Friday, May 14, 2010

One Fine Day in May

The sky threatened rain most of the day and thunder could be heard rumbling in the distance, but we didn't get rain until early evening, and then it was nothing to write home about.
The mercury rose to 80 degrees F, and it was humid and buggy the entire time I was working in the garden. Not my favorite conditions for working outside at all.

I got a fair bit accomplished, but not nearly what I had hoped (of course!) I planted some cabbage, kale and spinach in my straw bale garden. I'm curious to see how this gardening technique works; more on that in another entry.

Noticed a juvenile toad sitting on a stone in one of the flower beds as I walked past. He didn't move from that spot for several hours. He's obviously not concerned that he's got spirea flower petals on his back. The stone is probably nice and cool on his tiny belly in the shaded garden on this hot, humid day. And why is it, that toads are seemingly always referred to as males when people talk about them?

Young toad enjoying the shade in one of my flower beds

I then managed to transplant a variety of herbs in my sewer pipe tile herb planter. I'm hoping the chickens that manage to escape the chicken run leave this alone

Herbs growing in tile flower bed border

Chiquita, an Ameraucana hen, helping me with garden chores

Speaking of renegade chickens, here's one that somehow manages to escape in spite of the fact that she's got her wings clipped. Chiquita is "helping" me, as you can see.

English Lavender

I'm trying to be good and get things transplanted as soon as I buy them. I love lavender but never seem to have much luck growing it. So, here's to trying yet again. Once I got the lavender planted, I rustled up the various empty pots and containers to add to the pile of said items beside our garage. Why is it that, in spite of the fact that I'm not scared of snakes and in fact I like snakes, that they still make me jump a mile when I see one when I'm not expecting to? This little garter snake nearly made me jump out of my skin when I went to put the pots on the pile.

Garter snake

Venus, my crippled Welsummer hen, has gone broody. I've got two other Welsummer hens that are broody and I'm trying to break their broodiness; egg production is dropping with all these broody girls! I need no fewer than nine dozen organic eggs a week for my faithful egg customers. A fourth Welsummer is due to hatch out a clutch of eggs in two days. She's down to six eggs in her clutch
; there were seven there just a couple days ago. I'm hoping she's not going to cause me grief like Speck did when her eggs were due to hatch. Anyway, I've decided to let Venus hatch out some eggs...she needs a job. I don't let her in with the rest of the chickens because I'm afraid the roosters will hurt her already hurt back/leg. She seems to get along fine with the hens, but the roosters think she's hot (with a name like Venus, well....) and can't seem to leave her alone the few times she's managed to sneak into the pen.

The five eggs Venus is mothering

Venus has been sitting on these eggs for about four days. I've got them marked lightly with pencil lines so I can tell which eggs are to hatch, and which eggs Chiquita and Maggon lay in there....yes, Chiquita and Maggon know all about this "secret nest" and have been laying eggs in this nest for months. They crowd in there in spite of Venus's protests and scolding, lay an egg (pale blue and green), and leave. It would be disastrous if I couldn't determine which eggs were fresh and which eggs are growing. Venus is such a sweet chicken...I think she'll be an excellent mother. Right now though, she's pretty fierce if you stick you hand in the nest. It's amazing what a few hormones can do to a girl!

Maggon (in rear) crowding a broody Venus

You would look crabby too, if you'd been sitting on a clutch of eggs in one spot for 19 (so far) days

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