Hey, It’s Me Again

So I’ve had a few readers of this blog reach out to me lately, wondering if I’m ok. I guess I did kind of disappear off the map, didn’t I? No, it wasn’t because of anything bad. The opposite, actually. My last post mentioned that I’d gotten a promotion at work. Well, I’m no longer in *that* position any longer! An opportunity came up for a full-time job with amazing benefits. My boss really wanted me to go for it because I would be her right-hand woman and she knew we could work together as a great team.

And apparently I completely rocked the interview. The head boss was leaning hard toward bringing in some new blood and didn’t want to hire in-house but I overheard him talking afterward about how I’d shown that ‘experience really matters’. I was the hands down top pick of everyone on the interview team, even the ones who had never met me before.

So I am now a full-time employee at the Library which means benefits, more money, and…not nearly so much free time. Do you see where this is going? Yeah, no time to blog.

But I’m starting to figure out how to get my life into a new sort of balance, so I hope to get back to blogging at least occasionally. I like this blog for me, too. I like having the record of what I’m doing, and pictures of all my critters to look back on.

So here’s a catch up.

Last time we spoke, I had a goose.

I really did love that goose, but she was an experiment that didn’t work out. She bonded too strongly to me, and started trying to keep the chickens away from me. The chickens are my favorites, and when she grabbed a chicken by the wing and shook her, even though the chicken wasn’t hurt, I knew the goose had to go. I found an awesome home for her, with a family that wanted to raise a few friendly geese. Last I heard from them she had been given a clutch of fertile eggs, and was happily preparing to hatch out her own little flock.

I still have everyone else. The pigeons, the quail, the rabbits, the guinea pigs, and of course the chickens. I have also added a pair of turkeys.

The tom is a White Midget, and I originally had three poults I bought off a local. I was hoping I’d end up with a pair. Nope. All three were toms! Dang it! I saved the nice one, and put the other two in the freezer. This type of turkey won the blind taste at Mother Earth News, and wow, were they right. I have never tasted such a glorious and tender turkey. I generally am not a particular fan of turkey meat, but I definitely was of this particular turkey!

Turkey Boy (as he is known around the farm) is very protective of his Turkey Girl. She’s a Royal Palm, since I was unable to get another White Midget. He does NOT like me petting her, but she wants to be petted all the time, so he struggles with jealousy issues. I can handle him strutting his stuff to intimidate me and occasionally giving me a wing slap, but if he gets aggressive, he’ll have to go too. I won’t tolerate aggressive animals…even when they act aggressively only out of love. Right now I like him, because he doesn’t bother the chickens at all and doesn’t care if I pet them. He also goes charging to the rescue if anyone (even the chickens) sounds the alarm, so I like having him as a potential guard in the flock.

Everyone always asks about Ellie, my special miracle hen, so I’m happy to inform you that at thirteen years old, she’s still alive and as much of a diva as ever.

She’ll be turning fourteen this summer, and while she’s visibly slowing down, she still demands the best of everything. Every morning she comes out of the coop and goes to the gate, waits for me to open it, then goes and stands at the kitchen door – loudly complaining if I take too long feeding the other animals. She then struts her stuff into the kitchen, and waits (impatiently) for me to fill her special bowl with leftover treats. She’s been enjoying raisins and banana bread lately. Sometimes she’s happy to go back to her run after that, sometimes she tugs on my pants leg to let me know I need to sit down so she can have a cuddle on my lap. If it’s cold outside, she wants to get underneath my jacket for a little extra warmth. She has me on a schedule, and heaven help me if I don’t follow it exactly!

I decided to change up the back patio a bit this Spring, switching out the pots for raised beds. I was going to build some, but then I remembered the cost of wood has skyrocketed – and I don’t have time, anyway. So I bought some metal ones.

The wire over the top of the first one is temporary – Ellie liked to get up in it and scratch the dirt out while waiting for me to come let her into the kitchen. The “box” in the other is a Subpod.

I don’t have the worms yet. I’ll be getting those when things get a bit warmer. One of these metal beds will be for herbs. There is a special magic about setting outside your kitchen door when you’re cooking to cut a few herbal sprigs. The other three will be for hardier greens, things I might want to overwinter, or start early in the year. I have little greenhouses to fit over them.

And, speaking of greenhouses, I’ve been promising to build the chickens one for two years now. I was going to make a nice one out of wood and greenhouse siding, but now I have a lack of time. So temporarily at least, I bought them a cheapie one.

It won’t last forever, but I’ll be able to see how it works out, and if they will actually use it to escape from the weather. Our winters are becoming more severe here, with temperatures sometimes going as low as 4 degrees F.

I know. Those of you in other parts of the world are laughing, but it’s cold for us. It’s rare for us to go below 20 degrees, and most of the winter we’re above freezing. And we’ve been getting more snow, which my chickens hate with an unholy passion, delicate little divas that they are. I’m hoping to grow a bunch of comfrey in their greenhouse over the summer, then open it up in fall, let them eat the comfrey, then use the added warmth of the greenhouse to give them a more comfortable winter experience. Especially for the older girls.

Things coming this year? New digs for the quail and pigeons (I’m going to get a pair of fancy fantails to add to my White King pigeons, and drip irrigation for the raised beds.

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