A Peaceable Kingdom?

I have a new term for the weather we’ve been experiencing the last several days: chicken weather. It has been fantastic weather to be a chicken – a few gigantic, air-snapping, earth-shaking storms have blown through, leaving in their wake new green grasses poking through the brown, cool temperatures, and breezy blue skies that make me think of fall.

It’s good human weather, too. I feel a certain weight lifted off my shoulders – today, at least, I don’t have to worry about our sick chickens also being incredibly heat stressed. I don’t need to make them ice water baths all day or set up the fans or try to get them to eat frozen blueberries. Today, they can peck happily about the backyard, and I can take it a little easier than I have since the beginning of July.

Today also marks me and Chris’ two-year anniversary of our first date. What was our first date, you ask? Lying in a portable hammock on the edge of a farmer’s field in Martinsville, IN, watching the Perseid meteor showers and drinking wine. Pretty epic, right? Two years later, we have a house, two cats, five chickens, and so SO many plans. Life – it is good!

In honor of keeping things simple and low stress, let’s go on a pictorial tour of what chicken weather means at the Space-Farm, shall we?

20120804. Cicada shell and... cicada.

Cicada (not an alien, I promise) and cicada shell on a basil plant.

20120804. Beaker in ecstasy.

Before we could move the coop to its permanent location, the chickens took the chance to have a good bath. Here’s Beaker in ecstasy dust bathing in the dirt.

The chickens were VERY helpful in messing up my beautifully flattened, perfect foundation for the new permanent coop location. We refuse to move that dang coop ever again! They were in such heaven I probably couldn’t have stopped them even if I had had the heart to do so.

And now on to a few of the happy chickens:

20120808. Little Red.

Little Red is growing, although it’s hard to tell.

20120808. Oh, HI THERE.

Oh, HI. I didn’t see you there… You creep.

20120808. Mauled by Easter Eggers.

Near-nightly mauling by the Easter Eggers.

20120812. Honey bees on fennel flowers.

Honey bees and fennel.

20120812. Two-year anniversary of our first date! This was right as Chris was saying, "Do I really have to hold the cake?"

He didn’t like it, but he humored me and let me take this picture. Happy anniversary, boyfriend!

20120812. Honeyed hot peppers and Thomas Jefferson.

The prettiest honeyed hot peppers I have ever made… and Thomas Jefferson.

20120811. Mutant turnips!

It might be time to harvest some of the turnips. GIANTS!

20120811. Sunflower dreams.Happy chicken weather to all, and to all a good night!

(Not at All) Weekly Roundup: aka Picture Pages!

We worked our butts off yesterday in the sun and heat, and I have the awkward tan lines and weirdly sore muscles to prove it. In celebration of being exhausted, I’m going to just stick with the pics today. We’ve had an eventful week on ye olde home front.

20120602. Hiking at Shades State Park.

We started the weekend at Shades State Park, west of Indianapolis, to celebrate Chris’ birthday weekend. BIRTHDAY!

20120602. Hiking at Shades State Park.

I was NOT all that into the giant black snake CLIMBING UP A TREE that we encountered at the end of one of our hikes.

20120602. Hiking at Shades State Park.

Phew! The snake did not eat us, and we lived to tell the tale and eat another hot dog.

20120609. First ever pickled beets.

Have I mentioned lately that I like beets? And canning? Here are the finished pickled beets. Today I planted about 6 more rows of beet seeds!

20120607. Freezing pesto!

I also froze some fresh pesto.

20120609. Well-loved lettuce.

As of this morning, many of the lettuces and all the snap peas are no longer. This alien-looking thing is the sign of a well-loved, well-eaten lettuce plant.

20120609. Welcome... to the backyard, where we basically spend all our time.reopsis, and coneflower.

Did I mention the outside world kicked our collective asses yesterday? We decided, what with our upcoming housewarming party and the tour de coops, it was time to beautify the side of the house a bit. Where once there was dying grass, we now have coneflower, coreopsis, and blazing star (with a couple of rosemary plants thrown in for good measure).

20120609. We planted the side of the house! Blazing star, correopsis, and coneflower.

Mmm, blazing star!

20120609. Yellow sqaush is off the charts awesome.

Pretty soon, we are going to be very sick of yellow squash. I’m all for freezing it for later, though!

20120609. Hot Ono.

The girls commiserated with our general heat-strokiness yesterday.

20120610. Convertible picnic table.

Really, though, the entire point of this post has been leading up to THIS PICTURE – our brand new cedar convertible bench/picnic table!

20120610. Convertible picnic table = sexy.

Seriously, I think I’m in love.

Weekly Roundup, Staycation Edition

Chris and I took Thursday and Friday off work this week, and it has been lovely. We didn’t really DO anything in the vacation sense of the word, but we got a lot of stuff done around the house, a lot of quality friend and chicken time in, a lot of Battlestar Galactica watching accomplished, and much relaxation done. The chickens are getting very used to people and have loved (or at least tolerated) all of our visitors last weekend and this weekend.

In honor of brain-on-vacation mode, let’s just look at some pretty pictures, shall we?

While getting my staycation workout in (i.e. mowing the lawn with my favorite yard care instrument) on Thursday, I found this and thought it was a candy egg at first, it was so bright.
20120329. I thought this egg was a chocolate one first it was so bright.

The coop, waiting for its inhabitants. We opened up the nesting box yesterday and found that a small animal had, indeed, begun building a nest in the coop! Oopsy. I guess we do need a door on the front of the coop. Stat.
20120329. Coop and yard.

Inside the coop – just add chickens.
20120329. Inside the coop.

Neon lettuce.
20120329. Lettuce.

Peas and an accidentally growing trellis.
20120329. Peas and living trellis.

And, of course, the chicks. Look at their wings! And their butt feathers are starting to come in, too, like little dandelion seeds.

20120401. Beaker checking out the camera.

So far, Beaker's feathers are the prettiest. She also catches the most air. Go, Beaker, go!

20120401. Ono, faceplant-sleeping.

The faceplant is Ono's preferred method of sleeping.

The girls will be two weeks old tomorrow. Beaker is not camera shy:
20120401. Beaker is very interested in cameras.

Henrietta has the tiniest hint of a comb coming in:
20120401. Henrietta's comb is starting to comb in.

Yolko is turning into quite the little lap chicken:
20120401. Yolko.

And Ono, the wild and crazy one, can at least be reliably bribed with food:
20120401. Ono's pretty new wings.

Weekly Roundup, 2/12/12

Weekly Roundup, 20120212.

Clockwise from top left: Bean gets familiar with the newly arrived chicken feeders and founts, me proudly displaying my first attempt at sourdough bread, garden planning over beers at Triton Brewing Company (note the "C-squared" love plant), and a closeup of some super delicious wheat sourdough.