Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Fencing Do-si-do, What I Won't Do for My Sister, (Not Good) Surprises.

As summer ends with a thud and a whimper, I find myself really hustling during my few available daylight hours.  Having a long weekend is a godsend - even if a third of it gets rained out.  In my never-ending quest to get some big things checked off The List, I have now resorted to blocking areas by the days available.  Ergo:  Saturday = garden, cooking.  Sunday = housecleaning, cooking, preserving.  Monday = last of the house-washing, refencing rhubarb, unfencing duck yard.  Yeehah!  That was the plan - in theory.  In reality?  Actually, I was pretty close!

Saturday garden work was put aside because I got fixated on the fencing.  Focus like a fruit-fly, I tell you.
Before fence removal and invasion
of the flock(s)

Old, rusty, cobbled-together fencing
down - invasion in full swing.

Invasion aftermath with new fencing
and a gate in place.
As an aside here, you will notice the complete lack of grass in the poultry yard.  This has never happened before but - in the early spring, as the little blades started poking up, above the dirt, we got about two weeks of solid rain, followed by hot weather and no rain for two weeks.  It, in essence, created a hard crust that the grass never was able to penetrate.  I am hoping that it will come back next year.  Either that, or I will have to come up with some convoluted reseeding plan.

Dotty, the Speckled Sussex, is my
constant companion and award-winning

Checking the pussy willow for bugs.
I also took down most of the duck compound fencing and reconfigured it for winter.  I do not let them have full run during most of the winter because they create havoc with the heated chicken waterer.  I have also decided to rehome the small coop, as I am not going to be raising meat chickens again and, if I do need to resupply the egg-laying flock, I am going to have them raise their own.  This will come as welcome news to two of the hens - who go broody at the drop of a hat.
Betty Rubble in the foreground, Crazy
Mary behind her, Freddie the Bearded
Lady to the left, Gertie, then two
unnamed girls.

Gossip around the water pool.
After I got the old fencing taken down and packaged for recycling, I had just enough time to rush inside, spiffy up and head out to meet my sister at the (dreaded) Garlic Festival.  It was a beautiful day for it.
Nice day for cleaning water
I will interject here that I would rather have dental surgery than go to this festival.  In it's beginning, quite a few years ago, it was a small, quaint, mostly organic garlic festival that was all about garlic. 
Standing by the honey vendor, looking
at the syrup vendor.
It has morphed into a huge monster - crammed with booths that have little, if anything, to do with garlic.  This year, because of the weather forecast (Sunday was rain all day), it was PACKED.  I spent a half hour inching along the main route to reach the parking area.  Then you shuffled along with a mass of humanity (my least favorite thing ever) toward the entrance.  Then you were shoved along with the stream.  If it wasn't for the fact that my sister is a dear heart and I would do anything at all for her, I would have run in, grabbed my garlic and then headed in a straight line for the exit.  BUT.  I did managed to get half of my garlic seed and we did stumble upon a Vermont winery that had the most excellent ginger liqueur...  And there was one reason it was (almost) worth the agony - apart from being able to spend time with my sister...
Fig tree!  Blonde du Blonde.
That's right.  I bought a fig tree.  This will replace my poor figgy, which died at my hands this year.  I was very happy to also find that the fellow who grows these is gladly on hand (via the internet) to answer questions and help one along. 

After another 20 minutes trying to get out of the parking lot, I did an errand or two and then headed home.  I stopped at my friend, Marianne's, to drop off eggs and got a 5 lb bag of organic apples, 10 lbs of RIPE tomatoes, three cucumbers, two zucchinis, and a bag of oyster mushrooms.  I may not even bother with a garden next year.  Honestly.
Four kinds of delicious, beautiful,
organic heirloom apples!

Zucs and cukes!
Sunday dawned with rain, which continued the entire day.  We got over an inch - and I'm not complaining, as it is a drop in the bucket, compared to other parts of the country.  Lovey and squished out during the lulls to do some fast weeding and pick whatever little was ripe.
Rain dripping off my solar pergola lights.
Two vege dishes were made - Sweet Corn and Zucchini Pie, a homestead favorite, and Tomato and Cheddar Pie - as well as a non-GF apple cake for the barn and the yard guy.  I did some adapting with the tomato pie, as I thought the amount of mayo was a little over the top for me.  Some housecleaning actually got done! 
Some of M's beautiful tomatoes, sliced and draining
before becoming pie.
As far as the Not-Good surprise, I have been working diligently on wrenching up the disintegrating top rail on my deck.  Apparently, the original owners did not choose to use pressure-treated wood when building the deck.  What I thought would be a fairly easy fix, is now turning out to be much more involved.  So far, the support 2x4 under the rail top on one portion will need to be replaced, along with at least one 4x4 post.  Poop.


