Autumn is the best time of year in Tennessee. Spring is second-best. The weather is nice either way, but autumn means the bugs are going away while spring means they’re coming back. I’ve already killed two wasps in the basement this week, and Chareva has already pulled a tick from her leg. But bugs aside, it’s nice to see the land come back to life after winter.
Chareva expanded the garden in the front pasture awhile back so we can grow more of our own food. She also started a new one on the big hill behind the house, preparing the area with some mixture of soil, straw, compost, cardboard, sand, food scraps and other stuff I don’t fully understand. I just know a lot of stuff was piling up back there all winter … and that if we did this in a suburb, we’d be considered the neighborhood low-lifes. Once the weather warmed up, she drafted the girls to help her spread the stuff around.
I can’t tell if Alana is exerting herself in this picture or just unhappy with the chore.
Sara found her own use for the sand before spreading it around.
Once the area was prepared, Chareva got busy building a fence around it to avoid feeding the local wildlife. Here she is pounding in a t-post, apparently while preferring to remain anonymous.
She called me out to help when it was time to unravel a hundred pounds or so of fencing. Whoever designed that fencing is a genius … no matter what you do, no matter which angle you choose, the fencing to tries to unravel itself in exactly the opposite direction of where you want it to go next.
I unwound the fencing and pulled it tight while Chareva connected it to the t-posts. We had a couple of old gates sitting around (the previous owner left a lifetime supply strewn around the property), so those will become garden gates once they’re attached.
The garden plants are in the basement right now. The garden is pretty much Chareva’s bailiwick, so I didn’t even ask what she’s planting this year. But apparently I’ll be enjoying some eggplants, cucumbers and bell peppers at harvest time. I guess I’ll also be eating a Rutgers, whatever that is.
Meanwhile, the girls have been celebrating warmer weather by looking for life forms in the creek.
On Saturday, I looked out my office window noticed something was making impressive splashes in the water, so the girls ran out to look. Apparently it was this guy doing the splashing.
Sara also snapped this picture. She assures me that’s a salamander under the water.
Chareva left today to spend a week in Chicago, so in addition to working as a software contractor (from home, fortunately), I’m responsible for the care and feeding of one cat, two Rottweilers, two human children and 19 grown chickens. The girls and I agreed on a division of labor for the chickens: I carry the heavy bucket of water to the chicken yard, Alana fills the feeders, and then while Sara collects the eggs, I keep the Rapper Rooster at bay with a rake. Collecting eggs means having your back to the rest of the barn, which is when he usually decides to attack.
We’ll be building another chicken yard of some sort soon. We don’t really have a choice: Sara’s 25 chicks are getting noticeably larger …
… and so are Alan’s four chicks.
Sara has to auction five of hers at a 4-H event, but we’ll still end up with more than 40 chickens.
Great. Because the 18 or so eggs we get every day now aren’t enough.
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