Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The good, the bad, and the ugly

I love my life, really I do, but things go wonky all the time and I end up with chickens in the bathtub... I'll start with the ugly and work my way to the good so we end on a good note here.

 The Ugly:

You can just see him in there
  •    Last weekend I sent Aislyn out to give the bunnies food and water. She came running in the house saying that there was a snake in the cage and the babies were dead. I ran out there (after grabbing my camera) and, sure thing, there was a snake in the nest box. It was just a medium, garden variety snake, but it was big enough to eat one baby and kill the other 3. The mama bunny was cowering in the far corner and practically jumped into my arms when I opened the cage door. Mike followed closely behind me, shotgun in hand. Then he proceeded to poke the snake with a stick, repeatedly, until the snake tried to climb out of the cage. Of course, it couldn't get out, there was an entire half-grown bunny rabbit in it's belly, but it sure tried. While it was stuck there Mike shot it. 
  •  Yesterday morning I gave the Maran and Blue Amercuana chicks fresh water. As I walked away I forgot to drop the shade cloth back into place. About 8 hours later, when it was 108 degrees, 14 of the 21 babies had wedged themselves into a small corner behind a cardboard box, where there was a bit of shade, and smothered to death.The survivors were quickly moved into the bathtub to cool off and recover. I can't tell you how bad I feel about it. 
 The Bad:

Sad sad zucchini
  •  Squash bugs have killed all my zucchini and yellow squash and are now working on the patty pan and cucumbers. I've pulled most of the plants and I'm going to try again in a different bed. I've heard that planting radishes all around the seedlings might help, so I'll try that.

    Get a room!
  •  Grasshoppers are everywhere right now. I can't walk anywhere without flushing out whole clouds of them. They don't seem to be too interested in the garden yet, but if they do decide to munch on my veggies there are enough to wipe everything out. They are also busy making lots of baby grasshoppers... everywhere I look there are grasshoppers getting busy.

We're letting it dry before we give it to the animals
  •  The corn has succumbed to a terrible earworm infestation. We're going to put in a new crop in a few weeks. Luckily, the chickens don't care if there's worms in the corn and the goats like the crunchy dry stalks, so it's not a total waste. I am sad that I didn't get any sweet corn for 4th of July though.

  •  Gabe has been sick. It's nothing major, just a virus, but it's awful when he's sick because he can't express himself very well. He's been sleeping a lot and Turtle is more than happy to keep him company during naptime. 

 The Good:

Aislyn, Ian, and Lily
  •  I'll start with the best thing. The pool!! The Nanas went out and found us the biggest above ground pool they could. It keeps the kid occupied, which keeps the bickering to a minimum. If it weren't for the pool the kids would have to stay inside when it gets really hot out. Plus, it's huge, so there's plenty of room for the grownups too. My favorite thing to do late at night now is to go float in my ring, watch the stars, and enjoy the quiet. 

Dehydrated tomato paste
  •  I have tons of tomatoes. Yesterday I stopped counting the cherry tomatoes I was picking when I got to 100. I've made a few jars of tomato sauce, lots of dried cherry tomatoes, and (my favorite) dehydrated tomato paste.We had amazing BLTs the other night and there is a big bowl of cherry tomatoes on the dining room table for snacks. 

Mama and babies
  •  Miss Broody wasn't having any luck hatching out her eggs, so I took them from her and gave her a few of the babies I hatched in the incubator. After dark I snuck out there with 4 babies and switched them for the eggs. The next morning I went out to check on the little family and all seemed well. The next day she let them come out of the nestbox and explore the coop. Now they're running around after their mama and she's teaching them that the compost bin is the best place to find tasty tidbits.

Buddy likes to be in the middle of things
  •  Buddy the duck was delivered to my a door a couple of weeks ago by one of the (semi) local members of my gardening forum. He needed a new home, and I have the space for him. The other ducks gave him a bit of a hard time when he first arrived, but now he's part of the group. He's a crested Khaki Campbell and a very handsome guy. I think some of the Pekin girls are sweet on him.

That's it for today. It's time to have some lunch and then go swimming. Blessed Be...


  1. Wow. I think the experience with your critters and your garden would make me cry. In fact, I might have gone postal. Sorry things have happened like that! Glad the kids have a place to cool off and good luck with the duck!

  2. Petey, I did cry over the chicks. I still can't believe that I made such a dumb mistake. The garden isn't so bad, because I can plant summer squash until august here and still get a harvest. And the snake? So not my fault. That was one sneaky, dexterous snake.

  3. I wonder if Gabe has what I had. I am just finishing my 2nd round of STRONG antibiotics. Its like a respiratory virus.

  4. Hang in there honey, you're doing fine. These words often comfort me, and I hope they comfort you. I'm very familiar with the ups and downs myself. It all comes in waves, and we make it through. In the end, there is always something to be glad for. As for the squash, and the bugs, try spraying the plants with sour milk. We've been experimenting in our garden, and this might work. Or, try marigold water ... blend up a bunch of marigold petals in a it of water and spray that on the plants. Marigolds are a natural bug deterrent. I think it was a great idea to give the chicks to the broody hen. We're hatching our own, but hadn't thought of that. Wonder if any of our hens would take them? Blessings in all your endeavors!