Crop report

Beans are flowering
Two kinds
Spaghetti squash, zucchini, onion, and delicata continue with vigor. Two batches of rainbow chard. Just starting summer squash. A tiny bit of spinach. Sunflowers drying in the house. Finished: the kids’ tiny row of sweet corn and some spicy, hot radishes that the pet bunny enjoyed. Just about to be ready: honeydew, cantaloupe, watermelon, cilantro, beets.
We got the leggy starts of broccoli, cauliflower, and broccoli in. Now if it can just survive the hard rain… C’mon, baby, you’ve got this!

Chicken selfie with the Little Giant

Yesterday evening the weather was wild. The wind came up and then it *pounded* rain. The kids and I were on the far side of town and I felt anxious for the chickens in their new coops, so we headed home & checked on them. The tarp had blown around and messed up part of the roof (but only busted the hog-rings not the wire, so it should be fine, we’ll have it good as new in no time).

The chickens were wet and huddled and scolded me because THINGS WERE VERY STRESSFUL AND THERE WAS A SITUATION!!! until I got the tarp back in place at which point it was like flipping a switch and the chickens collectively relaxed and were like oh, time to eat, yeah, no bigs.

So then I came and checked on the box chickens (they got that name because they are waiting for their coop to be made by hanging out in a rectangular chicken tractor that gives them access to new ground every day and protects them from predators but which also looks like a box). The box chickens had wet heads and were actively getting rained on, but were also like, time to eat. So I felt relieved and actually ended up taking care of a few things and heading back to town.

On the way home from town the sunset was so pretty that my son took a video of it, but even that didn’t help it register to me that I needed to have put those chickens to bed!

(Note: During the day, we keep the door open and they forage in the yard inside a loop of portable [solar!] electric fencing to keep predators out. At night we shut them in the box since chickens are so vulnerable when they’re sleeping. This was their first night in the box.)

When I got back and looked in the box, there were 8 of 31 birds.

Oh dear.

That meant some chickens were in the trees.

Well, the rest of the chickens that were in this thorny tree. There were several other groups.
Another group. This was well over my head. This is not the face of a bird who is thinking I’d better get in the box because of predators. This is the face of a bird who is thinking you are annoying.
This is the face of a person who is thinking This is annoying.

It took me an hour to find/get all the chickens safe. Nice team-building exercise for me and the birds. I did set an alarm on my phone to put the chickens to bed a touch earlier for the next night. Goodnight chickens.

Gratuitous advertising because I felt so grateful to be snorting around with something solid last night: If you’re going to take a selfie on a ladder in the dark while the wind is starting to blow again and you are holding a chicken, Little Giant is the brand of ladder you will want to do it on.

Goats on hold.

Welp. Our Kikos aren’t going to work out. Change of circumstances on their end. We are disappointed, and our weeds are disappointed.

But there’s another place with Kikos that’s closer, so maybe it will work out better in the long run anyway. Guess this means the pressure is off to finish the enclosure.

Maybe we’ll focus on catching up on some fieldwork, getting chickens settled in the new moveable coop, and getting a good setup for some bunnies for a minute.

Long day.

Worked on the chicken coop door and protective mesh. Got 2 new bunnies [squee Squee Squee]. Scurried over to a family pond to let the dog run and go for a quick dip and get our MIND BLOWN by the beautiful sky.

We got to put some veg in the new bucketwagon!

It’s a wagon. For a bucket. It’s a bucketwagon!

If you read the label it can hold 350lbs, but PROTIP: if you decide to climb into it on the gravel driveway and tell your sister to push you around for a spontaneous family parade, BE ADVISED that it does NOT have a front post to balance you. Just to mention.

Meanwhile, some things are starting to happen. Raccoons tipped us off that we have corn. (Thanks, raccoons!) And spaghetti squash, delicata, watermelons, cantaloupe, and honeydew are working on it. Fun check in today.

Cleaning out the barn

I love our old barn—I always have. When I was little my grandpa told me it was put together with square wooden pegs instead of nails. That seemed so ingenious and magical. And there’s a wall where we have graffiti from the early 1900’s. It fires my imagination, makes me feel connected to my heritage. It’s a long term (back burner—thought it was impossible) dream of mine to put animals back in the stalls. It’s a miracle to me just to be trying.

Some of the most connective, (gross, sweaty, stinky, annoying, exhausting), authentic work I did as a kid was in that barn. Some summers I had to help clean out the cow crap with my whole family. It was terrible, and it seemed to take forever, but at the end of the day I felt the shape of my work, my impact.

I LOVED when they put hay in the barn. Mostly the direction was to stay out of the way. Some years, though, I got to help take bales off the conveyor. I LOVED (love) feeling strong. I can still pull up: the sweet hay smell, cut grass, gasoline, sweat, lemonade. The dust motes orbiting in the sun shafts. The line of darkness from the edge of the window. The impossibility of raising my eyes from the floorboards if one of the young men talked to me (Ooh! Muscles!) Sideways looks once their attention was elsewhere. The joking/ the coordination/ the grumpiness.

Of course, the barn has always had its creepy bits, too—raccoon poop, a surprise possum skeleton, or even just the dark and spider webs.

Was looking at some old graffiti on the barn wall and thinking about the mix of my ancestral heritage. The hard work. The value of family. Care for the land. Also stories of drunkards and bastards. and stories that are missing for me: who had the land before Theron F? Was it a swamp or were there people here who were driven out? Tolono used to be a sundown town. What role did my family play? Lots to think about and work I need to do.

Squash

We’re about to have a lot of squash. Zucchini have started, spaghetti squash are a few days out. Delicata is a little further back, but doing great. Morning lesson for me: young honeydew tastes like a cucumber whose life choices have made it bitter. #BetterWait #MelonsAreExciting