Sunday, July 12, 2009


OK, blooms. Who would guess that a 6' tall plant with huge, gorgeous leaves would produce single, tiny 1 1/2" blooms that only last a day or so? Not even in clusters! Just single,measly blooms. Who would guess? Well, probably someone who did a little research and discovered that these lovely plants are aggressive weeds hated by farmers. Seems they are velvet leaf plants. Sounds pretty, right? I'm not a farmer who is concerned about nutrients being removed from the soil, but when I read the part about seeds remaining viable in the soil for 60 years.... These seeds must have been in the soil when it was hauled in and became active after I tilled this past spring. Anyway, went out and chopped the tops off them this morning--don't want any more seeds! Another horticultural experiment concluded.

Still enjoying the backyard despite the disappointing flora. Early morning is the best time due to the continuing heat. It also helps to run a fan. The latest addition to what Brian calls the "subdivision" is nearly completed. Back when the house was being built, Larry chose a location for the dog pen...right off my future patio. Not my idea of great, but had to let him have some input. Then came the patio. Not the best thing to sit around facing a dog pen while dogs whine and bark to be let out. The pen was moved to the location I had originally hoped for, leaving behind a nice concrete pad just crying out for a potting shed/cook shack.

Larry's sister Judy had given us a sliding glass door and a front door that she had replaced in her house. We had those and some lumber saved up to recycle. Buy some siding and roofing metal, and it's good to go. Recycled only half of the sliding door glass. The rest will get used at some point. I guess when a person lives in town, there really isn't room for much in the way of outbuildings; but when living out on acreage, there is greater temptation to acquire stuff, which needs to be kept somewhere. I don't know where the whole "subdivision" thing came from. Besides the house, we just have a 40'x30' garage. Oh, and an 8'x12' chicken house. Well, and a 15' square shed for some of the overflow. Then there is the 8'x 12' cabin down by the pond, and now the addition to the back. That's only five outbuildings, not a "subdivision." Surely he isn't counting the two carports.

The other night on America's Got Talent there was a guy who said he had been a chicken catcher. Everyone laughed as if it were a joke, but that is an actual job. I guess no one thinks about it when purchasing that fryer at the grocery store, but those chickens don't just obediently march to their deaths. I guess I wouldn't have had occasion to think about it either, except that there is a chicken farm about two miles south of us. Those big ol' chicken houses hold thousands of birds. Trucks carrying cages come at intervals to haul the birds off. How do you suppose those chickens get into those cages? CHICKEN CATCHERS! We have had to do a bit of chicken catching ourselves lately. Well, chicken and turkey catching actually. We got some chicks this spring because our hens are getting older and not laying eggs so much. We keep about a dozen free range chickens. We got a dozen or so chicks and raised them in a cage. When they got big enough, we turned them loose with the older birds. At night the older birds go into the chicken house, and we close the door. Safe and sound for the night. No worry about marauding 'coons, 'possums, or bobcats. Trouble is the young birds don't know to go in. Takes a couple of weeks of training. The first few nights we go out after dark, locate them, catch them, and put them into the coop. Later they can be kind of herded that direction at dusk, and they will gradually go in on their own. They have all gone in on their own for the last few nights, so I thought we were past chicken catching. Well, we have been giving eggs to a guy up the road for a few years. He has a grandson who is allergic to "store bought" eggs ( I don't know; that's what his mother says). Anyway, he had been saying he was going to bring us some chickens because he knew a guy who had some. He had been saying this for quite a while until it became so much blah, blah, blah. We went ahead and got some ourselves, the aforementioned recently released chicks. Yesterday the guy showed up with 10 young hens. They may be just a bit older than the ones we just turned out. The coop will be overcrowded until the predator feeding program kicks in (that's how we refer to the loss that occurs with free ranging chickens). I guess in a week or so we'll release these new birds from the cage and start chicken catching again. Ahhhh, the country life....

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