The chicken thing started with the shame of being too lazy to compost, letting ourselves get carried away with what our food scraps could do for us. It wasn't enough to get some fertilizer out of the deal, not when you can have eggs, too! We've discussed it for a couple of years and now we're just like everyone else, chickens in our backyard.
No, technically, in our elevator (the one the old lady who previously resided here had installed in her last years, but which isn't currently hooked up. A nice safe place for baby birds to hang out).
We started with four Leghorns (two white, two brown), setting them up in a comfy cage found on Craigslist, which a nice feeder to poop in and a nice waterer to poop in and nice soft bedding to poop in. Cute. As. Hell.
The flock numbers three now, and they're getting bigger every day. Their personalities are distinct enough that even if Henriette wasn't a different color, you'd be able to tell her from Penelope who is different from Betty despite looking so much alike.
Right now they are at the surly tween stage, where they still look baby-cute sitting still but their gait is becoming awkward, their limbs lanky. But like any tween, they still long for snuggles. Still, what they're thinking right now is "Ugh. STUPID".
Very soon they will not be cute at all. More of their big-girl feathers will be in (let's hope they're big girl feathers, there's a ten percent chance of big boy feathers and a relocation program). Pretty soon they will be the chick equivalent of teenagers. Ay, me.
And pretty soon they'll be living in a coop in the yard, which Dug is building. And in six months or less, we'll start getting eggs.
The chickens will also be contributing to the rest of the food production in the house, by eating some of our scraps and contributing their (copious) poop to our compost. Said compost will be enriching the raised beds Dug has built/is building for vegetables--so far in the first bed I've got four kinds of tomatoes, one crookneck squash, one cucumber, and a few heads of lettuce that I bought as starts because I couldn't wait for the lettuce I'll be growing from seeds in the next bed. I am looking forward to canning some of our bounty, making tomato sauce and pickles. And I fantasize about having a home-grown spinach salad this fall with a home-grown hard cooked egg on top.
Or, I will get bored with it and everything will die. We'll see. My grandfather once told us that farming was impossible unless you were born into it, but I don't think that's any reason not to do what we can to stay close to the land, as it were.
The Weeping Cherry tree was planted last year when we put the house on the market, chosen by a woman we'd hired to help stage our house and advise us on curb appeal so we could sell it fast. Obviously the timing on that was wrong, and here we are, and here's the tree.
When we got it it was done blossoming and all that remained were leaves, long and pointed. Those dropped in the fall, and we were left with a skinny skeleton, more of a branch than a tree. I didn't have any expectations at all for this tree which I didn't choose and wouldn't have chosen, which I simply approved because the staging lady said we needed height in that area and I was too harassed to care.
So it was a nice surprise to notice tiny buds forming, and now, bright pink blossoms, faintly smelling of something I can only describe as "pretty". Alas, like the so-called plum tree next to our driveway, this tree is purely ornamental. No fruit.
The ranunculus are going crazy. Much stronger than last spring when they were newly planted. The girls did the actual planting labor, so they are thrilled at how gorgeous the flowers are this year, with dozens of buds still waiting to open.
I don't really buy tomatoes out of season. I use a lot of canned tomatoes, and I buy cherry or grape tomatoes because as far as my palate is concerned, they taste the same all year round. But offseason tomatoes in general taste terrible to me. The other day my spring fever was so strong that I made a tomato/corn/avocado salad to share with friends and the tomatoes I bought were beautiful and round and red and when I cut them open to seed them, the seeds and pulp just stayed there until I dug it all out with a spoon (good ripe summer tomatoes, you cut them open and they just gush). And they tasted like styrofoam. Yuck.
I'm salivating for real tomatoes, and they're months away. I was looking for something else entirely and I found these instructions to make tomato pincushions, and headed straight to the scrap basket. Each tomato only took a few minutes to make, and the sewing ability required is strictly grade school. They look great on the table in a silver-plated fruit basket I found for fifty cents at a garage sale this weekend. I can almost taste them.
This year we're probably going to grow some tomatoes, although the bulk of the tomatoes we buy will still come from local vendors at the farmer's market. That garage sale on Saturday also yielded a barely-used food dehydrator, and I'd like to try my hand at making my own sun-dried tomatoes from start to finish, packing them in oil and seasoning them with my own herbs. I don't even like sun-dried tomatoes, I just want to try it.