After almost a week with no rain, the ground is finally starting to dry out. For months it has been nothing but mud in the chicken yard and the poor grass has been waterlogged. Yesterday was the first day I didn’t have to wear Wellies when I got up to feed the rabbits and let out the chickens and open their feed area. Well, actually I did need the boots unless I wanted to play chicken hopscotch, which I didn’t so the boots stayed on. But the point is I could have gone out in regular shoes and they would have stayed dry. Could have is very important in the PNW, where we have two seasons, the rainy one that lasts 3/4 of the year, and the non-rainy one, which lasts 3 months, starting in July. During the big wet we are lucky to get more than one or two days without rain, so a whole week of it is something to rejoice in.
The chickens got a treat yesterday, one of their favorites, watermelon rind. I won’t even pretend I was purchasing fruit from within the 100 mile foodshed. I had a rare craving for canteloupe, all the ones in the store were hard as rocks, so I settled for a pre-cut watermelon. After we’d eaten the good part it went to them. They can eat it down to the very outermost rind in the amount of time it takes me to walk to the rabbit shed, fill their feeders, fill their water bottles, clean out and replace their bedding, and pet each one at least once, and walk back.
Patricia, our Barred Plymouth Rock (the middle chicken in the photo), is always first to the treats. Despite her being a matronly three years old and slower than molasses most of the time, if there are goodies to be had, she can outrace the rest of them with her unique waddle trot. She is second in the pecking order, but she is usually content to let Queen boss the others around. She only defends her status if she has to, like when Queen has hopped the fence and is missing out on the treats. She is a very stubborn bird sometimes and will keep mindlessly doing something long after the rest of the chickens have given up. But she is very gentle with me and the kids, and she puts up with being picked up and held better than any of the other girls and will take feed directly from your hand.
My sprouting broccoli from last year is flowering. If I can keep the chickens off of it, I’m going to wait and see if it actually goes to seed before pulling it. If it does, I want the seeds, because any plant that can make it through the winter like that, deserves to pass on its offspring. It should be safe, since it’s on the other side of the fence, but Georgie, the longhorns and the australorps will all hop fences given a mind to. Last year they only went after broccoli when it was a few weeks old. Once it got some size on it, they ignored it, so hopefully that will continue. Since they love seeds though, it might not. I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.