Monday, March 26, 2012

Signs of Spring!

I love redbud (Cercis canadensis) because the blooms last so long
and because the bees are mad for it every spring.
It positively vibrates with color and with bees!

Okay, this is not perhaps the single most outstanding weeping cherry tree
anyone has ever seen
only a few years ago, when I planted it,
it looked like a little chopstick.
So I am proud, proud of this baby!

This is the Electric Green new foliage on the Panache fig
out front along the fence.  It's such a nice tree
and the new foliage is absolutely INTENSE in its green-ness.

So not much constructive gardening is getting done - 
I could start rice paddies between the house and the barn.
But, my, I'm enjoying the brilliant, rain-washed colors!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Peacock Woes.....

Last year, our beloved pet peacock, Cuppers, got a mate - also from our friend, Cindy Boggs.  Her name is Curlique (or Q or Princess Q).  Rob took one look at the long neck and little white head on top and dubbed her Q-Tip. 

Anyway, it was our hope that having a lady "to hand", as it were, would keep Cuppers from calling for a mate - yodeling would be more the term or perhaps screaming, if you are not a peacock lover, and also keep him at home.

He's been happy and all this spring has been displaying like a maniac with his lovely, HUGE new tail.

Lady Q has not been impressed... and in a resounding display of indifference, marched off through the fields to a neighbor's chicken yard where she appeared to be smitten with a tall white rooster.  So much for arranged marriages.

Cuppers called and yodeled and paced and called some more.  Called all night, in fact - something ALL of our neighbors can attest to.  We hiked to the neighbor's,  trapped Q and brought her back home.  In fact, in a desperate attempt to placate her misplaced libido, we even brought home the rooster..... not that we wanted a rooster.....

So here is the new rooster, who really IS a handsome lad, now known as the SnowMan.  (We considered calling him "Pollard" because he's a perfect copy of the Pollard's Chicken rooster, but that seemed a bit cold-hearted.)

All seemed well.  Q was entertained with ignoring more males than she needed.   The hens, who had been living rooster-less since dear Mr. Chicken gave his life to save them from the dogs, fell in love on sight.  Snowman fell for the chickens.

Everyone seemed happy except for the increasingly frustrated male peacock in residence. 

Figuring what's good for the goose is good for the gander, Cuppers then hiked off to the same neighbor's chicken yard.  We lured him home.  More yodeling and calling.  <sigh>  Not a lot of sleep around here.  To enjoy the experience of peacock calls, you can check out this Youtube clip:  Peacock Calls

So, as it stands, the peacocks are more or less contentedly incarcerated in their large, roomy peacock pen.  Snowman and the hens roam about - - but at least they have the sense to return to their safe coop at night.  Wish I could say as much for the peacocks.  We're going to have to figure out  something.....   It's months until mating season is over.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Virginia Beach Seed and Poultry Swap March 10

Oh, c'mon now - it's SPRING (even through it is an absolutely dismal, cold day today)
and it's time for farm fun in Virginia Beach.  Who could resist the second
Virginia Beach Seed & Poultry Swap
My Speckled Hamburg hen, Henny Penny.
happening next Saturday (March 10)?

I didn't get to the first swap - didn't even know about it! And it is right in my neck of the woods.... err... swamp...

The swap will be at Back Bay Botanicals, 1549 N. Muddy Creek Road, Virginia Beach .

It's the brainstorm of a really innovative gal, Gina Lynch, who has just begun developing a pick-your-own flower and herb farm in Back Bay (between Virginia Beach and Sandbridge).  She's offering seeds and/or plant swaps, chickens, eggs and who knows what else?  She has invented a Rent-a-Chick deal where parents can "borrow" chicks for their childen to enjoy for several weeks (complete with supplies and instructions).

And her eggs come in cartons labelled "Just Got Laid in Pungo".... I mean, can you beat that? I'm still laughing!

I just don't think I can resist.  Between the fun of finding a new chicken person - and a potential supply of chickens in case of need (like when the roaming dogs murdered off 80% of my flock this past winter), I am a huge believer in supporting our local farms and entrepreneurs!

Now I just have to check my seeds to see what I saved that can be swapped.  Hyancinth beans, anyone?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Things You Didn't Know You Could Compost?

 I had to post this quickly before I forgot where I read it.
Do you ever do that with online info?
There's so much!  It's all so interesting.
And I end up saying, "Oh, well, I read it online at
um... you know... that site.... NPR, maybe?"

So here it is, 80 items you can compost
besides your kitchen scraps.....
who knew?

Eighty Items You can  Compost

 Dryer lint?  Toenail clippings????  I'm still laughing!
Garden on!


March Spring - In like a Lion.....

It's March, no doubt.

From 70 degrees to 35 degrees,
from sun to rain, rain, rain - winds and a bit of snow.
Hoo, hooo!  I am bundled up taking these photos 
on my way to the chicken coop.
Dark snow clouds building behind the back fields.
I made the girls a huge pancake from Sunday's leftover batter.
Lots of blueberries, lots of carbs.  They LOVED it!

The field is still soggy and puddled from the rains.

Poor chickens are picking their way through the water
looking for bugs and goodies that have surfaced.

After a good soaking like this
in the summer,
this would be a worm feast.
As the poor worms come to the surface
looking for oxygen,
the chickens pounce!

Today looks like sliim pickings!

But there are still blossoms to enjoy, even on this windy March morning!
This daffodil, bought years ago from Brent & Becky's Bulbs
is such a warm delight on hard spring days like this one.

Although sometimes the white on gray contrast with these
cold, windy skies seems more like ice crystals.....
These plum blossoms are hardy - too hardy.
Bees are not out yet!

Back to sixties in another 48 hours.  Perhaps there's still hope of a hardy pollinator
or two for all of these plum blossoms..... but it's cold, cold today.