Tuesday, April 25, 2017

More spring rain

C. planted two rows of Green Wave mustard, and hoed out a whole bunch of dill today.

We planted dill the first year we were here, and never since. "It's dill weed," explains C., and she's right. It grows like a weed. She saved a gallon jar of dill seed last year – for what, I don't know, since the damn 2013 dill keeps coming up and trying to take over the garden. Because she's thrifty, I guess. Or for sprouting. The rabbits love dill leaves, seeds and sprouts, but the sprouts take two weeks and I don't usually have the patience. They aren't much work – no soak, and a rinse just every other day – but I have to look at the jar next to the sink for two weeks.

The forecast is clouds and rain for the next few days. Meh.

We bought two gallons of milk and a dozen eggs from Rose today.

I emptied the big plastic greenhouse garbage can and washed it out. Now it's inside our front doors, full of 100 pounds of seed barley for sprouting. There's another big can for chicken food and oats, and a 5-gallon tin of alpaca chow. We'd put them outside on the porch, but the goats and Bambi would be out there butting them until they burst with grain goodness. Then Bambi and the goats would die of bloat. I keep the lids on tight to keep mice and Earl out.

I spent some time tidying the hall. It's the place everything gets put "temporarily." I took wagon loads of tools and boards and buckets and empty grain sacks and kindling to various places. Now I'm tired, but the first 10 feet of the hall looks pretty good. If I did that for a week, the whole hall would be beautiful. Or at least not horrible. It's a big hall, maybe 10x60 feet.

C. listed the seeds she started yesterday: Ebony and Heart of Gold acorn squash, and Lower Salmon River, Jarradale, Sibley and Blue Hubbard winter squash; summer squash Odessa, vegetable marrow and Chaklun zucchini. She started a flat of Opopeo amaranth, and another of broccoli relatives: Green Lance Chinese broccoli, Amazing cauliflower, non-heading broccoli, Ukranian Chinese cabbage and Chinese Chinese cabbage. Apomiksis was the Russian cucumber she forgot to list yesterday.

Graham the rooster has been stalking C. again, and bit her yesterday. She put him in a cage for a while, and he paced furiously and banged his comb bloody on the wire. She let him out last night, and I saw him come after her again today as she was transplanting thyme on the rock path. He's little guy, but he's serious, and has big old spurs. He flies at her knees, and she bats him away and keeps on with what she is doing. He kept coming at her, and she finally grabbed him up and dunked him in a bucket of rainwater. That settled him down. C. insists he can learn to behave. I think we should cage him before he does some damage.

He doesn't give me any trouble, but C. is always finding grubs and calling the hens over. He must think she's trying to take his girls away. Or maybe he's just a jerk.

I found an old apple box in my studio that should make a good third nest box for the hens. And we need to construct something that the guineas will use. They're laying three eggs a day on the floor in the corner of the chicken house. Something with a roof and a back exit, maybe covered in brush? Guinea psychology is tough. If they are happy, maybe they'll lay eggs at home, instead of all over the hill. And maybe we'll have fewer surprise batches of keets. The guinea hens like to show up with 24 babies, and drag them carelessly around the place. Sometimes they lose the whole group – to cats or owls or something.

There's an animal sale/swap at the Deer Park Feed Store Saturday. We might pack up some guineas and roosters and go.

Seven eggs today.

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