Sunday, May 29, 2011

Evening in apple blossom time

It's been nice-enough weather so far this long weekend in Maine. For the Brits reading this blog, we have a holiday Monday for Memorial Day, and so I have a nice break from summer fieldwork.

Aimee has been out in the field and in the lab, but that girl knows no rest. I may take a day off from work, including farm work every once in a while, but Aimee always seems to be doing something.

The vegetable garden is mostly planted, just the very tender-most plants to go, basil and pepper.

The onions shot up because we used mostly our own starts and they were several times larger than commercial onion starts. It's easy to see where we switched back to commercial starts, halfway through the second row.

It will also be a lot easier to weed the bigger onions than the littler ones.

The pigs are growing like weeds, already twice the size they were when they came. They've decided chasing chickens is good sport for pigs.

The southern face of the house is sadly peeling its layer of construction paper because we haven't been able to get all the shingles finished on the west side so we can move around to the south. Procrastination station. I plan to start dipping shingles tomorrow, if I can devise a sensible method that uses less of the sealant we've been using.

Notice Shenzhi-cat hovering next to the bird feeders in hopes of catching a bird, the bad cat.

The apple blossoms are quite lovely and I've just been delighted by them this year. Last year they didn't last so long and we didn't get as much benefit. Here's the Golden Delicious in the North Paddock (west). This tree hasn't been pruned yet, but it yields large, edible and worm-free apples most years. They don't keep well, but they eat well.

The stump is an elm that succumbed to the Dutch Elm infection and was made into firewood. Elm doesn't make good firewood, so I may not do that again. I'll cut them into chunks and compost them along with all my other large brush piles.

It was hard to split, too.

The lilac is almost in full bloom, and already attracting butterflies and humming birds. The baby chicks are out in their chicken tractor for the third day now. They seem to like it. They run around and jump about, getting strong and in shape.

The older hens are all cooped up now behind a new fence five feet tall. They just kept getting out, and so the fence systems needed to keep them in (and keep our neighbors happy) got more and more elaborate, as the chickens still kept getting out. One particularly scrawny Golden Comet is the ringleader. Today's evolution of the five-footer is only the most recent elaboration.

It's all been a royal pain.

Let's hope it works this time. I'm really getting tired of chasing these bloody chickens.

I suppose I could always make an example of the ringleader, the way the Gestapo handled the French Resistance.

Pour encourager les autres.

I don't think Aimee would let me do that.

We may need to have a little "accident" around here.

Aimee knows what a pain it is, though, because she managed to let three chickens out herself while she was in the barn greeting the pigs when she came home this afternoon.

They headed straight for my garage/workshop, so, thinking to trap them, she followed them in and closed the garage door behind her.

I then stood outside smiling to myself while hearing this squawking and fluttering and crashing and cursing and banging. Finally, it was just too much and I cracked up, laughing out loud enough to be heard inside the building.

At which point, poor wee Aimee lost her temper with me and the chickens, rolling up the door again to glare at me before stomping off, all the while telling me what I could do with myself, and letting me know that if I wanted the chickens in the barn, I could bloody well catch them myself.

So I did. With a lot less fuss and bother.

But I still think it was funny.

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