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The coop has a wall!

The coop has a wall!

Wow, what a busy weekend this has been! First the Dashwood update.

They are two and a half weeks old today and have more feathers than fluff now. Mrs. Dashwood one evening accidentally flapped her way to the top of the water feeder and had no idea how she had done it but was quite proud of herself nonetheless. When she jumped off and tried to get back up there she couldn’t manage it. The following evening she could do it at will. The next day while I was cleaning the brooder, Elinor flapped her way to the top edge of the box. She was too unbalanced though to get anywhere and I caught her and put back in the brooder. None of them has managed to do that again and Bookman and I have been extra careful to make sure they don’t try.

Friday evening we introduced them to lettuce. They loved it! The idea of each one being able to tear a piece off from the leaf in my hand was not something that entered their heads so each time one of them would tear off a piece the other three would chase her around the brooder to try and get it. The same thing happened on Saturday. It is hilarious to watch them.

Today I gave them a broccoli floret. It did not meet with the same excitement as the lettuce. They are a little scared of it and not sure what to do with it. You can see for yourself:

Mrs. Dashwood is the black one with the white flecks in her feathers. She is a barred rock. The other black one is Margaret. She is an australorp. The dark red/brown one is Elinor. She is a Rhode Island red. The light tan one is Marianne who doesn’t look so chipmunkish anymore. She is an ameracauna. They are so much fun and it is hard to not spend all my time watching them. It seems like every morning when I get up they have grown bigger overnight and gotten more feathers.

Barton Cottage is coming along. Today we began putting up the walls. Did we begin with the easiest wall, one in which we only had to cut out a window and do nothing else? Of course not! Not having any idea how to go about it, we tackled the hardest wall first. This wall is the cleaning access wall. The bottom half of it folds down to make the inside of the coop easier to clean. Because we are insulating the walls, we essentially have to cut two walls for each side. And on this side we had to do wall and door and make sure we could get the door open and closed! This took us all day. The other three walls will be easier. I hope.

Honeyberry in bloom

Honeyberry in bloom

In the garden I cut back last year’s dead perennial stalks in two front yard beds, uncovered the tulips pushing up through the winter mulch and pulled back the winter mulch from the perennials that are already beginning to sprout. This took me an hour.

In the back yard, Bookman put out stakes for the peas and strung twine between the stakes. We intended to plant the peas this evening but we are so tired it is going to have to wait until tomorrow night. While Bookman was creating pea trellising, I was cleaning up the herb spiral. It looks like the lemon thyme survived the winter as did the oregano. The sage, however did not make it. I would have been surprised if it did. I never give it winter protection and it is marginal here as a perennial anyway so I just treat it like an annual. Bookman and I spent about an hour at our various tasks.

All of the shrubs we transplanted to the chicken garden are doing really well, leafing out and getting flower buds. That is a relief that the move did not kill them!

We moved the greenhouse from the south kitchen window to outside on the deck. Temperatures have warmed up enough that we don’t have to worry about it getting too cold at night and not warm enough during the day. The tomatoes are doing great, the peppers are slow growing but also doing great. Marigold, basil, and a few other things too. The onions we started, not so great. They began well but we over watered them a few too many times and they got damping off disease and all but three have keeled over. Oh well. On the bright side, I don’t have to make any paper pots to start the sunflowers!

The weather in the coming week is supposed to be nice pretty much every day. Bookman and I mean to take advantage as we can, so posting this week will probably be spotty. We’ll be outside working on the coop or doing things in the garden.

Biking

Snake! Can you see it?

Snake! Can you see it?

Saturday Astrid and I went out for our first long ride of the year. We went on our familiar loop from last summer, about 60 miles/95 km. The morning was sunny and warm and the road full of potholes. About halfway through my ride the wind began blowing with a few great cross-wind gusts that almost blew us over.

But Astrid and I were so happy. It felt good to be outside again. I waved, said hello and good morning to lots of people I passed. I called, “nice boxers!” to a guy out walking his two boxer dogs and then hoped he knew I was talking about the dogs and not something else!

On our ride we saw a snake! There were also robins everywhere. Lots of redwinged blackbirds too and

Beautiful Astrid

Beautiful Astrid

cardinals. The frogs were also in full voice and at a few ponds they were so loud I couldn’t hear the music on my iPod. I also saw several turtles sunning themselves along the edges of a marsh.

I think I mentioned I signed up for a 30 mile/48 km gravel bike race for women at the end of May. Well, I signed up for another gravel race for early June. The Dirty Benjamin is a 100 miles/161 km gravel race with a field limited to 400 riders. I registered in the open women category. Yes, I think I might not be completely in my right mind. Given the two gravel races, and how much I enjoy riding on gravel, I am considering getting Astrid a sibling. Astrid is a road bike and while I can trick her out to make riding on gravel more comfortable, if gravel riding and racing is something I am going to do regularly, I might as well have the wheels to do it and not force Astrid into being something she is not.

Happy cyclist

Happy cyclist

I have a gravel racing clinic next Sunday night where I will learn about all things gravel racing and I will make my decision after that.

One more thing: This coming Saturday I will be getting my new tattoo! So next Sunday there will be more Dashwood video, garden photos and tattoo photos. So excited

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