Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Although the rain is persisting, there is a warmer feeling to the air these days that I am very thankful for. Summer is a funny thing in Washington. It seems that we wait for it with heavy anticipation for nine months out of the year and when it comes, it comes on slow and without much notice. When it is warm here it feels, to me, as if it has always been this way. Summer is like that old friend who it always feels the same with, even after months of separation. While it is here, the warmth has a perpetual feel to it.

 We have been enjoying an abundance of greens for the past few weeks. The kale, spinach, parsley and broccoli (to name a few) have beat our expectations by far. We are cutting large, full bodied heads from enormous broccoli plants, and we are past due for having all our friends over to taste the landscape.

                           Giant red mustard babies

Our chickens continue to grow larger and larger. They spent their first time in their second run today which goes along the side of the house. They were a bit hesitant to explore the new territory at first but enjoyed it in the end and even warranted a visit from the neighbor warning us that they were flying around. We have had a bit of trouble getting the girls to sleep on their roost, they prefer their nesting boxes which is exactly where we don't want them to sleep. We tried giving them a more rounded bar and putting pots in the nesting boxes so that they couldn't get in them. This did not detour them, they simply crammed in with the pots.

                           Chips, Rosie, Penny and TinTin squeeze in with the pots

Next we decided that the bar we provided must be too thin, so we gave them a larger one and put milk crates in front of the nesting boxes to keep them out. That night we found them happily sleeping on top of the milk crate. Our neighbor informed us that the chickens are very amiable after dark and we might be able to move them onto the bar then to train them. So the past couple nights we wait till after dark, open up their back door and carefully move them from the milk crate onto their roost where they stay the rest of the night. These chickens are as suborn as they are sweet.

                            B cat rolling on the hot pavement

It is raining while I write this, but just two days ago the cats and I were able to soak up some sunshine in the front yard. They get pretty dirty out there rolling on the pavement but it is worth it to see them enjoy themselves so much. It is funny to think of Monster when we first were given him, he was paralized by the outside, now it is his favorite thing.

                     Monster nestled in with the raspberries

After some hours in the sun Monster came in and plopped himself on the couch. When I saw him next he had managed to turn himself over (which he usually has to have help with) on his back and stayed this way for at about 5 hours.

Two weeks ago Stew and I made a trip out to Vasion island for a visit to Pacific Crest farm and our friends Bob and Jen. We were able to lend a hand in the potato field weeding and hilling the potatoes.  To get maximum growth from your potato crop you want to mound dirt up around the stock and leaves of the plant to allow for more growing space. It felt great to do some hard work and although it rained on us a bit, the weather was just right.

                    Stew weeding the potatoes

It was really cool to see the chickens siblings. They are mostly larger then ours and their colors are so varied. It turns out that our Rosie is the only Araucana from the bunch that is colored the way she is, the others either have more white or black. Unfortunately I didn't get any pictures of them. Maybe next time.

                            Indie waiting patiently

                                  Bob hilling

I am glad we have a couple more trips out to Vasion planned for the summer, the farm is so calm and beautiful. It is a real joy to spend time there especially with such enjoyable hosts.