Life Goes On

I am eagerly anticipating May. We do tend to get at least two really nice weeks in May and I’m about over this whole mud issue. As are the chickens. I don’t think any of them will regret leaving this soggy mess behind for a bit. I don’t think any of them have had clean feet all month. Even if they run around on grass half the time, they still have to slog through the mud to get in and out of the chicken coop.

The chickens have adapted to the loss of Queen fairly well. Although Patricia has always been second in command, she doesn’t seem to be rising to the position of head chicken. None of the other girls are either. In fact things seem very harmonious in flock politics. They are all just getting along. That could be subject to change. Most of the chickens don’t seem to notice that Queen is gone. Patricia still stops and looks around sometimes, but she’s always had a very short term memory so I could be reading more into it than there is. She does know Queen died. She saw the body.

Angel Bunny has not appeared in a couple of days. This is normal when it is storming. Usually she shows up again after a couple of dry days. I am getting used to her pattern and not worrying so much about her.

I really want the mud to dry out enough to start planting veggies. The ground is so saturated right now and it can be hard to saturate clay soil like this. I keep having daydreams of tomatoes red and yellow and purple on the vines with that smell that only tomato plants have, so rich and full and meaty. Of red and green lettuce leaves and succulent kohlrabi. Of green beans and peas and newly dug potatoes. Of yellow summer squash and crispy green cucumbers.

I still have a fair amount of tomatoes that I canned last summer. My applesauce is down to 6 half pints and I am out of pear sauce. I have plenty of jam and jelly. I shouldn’t even have to make any this summer unless I run out of strawberry jam. I have enough apricot, raspberry, blackberry, blueberry, and grape to last another two years, but strawberry is the favorite so of course it is the lowest. I would like to make some strawberry syrup and some fruit leather this year as well as freeze a lot more whole berries. I still have one gallon bag of blueberries, two gallons of raspberries and 2 quarts of Italian prunes in the freezer. I am out of pickles.

My plans for this summer, besides to match or exceed most of the stuff I put up last year, are to grow enough green beans to last the year. I also want to dehydrate enough onions for the year. I don’t have good luck with storage onions, and since I just dice onions anyway, it will make prep time throughout the year easier. I want to try my hand at growing mustard seeds this year. I don’t know if I’ll be successful, but hopefully I will. I’d also like to try sunflowers again so I can have my own seeds so the rabbits can have a treat.

Speaking of the rabbits, they are doing well. I have noticed that the male juniors are growing much faster than the female juniors. The boys are all much bigger and they are definitely eating more feed and drinking more water than the girls. I know for the first couple of days in the new cages the girls kept knocking over their feed and I wonder if they got a little behind during that time? Since I got the new feeders they haven’t done that though and I’d think it wouldn’t have been such a big difference. Maybe it did, but maybe male rabbits grow faster than female ones? Since they hit sexual maturity earlier this could be a possibility. It’s not one I’ve read about though.

Piper has adapted well to her new cage. After I jury-rigged her feeder so she couldn’t keep pulling it off the cage wall, she seems to have settled down and is eating and drinking well. I have two water bottles on her cage just because she is drinking so much water and I don’t always have a chance to do a mid-day check. I wonder if this is a pregnancy thing? Phoebe doesn’t drink near what she does. Leo does sometimes, but not every day.

I tried the palpating thing again. This time I think I felt four. Last time I think I felt two. Of course I am still not 100%. I hope there are more than 4 babies coming. I didn’t want to dig around too much because I’m still afraid of hurting her. She should be 19 days pregnant at this point. A little less than 2 weeks to go now and we will have the first kits I bred myself. I hope it all goes well.

I need to go pick up another bag of feed tomorrow. I’m getting low. There is probably enough for five or six days left. I think I will pick up an exercise pen, too. I’ve been putting it off because of the rain, but we are supposed to have sunny or partly cloudy without rain for the next week, if the forecast is to be believed. I didn’t want to put them out on damp ground. I think the boys in particular would enjoy it. They are so active and curious and eager to get out of their cage. I could work on weeding while they take turns in the pen. Or the son and I could bring the laptop outside and work on home school lessons while they explore. It would be nice to do lessons outside. I feel like we’ve been cooped up for ages waiting for it to dry out.

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