Saturday, August 8, 2009

Onwards and upwards

Well, two of the eighteen have died. But another two have emerged from the woods unscathed. So our numbers are holding. I hope hope hope that most of these remaining babes will grow to be hens, not roosters. I value the eggs more than meat.

I spoke to the woman who owns the dogs. She was very apologetic, almost crying on the phone. They will pay us $250 to cover (some) of our losses. They are going to put in an underground dog fence (one of those electric shock things) around their yard. That's fine, but I'm not letting my chickens out again to free range. I've seen too many dead chickens in my yard. You'd think I'd have learned after the first dog attacks last year. Or maybe after the raccoon/fox thefts of this spring. Noooo, not me.

Next week we are picking up several hundred dollars worth of fencing materials. A portion of our yard will now become the new chicken pasture. We may mow it occasionally, but the chickens should be able to keep most of the grasses down. It will connect with the goat pen, and from time to time we can let the goats into the new area. Our livestock will be able to intermingle. That should be good for a few laughs.

My sister, her 10-year old daughter and my family went apricot picking on Tuesday. This is the best year for apricots that I've seen since we moved out here, ten years ago. We picked a few gallons, then spent about ten hours back at home sorting, blanching, coring, reblanching, and food-milling the fruit to get it ready for jam. It will be a cold day in Hades before I make apricot jam again...

My sister, always a good sport, also helped me harvest the garlic from my garden. Not as big a harvest as I'd hoped, but enough to get us through most of the winter. We accidentally pulled the tops off some of the bulbs -- I peeled these cloves and put them in the freezer. They wouldn't keep in the basement without their tops.

My green beans are almost ready for a first picking. Next week's hot weather should send our tomatoes into hyper-ripe. My sweet corn is starting to tassle out. August is here and soon the harvest will be in full swing. Canning beans, tomatoes, sauces and salsas. Freezing corn and soups. No time to look backwards and dwell on our misfortune, it's onwards and upwards from here on in.