i could not be happier.
the victory chicken chat went off without a hitch outside of my faulty pronunciation of "appenzeller spitzhauben" and my hole in the head inability to remember the words "chain link". amazing how the simple things go when up before a crowd working scriptless off the top of the brain. all in all i am thankful that the few clinks were so few indeed.
the attending folks were amazing - conscientious - excellent listeners - asking good questions and knowledgeable in places where my depth of experience fell short. it was a true collaboration of folk, an event i feel fortunate to have been a part of. i learned as much as i shared - one cannot ask for more.
the days are now mild, the sun sheds light from a lower stance in the sky but the rays are as welcome as ever. the world of central texas is greening. it is browning too. we have been blessed with nourishing rains of late and there is the possibility of a future shower tomorrow.
twenty-seven victory chickens were delivered to an austin farm just yesterday - egg layers - to a haven where they will live most happily. it is a pleasure knowing the hand that will feed and care for the girls as they grow to maturity. it is a pleasure to see the grounds they will wander upon and the shelter they will roost in at night. the keepers of chickens i have met have to date been not only interesting but beyond any expectation of kind i might have ever wished for. chicken keepers - smaller time chicken keepers - we are a loving bunch.
all twenty-seven had formerly been living in the metal shed. three now remain - an ancona rooster and two ancona females. a breeding trio possibly. i have winterized the run built off the metal shed. i have placed a heavy plastic cover over an outdoor roosting and feeding area. the sides in this location are protected from wind and wet and i have shut the screen door to the metal shed separating the inner shed and the outer run as the inner shed will currently play the roll of brooder for the next generation of victory chickens. the ancona trio will do just fine out of doors for a while and the weather down here is not yet so bad as to worry for their comfort. the ancona trio is fully feathered out and i have set in a good 5" layer of cushy leaves in the run for snuggling and nestling at night. i have also set up several roosts if they should decide to sleep above. i do plan to once again open the door to the shed once the baby chicks are of a little larger size. then the trio can mix with the babes and each will then be able to share the inner shelter and the outdoor run. the wee victory chickens are yet too young for outdoor living so for now they view each other through the screen door, neighbors they be for a while.
the pecan trees have dropped most of their leaves. i usually mow over to mix and mulch the leaves into the ground. this year, no. i will allow them to breakdown on their own and serve as a protective mulch for those trees and bushes that i rake them around and under.
the bees are still flying each and everyday. both hives are looking strong. they collect pollen yellow and some looking more white, daily. one hive tends to fly east to forage, the other choosing a westerly path. i enjoy a good set in front of a hive. i observe and watch and sometimes count the number of bees in and out per minute. one minute i count those flying in another i count those flying out. i doubt my count correct on either end.
wee ailing chicken girl is showing signs of improvement. she is still in what i would call rough shape but the pox are drying up and falling off which is exactly what we need to happen. today a large enough pox fell off so as to allow her to fully open an eye that has been partially shut for weeks. once open the eye looked healthy and bright like the ole' girl i remember. she is eating more exuberantly on her own. she still sleeps much of the day, head beneath her wing, but that's what we folk do too when we are ailing. i visit with her at least twice a day and she, i believe is becoming fond of her daily attentions. she and i will share a special bond once through all this i am sure. i remain hopeful. she is a tough sweet gentle girl.
i wonder if i might plant some peas tomorrow. a neighbor gifted me with seeds. she said as she handed them to me "i don't like peas, i have never liked peas, i gave my mother hell when she tried to serve me peas, there is nothing that would ever make me like peas". i wonder how she came upon the seeds. i would imagine that she did not purchase them herself. tis' the season for planting peas in central texas so why not. in my book, peas are fresh and sweet and beautiful. i love the tender shape of the flowers and shoots and the delicate tendrils that reach out.
it might be time to plant up the eggplants, peppers and basils in pots that can travel inside when nights are too cool for their taste. frosts may soon be on their way. so far all plants survive. i'm thinking it might be time for another round of pesto, possibly the last round for the outdoor garden. i have yet to overwinter plants down here. the die hard gardeners i know have and many with great success. the basil this year has been plenty, the pesto stores are good. i do go through the stuff, i must admit like water. i use it on most everything. pesto and horseradish a favorite combo of mine. the horseradish i must buy as this climate is not friendly to horseradish - too hot too soon - too humid for too long - it is a root i must cherish from afar. i have tried three years now to grow horseradish and rhubarb to no avail. one cannot have it all. and so when enjoying either - they are all the more special.
there is a breeze today, as i sit out of doors typing, wandering in thought. the sun sits just about 50˚ above the horizon, the brightness is soft. i am comforted by the sound of rustling leaves and the clarity and freshness of the air. several roses - pale pink - catch my eye, pansies of yellow and violet, okra red still fruiting and greens of varied shade. butterflies and birds and squirrels move about and bees whizz by like clockwork. today is a bit of natural perfection - autumn - my season of choice.
to dinner i now go - with friends just down the way. i am blessed in this small town, in this neighborhood with these fine neighboring folks, surrounded by natural creatures. life, i can honestly say, is good.
*photo credit for this entry to cary j. tetrick*
thank you cary!
thank you cary!