Tuesday, May 13, 2014

a tomboy grows up

When I was a kid I never played much with dolls.  It was the cars that I liked.  And the dirt.  And playing in the creek.  And catching snakes with my bare hands.  And riding my bike with my unruly hair whipping behind me.  Somewhere, along with getting married and becoming a mother, I became girly.  But, truth be told, I never lost my tomboy.  Sunday afternoon you'll find me dressed in my Sunday best, shoes long kicked off, in the backyard on the ground playing with my chickens.  I regard the absurdity of the scene but pay it no mind.

The girls (chickens) have grown so much.  Their big girl feathers are all coming in and the fluffy downy feathers stick out here and there making them look a little mangy.  They are great flyers and love to roost.  I try to allow them as much time outside as possible as their brooder box keeps getting smaller and smaller.

Pearl and Mintie
I have made them a dust bathing area.  Outside, it is in a tub about the size of a cat litter box.  Inside, they have a pie tin to bathe in.  The dust bath is made of sandy soil from our backyard mixed with Diatomaceous earth to kill mites.  So far, one little chick has taken a very serious bath.
Awhile back I saw in a store a product called Chicken Crack which, by the claims of the package, will "drive your flock crazy!".  I've been giving my girls my own version of chicken crack and they do love it.  Of course, if you give your chicks treats, you must also make sure they have grit to aid in digestion.  My chicken crack contains the following:
  • Bob's Red Mill 10 Grain Hot Cereal (a bit expensive but I already had it on hand)
  • ground yellow corn meal
  • Flax seeds
  • rolled oats (crushed a little in my hand)
  • quinoa
Another treat that the chicks go crazy for is plain yogurt.  I give them a little every morning and they slurp it up like it was the best thing ever.  Very cute, by the way.  And the probiotics they are consuming help keep their systems healthy.

Garden update:

Tomato plants have sprouted.  I planted these as seeds so I wasn't sure if anything would come up.  It seems most people just buy tomato starts.

The potato tower has some plants sticking out of the top.  It is supposed to have growth out the sides too but I've not seen any evidence there.  I planted four different types and the ones on the top layer are Red Pontiacs.

Months and months ago I collected seeds from a spaghetti squash that we were having for dinner.  Those seeds have produced some very promising sprouts.  I planted them in a big plastic tub thinking they wouldn't really do anything and now they are showing more promise than the zucchini! 


Spaghetti Squash

The pea plants are about 5 inches tall now.  I planted them near the fence so they could climb but I am thinking it wasn't close enough.  I may hitch up some sort of trellis for them.  Hitch up?  See, that's the tomboy.

Beyond gardening and chickens I'm raising a couple kids.  We've been going on lots of bike rides.  The sunny spring weather is the perfect invitation to get outside.  Yesterday we rode about 5 miles.  Today was probably close to the same.  But it's never about the distance or the speed or even the destination.  Well, when the destination is Dairy Queen, it is most certainly about the destination.  But mostly, it's about a mom trying to tie the heart strings with her growing boys.

We are on week 22 in school.  Heads above water.  I've given up on Algebra and am looking into some outside help.  The 9th grader is flourishing in his art lessons.  He's learning about light in Science and it seems to have captured his interest.  The 7th grader chugs along like a steady reliable train.  He likes to do things right and well.

That's it for now.  The rest of the afternoon lies before me like an empty journal, awaiting thoughts to be penned onto it's pages.  And dinner time beyond that promises homemade biscuits with sausage gravy, and who in their right mind wouldn't be overjoyed with that idea!

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