Sunday, June 14, 2015

Finding Beauty in Hot & Soggy

We are caught in that weather pattern where hot, humid weather attracts thunderstorms--and then more heat and humidity, and then more thunderstorms.

It's too wet to mow and weed. So instead of sulking, which I've done, I captured some images from mid-June.

The first crop of strawberries is winding down.

The red raspberries are preparing to take over. Shhhh... don't tell the birds.

And, while mowing a bit of pasture--before another pop-up storm--I found a few wild raspberries and ate them.

In the garden, the weeds are growing, as is the dill.

As is the radish cover crop. Last week I said enough with planting and seeded the remaining garden space in cover crop. It's my first attempt at this, so we'll see how it goes.

It's my first attempt at growing popcorn, too.

I've grown garlic before--but had never eaten the scapes. I sauteed them in olive oil and butter, added some more fresh herbs and tossed it with linguine. It was so tasty, I might have to plant my garden in garlic next year.

Meanwhile, in the chicken yard, the chicks continue to capture my attention. The chicks are almost four weeks old. Buckeyes are a slow-maturing breed--but very hardy and great foragers.

The lambs, especially the Katahdin-Dorper crosses, are growing fast. These two aren't quite 3 months old.

In the flowerbed, the first daylily of the season bloomed today.

And the lilies are so beautiful, I want to bring them inside.

But I won't. Louise the cat ate the lilies last year.

My favorites, though, may be the alliums--wild, carefree and a peaceful blue.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Chick Freedom Day

Mama Hen hatched her chicks in the lamb pen about 3 weeks ago.

Every day, I gave them food and water and watched as they scratched and pecked in the 6 x 6 stall.

But Mama Hen grew restless.She wanted to rejoin the flock and roam the pastures and barnyard, looking for bugs and worms.

Every day she flew to the top rail of the stall and beckoned her chicks to follow.

But their wings are small and four feet is too high for them to fly.

They cheeped and called their mother back to them.

Last night, when darkness settled, we gave Mama Hen more freedom.

We moved her to the Young Chick house where the 9-week-old chicks are living.

"They're big enough to venture into the Young Chicken Yard," I tell the spouse. "Mama Hen will keep cats at bay."

Today, Mama Hen is happy. She's taking her three chicks around the chicken yard, eating bugs and greens.

Meanwhile, the juvenile chicks remain huddled in the Young Chick House, terrified of Mama Hen and her chicks.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Strawberry Thieves

I love strawberries.

And so do the birds.

When picking, I find a few half-eaten ones.

I offer those to Raven, the Border collie.

Raven eats it, licks her lips and eyes the strawberry patch for more.

"Eh-eh," I say. "This is not a pick-your-own operation."

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

One Day She's Wearing a Dress, then Next She's Off to School...

I picked her out when she was 5 weeks old.

And visited her until she was ready to leave her litter mates.

At 10 weeks of age, I don't know if she's going to be a good sheepdog. I just know her parents are--and that she's cute.

I dressed in her a sundress once. Yes, I know Border collies don't wear dresses, but a co-worker gave it to me. Even the cat knew she looked ridiculous.

The older dogs were less than impressed by Niki, and still are. But 3-year-old Raven was willing to play with her.

To get her used to car rides, I loaded her in the car and took her to the nearby Stillwater Prairie, where we took  long walks.

She traveled to sheepdog trials with Raven and me--and posed for Patti.

I tried to teach her to respect the cats.

But Trick wanted to play with her.

We survived three 7-week sessions of obedience class. She became more attentive and learned to sit and stay and down--but was too much of a busy-body and pup to be the star pupil.

At home, we played the "trade me" game, and she learned to give up shoes, gloves, and deer legs.

She grew long-legged, and she joined the other dogs for the daily treks around the hay fields and ponds.

Last week, at age 10 months, she went to the sheepdog trainer. While I'm anxious to see if this pup will take to herding like her mama, I was sad to see her go.

I miss having her at my feet, chewing a bone in the mornings. Though, it is nice to leave my shoes on the floor and know they'll be in the exact same spot when I return.