Winter solstice

Winter solstice

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Summertime

           I have decided that summer is my favorite season. I might change that in the fall, I'll let you know. We have settled in to our warm days and thunderstormy afternoons. I love it! The garden is growing by leaps and bounds. I have been picking black raspberries and freezing them. We have a lot of them that grow on our creek (in West Virginia it is refered to as "crik") bank. I had to wade out in the water and trim some crab apples and russian sage back so we could walk down through the water to get to the berries. The fattest and juiciest ones are always right on the bank. It won't be long and I'll have enough for a cobbler. Tim put me in a berry patch in the back yard. I have red raspberries in it. I love the flavor of the red raspberries but don't have enough of them yet to do anything with. It could be because when he mows the yard, every time he goes by the berry patch, he grabs a handful. We have been eating lettuce and onions from the garden and we have peppers and tomatoes set now. Won't be long and we will have zucchinin too.
           The kittens have taken over the milk room and the barn. They are officially barn cats now and loving it. They have had to have a lesson on the milk stanchion though. They love to romp and race and play in there but I cannot have them running up through a goats legs while I am trying to milk. Mostly because I love milk but prefer not to wear it. So, when they start coming up the ramp, I squirt them hard right in the face with milk. They hate it and run off but then they enjoy washing their faces off. They will learn like all the cats before them. They already line up waiting for their bowl of warm milk. One of my jobs for today is to whitewash the inside of the barn. I hope they stay out of the way or we will have whitewahed kittens. Well, better go start all my chores for the day. I hope you are enjoying your summertime....

Friday, June 17, 2011

A Rooster named Joanne....

      It was April, right before Easter, when we received our shipment of chicks. They were all settled in the brooder and doing fine, when Tim came home one day with a small yellow chick. I said " Why did you get this chick when we have a whole brooder full of chicks?" He shrugged his shoulders and said, "A lady was selling them along side of the road and I just liked this one." Now mind you, I couldn't see anything special about this chick and had spent hours pouring over the hatchery catalog, choosing just the right ones to make my flock the way I wanted it. I always order all brown egg layers because my customers prefer the brown eggs. I told Tim, "It looks like a Leghorn and they lay white eggs. I don't want a white egg layer in the flock." Emilee was at the house when this all occured and of course she took "Pop-pop's" side and said it was the most beautiful chick she had ever seen. I could see I was fighting a losing battle, so in went the bright yellow chick with all my others. Over these last few weeks, I have been spending alot of time with the chicks. I love to go out in the evening and sit in the barn lot in front of the barn. The chicks, who now are small chickens, scratch  and peck in the grass, chase bugs and "talk" to me. That bright yellow chick soon turned to pure white, as I had predicted, but what I hadn't counted on, was the tall red comb that started to grow on top of it's head. I didn't need to worry about getting white eggs because I could see that this chicken would never lay an egg. I told Emilee, "That chick that Pop-pop brought home is a rooster. What are you going to name him?" She thought for a long time and then she said, "You know Grammy, he is so beautiful, he needs a special name. I will call him Joanne because I love that name." She completely caught me off guard... "You can't name a rooster, Joanne!!!" But Joanne it is. I had ordered a Silver Laced Wyandotte rooster with the chicks and I named him Chantecleer after the rooster in Canterbury Tales. I have been waiting to see which one would crow first. Yesterday we had a huge thunderstorm and I heard an awful sound coming from the barn. Dodging rain drops, I ran to the barn, only to see a little white rooster, "crowing" his heart out. Every time it would  thunder, he would crow. It would figure that he would start before mine...maybe it's all in the name.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Whipperwill was singing...

