Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Our 10th Anniversary trip

Recently, my parents graciously took our children to Walt Disney World. We decided that would be the perfect opportunity to go on our 10th Anniversary trip, even though it was a bit early (our anniversary is technically August 11th). We decided to go to Mexico City, and had an absolutely amazing time. I cannot recommend it highly enough, and if you ever want to go, I've got the perfect recommendation for your stay (Casa Comtesse!).

Below should be a link to some pics we took while there. We aren't crazy picture takers, so there aren't tons, but enough for us to keep our memories alive and to share them with others. I've captioned some of them, since I can't sit down with y'all and tell you what's in each photo. I hope you enjoy!
10th Anniversary

Sunday, June 19, 2011

New chickens

As most of you know, I live on a pretty regular city street.  You know, a double-lot, which is 60'x140' (yeah, I know, long & narrow).  Lots of neighbors, who generally all love my chickens.

Except for one neighbor, for whom I just didn't know one way or the other.  One day a chicken got loose in their yard, which may have freaked them a bit (and totally fairly, I might add).  I'm reasonably sure one of their dogs got loose and killed three of our chickens, but seriously do not know for sure and never made any accusations.  So I was a bit in no-man's land with them, and they're right next door.

That is, until about 3 weeks ago, when they showed up in our yard with their own 9 baby chicks.  Okay, I guess that answers that question.

BUT, they were the classic Rural King suckers.  The lady got lured in by the adorable cheep-cheeps on chick day and bought 9, with no other obvious long term plan, like having a feeder or living situation or anything.  So they offered some to us, and I said I would take up to three of them once they were a bit bigger.

Now they're a bit bigger.

So here are some of the things I'm gonna need to do, or be aware of, soon:

  • Get back out the old brooder, to keep them in isolation for awhile
  • Wait until they're big enough to be able to hold their own in the main chicken yard
  • Construct a makeshift pen in the chicken yard, probably right off the side of the current run (that's my thinking anyway.  Probably a metal post & chicken wire affair, with a "whatever I can find that will work" roof system.
  • Spend roughly the next two months letting the chickens either grow or get acclimated to the other chicken.
  • Wait with baited breath to see if I got myself any (any at all) roosters.  If so, I'll have a few options:
    • See if my other neighbors were serious about preferring the sound of a rooster crow to an alarm clock.
    • Bite the bullet and learn how to butcher (um.. but where?!)
    • If I have more than one rooster.... sh*t, that's bad luck.
Honestly, I'd rather like one rooster.  I think the girls would be happier, and they're good defense for them (damnit, I hate how unliberated hens are!).  But I have serious doubts about my neighbors truly enjoying the call of the wild at the crack of dawn.  I understand that roosters aren't any louder than dogs, but no one likes to hear dogs barking at the crack of dawn, either.  We'll see how this plays out.  

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Seasons of the Year

(This is a post I wrote for work and decided I liked enough to post here.  Yes, I'm double-dipping.)

We were all taught the seasons of the year when we were kids—winter, spring, summer, and fall.  And we were taught these seasons regardless of where we lived, or if we really experienced those seasons.  Whether you lived in Missouri, Alaska, Nevada, or Florida, everyone cut out tulips in May (even if there is still snow on the ground), and drew pictures of snowmen in December (even if your orange tree is still producing).

Most of the time, we don't think much about this, except as a joke.  When I lived in northeastern Ohio, we joked that we had four yearly seasons—"not yet winter, winter, still winter, and road repair."  Personally, I found that this captured the movement of the year far more accurately, while also reminding you that it didn't matter what time of year it was, you were still going to have problems on the roads.

Gardeners in particular operate on a very different set of seasons.  We understand that non-gardeners don't really get this—it's more like a secret gardener-language.  We invoke completely different seasons that the Standard Four, like "last frost date," "as soon as ground can be worked," "midsummer," and "mulching".  In the Midwest, at least, we have as many different gardening seasons as the Inuit have words for snow.  

I've been working on cataloging (as best I can) the various seasons we experience here at WVC, and I thought I'd share my observations with you.  I think, when I started this list, I really meant for it to be helpful; I'm no longer sure that's the case, but I do hope it's still entertaining.  Enjoy!

The Seasons (starting in calendar month January)

  • "Seed catalog" season:  technically this season opens in mid-December, for the particularly astute seed purveyors who realize that gardeners are now seriously garden-deprived and increasingly irrational, making the Christmas gift-giving season a potential goldmine for them 
  • "What do you mean you haven't gotten your first shipment of potting mix in yet?" season:  roughly late-January to mid-February in our area.  Later in the year we realize that, in general, this is really saving us from ourselves since it is still way to early to start those tomatoes 
  • "No, really, it's still frozen" season:  what the gardener's spouse/significant other says to us when they see us out there, jumping up and down on the spading fork in some desperate attempt to turn the soil.  Or, February. 
  • "Favorite nursery reopens for the season!" season:  better than Christmas.  The smarter of the gardeners open savings accounts in October to offset the damage done this weekend.  Mid-March.
  • "*Gasp* It's so beautiful!" season:  when you finally do manage to turn that first spading fork of soil.  5-seconds in late March. 
  • "*Sigh* It's so wet" season:  immediately follows "It's beautiful!" 
  • "Planting" season:  runs roughly from late-March until June, and depends on a couple of variables, like rain, dryness, late frosts, rain, swampiness, work interference, rain, slow seedlings, rain, and rain. 
  • "Weeding" season:  from mid-June until the day you die. 
  • "Canning & preserving" season:  runs concurrently with "weeding" 
  • Midsummer, or "Fall seedling starts" 
  • "You threw away those old windows?!  Those were for the coldframes I was finally going to build!" season:  self-explanatory 
  • "No, I don't rake leaves, they're mulch for the garden" season:  October 
  • "Next year I'll do everything right" season:  November.   
  • "Early seed catalog" season:  December.    

And then we begin the cycle again....