THE GOOD (sorta, in a glass-half-full kind of way):
I had even less than my usual amount of luck growing watermelons this year. I think I put in three or four successive plantings, but between the freakishly chilly spring and the nibbling of unidentified vandals who were probably either gophers or birds, only one little sprout survived to maturity. Once the weather finally warmed up it spread out beautifully, though, and produced many tiny melon babies. But pretty soon I noticed that something was eating the tiny melonlets off the vines before they even reached golf-ball size. And then whatever-it-was started eating the leaves off the vines too. And lo, I wrote off any hope of watermelons this year but felt duly thankful that nothing else in the garden was being nibbled on. Yay for the Sacrificial Watermelon Plant!
Eventually the poor thing succumbed completely, and died.
But today! Look what I found hiding in the weeds at the edge of the garden!
Two survivors! The little one hadn’t had a chance to ripen properly before the vine died and it wasn’t very sweet. But the giant one is PERFECT! Yummy and sweet and juicy, and so big we’ll be eating it for three or four days. It’s like finding a really cool prize in a box of Cracker Jacks when all you were expecting was a cheesy temporary tattoo. Or something.
Today was so awesomely warm and sunny that I decided to take a chance and let the chickens out. Ever since I’d brought the ten new chicks home I’d been keeping the whole flock locked up in the coop together. This was partly so they could all get to know each other, partly so the chicks would learn exactly where “home” is and where to roost at night, and partly to protect the chicks from the dogs. That last one became an immediate concern as soon as Gericault laid eyes on them and heard their tiny peeping voices. He’d never seen or heard baby chicks before, and he was OBSSESSED with them. He’d sit outside the coop and just listen to them peep for hours, every muscle in his doggy body taut with excitement.
That was three weeks ago. The chicks have grown into handsome young pullets (although they still peep like babies), and the fascination seemed to have worn off of them for Gericault.
So. Today, warm and sunny. I opened up the coop, called Gericault in with me and the chickens and reminded him sternly that they were NOT TO BE EATEN. He was the very picture of dutiful obedience.
When an hour or so had passed with no incidents, I decided it was probably safe, and drove my little car over to the apple-orchard-that-was to fill my trunk with firewood. It kills me that the guy that owns the place takes truckloads of good applewood to the dump every week. Yarg.
When I got back home I did a head count, and all the chickens and all ten pullets were accounted for. I patted Gericault, told him he was a good dog, fixed myself some lunch and then went out to unload the wood from my car.
When I came back in Gericault was under my desk. With a dead pullet.
I yelled at him and smacked him and tossed the unfortunate bird into the field next door where the ravens made a feast of it. Then I went into the henhouse where the pullets were huddled together in terror, and did another head count.
Only seven this time.
Gericault’s lucky he’s such a freaking GOOD DOG when he’s not EATING PETS AND LIVESTOCK, that’s all I have to say about that.
The two missing pullets did find their way back into the coop eventually, so I’ve only lost one. As soon as the rest of the flock came in for the night I locked them all back up. Clearly Gericault cannot be trusted to resist the siren call of those little peeps. When the pullets are clucking like the others we’ll try again.
And how. Yesterday this eyesore moved into the neighborhood:
I had hopes that maybe it was one of those modulars that start out looking like crap and then end up being total mansions when they’re all assembled. No such luck, though. This morning there was some guy up on the roof hammering a center roof seam dealie into place, and when I walked up through the pasture for a better look it was even uglier than I was expecting. One of those rusty old aluminum horrors that you usually see in low-rent trailer parks. I realize how snooty I sound, but I LIKED the view from my porch, and now it has that THING in it! I can only hope they will plant lots of trees, and then I won’t have to see it anymore. Except in the winter. Maybe they’ll plant evergreens.