Thursday, June 17, 2010
I, myself, have extremely fond memories of Disneyland from when I was a child: the dizzying rides, the mountains of treats, the garish mechanical puppets. Though the sweltering heat and hoards of mouse eared devotees stewed in a landscape of over the top commercialism can feel much like a descent into hell, we had a thoroughly enjoyable time. To be sure there was unpleasantness to be tolerated. But I tell you, there is little that can top the expression on my child's face when after flinging pennies into every damned body of water on Disney property, wishing each time that she could fly, and then seeing her step off Space Mountain beaming "That was awesome! It was like we were flying through space!"
For all of you who only remember the Space Mountain of the 70s, let me assure you that it is nothing like that old rickety you-can-see-the-tracks-with-a-bunch-of-specks-that-kinda-look-like-stars roller coaster. The ride thrusts you into pitch black with a dappling of light flecks too dim to illuminate anything, as blaring video game-esque music pumps out of each car that twists and turns you through this simulated outer space at neck-breaking speed. We all gave it two thumbs up.
While we were away, my dear friend Julia kept the farm in tip top shape. We returned to find all living things happy, healthy, clucking, bleating, hopping, and growing. Here is an update on the various farm entities:
Lucy has become intensely "frisky" as her pregnancy progresses. I fully understand what those hormones can do to a lady, but poor Ethel has been taking a real beating, especially when it comes to food. At chow time, Lucy will do anything she possibly can to keep Ethel away from the grain, including headbutting with such force that it knocks Ethel clean off the deck. Lucy's high spirits aren't just reserved for her pal. She has given the chickens plenty of what for, but fortunately they are quick to scurry off. I, however, have not been as lucky. While attempting to get Lucy on her back for some hoof trimming, she gave me a blow to the noggin' using the side of her rock hard skull. I swear I felt my little mass of gray cells slam against the opposite side of my head. You won't be surprised to hear that I had a headache for the rest of the day. And to all you readers who may recall my pregnant hormonal episodes, just remember I never headbutted anyone... even if I did feel like it.
Other than the a few scuffles with Lucy, the chickens are doing swell. I did hear that Eggo gave the farm sitter a hard time, refusing to go back into her coop at dusk. All the other hens were being good girls and going to bed on time, but Eggo just wanted to hang out with the goats to try and score some leftover feed.The goat food is like crack to the chickens.
Julio is happy here on the farm, probably because I let him run around the yard eating all the dandelion greens he can stomach. His eye isn't getting any better so I think I'll have the vets do a tear duct flush when we have him neutered in a couple months. I can't wait to move him into the Green Bunny Playhouse, which will hopefully be done in the next couple weeks. Did I already tell you all about this project? I'll give a full debriefing when it's finished.
I think the plants grew nearly five inches while we were on vacation, which is good because that's what is keeping them ahead of the rats. Those pesky little varmints are about to send my blood pressure into the stratosphere. They've figured out how to hop over the electric fence and have started in on the peas again. I've made some adjustments and that seems to be keeping them at bay for the moment. I'm not going to sit on my laurels too long as I've heard from my hubby that those assholes can chew through concrete. Some old fashioned snap trap reinforcements are going in at the weakest points of our electric barricade and around the chicken coop (sometimes when I'm out closing the coop door, I spot a couple pairs of beady eyes tucked under the lip of the nesting boxes).
Most of the veggies I've attempted to grow have done well, if they haven't succumbed to the rat invasion. However, there are a few exceptions like the chard which is getting wilty and brown and then being eaten by ants, the watermelon radishes which I've found some kind of creepy crawly on the bulb that looks like maggots (since these are growing fairly close to the chicken house, they may well be maggots), and the spinach which has a touch of powdery mildew (at least I think that's what it is). But damn, can I grow me some kale. I've got that stuff coming out of my ass. Even the bunny is getting sick of it.
The worst gardening blunder has been with my tomato and pepper starts this year. The seeds all sprouted nicely and then suddenly their growth was stunted like a malnourished child's, except the StupiceAnnie's Annuals and Perennials (an awesome nursery and definitely worth the trip, though I recommend going with a friend). I felt a bit ashamed at my botched job of seed starting, but as my friend Kd says "The only shame is not having any tomatoes at the end of the season." I kept those words close to my heart as I handed over a good chunk of change for some quality heirloom varieties. This year I'm growing Stupice, Thessaloniki, AAA Sweet Solano, Snow White, Black Cherry, Spike, Spain, Principe Borghese, Michael Pollan, Jimmy Nardello’s Sweet Italian Frying pepper, Gypsy Pepper, Rocoto, and Mulato Isleno. They're all on my front patio in a variety of types of self-watering containers. Keep your eyes peeled for a future post on the construction of these bad boys.
(P.S. I promise to keep up with posts this summer as there is a lot happening around here that I want to share with you all.)