Saturday, September 24, 2016

Visitors,vacation, tweedles, chicks and Charlotte fixed

I've  been thinking about this blog for  about a week now. Its been such a crazy busy summer  with lots of visitors, a vacation  and some  work  in between.  I almost posted 4 days ago but then I cut my index finger doing something stupid.   I took the band-aid off this morning so I could type and now my finger is sticking to the keyboard. Such has been my world for the last 3 months.
I'm going to start this with  an update  from the long ago last blog.  The pullets are no longer pullets. They are full grown layers now and their eggs are very popular in the neighborhood.  Mostly because they are cheaper than  free range eggs in the stores and  fresher as well.  They are laying enough  to  supply  our household needs and those of egg customers and some for the local  foodbank.  Our community building experiment with the chicken feeder went well during the summer but it is definitely dropping off  now that the light is going away and  the kids have gone back to school.  I'm on the fence  about pulling it for the winter.  Its kind of a pain to lug it up and down the hill everyday   and when we get a downpour  its kind of messy (I need some sort of rain hat for it)  but I don't want to disappoint the  4 people  that come by every week   like clockwork.   And I don't want to have to retrain the chickens in the spring, to run to the fence.  So I gotta think about this one for a bit.  Jimmy says I started it and I need to keep going. Kenmore is in the middle of a lot of changes right now. Tons of development  going on and to be perfectly honest the stuff they are doing downtown is  oppressively  over crowded and looks like  Halloween colored, post WWII ,European reconstruction housing. Jimmy  affectionately calls them " Tomorrows ghettos ... Today!".    So, our community  kinds of needs a gentle  activity right now.  That alone might keep me trudging out there twice  a day even though it feels  like a  Sisyphean task.
Canning and winemaking  got put on the back burner  because of all the chaos  around here. While the kids were here for three weeks the DIL and I did manage to get in a little jelly making and we spent an afternoon  getting the  dried herbs  ground  and into jars.    The  4 year  granddaughter was a delight.  She was so excited to  work 'on the farm' and participate in the grownup activities that she took every single task very seriously.  She carefully spooned ground sage,thyme,rosemary and tarragon into  jars.  She fed the chickens every day and gathered eggs  religiously.    Together we made enough hawthorn tea to last the winter and we even did a couple of  very simple sewing projects.   She also fixed Charlotte.   It took her a few days to  get comfortable  with the idea that she could pick up and carry a chicken (Charlotte is so TAME).   Then I began to worry for Charlottes safety.   The kid was relentless! After a few days of  being targeted by a 4 year old, Charlotte began running from her on sight (unless she had food)   running ,not limping.   Just when I was going to intervene on Charlottes behalf  I realized  that  our little crippled chicken was getting  a form of  PT that I never could have provided her with and that  my coddling of  her had done more harm than good.  I decided  to let their relationship continue to build  with some judicious monitoring.   The granddaughter left a few days ago and Charlotte  has been missing her constant companion (and  endless food source) And I miss her too.
We have new additions to  the  menagerie.  While we were on vacation someone tiptoed into our yard, in the middle  of the night, and  put two  coal black Cayuga ducklings into our chicken coop.  The house sitter LOVED that one.  Jimmy named them 'The Tweedles'  We introduced them to the pond outback and  they have happily integrated.  Two days ago  they filled my heart with joy. They were up by the house ,in the garden area, slurping up one giant slug after another.  Once again my Grandmother was right. She said 'ducks or geese will solve your slug problem'.
I also need to say thankyou to a couple of  generous neighbors who  provided me with fresh tomatoes and cucumbers  that they couldn't use.   We got 13 jars of pickles and will have quite a bit of tomatoe sauce   when I get them done.  The freezer is full of fruit that needs to be turned into something delicious so I guess the next couple of weeks are  already scheduled for me.  I just hope I have enough jars!