe
Believe it or not, on top of all that the power went out for over two hours late this afternoon. Since I couldn't do much else, I enjoyed the chance to SIT and spin for awhile, guilt-free!

On a more soothing note, my iris bouquet has been opening up to reveal rich, royal purple blooms. My little orchid is not only holding onto its three blossoms, it's developing more flower stalks. And after a long hiatus, my African violet is finally blooming again (unlike the African violets I cultivated at the office, which bloom non-stop thanks to regular feeding).

That's it for May from . . .

Monday, May 27, 2024

MORE memorable May!

Sunday, May 19, felt like a second Mothers Day because my son went to an agility trial with Poppy and me! He was pleasant company and Poppy had two great runs (and two no-time efforts); here is the video Brian took of our best effort, a first place qualifying run in Standard, Level 2:

And here is Poppy, tired, with her ribbons – and the $50 credit for a future trial entry we got in a volunteer drawing:

While we were at the trial, Rick got strawberries planted – all 84 starts! I picked up a few more starts to add to both the 'herb barrel' and the garden proper and got them planted Friday. Now the garden has taken shape, and I'm at that happy anticipation place before the weeds invade and harvesting keeps me harried. 😉 Leigh lists what goes into and comes out of her garden for record-keeping and I've decided to loosely follow suit.

Herb starts in the round stock tank on the east side of the house: Spicy Globe Basil, Sweet Italian Large Leaf Basil x 2, Dill x 2, Italian Parsley x 2, Curly Parsley, Cilantro, Mixed Lettuce (6-pack)
Garden proper:
Tomato starts: Gold Nugget, Taxi,  Gill's All Purpose Heirloom, Oregon Spring x 2, Willamette
Eggplant starts: Japanese Long x 2
Sweet pepper starts:  Bacskai Feher x 2
Winter squash starts: Butternut x 2
Cucumber starts: Bush Crop, Regal Pickler x 2, Armenian
Summer squash seeds: Gelber Englischer Custard, Fordhook zucchini, Long White of Palermo zucchini (one hill of each)
Beet seeds: Detroit Dark Red, one row
Bean seeds: one row leftover mixed Purple Queen and Bush Blue Lake, one row Jade, one row Calima
Strawberry starts: Albion

new leaves burgeoning, and some of my seeds are sprouting, too

On Sabbath afternoon we met my MIL and FIL at Schreiner's Iris Gardens for a walk through paradise. We used to go annually, but then they started charging admission and the pandemic happened and admission went up.... I've missed the experience, so was glad Rick suggested it and got tickets online ahead of time. He even prepaid for bouquets for his mom and me! Mine is still in bud so photos of it later, but here are a few photos from the Garden of Eden display gardens themselves:

On Sunday morning Rick and I drove to Portland to take in the last of the International Woodturners Symposium. A different kind of beauty from the day before, but just as compelling to me; I love looking at woodgrain and what talented people do to bring it out!

Afterwards we had lunch at a favorite restaurant before coming home to work around the place. That included getting Rick to examine Bonnie who has been lame for a few days (she was already better), and vaccinating the two sets of twins (Bitsy was vaccinated earlier). Speaking of lambs, here's the latest gratuitous lamb spam:

Finally, chicken changes. The friend from whom I got four pullets three years ago got more chicks this spring and offered me some. I didn't take her up on the offer right away; the nine I had was a good number for my space. But our two remaining Blue Wyandottes are seven years old and rarely lay anymore, and Kate, the Rhode Island Red that was part of that four-pullet package, stopped laying eggs with shells over a year ago and has been ailing for months. When my friend said she'd take them for processing, I decided to take three of her pullets to replace them. The swap happened last night after dark, for ease of catching and incorporating. This  morning I took photos of my current flock, who  conveniently congregated in their original groupings:
Spangle and Splash, three-year-old Whiting True Blues

The four mixed-breed hens, ages two and three, that we got from moving neighbors.
From left: Pearl, Ashes, RBG, and Puff

The new girls, Amber Stars and a Legbar, from left: Toffee Bits, Honey Bun, and Snowcone
That should keep the eggs coming for a good while. I wonder what else this super-abundant month has in store for us!

That's it for now from . . .