Well, one of these aren't a chicken. Esme moved her chickens into the new playpen for the day. They were a bit worried at first, especially when she walked away and left them alone for a bit... they weren't sure what to do. Then they started eating grass and digging for bugs and exploring.
There is a sunshade on top, and they had their barrel cage and a bucket that provided more shade in one corner. When I got home from work half of them were lounging in the shade by the barrel cage and the other half were scratching around in the grass.
I helped her clean out and change the bedding in the barrel cage before we caught each one (fairly easily, compared to Gennet chicken) and tucked them back into the fresh bedding. They all worked themselves down into the wood shavings like it was a blanket.. and that was pretty funny. We brought the barrel cage back inside to the hallway again and they will get more outside time today when I'm at work.
Also last night Esme asked me to make the onion she had gotten at the store. My dad used to caramelize an onion for me (rarely, he didn't like to, but sometimes I would beg really hard) at the grill at the restaurant he worked at. Esme had asked me if I could make soft sweet onions like the onions in an onion ring the other day, while holding a giant onion at the supermarket. I told her I could ... and we bought it with the groceries. So, even though I was really tired last night, I was making her fish sticks and that takes a while.. so I put the butter in the pan and slowly sauteed the onions to golden. We cooked a couple of frozen pancakes and put the onions over them with the fish.
We were building this the last two days out of 1 inch hexagon chicken wire and 1/2 inch 600 psi schedule 40 pipe. We glued the panels together, then zip tied the 4 foot chicken wire to the frames. There is one corner open that we can close with bungee cords, and we will be working on a netting roof to clip on. This way our chickens have a mobile place we can move them around - like a chicken tractor. Mark is going to be working on a house and nesting box for them that is light enough we can move it around with the pen. The pen is also expandable this way, so we can add more panels and make more space if we need it. Then our chickens can get plenty of grass and weeds and bugs and we can move it when an area gets too sparse for them. The nesting box and house will give them a place for shade and to get out of the rain. I have this weekend off and it shouldn't rain until then. They still fit inside their barrel cage for roosting but they are getting to the point they need more space and they need gravel and grass.
It is officially the last day of school - Esme was off this morning and will be back on the bus this afternoon.
I made a thing.. a mesh bag. I haven't made anything in a while, and I wanted to use up this remnant yarn I had untangled and balled up the other day. The colors could have been better matched.. but I ran out of the other green and there was a skein of the camo to use up, too. It fits my tablet and thus, many books - and could probably carry lunch or frisbees etc etc.. I wanted it to sit down on my hip, and it does.
Mark rescued a mud turtle the other day that was trying to lay eggs by our fence. He said she was digging in the leaves with her back legs and dripping 'snot'... so he was pretty sure that was her intention. Not a good place for it, though, Mama! The dogs were doing their 'snakebark'... they can't tell the difference between turtle and snake. They really thought he was going to chase it and were confused it didn't 'run' as snakes do. Mark picked it up and put it in the woods a bit down away, towards where it could find water and a better place to start a family. The depth of field he caught on the pictures is beautiful, and the expressions on the dogs' faces, as well.
Catahoula leopard dogs - at least all we've ever had, have a very distinctive 'snake bark'.. it is short and choppy and repetitive and different than they bark for anything else. The problem is they can't tell a turtle from a snake. It all just smells 'reptile' to them. They look at you like "These 'rock snakes' are very strange.. can you explain those?"
Esme is off to picnic day. I bought her a pair of Bermuda shorts, hopefully they meet the code. They were the longest non-leggings I could find. Things are coming up right and left in the garden. Morning glory seeds I planted just a few days ago are up in one place, but not in others, and zinnia and cosmos seeds are trying, as well. The borage is still alive. The corn and beans have not popped up.. its over due for the corn. I do have a few cucumbers!
The rose bush bloomed!
And the centerfold lily, too :)
I bought a Jarv active track pedometer - the kind you wear on your wrist - and I think I have the weight and stride settings done correctly.. but I know it is not accurate. Less than 5,000 steps per day is sedentary..and I'm active running across the store, up and down ladders, carrying stuff.. I know our steps in the house are 23 steps.. and it has me at less than 14 after two trips. So.. its not a loss (I broke the last two within days just USING them.. they failed completely). It is giving me between 2,800 and 3,100 steps per day over three days. So, I'm going to use that as a benchmark. If I get on the higher side of that I'm doing good. If I'm on the lower side, then I needed to step up a bit. It'll still be a good five dollar purchase *heh* I guess I should have thought better of that cheap price, eh?
We are going into town to look at some trees Mark saw on sale.
Peach trees, and a plum
We caught these on the clearance for about 10 dollars each... when they were 23.00 to begin with.
I bought a bleeding heart root on clearance, as well as lilies in four varieties.. one unnamed, one 'Commander in Chief', one 'Centerfold' and one 'Red Dutch'. I planted the liatris bulbs as well and the assorted daylilies we had bought from Gilbert Wild and Sons. I hope the daylilies got in the ground in the right time.. I soaked them like I read to in a book, but only once through each, not for an extended period of time. Then I poured water on the whole garden. We planted the elephant ears but they had begun to mold.. so I' not sure if they will do what they need to.
We will need to mulch the lilies if they are to survive the next winter. They are not buried as deep as they might should have been, as they were already starting to sprout.
I should go out and dig the holes for the rose bush and the viburnum. But, I have to work late tonight and I don't have that much ambition. I have tomorrow off.. so I am hoping they will wait one more day. I might have enough ambition to go and scratch out a few places for basil and catnip and whatnot.
We got up our ambition today and made a new garden we had been talking about. It is to be a home for our viburnum, and a rose bush and a few other things. We also have a good collection of bulbs we would like to put in, and some climbing vines.
There is a fence in the back of the middle bed for climbing things.
And this is how we've left it for the day - four zones and lots of plans for what to put in them.
The shade garden is pretty full, now.
The two extra Frances Miller Hosta (clearance stuff) that we ordered with the daylilies (not planted yet) have been put on either side of the one that I planted four years ago.(or so). Esme chose a new plant, Lamb's Ears, which I planted in the center back. I found a columbine (Aquilegia) for a dollar on the clearance rack and I put it just below the white pipe. The pipe is to mark the tiger lily bulbs I bought at the rain sale and as you see below, one of them is starting to come up, so that is amazing!
rain sale : There were carts and carts of bulbs that had been outside in a rain storm at the WM the other week and I bought two bags at two fifty each one of tiger lilies, the other of gladiolus.
The tiger lily bulbs and the columbine plant
OK, and here is the real splurge.
I bought this and paid over twenty dollars for it.
It is a viburnum plant, also known as a Chinese Snowball. And I have a mathematical love for this plant. Years ago (I'll have to find the art) I stopped through on my way between classes at North Dakota State University NDSU and drew one of these as it emerged from winter dormancy all the way to flowering. It was beautiful, seeing the way it unfolded day after day. And I then made a printmaker's book called 'Are you a Viburnum?', because day after day I wrote a sentence or two asking what it was, noting things about it.. and finally, I found it in a plant book and knew the name.
I am excited to have one of our own! I kind of made the puppy eyes at Mark to find one.. buy one, order one.. and then our local Lowe's store had one and he said 'go ahead'... I normally wouldn't pay that much for it.. but now we have a viburnum. I hope it does well. We have plans to make a new bed around our power pole and put elephant ears and this plant in it as the inaugural bits. But, that won't be for a week or so. So, I hope it does okay sitting next to our shade garden and getting watered until then.