Saturday, February 20, 2016

Early spring weekend

It's sunny/cloudy/rainy here, and C. has been bopping around the garden, digging here, moving that, fussing like gardeners do. I see her out the window because I'm feeling indoorsy.

I dragged out the seed-starting gear and set it up in the dining room window. The window sill is too narrow for the pair of mid-century plant lights, so I widened it with stone tiles, packing the space underneath with rope lights, the poor woman's heat mat. The lights work beautifully – they provide a mellow, steady heat that the tiles hold and radiate, they're waterproof, and they impart an eerie red glow to the room. Very sci-fi. Proper heat mats are crazy expensive, about $20 to heat a single flat. Rope lights are pretty cheap, especially if you bum them from Emma.

It's an improvement on last year's setup – I'd hung a heavy wire shelf on chains suspended from the ceiling, and attached heavy shop lights to the bottom of the shelf and put heavy flats of older seedlings above. It came crashing down one day, dirt and plants and trays flying. Plant lives were lost. I may have cussed while cleaning up. There might have been a tantrum. I forget.

So this year's lighting is better. We haven't yet ordered seeds, waiting for the tax return. We do have a bunch left from past years, though, enough to get started. Most seeds are still viable after three or four years. I don't think we'll try the ones from 1999, though.

C. found a woman who wants to trade a nice little grey rooster for Satan's own hen, and I'll buzz to town tomorrow morning to make the deal. Dovey, the little bearded hen, is going to be thrilled to have a pleasant companion. We'll be thrilled to be rid of Henley the bully, and this nice woman is convinced her larger flock with several roosters will tame Henley.

Here's the new guy, Graham, half silkie, half serama. The silkie is the Phyllis Diller of chickens, a small, fuzzy, goofy thing with feathers on its feet, and seramas are toy chickens, hardly chickens at all, so you could call him small. But no rooster ever thinks of himself as small. He carries his fluffy tail high and puffs out his chest, and darn it, he's plenty big enough to defend his family, and his legs are long enough to reach the ground. 

Left, the fuzzy silkie; right, the tiny serama.

Here, he's making a funny little noise and pretending to find goodies in the dirt. She's interested. (She's the one with the beard.)

I'm still cleaning the rabbit room daily as well as opening jars and using scissors for C., who has bruised  her right hand in a wood-splitting mishap. She knocked the metal wedge into a log, and it bounced back up and smacked her in the back of her hand on the knuckle of her middle finger. She won't be flipping the bird anytime soon. That's my job now.

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