Gardening

The Eternal Optimism of Spring

Azalea-bud-header

Spring! Despite the fact that I live in a climate that really has only two discernible seasons, I love Spring! My love overcomes the adversity of the blizzard of pollen that coats every surface including your teeth if you open your mouth at the wrong time. How can you not love the blooms of spring?

Iris-front-pollen

Spring is that golden time in the garden where nothing has really gone wrong yet. You labor, and your labor is rewarded by restored order and new life.

Flowering-bush-front

I am committed-I repeat-committed (!) that this will not be a repeat of last year (or what I like to call “The Year of the Fungus”).

Kentucky-Pole-Bean

We shall overcome! We shall overcome the beetles, slugs, black spot, powdery mildew, blight, fire ants, birds, squirrels, moles, and dogs! We shall overcome and we won’t spend a thousand dollars doing it. We will be thrifty and the garden will be lush and organic.

potatoes-flower

And after we accomplish these things, we’ll actually go outside and enjoy it …instead of retreating to the realm of air conditioning and tv.

Ahhh, the eternal optimism of Spring… ūüėČ

Gardening

Miscellany… of the Horticultural Variety

Today, I’m missing my mom because I want to know what this is. So I’m in the market for a surrogate mom. ¬†Can anybody tell me what this is? ¬†They’re in my front garden beds and they’re beautiful and I love them and I want to know what to call them!

Most of the year, they just provide beautiful variegated foliage.  Then in late spring, they put out these beautiful clusters in all shades from lavender to almost white.  Again, I love them.

While on the subject of plants that I love-I LOVE HYDRANGEAS!  My Hydrangeas are so beautiful right now.

They’re fascinating to me. ¬†The¬†litmus paper of the horticultural world. ¬†I’m always amazed at the different shades from yard to yard and plant to plant. ¬†In fact, this year I’m amazed at the variation of shade I’m seeing in one plant.

The pristine clear blue.

The softest lavender.

The blush of dusky pink.

And finally, a¬†cacophony¬†of all the shades available to this beauty’s soft¬†palette. ¬†What’s blooming in your garden today?

Chicken Mission

A Plethora of Poultry: The Desk Reference Edition

So I‚Äôve been quasi-obsessed by the chickens.¬† I know it and you know it.¬† Given my track record, no one should be surprised that I‚Äôve been reading and googling incessantly. It‚Äôs probably time to give a recap of the great resources I’ve found and utilized.¬† Maybe in the process, it will give me closure and I‚Äôll be able to bring the chicken mania to a more reasonable level of engagement.

I started with Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens by Gail Damerow

This book was epic.  It provided me with more detailed information on the care of poultry than I could absorb. I waded through it, but I felt like I needed something a little more streamlined to get me off the ground.

So I downloaded The Working Chicken by Anna Hess.

This is a succinct well-organized e-book available for your Kindle through Amazon.  It cost .99 and was a great read.  I felt like between the two, I had a good basic overview (Hess), as well as a desk reference (Damerow) that I would be able to go back to when needed.

So I moved onto magazines, which is very much my MO.  Of course, first there’s the mothership…It does not disappointment.

Then Hobby Farms Annual Poultry Issue

Then Chickens‚ĶHobby Farms‚Äô ‚ÄúEssential Poultry Publication‚ÄĚ

And of course, there’s the litany that is my Chicken Blog Roll‚Ķ

Many of the following blogs a present a staggering array of detailed (sometimes graphic) information that poultry keepers need to know.  They are passionate about their flocks and their posts demonstrate intense connections with the animals they keep.

ADozenGirlz, The Chicken Chick

Fresh Eggs Daily

Lessons Learned from the Flock

Tilly’s Nest

The Tangled Nest

Eggs and Chickens

For the Love of Chickens

HenCam

My Pet Chicken

Backyard Chickens

There are a ton of resources out there, and the enthusiasts are true enthusiasts.  Many of the blogs I’ve highlighted are absolutely beautiful, and the bloggers have brought chicken keeping to the level of art.

If you have an interest, enjoy! I certainly have.

Chicken Mission

Bella and Buffy

I love the¬†Hogwarts’s¬†four, but the group just cried out for a little more diversity! ¬†Enter Bella. Our new three month old Golden Laced Wyandotte.

Bella is absolutely beautiful! ¬†She’s also about half the size of the original Hogwart’s four. ¬†Believe it or not, this came as a surprise when I got her home.

In my mind, she’s three months old-they’re about three and a half months old… I figured after a short quarantine period, I’d easily be able to introduce her to flock. ¬†I fully expected the whole “pecking order” thing. ¬†I didn’t, however, expect Hermione to freak out and hammer Bella’s head like she was a snake or something. ¬†Lesson learned. ¬†I quickly extracted Bella and she now resides in our recently launched chicken tractor. ¬†At least until she catches up on the chicken growth chart. ¬†But here’s the deal. ¬†She looked so little and lonely in the tractor all by herself. ¬†Not to mention, the Hogwart’s Four kept staring at her in a relatively hostile way.

