Friday, June 13, 2008

bean blossom in the garden

gosling life

So I'm new to geese. I have two. A breed called Toulouse, and they're just a few weeks old. I'm already a huge fan. I named them Cyrus and Saro. I'm assuming their a male/female pair because Cyrus is much larger, and acts a little more aggressive and protective. Possibly, this is just me being a goose sexist and they're both ladies or both dudes. Regardless, I'm sticking with their names. I'll risk it.

They are so different than the chicks. If the chicks were little velociraptors running around the hen house, these goslings are like lumbering brachiasauri - big and gray and longnecked. They move slower, and stretch out their necks to chirp and honk so I can tell they mean it. Surprisingly, they've already bonded to me like a puppy would. If they are loose in the yard and I walk away Cyrus flaps his little wings and runs after me. he'll waddle and faux-fly at me till I reach down and scoop him in my arms and sit on the grass with him. He'll then curl up like a swan and rest his big head on my arm, occasionally nibbling at my shirt sleeve with his tiny-toothed bill. He's charming.

The geese aren't alone. They share their little pen with a lone Magpie duckling named Henry. The trio of birds are the only waterfowl on the homestead, and hopefully I'll be able to use them for both weeding and lawn control (they devour grass) - and for their eggs. Duck eggs are raved over by bakers, and one goose egg can do the job of up to three chicken eggs. We'll see. Honestly, their here because I like taking care of them, and I enjoy the variety from all the other yard birds milling about. Some people say geese are a nasty lot, but it seems like I'm only hearing that from people who never owned any poultry of any sort and are basing that information off being chased around farms and parks by packs of angry feral farm geese never fed by hand or raised around people. But people who have raised pet geese say wonderful things, and since the average lifespan is about 40 years, I hope that Cyrus and Saro will join me at my future farm someday, and watch my life unfold. They'll see our lives evolve from scrappy chickens in a modified shed to a flock of sheep on a hill. Or so, I hope.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

chickens and past lives

There's a lot to update on. I have so much to write about... All the animals (the ones I planned on having, and some I didn't) are settling into their homes and doing swell. The bees are installed and busily building comb in their hive. The garden is starting to produce food, complete with the first snap peas on the vines this morning! Last Saturday I ate off every meal from my own backyard. Between the garden and eggs I was able to have an omelet for breakfast, a crunchy green salad for lunch, and homemade pasta for dinner- a quiet thrill for this little homesteader.

I also planted a few more hills of organic sugar pumpkins and sugar baby watermelons (This girl has big plans for Hallow's jack-o-lanterns and August mellons.)Along with those I hoed in another row of sweet corn next to the already established crop. Staggering your planting means you have more corn longer, because throughout the season since it'll come into harvest in succession. Fire-roasted sweet corn straight off the stalk is one of the great pleasures of the human experience, take my word on that.

Besides my current life, I got news from a previous one. Two emails were in my inbox last night from Idaho. Susan, my old massage therapist, who adopted my Black Silkies when I left, announced I was a grandmother! Emily, my Cold Antler Idaho raised hen, had just hatched a nest full of little chicks! How great is that?! I asked her to snap some pictures so I could post them here.

The other email came from Kelli, the homesteader who took in the rest of my old flock. She sent me a link to her new blog, and on it she mentions my old birds Mindy - one of my first ever hens. It's so good to know the birds that taught me so much are still happy and well in their old hometown. You can read up on them at the Bent Tree Farm blog. She's also the photographer of that great shot of the hen above (which I think might be Veronica, if it's a Brahma, not sure. Regardless, I miss the old girl)