Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Home on the range

It's so nice, in many ways, to be home. It reminds me how much I love cooking-- really-- when we come back. Patrick had such a packed weekend, band-wise, and I stayed home about every minute I could, blanching and freezing and making pesto and going blueberry picking and buying more chickens.

That's right, these girls are new. After losing Pasty and Genevieve a few weeks ago, I'd been rolling around the idea of finding two hatch-year pullets to fill out the flock and keep us in eggs. I called the farm up the road. I wasn't too hopeful-- it was August, after all, and I was going to be picky about breed. This here homestead ain't no place for no newfangled red sexlink-- we like heritage breeds in red, buff, and stripey. But, lo and behold, they had two Rhode Island Reds born April 1st, and we could have them for $5 apiece.

Thus Rhonda (as in Vincent) and Reba (as in McEntire) have come to stay. They have caught on beautifully quickly, and Loretta, for her part, doesn't seem to mind them much. Surprisingly, SO surprisingly, Reba laid her first egg for us yesterday. First off, a chicken supposedly takes a month to adjust to new surroundings before settling in to laying; second, 16 weeks is young for a laying bird; and third, getting them gathered up from their old home and into my cat carrier was beyond traumatic, involving barking farm-dogs and lots of flurried running and squawking. And then the stuffing.

So I'll take it as a compliment that Reba's began laying already; she must approve of the coop.

In the meantime, we're still waiting for these guys to start laying... 

...and meanwhile, 'Retta's gone looking for friends in all the wrong places. Anybody want to write a dialogue for this photo?

And meanwhile, the garden is still looking great. My tomatoes are finally starting to blush, little by little; I will have cucumbers very soon, too. Winter squash and peppers are both not looking so hot at all-- probably the cooler summer is to blame for that. I really didn't mind having an average high of about 76 between June 1st and now, though, in trade for two bum crops. I finally have a slew of carrots that have made it past infancy, thanks to plastic mesh fencing I laid over the germinating rows. So galling to have lost multiple carrot plantings this year, since I've never had trouble before, and carrots are about the most time-consuming thing to replant, and replant, and replant... Le sigh. It is always, always something. 

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