A Good Day

Clad in the turtle dress made more than twenty years ago by the hands of my mother and me, today I labored in love.

Stinky organic fish fertilizer nourished the children.

The garden shed is once again in functional form.

The truck topper storage was relocated.

And a grassroots protest took place.

It was a good day.

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Coop Renovation

My body is broken and I’m ready for bed. But this weekend was wholly productive and I’m thrilled about it. Yesterday I got the cool season veg all planted and today we got the chicken coop addition installed.

It really sucked trying to do anything in the coop. I couldn’t stand up and had to work hunched over. I bumped my head frequently and had to crawl in shitty coop dirt to get at anything under the box part. I bitched quite a bit about it so Gordon decided to build something for the coop to sit on. I was skeptical that our starter coop that we bought used on craigslist could handle being lifted like that after rotting in our muddy soil for the last year and a half. But he planned and built it anyway.

The timely addition acted as a halfway house for Marigold after her injury and then a time-out pen for Rosie the bully.

It was quite a pain to dig out all of the chicken flooring in order to rip off the hardware cloth that was stapled to the inside of the bottom 2x4s. But now there’s a load of fantastic compost on a tarp in the garden.

With much effort we were able to put that big heavy decrepit thing on top of the new. Gordon ended up having to cover one board with a new one because it was split, but other than that it went OK. The chickens were annoyingly interested and Clementine kept flying up into the coop while we worked.

Ta-da! It’s pretty great.

Spring Planting by the Moon

Thanks for letting me use your image, whoever you are!

The moon is barely a waxing crescent. It was new just two days ago. I recently learned that waxing is for above ground crops, waning for below. Crescents are for leaves and gibbous are for fruits. So I guess I maybe should have waited a week or so for the snow peas but oh well. Also, plant when the moon is in an earth or water sign, never fire or air. The moon will be in Pisces until noon tomorrow when it moves into Aries.

Last year my dad told me to plant by the moon (using the Farmer’s Almanac website). I told him that I didn’t have time for that nonsense, but ended up with a lot of germination trouble. (Sorry, Dad.) With a little planning it really isn’t hard, so I’ve decided to try and plant by the moon this year.

January 20th I started my leafy greens and today, with the help of Tilly (the tiller) and Gordon who spent 2 hours with Tilly earlier this week, the babies went into the ground.

So it doesn’t look like much now, but it’s very well spaced and I think the plants will be huge and lovely soon enough.

I transplanted collards, broccoli, kale, chard, lettuce, mizuna, and arugula. Also planted seeds of green onions and snow peas.

Collards
Salad Bowl Lettuce
Mizuna
Arugula
Snow Peas

Silas helped me for a little while and gleefully proclaimed, “This is just like 2016 when we spent a lot of time in the garden together!” Five minutes later he started whining that he wanted to do something fun and ditched me to go into the house. (Yes he describes his memories by year and yes it’s weird.)

We did it, Tilly!

Tomorrow morning Gordon and I are installing his lovely addition to the chicken coop.

————-

Silas picked the first daffodil for me

Pissed off at the Terrorists who Shoot up our Schools but I like Weeds

This post sucks but fuck off about it

Since my children made it home safely from school today we could enjoy some spring together: Weeds, beautiful weeds.

They sustain the pollinators and make lovely salads for the chickens.

I love North Carolina. It’s a great state full of natural beauty. I just wish our legislators weren’t all owned by the fear mongering greedy pigs at the NRA.

I’m was born and raised Floridian and I’m sick about what keeps happening to the children of our nation. We need Gun Control and Mental Health. What is our Republican controlled Congress doing? Thoughts and Prayers. Our nation was founded on genocide, I guess that’s a tradition to which we cling.

My Valentine’s Tiller

I still want chocolate

Gordon surprised me with this beautiful thing he found on craigslist for $150. It runs like a dream. We were able to chop up the entire garden in under a half hour. It makes the place a smaller, more dealable world. It’s my first very own gasoline-powered yard equipment and I love it so much. Between this guy, my claw-fingered garden gloves, and Gordon’s repair to my cultivator, I should be able to better manage the weeds this year. Love love love.

These guys are scheduled to go in the ground next Saturday, while the moon is a waxing crescent in Pisces. Baby lettuce and brassicas and some arugula (which excites me and I’ve not previously grown).

Here you see Scout helping me to thin the babies out.

One Tough Chook

Marigold Lived to See Another Day

Her existence precarious and her condition a mystery, Marigold somehow made it to morning anyway. Warmth, love, a few droppersful of water, and her own strength saw her through. The morning found her a good bit better: able to stand and able to drink when her beak was dipped.

Gordon went to the feed store and picked up some antibacterial eye ointment for chickens per the suggestions (and consensus diagnosis of a pecking injury) of all my new best friends on the Backyard Chickens forums. As soon as I wiped an ointment covered cotton ball across her crusty sealed eye, it opened.

I took her to work with me, hiding her under my desk in a box and only revealing her presence to everybody. I made sure she got water (with electrolytes via gatorade) and eventually she ate scrambled eggs.

Team Marigold Socks

It’s now three days after I found her dying. Today she was well enough to be a chicken again and she spent the day in her own coop, mingled with the bitches a bit later in the evening, and is spending tonight in the regular coop.

Rosie tried to keep her out at bed time so I had to intervene with a few prison-like threats.

Tomorrow Rosie is going into solitary. Going to try and reorganize this pecking order.

Marigold Isn’t Well

She may not make it through the night.

Either Rosie severely pecked her in the eye, she contracted bird flu, a weasel got to her, or she has some other thing I haven’t read about yet.

The day before yesterday
Today

I don’t even know what say or think. I posted on the Backyard Chickens forum and googled probably too much and not enough. My head hurts. I think I’m going to search for something that validates me going down to the basement and wrapping that ouchie swollen face with a warm wet compress.

I have no idea what to do.

Us on the basement stairs. Banished in case it’s bird flu.

Looking at this makes me think I should just let the poor dear go. How can she come back from this?

——————

I was able to give her a few droppersful of water. She seemed a bit more alert. Her other eye was open and looking around when she wasn’t falling asleep. Both sides of her face are swollen but the closed eye side is worse. Also maybe bruised. Maybe my cleaning with a damp cloth bruised her. Either way, she looked less dead, not more. So I’m a bit hopeful.

I held her for a while. Someone posted to me that she may have some terrible respiratory illness and I need to contact the state vet if she dies.

My clothes are in the washer and I’ve thorougly washed my hands, face, arms, and neck. Yes a shower seems in order, but no I didn’t get into one. But I did bleach questionable surfaces.

I’m tired.

God bless you, Marigold. May we see each other in the morning.

Fermented Hot Sauce

Lacto-fermentation is an old fashioned pickling process that is easy to do and adds probiotics to your diet.

I grew a nice batch of hot peppers last summer. Had a few plants each of cayenne and habanero. Had enough to use a bit fresh, freeze a bit, and then put the rest in a quart jar with a couple of garlic cloves and a 4% salt water brine. I weighted the peppers down with a small glass jar and left the whole thing on a shelf in my kitchen for 4 or 5 months. Today I put the peppers in the food processor with a little of the brine and voila!

It’s really good! And hot. Eddie and I ate some with tortilla chips and also killed nearly a half gallon of milk.

Going to have to grow more plants this year. This sauce is one to repeat.

I was just bragging about how much I like this sweater