Monday, May 28, 2012

Ladybugs and other tidbits

Last night I released a package of 1500 ladybugs. Amazing! Per the instructions, I kept them in the fridge until ready to release. Last night, after the rain had passed I sprinkled some in the flowers and left the open package in the polytunnel. While most will fly away to find food, there were lots still in the polytunnel this morning and some were already working on making the next generation.

Everything is enjoying the mix of ample sun and rain and proving it by growing well. I'd rather the weeds weren't doing so great, but at least the garden is taking off. I checked the hedge and the only plant that had me worried has started leafing out, so that's a success.

I've just been shifting some of the logs that are in the way of the pen expansion. Whew! It's a lot harder when the humidity is high.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Hen acrobatics

I have one bantam hen, Road Runner. Being much smaller and lighter, she enjoys flying out of the pen and foraging for herself. Today I took out some watermelon rinds for the chickens and I stopped to watch her get back into the pen so she could have some too. First she jumped onto the wheelbarrow handle and from there up to the top of the dog pen fence. Then, with wings half spread she tightrope-walked along the top of the fence to where it meets up with the chicken pen and gracefully flew down to join the others.

It was the funniest thing I've seen in a long time.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

RIP Duchess

My parents think she died from shock during the night.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Tonight I took Duchess hen over to the farm, hopefully to recover. Awhile back she was badly pecked on the back of the head but it had healed and I thought the trouble was over but today she was savagely attacked. My biggest concern is if her eyes have been damaged. If not, she should heal and become the matriarch at the farm.

Last week we planted the new hedge along the front yard. The weather has been great including a lovely 1.5" of rain on Saturday night. Unfortunately, it has been what I can only call a menopausal weekend so I haven't got much accomplished.

Come to think of it, it's been a rough time for critters. I took Rom, our geriatric kitty, to the vet on Saturday to have an ear infection confirmed and bought expensive medicine. There's something wrong with a system when it would cost less to have a pet put to sleep than it does to heal them.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Say 'cheep'

 Here is the latest on the growing flock at the farm. It still startles me how much larger my original chicks are even though they are only one week older than the mail order chicks. I love seeing all the different breeds in a mix like this and the coloring on some is truly stunning.

So much to see and do outside.
Lion doesn't have time for the feeder - he's on patrol.
The outer perimeter is on the hunt.
This little guy amazes me - he looks like he has wings on his legs! Anybody have an idea of what breed he is?

Sunshine, grass, bugs, a pine tree for shade, and a dirt patch for dust baths...what more could a chick ask for?

Monday, May 14, 2012

 Days like this make me wish I had a fancy camera that would let me get a closeup of the bird feeder without scaring off the finches. They do illustrate the beautiful turn of weather that has developed. Lots of sunshine and perfect for being outside in the garden. So far I've planted potatoes, onions, peas, kale, spinach and cucumbers. As this year's experiment I planted two grape vines in the polytunnel. Speaking of which, it's reaching the end of life for the poly and has begun to shred. The frame is fine so I'm searching for a replacement cover. 

 In a fit of organizing recently, I found an old (at least a decade) needlepoint project tucked away in a closet. The design is a series of four panels each showing the same apple tree branch in a different season. I had put it away after finishing the spring panel, so now I'm working my way through summer. It's very relaxing and gives me a handy project to pick up when I need to cool off in front of the fan for a few minutes.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

What a night!

We got hit by the first serious spring storm last night with high winds, hail and over 3" of rain. The power was out for about 3 hours and we did go down to the basement at one point. That rain was in addition to the 2" we had already received in the two days before. My petunias were shredded and the onion sets I had spaced out so carefully are in a jumbled mess from the downpour. Sigh. There's nothing to do about it now because it's all mud. I'm glad I didn't get anything else planted out because it would have been washed away. On the bright side: we didn't get a tornado and nobody was hurt.

Observation: although we are physically well prepared to deal with a power outage, mentally it is very hard to deal with. I plugged the fridge and freezer into the solar batteries, lit the Aladdin lamp, and we both had ways to read and electronic gadgets with batteries but with the storm booming in the background I found it difficult to settle down. I'm not sure what can be done about that so I'll be thinking about it.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Welcome to Po and Peep! These two were from the mail order chicks and haven't been doing well competing with the others. For that reason they've come to stay at my place and hopefully enjoy some real growth and catch up. They don't look bad but compared to my hatchlings at two weeks they are far behind.

Today has been a disappointment. I had high hopes for getting things done but it turned into one of those days where if it can go wrong, it will. Example: ready to mow for the first time this year only to discover the battery won't hold a to town to buy a and charged up and the mowing begun and the mower throws a belt. I have almost zero mechanical skills so this stopped me. Now it's too late as a storm moves in and we wait to see how severe it is.