As I sat in the living room on Sunday, recovering from heat stroke, I said to the dogs (I talk constantly to them), "Odd. The dust should be blowing AWAY from the road..." Small, dim light bulb went on. Pine pollen. Good gawd. I am sure it was psychological, but I developed a whole series of coughing fits as soon as I noticed it. Which continued up until this morning, when I finally took pity on my raw throat and gargled with salt water. Much better.
Of course, you can't gargle your eyes, can you? They are itchy and red. It's times like these when I try to focus on the bees - and their need for pollen of all kinds. What is a little suffering on my part?
When I went out to do poultry chores this morning (now triple the work - dang), a huge flock of grackles burst into the air! I tell you, it got my heart started and the dogs were jumpy all morning. They apparently found some scratch feed that the hens and crows didn't inhale. I don't see many large flocks of things - a small V of Canada geese, a conversation of sparrows (my coined expression). Maybe they could be called a Burst of Grackles?
Morning chores now entail seeing to two other levels of poultry - the Tweenagers and the Meat Chicks (a total of 23 so far). I have yet to work it into a seamless effort. It's very bumpy. The meat chicks need mash, but I refuse to buy organic mash - the only kind I can find that is not medicated. That means I have to schlep crumble into the house and run it through my blender. Then there is the broiler booster water. Since I had such a terrible experience with the first batch, I am making sure they have all the nutrients I can muster. This means mixing their water separately. However, since we have successfully made it through a week with no losses, I am going to gradually mix crumble into the mash. They are in enhanced water for another week, then to plain.
The Tweenagers need to get outside, but need a protective fence so that they can meet the big girls without bloodshed. It's going to be hinky in any case, as I must have at least five roosters in the bunch. Poor Bleu. He does seem to have trouble knowing boys from girls....this should really throw him. I am going to try and throw up a temporary fence around the small coop this weekend - keep your fingers crossed.
Dexter continues to be a handful. The banding didn't seem to slow him down for more than 15 minutes. I flip-flop daily on whether it is a good idea to keep raising him. He's getting bigger and is not only strong, he's a wing nut. I am thinking this must be the Jersey effect. It might be easier to work with him if I had a better set up -but in order to get a better set up, I need to clean out the run-in shed and move the sheep down to that area. BUT, I have to clean the coop out first. Procrastination can sure come back and bite you in the hiney. I need to have a talk with my farmer/neighbor on the personality quirks of Jersey bull calves before I make a final decision.
As I work my way through my stores - I am starting to discover the back of the freezer. Always a scary trip. I got excited, thinking I had found a bag of blueberries only to discover they were gooseberries. Once all this cleaning out, yard sale, garden putting-in business is over, I am going to have to deal with the three types of currants and large bag of gooseberries I have come across in the frosty depths of my freezer. My goal is to defrost it in early summer.
The previous owners of my small abode must have had mush for brains. They planted Barberry bushes smack-dab against the full length of the front of the house. Every spring and fall, I am lacerated as I try to remove/put on my window screens. I have been trying to kill these things for nine years. I have just made them stronger - evil plants. In my latest attempt, I whacked them down to within eight inches of the ground, then went on Freecycle and said that anyone who wanted to dig them up was welcome to them. I then received a tsk-tsk email informing me that they are deemed an invasive species and are not allowed to enter most places (like Vermont). That was all I needed to hear. I have put "Decimate/Dig Up/Destroy Barberry Bushes" on The List. I need to find something that will do well in shade and lousy soil and that will not gash me to within an inch of my life. All suggestions are welcome.