Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The ubiquitous bindweed -- harmless and pretty along the edge of the road, a creeping, smothering, unstoppable terror in the garden.
Photo by LauraP

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Old-fashioned stocks in my perennial garden. Yes, that's dog hair hanging from the stalks.
Photo by LauraP

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Bad Hair Days

I suspect I don't have much of a future as a professional sheep shearer. Tinkerbelle seems to have forgiven me. (Sweet feed is a great bribe!) I'll trim around her face and even out her haircut in a few days. Right now, it's enough that the heavy wool is gone.
Photo by JenniferP

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The Lounge Rooster

He's always been a little strange.
Photo by JenniferP

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Please let me stay!

This gentle rooster hatched last year. He's the only single-combed chicken on the place. The rest of my full-sized chickens are pure Wyandotte of one color pattern or another, all with pea combs. I suspect the mother hen sneaked across the road to cavort with that big strapping single-combed rooster from my neighbor's flock. Mr. Floppy Comb is so sweet I haven't had the heart to cull him yet. He's also good for a little evening hide-and-seek entertainment while he tries to trick us into letting him remain in the safety of the henhouse. He's at the bottom of the pecking order and hates roosting with the bachelor roosters.
Photo by LauraP

Friday, June 17, 2005

The stone terrace in front of the farmhouse we're buying.
Photo by LauraP

Friday, June 10, 2005

Snow? What snow?

Lucie, our senior ewe.
Photo by LauraP

My son, who's on mission in Brazil, has requested snow pictures. Everyone there wants to know what snow's like, he says. So Jason, these are for you, and 'everyone' who wants to know. Not as cold, wet, slippery, fun, or annoying as the real stuff, but it's the best I could do at the time with the digital camera.

Ralphie, the English Shepherd, knee-deep and having a blast.
Photo by LauraP

The view behind the barn during last winter's first snow.
Photo by LauraP

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Pink Explosion

Nearly Wild rose blossoms - the blossoms last weekend covered the bush by the front porch so thickly the greenery barely showed.
Photo by LauraP

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

In a dog's life

Ralphie, taking a break on a hot afternoon.
Photo by LauraP

I looked up from weeding the perennial bed and caught Ralphie, the English Shepherd, doing his thing. He works nights, protecting the poultry and livestock from coyotes and various lesser predators. The older dogs still help, but over the last year, Ralphie has taken over the lead. I've awakened many times to the sound of the coyote chorus on the ridge behind our place, and the eerie loud answer of Ralphie's howl, warning them away from his territory. His preferred howling spot is at the corner of the house, below the bedroom windows, where he's positioned to quickly respond to threats at either end of the property. Sadie, the older female, covers the north and east sides. She has a particular 'keep away' bark I've learned to recognize. Blue, the Australian Shepherd, tends to move around. He can't see well anymore, but his ears and nose work fine. He's eager to help if he can just find his way to the problem.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Tubby Bunny Foofoo

Tubby Bunny Foofoo and mama.
Photo by LauraP

Yes, it's a dumb name. But hey, if you can't have fun and be goofy around the barn, what's the point? Usually we don't name the kits from the meat rabbits, but this one's an only -- only one in the nest, only baby bunny in the barn. So cute. So soft. Quiet, with big curious eyes that are just too hard to resist.

So why is he an only? Inexperienced mother rabbits sometimes have problems when delivering their first litter. This one gave birth to four very large kits (baby rabbits), but only one survived. Mother rabbits have very rich milk. This little guy gets it all to himself, so he's growing incredibly fast. He's also becoming incredibly spoiled.

Yesterday, Jennifer tucked a rag into her purse, then tucked Tubby Foofoo into the cozy little nest it made. He curled around and immediately went to sleep. She drove to town, shopped for groceries, brought a Coke to her sister at work. Fellow customers, former co-workers, friends, and strangers all got peeks into the purse/nest. Tubby Foofoo didn't seem to care.

Jennifer and Tubby Bunny Foofoo. He's huge and just 10 days old in this picture.
Photo by LauraP

Friday, June 03, 2005

The gathering

Seabright banty roosters, spoiling for a fight. Note the dropped wing on the middle rooster. He's getting ready, but . . . so many targets - who to attack?
Photo by LauraP

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Larger than life

Mama Seabright up close.
Photo by LauraP

Chicks in a row

Golden Seabright banty chicks - 3 weeks
Photo by LauraP

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Blackberry memories

Blackberry blossoms and a promising berry.
Photo by LauraP

The blackberry patch, a few days past the peak of bloom.
Photo by LauraP

Old friends

Nineteen years ago, Mr. Sayles, the elderly man next door, gave me a few robust thornless blackberry plants. His own patch was mature, well-filled, and spreading too vigorously. He'd dug my gift plants from the space between his second and third row of beans, some fifteen feet out of bounds from the allotted space for blackberries. I prepared a space, planted them, and tended them carefully. They grew and thrived, as did our friendships in our new neighborhood. Within a few years, I could count on 50 pounds of thumb-sized berries for my freezer, plus another week's worth of pickings for friends and neighbors.

When our family outgrew that little house with its half-acre yard, we moved outside the city to a much bigger house with six acres. I missed seeing our old friends and our impromptu fenceline gatherings, but the warmth of the memories stayed with me, and the offspring from that original blackberry patch created a new patch at our new home. We're considering another move this summer, this time to a farm. Our farmstead hobbies have once again outgrown the available space. Earlier this spring, in preparation, I moved 20 volunteer offspring to gallon pots to start my next patch of Mr. Sayles' blackberries. I'll bring other plants, too, treasured heirlooms with traces of dirt at their roots from many homes. Great-grandmother Cruikshank's double daylilies, Kathy's irises, Gloria's peonies & dutch irises, plus other favorites that have earned their place by beauty or usefulness. A new home becomes home much quicker when these old friends move in with me.