Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Down On The Farm

Back in the city, after a lovely weekend out at the parents'. A busy visit, but enjoyable for both me and the cat. She's napping, worn out by all that hunting she did - I don't think she settled down in the house for more than a few hours the whole weekend. And I'm nursing the usual assortment of mosquito bites and stiff muscles garnered in the garden and field.

The strawberries are ripe early this year, and the wild strawberries are amazing. I never remember there being this many or this big. Usually you get a couple handfuls to nibble. But Mom and I spent part of Saturday afternoon hunting them, and came out with a few cups of them! Enough to make strawberry shortcake with the wild berries only, which has to be the height of summer decadence. Real shortcake, none of this sponge-cake stuff, and freshly-whipped cream.

The year's batch of baby chicks have arrived. This bunch is more curious, or less timid, than the last, some of them being willing to come right over to you instead of running away, and not fussing if you pick them up. One even didn't want to get off my hand, but sidled up my wrist, with the apparent aim of perching there for a nap. The dog, Rex, is in his element. He loves the babies, and has to come and see them, and herd them with his big nose, make sure no-one wanders off. Poor Rex looks like an accident victim right now, though, and very sorry for himself:

It's his own fault, really. He had an insect bite or something, and he licked it raw. Mom put the purple livestock disinfectant on it, and he licked that off, and made the spot twice as large. Bandages wouldn't stay on, so it's a pad now with antiseptic salve, taped on. Fine as long as he's supervised, but overnight he got an old t-shirt as makeshift pants, held on by cloth strips for suspenders, to ensure he didn't remove his bandage. His dignity was so injured that I didn't take a picture, but think of Eeyore. He was so sad and insulted he sat on the lawn with his back to the house, and didn't come in to clean the dinner plates!

And then there was the gardening. The weather has been very good for the plants, it seems. I took an entire wheelbarrow of tops off the madder patch, and spread them out to dry - I'm looking forward to trying the fresh tops, given that the bits that had spent the winter on the ground had color enough to dye with. The bedstraw was close to flowering, so I cut that down to compost. Dug out a couple dozen baby pokeweed that were de trop, and set out my Japanese indigo seedlings. Amazing how many fit in the one small pot I started - I dug over 20 holes, and planted 2-4 seedlings per hole. Happy to have plenty, though, since I came across a new technique for dyeing with them that I'm anxious to try - it uses vinegar and water only, and no heating.


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