August 26, 2006 – Putting Food By and By

As today was the Memorial for Mildred Grimes, we weren’t able to go to market. I’m glad we went to the service – it was very beautiful. We were, however left with many tomatoes, beans, and raspberries to “use or lose.” Linda and Emma canned 21 quarts of tomatoes.

We’ve got our old kitchen countertop on wheels and old gas stove on a propane tank, so we can keep the mess out of the house.

Claire and I dug more potatoes. I had a crabby and happy picture of Claire, and chose the happy picture this time.

August 25, 2006 – Photo Friday “Circle”

This week’s Photo Friday Contest theme is “Circle.” Here is my entry.

This is a Gaillardia from our garden photoshopped into a round shape.

Here’s what Wikipedia says about Gaillardia:

Gaillardia is a genus of drought-tolerant annual and perennial plants from the sunflower family (Asteraceae), native to North America. It was named after M. Gaillard de Charentonneau, an 18th-century French magistrate who was a patron of botany.

August 23, 2006 – The World Swallows Martin

Here’s the world opening up its mouth to swallow up my little boy!

Like all of us, he was very brave in starting his whole new world. So many questions – how do I act, who will be my friends, what will I eat, can I do it? For Martin, it is just the beginning of those questions. Now, once again, I to have to face the same questions with my new spaces and time.

I missed the little guy more than I envisioned today. I’m kind of moping around with a feeling of loss. He was a constant companion for five years at home. I’m sure I’ll get over it – he won’t look back and eventually I will adjust to the stunning silence, lack of questions, and absence imaginative play. I hope he manages to keep that alive, despite of school and its attendant structure and conformity.

I for one, have to learn how to do something for more than 30 minutes at a time! With Martin, he would help, but had a 5-year old’s attention span. The good news was there is always something new to do. Given the variables of season, weather, and Martin, the nearly unlimited choices narrowed to a few. Now one of the variables is gone. We’ll see how dad adjusts!

August 22, 2006 – Livestock = Deadstock

There’s a saying – if you’ve got livestock, it won’t be long before you have deadstock. Two things struck today. We had a group of laying hen chicks in with some of our broilers that free-ranged during the day and were locked up in a building at night. The layers are much younger and smaller. Other broilers were in chicken tractors and out on the “range” in electric fences surrounding them. Linda kind of thought the numbers were going down. I had seen a wild cat numerous times in and around the building they were living.

Tomorrow 10 replacement turkeys may come, (the original 10 died in transit) so we were moving the chicks from that building to new accommodations so the new turkeys can brood in peace and be protected from the cat. Only 8 of 25 layer chicks remain! Time to find a new home for the cat!

While I was readying the brooder, Claire yells out that she thinks Blindy (the lamb) is dead. Sure enough, he was – no signs of anything wrong with him. I think that whatever caused him to be blind and have deformed feet, must have finally killed him. He was nice and blocky, fat tummy (but not bloated) and free of the runs.

I gently brought his body over to the animal composter pile, placed a layer of half-rotted manure/compost on the bottom, placed him on the compost, then covered with a bunch of hay and got it soaking wet. In a strange way, it felt good to take care of him in a respectful and natural way. It will be the first use of the new composter.