Friday Reflections

Wow, this week flew by.  Where did Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday go??  I must admit, though, that I am ready for the weekend.  I have yard work to do!  Unfortunately, rain is in the forecast.  This has been the norm for the past few weeks:  beautiful weekdays, lousy, rainy weekends.  What gives, Mother Nature?!  I have been making the most of it by taking off a little early on the nice, sunny afternoons and doing things like mow the lawn, take the baby chicks out for some sunshine and fresh air, and work in my garden.  I’m already out of garden boxes.  Full up.  I need more.  Hubby is out of town until the end of the month, and his priority when he returns is a chicken coop, because in the not-so-distant-future the new girls are going to be too big for the 4-bedroom cardboard condo they are currently living in.  But I have 15 pepper plants that are going to need a home by that time as well…such is the life of a gardener: too many plants, too few planters.

My baby chicks are growing up!  It’s hard to believe I’ve had them for 3 weeks now.  It sort of seems like forever.  Maybe in part because I’ve been playing single mom for the past couple of weeks, maybe because they are just so darn cute it’s hard to imagine life without them now.  They really like going outside and pretending to be big girls, scratching in the grass looking for bugs, pulling on the ends of grass blades to see if they are worth eating, flapping their wings and testing the flight capabilities…it’s been fun to watch them explore.  And they are getting some attention from passers-by on the sidewalk.  It’s a great chance to educate folks about urban chickens and the joy of raising them for their eggs, pest control, and entertainment value.

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The Ancona and Gold-laced Wyandotte think they have found something in the grass.  Maybe, maybe not.  They have a short attention span.

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The Araucana still has her ‘Cleopatra eyes’ as my friend says.  She is a beauty if I do say so myself.

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And little Miss Blue Cochin and her fuzzy feet.  She is just the most adorable thing.

I have big plans for the weekend.  I have a bunch of rhubarb still in the freezer and I found a recipe for rhubarb barbeque sauce–I must make this!  And, amazingly, I have already harvested some rhubarb this year!  I gave it to a co-worker who loves rhubarb.  He has tomato plants for me.  How sweet of him!  I also have asparagus to plant, which arrived yesterday.  Tomorrow should be a good day to plant because it should be overcast in the morning, then rain tomorrow afternoon.  I won’t have to water it!  Talk about perfect timing.  Today I planted my plumcot (a cross between a plum and an apricot) and a red current shrub.  I’ve never had red currants, but I am so excited for them.  My orchard is now beginning to look like an orchard and not just a weedy terrace with some chokecherry trees in it.  I’ve still got some weeding to do (lazy chickens are picky about what they eat, apparently) and there is a lot of rocky soil that needs to be built up with leaves and compost this year, but it’s getting there.  I’ve got it laid out in phases, so that I can plant 1-2 more fruit trees this year while building the soil in another part of the orchard for planting next year.  I’ve also got to repair some of the terrace where the rocks have collapsed.  I’ve got plenty of rock, I just need to re-stack them to hold the soil.  Bring on the ibuprofen and a glass of wine to soothe my aching back!  Or maybe just the glass of wine.

The Stinker turned 9 years old yesterday.  Despite her years, she is still a spunky dog.  We go for runs everyday.  They are not particularly long or fast now that it is getting warm (slow and steady may not win the race, but slow and steady will finish the race), but she still looks forward to them and gets excited when I ask her “Do you want to go for a run?”  She has 1 bionic knee, and her other is arthritic and causes her to limp after her run, but she wouldn’t have it any other way.  She smiles the entire evening after our run.

Last weekend The Stinker, a friend, and I walked down to the Farmer’s Market.  I got Stinker a big smoked meaty bone as a birthday treat, and I needed to sign up for my CSA (community supported agriculture) share.  I’m very excited about getting a weekly delivery of locally produced food that will supplement my garden with things that I don’t grow (and give me more of the things I do grow–for canning and preserving!).  I think it’s important to support my local farmers, and I hate that the produce I buy in the grocery store travels so far to get to my shopping cart.  I think the average distance fresh produce travels in the U.S. is 1500 miles.  It’s probably a lot further than that for where I live in the Rocky Mountains.  And the fresh produce, if you can even call it that, often looks very depressing in the grocery store…particularly when it is out of season.  My goals is to do my part to produce as much food for myself as I can and eat locally via local farmers when I cannot grow it myself.  Some things I just won’t be able to source locally.  Rice, for example, does not grow in my region.  But if I can get 50% of the food I consume from myself or from the CSA, I will be very happy.  I just bought 3 dozen canning jars this week in anticipation of the abundance of produce I will have this summer and fall to preserve…starting with that rhubarb barbeque sauce this weekend, of course.

And I’ll be hitting the Farmer’s Market again next weekend to sign up for another CSA share–for meat!  This is a very new experience for me.  I have been predominantly vegetarian for the past 17 years, and I have only recently introduced wild game into my diet (mostly since moving back to the West).  It’s not that I have a problem with eating meat per se, my problem is with industrially produced meat that is unsustainable and environmentally destructive, not to mention inhumane to the animals.  So for me to actually bring up the possibility of purchasing half of a hog to Hubby, well, he was flabbergasted.  The sticking point was the quantity of meat–a half a hog, when processed, is about 68 pounds of meat.  That is a lot of meat for us!  And Hubby has taken up hunting, and hopes to bag a deer or elk this fall.  That is a lot of meat, too!  So I found 2 friends to go in with me on the hog, and that drops our cost and the quantity of meat.  Hubby and The Stinker will enjoy the bacon (they can have it).  I’ll stick to ham and pork loin (with rhubarb barbeque sauce, perhaps).

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