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Bookman and the giant sunflower

The other day I went out after work to let the Dashwoods out of the run and into the chicken garden. Elinor, Marianne and Margaret all came scurrying out. Where is Mrs. Dashwood? I peeped into the coop to see if she was on a nest laying an egg. Nope. I bent over and looked in the run beneath the coop and there she was, wallowed into the dirt. She was spread out and looked funny and for a second I thought she was sick. But then she swished her wings through the dirt and I realized she was taking a dust bath. I quietly watched her and had to stifle giggles as she rubbed her head and face in the dirt and made a move to try and roll over. Chickens do not roll on their backs like dogs do. But imagine if they did and how hilarious that would be — wings making angels in the dirt and scrawny legs sticking up in the air. Clearly Mrs. Dashwood was enjoying herself as her movements were slow and lazy. Eventually she stood up, ruffled her feathers sending out a cloud of dust, and casually strolled out into the garden to join the others.

I did not intend to be away but it seems that everything is taking up my time and energy these days and not leaving much for blogging. The Japanese beetles are still a problem and even though they are coming to the end of their life cycle, their numbers remain large. Picking them off my garden plants is what I do in the evenings now. There is also weeding and harvesting. And there were a whole lot of bush cherries to pit. I enjoy this work and never mind it. I could spend my days doing it and be very happy as there is always something and it is never boring.

Digging for treasure

Today Bookman dug up the potato patch. We got lots of small potatoes this year but we are still pleased with the harvest. Since the potatoes are dug up, we let the Dashwoods into the main garden. They were so very happy. They spent some time scratching in the dug up potato bed but quickly spread out to scratch beneath the crabapple tree, the climbing rose, the raspberries. They like to be under the cover of tall plants and trees, an instinct to protect themselves from aerial dangers.

We began working on taking down the gate and arbor between the vegetable garden and the chicken garden. We took down the top pieces and one side. One of the posts was rotted through at ground level and is the reason we are doing this in the first place. We wondered, how are we going to get the other post down? Thinking we might need to saw through it. But Bookman gave it a good shove and it turned out to be mostly rotten and snapped right off just below ground level. Well that was easy.

We have metal posts and pounded two into the ground near where the wooden posts were. Wire fencing is going up between them instead of the wood lattice that is also beginning to come apart. We will no longer have an arbor and already it looks like something is missing. But it will also be a nice change.

Grapes!

I am happy to report that the grapevine I planted on the south side of the house is a marvel. It is not only surviving but thriving and during the week Bookman and I picked the ripe red seedless grapes. While they are small, they are sweet and delicious and there were enough to fill the empty bag that the store bought grapes had come in. Already we are imagining the vine covering the entire side of the house and having so many grapes that we can eat fresh and also dry into raisins.

The elderberry in the chicken garden had a lovely bunch of berries on it and I was thinking I would have enough to make one small batch of jam. But to my consternation, something was eating them! It wasn’t busy squirrels. I assumed it was the finches and wrens that have been flitting through the garden lately. It seemed weird though because the elderberries at the top were left alone. And then I let the Dashwoods out one evening and sat with them to visit for a bit. I watched as Marianne made her way over to the elderberry and jumped up to pluck a fruity snack! Birds have been eating the elderberries, just not the ones I thought! And that explains too why the berries at the top of the bush had been left alone. I had to laugh. Eventually the bush will get tall enough and big enough that there will be elderberries for me and the Dashwoods, but I guess for now, they pretty much all belong to the chickens.

Goldenrod

I have a new favorite pollinator plant — goldenrod. I planted one about three or four years ago and it never got very large and it’s flowers were pretty but not that amazing. Well this year it has finally come into its own. It is huge and it is always covered in bees. The flowers are gorgeous and as bright as sunflowers. It is amazing and I absolutely love it. It is big and tends to floppy so if you ever decide to plant one in your garden, place along a fence or at the back of the border and possibly be prepared to stake it. Mine is not staked because it is in a place at the edge of the chicken garden where I don’t mind at all that it is flopping over, it makes it easier to watch the bees.

I have several books to tell you about and I am hoping I can manage to post about at least one of them this week. It might take me a few days to write a complete post, but I will keep pecking away as it were.

In the meantime, I hope you all are well. My apologies for not doing much blog visiting lately and for being so very behind on replying to comments here. It is another symptom of having a full plate.

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