More sighing.


Theresa said...

I just don't know how you can stand dealing with fowl. I love birds in the wild, but that's about it. Chicken and duck whisperers always amaze me. Bummer on the deck but thank you oh so much for those two yummy looking veggie pie recipes!

Kristina said...

Looks like I'm not the only one working on those looming big projects. I need to make a plan for housecleaning. Oye, it's out of control. Along with looming outdoor work. I've heard of tomato pie, but haven't made one just yet. Yum.

Ed said...

I too dislike events like that where the meaning has been lost and it becomes overrun with people. Usually the only times I go to stuff like that is late in the day right before closing or getting their right at opening.

Susan said...

Once you start looking closely at wood structures they are full of horrors.

Rain said...

Hi Susan :)) I love the photos of the flock! How wonderful! Good job on the fencing :) I think we need to re-seed some areas of the yard this fall...pee spots you know lol...I bought some grass seed that claims it will start growing in 7 days...I'm waiting until I have the energy to do it or until Alex volunteers lol...we're both procrastinating on it because it means keeping the pups off that area for a week, which isn't a fun job!

I'm with you...masses of humanity are my least favourite things as well. Oh that's a shame about the rails, I hate those awful surprises...

Your veggies and apples look great! Oooh a fig tree! I wonder if that would work in my climate too. We're pretty close when it comes to weather aren't we?

Nancy @ Little Homestead In Boise said...

Envying your rain! It's terrible smoky here the last 2 days, with the NW fires. Cute little tree!

jaz@octoberfarm said...

the tomato pie sounds wonderful! i hate crowds so i am usually the first one thru the gate at festivals and i am leaving before most people get there! oh the surprises i am finding while redoing my daughter's place. rotten stuff everywhere! the guy that built this place had either a weird sense of humor or was just pure evil. a good chunk of everyday is taken up by everyone standing there shaking their heads!

Michelle said...

Lots of progress from the inspirational woman!

Mama Pea said...

I don't want to be discouraging, but sounds as if the grass in the poultry yard might be done-gon-dead! If conditions are right in the spring, I'd see if I could scuff the ground up a bit (with a rake or hoe?) and sprinkle some grass seed around. But then, of course, you'd have to keep the poultry off it until it had a chance to sprout and grow a good bit. Might be difficult, eh?

Our weather sounds as though it's been a bit like yours. If it's not raining hard, it's alternating periods of almost-sunshine with short periods of rain. Makes it hard, indeed, to get much done outside.

Our Farmer's Market in town has turned into a situation much like your Garlic Festival. Very little produce and lots of handcrafty things. Durn.

Oh, those apples (already!) and other bounty from Marianne! What was her exact address again?? ;o)

Your deck project sounds so much like so many projects of ours. You know some repair work needs to be done, but as soon as you get into it, it seems the best plan of action might be to bulldoze it down and start from scratch. Why can't anything last forever??

Leigh said...

You deck looks like our carport. :( The festival looks like it was lots of fun. And I have to say that seeing your photos of Dottie reminded me so much of Dan's Sister. She was our only Speckled Sussex and the only chicken to be let out into the people yard every day. She would follow Dan around and was thrilled with the bugs and goodies he would find her. We lost her to a couple of stray dogs, but I still think about getting another Speckled Sussex or two.

Susan said...

I like all things bird-like. There are times, however, when I would take a wren over just about anything living... I have another vege recipe to try this weekend and will post the results!

Susan said...

Ed, I usually go as soon as it opens - do a quick run in, grab my seed garlic and leave. At most? Ten minutes. However, my sister managed to schedule an appointment at 11, so we were stuck in festival hell.

Susan said...

Especially mine.

Susan said...

Rain, both my fig tree and Meyers lemon tree spend the winters indoors in their nice big pots. Our winters are too cold for them to survive outside, year around.

Susan said...

I sure wish I could send most of this rain in your direction - you have had such a tough summer!

Susan said...


Susan said...

Ah, yes. I figured as much. That is why I spend my early morning hours (sleep is so over-rated, isn't it?) devising convoluted seeding patterns. I am determined to get my grass back!

Susan said...

Leigh, I am very fond of the Speckled Sussex - they are incredibly friendly and attractive. Dottie follows me all over the chicken yard - I'd let her have a wider range, but the dogs are usually with me and, as you've noted, it's a bad mix.