I felt terrible for her.

Enter Buffy, the Buff Orpington.

This one’s a corker!

She’s two months old and from the same breeder as Bella. ¬†They bonded quickly and now the tractor is a happy little island of chicken cuteness.

Bella is actually Bellatrix LeStrange, the whacked out witch from Harry Potter. ¬†I love the name Bellatrix, but my daughter argued, “Mom, this is a sweet chicken! Not an evil witch chicken.” ¬†I told her she had a point, but what can I say, I like the name Bellatrix, Bellatrix LaStrange? ¬†I think it’s an awesome name for a chicken. ¬†She thought about it and said, “Well, i guess Bellatrix was actually kind of pretty in a really freaky way…” ¬†We were still mid-debate on Bella’s name when we brought our little Buff Orpington home. ¬†I knew immediately what her name had to be. ¬†There could be no other name for this one. ¬†It had to be Buffy the Buff Orpington. ¬†Buffy, named in honor of ¬†that bombshell demon killer, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. ¬†That’s it! We all agreed. ¬†Buffy and Bella. ¬†Bella and Buffy. Right about this time, my husband walked in and said, “What? Now we have a group of vampire themed chickens?” ¬†No honey, it’s just a happy accident. ¬†Chicken destiny….rock on….

Chicken Mission

New Construction of the Tractor Variety…

I knew from the beginning that I wanted a chicken tractor for my hens. ¬†The coop is awesome, but I feel like they need to be able to stretch their legs, and free-ranging just isn’t a good option for us right now. ¬†I also knew that my chicken endeavors are just that, my chicken endeavors. ¬†The spouse has not been an active participant. ¬†He’s a darn good listener, but he has ¬†granted me lots of space on starting our little flock.

Imagine my amazement when he willingly took on the project of tractor construction!  And finished it!

He even managed to involve the male offspring (girl child wasn’t having it).

Of course, it could be that one of the fellas helped more than the other.

I’m not naming names mind you…I’m just saying…

So this will be our mobile coop-our chicken RV, if you will. We can position the tractor strategically, moving at frequent intervals (1 to 2 days depending on how many occupants), and those little rascals will eat bugs, pull weeds, and fertilize our pitiful, pitiful backyard.  Score!

Gardening

My nemesis…

Nemesis…defined as “a formidable and usually victorious rival¬†or opponent”

And she knows this…see the look of shame and apology. ¬†It’s because she loves me. ¬†She doesn’t love me enough, however. ¬†She’s dedicated to foiling my every move. ¬†Our battleground?

Our battleground is any area I attempt to cultivate as a garden bed, be it floral or vegetable, and the accompanying accessories.  The weapon? Her pearly whites. Her chompers. Teeth!

It’s April the 11th. ¬†I’ve been ready to plant for weeks, but no…I’m stalked by this evildoer of a mutt. ¬†Let me recount the casualty list to date: ¬†$300+ dollars worth of drip irrigation, ¬†a waterhose (including the fitting that attached it to the spout), the styrofoam covers off the trampoline, two dessert sage bushes (established), a satellite wire, the inputs to our air conditioning unit, an aloe vera plant and numerous small plastic containers.

This teething rascal is relentless! ¬†But it’s April people and I have no choice! I had to plant! ¬†I’m missing the window of opportunity for Texas! ¬†It will be 100+ degrees in a couple of months. ¬†So I planted

A few tomatoes, zucchini, bell pepper, and I wrapped it all in ragged leftover chicken wire. ¬†And it seems to be working…so far….but I haven’t replaced the drip line yet. ¬†I’m still having to water. ¬†By hand. ¬†Daily. ¬†So, I found this

Which is a wireless fence system purported to accomplish this

My nemesis and I have a date with destiny this weekend.  And my hubbie, a date with drip irrigation!

Crochet · General

Thoughts of spring

Apparently I’m unable to stop making scarves from the amazing, lovable color wheel that is Catania cotton. ¬†We’re going to chalk this creation up to the anticipation of and appreciation for all things Easter. ¬†Not to mention, a symbolic appreciation of the blooms of spring. ¬†Although it looks like a watermelon to me.

I like watermelon, it just doesn’t make for a very poetic description.

And I think this scarf deserves a poetic description…So does this egg…

My sweet girl experimented with her egg-dying this year.  I love her natural, intuitive creativity

She rocked her eggs…She just rocks in general….It’s an awesome kid that can create this on a whim.

Wonder what I could do on a whim today…. Have a wonderful day, and follow your whims!