Saturday, April 18, 2009

In which we meet our Peeps and do a lot of other stuff on the farm

Today was Chick Day at the local feed store, and we showed up early. We chose twelve Barred Rock chicks ("95% female!") and boxed 'em up and took 'em home.

Home to our chicks is an old galvanized water tank. There are shavings on the floor of the tank, but for the first few days we've laid down newspaper over the shavings.

Newpaper is easier to clean up, and gives the chicks something to read while they grow. "Why not let them read the ads in Korean as well as in English?" we thought.
Also, very young chicks can't tell the difference between food and wood shavings, so it's important to minimize the options until they catch on.

This is chick food. You can see why it might confuse somebody with a teeny-tiny brain.

Once the chicks were settled, we went back to our other farm tasks. Jim and Willy finished erecting the front gate, and affixed the sign: "Keep Gate Closed / Bad Dogs"

My friend Sky (who originally painted the sign for HER gate) explains that in days gone by, her dogs were naughty and kept running through her open gate and over to bother the neighbor's livestock. These days, her dogs are homebodies, and so the gate--and the sign--are not needed at her house. At OUR house, however, the sign is perfect! Keep gate closed! Keep Shelties safe at home!

The battle against the blackberry vines continues.
Note the welding gloves--an awesome piece of helpful armor in this herbaceous war.

I am winning! Mimsy and Luna are sitting where only blackberries dared to go this morning.

Jim helped with the incineration.

Burn, you devil vines, burn!

More chick pix.

They don't have names yet. Pet names have to come from, suggestions anyone?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

In which something sweet that looks like Toad is much too cute to eat.

I came to work the other day and found this cute little guy on my desk!

One of my co-workers went to Portland last weekend and while she was there, she visited Moonstruck Chocolates . If you haven't been there yet, you need to go. Their candies are almost too pretty to eat. And the "critter chocolates" are hilarious!

The little chocolate fellow is cute all on his own, but compare his sweet face and goggle-eyes to my old friend the Toad....

Now you understand why I can't eat the little sweetie.

At least, not for another hour or two.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

In which the demonic origins of blackberries is revealed

I have long contended that it's impossible to kill blackberry vines. You can burn them, poison them, hack them to bits and then burn and poison the bits, but that still doesn't kill them. You can feed burnt poisoned and hacked-up blackberry vines to goats, and kill the goats and feed the goats to a bear, and wherever the bear chooses to defecate, a blackberry vine will grow.

There is only one blackberry plant in the entire world, and all of the vines, all over the surface of the planet, are the furthest tips of the branches of the One Great Blackberry Plant.

The OGBP is rooted in Hell, obviously.

Who but the Devil Himself could produce enough vitriol to fertilize the root of the One Great Blackberry Plant?

And of course, the Devil is clever: each year, near the end of the summer when people are tired and hot and complacent, the blackberry plants produce a sweet, miraculous fruit, which lures all of those hot, tired and complacent people into grab-range of the vines. The people harvest the berries, but the vines are salted and seasoned by the blood of the people, and so the vines grow stronger, longer, and more impervious to damage.

Like a vampire in the need for blood, like a zombie in sheer un-killableness, and like a werewolf in the ability to provide sweetness by day and horrendous destructive capability by night, the blackberry vine is truly the inspiration behind every gardener's nightmare.

Still, a gardener is persistant, or else she is not a gardener. So out I went today, to burn, blast, chop, hack, and curse at the local manifestation of the OGBP, which has entrenched itself on the farm, twining endlessly within the grapevines and using the blueberry plants as a stepladder towards Heaven.


Heaven is the one place where blackberries can't grow...if blackberry vines could grow there, it wouldn't be Heaven.

But that doesn't stop blackberry vines from striving upwards, just in case there might be a goat at the Pearly Gates who might be convinced to nibble the vine, just in case that goat might then possibly be eaten by a Heavenly Bear.

Blackberry vines are the embodiment of persistant hope.

Maybe that's why the berries taste so good.