       I usually get up around 4:30 in the morning. Mostly because I have to get up that early to get my chores done but partly because I am a morning person and I love that time of day. This time of year it is so nice and cool and usually a little foggy. The lightning bugs are still flitting around, even though the robins have started to sing their morning song. This morning as I went down the driveway to get the paper, I heard a familiar song up in the woods. The whipperwill was singing! Now some people would groan if they heard me say that because a whipperwill only sings at night and usually ALL night, the same song over and over...whipperwill, whipperwill, whipperwill..... and they don't sing quietly. They believe that God gave them that gift and they use it to the fullest. We have had them stand under the bedroom window and sing but both Tim and I are in the small group that love to hear them sing, so we just pull the covers over our heads and be thankful that we live where whipperwills still sing to us at night.
        We went up in the woods the other night to cut some small saplings down to make a roost for the new chickens. The sun was getting ready to set and we sat for a while on a log and watched the evening come in. Some day we would like to build a log cabin up there, so we always have a debate on just where it should be. Tim wants it up on the ridge so we have a view but I think it should be nestled down deep in a very wooded place, tucked in the trees. So until we can decide, the debate continues. When we came down with our poles, we built the roost. The chicks were scared to death of it at first but one of the Silverlaced Wyandottes jumped up on the first rung and that's all it took. Before long they were climbing all over it. This morning when I went in, about half of them were on the roost and the rest on the floor. It won't be long and they will all get the hang of it.     Romeo is now officially weaned from the bottle. Let me say right now that he is NOT happy about it. He stand at the gate and cries and cries. He is just sure that I have had a lapse of memory and just forgotten it. Every time I go out the back door, he reminds me.     Well, I better go, have lots to do today. Enjoy the day our Lord has given us....

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Awww June

        June is one of my favorite months in West Virginia, (along with the eleven others)... June brings warms days and warm nights, mowing grass, lightening bugs, warm black raspberries, sun dried clothes on the line, the sweet smell of freshly mown hay, the woodlark singing from the edge of the woods...I could go on and on. The lightening bugs are now out by the droves. We have already had an evening of running like fools all over the yard catching them and putting them in a jar, to keep beside the bed all night. Emilee asked me, "Grammy, why do the lightening bugs not flash as much when they are in the jar?" So I answered, from across the yard, in the dark, "Would you want closed up in a jar, when you had all the beautiful night sky to fly in?" Silence from her side of the yard, then she asked, " What if I keep them for just a little while?" I responded, "A little while won't hurt..."  She woke me up at 3:00am so we could let them back out. We decided that they are much more beautiful out in the sky than in a jar. Just another lesson learned....
        We were able to get all our hay in already. I love to be in the hayfield, feeling the hot sun baking down on your head, picking up each bale to load on the truck, knowing that you will be able to feed your flocks when the snow is hip deep. I love to open each bale in the cold winter and you can close your eyes and smell that hot hay field. The barn smells like heaven too.(I guess not everyone would think that's what heaven would smell like but I do).... The garden is all in and growing like crazy. The lettuce and onions are just about ready to start munching on. The peppers and tomatoes are bloomimg, so won't be long and I can  have my first tomato sandwich. The berries are loaded with berries. The apple trees are covered too. The elderberries are just starting to open their beautiful blooms.  The best spot in the backyard right now is under the grape arbor. The grapes are in full bloom and the mock orange and honeysuckle are right next to the arbor and they are also in full bloom. The fragrance is almost more than you can stand but I love to go over and sit for a while or take a nap in the hammock, right beside the arbor.
         All the animals are doing great. Romeo is down to one bottle a day now. He will be 4 months old on the 11th. The grass is belly deep to the goats out in the pasture. The baby goats are getting hard to tell from the big goats.  The baby chickens look like little hens now and they are enjoying running out in the barn lot chasing bugs in the tall grass. My little rooster hasn't started to try to crow yet but I love it when they start. It is one of the funniest things to watch them learn. The kittens are just about ready to make a one way trip to the barn. They are chasing us all over the house now and it is just about time for them to find out what barn cats do. And that is NOT climbing curtains.... I hope you are enjoying your June where ever you are....