Sunday, July 31, 2011

Bee Stings & Sun Screens

I'm guessing after decades of landscaping and gardening I've built up something of an immunity to bug bites and an overall nonchalance regarding scratches, scrapes and bruises. I admit with shame, (as someone who has been working outside since dinosaurs roamed), to labouring hatless and largely sunscreenless for many a moon.

I was thinking of Mike's post,(Subsistence Pattern), about sunscreen this morning so I actually sauntered into the shack where I keep my crap, grabbed the BurtsBee sunscreen someone gave me, (I'm too cheap to buy that particular name brand myself and I can only wonder at the expiration date but I digress..), and slathered it on.

Now allegedly it was not to be as humid today and I got off to a roaring start, ripping and snorting, digging and weeding, and before long sweat began to trickle down my face and into my eyes stinging as it carried the melting sunscreen along with it. Oh, did I mention I also rarely use a headband which of course would mitigate the sweat in the eyes routine? Even my grandpa always carried around an old handkerchief to wipe his face but I seem to make do with the bottom of my tee shirt.

But I pressed on. Undaunted. And then the bee that got caught in my hair and subsequently gelled into the sunscreen on the back of my neck chomped. OK, ouch.

But wait. Yesterday a honeybee got me on the arm. It's still a hair swollen but now I've begun conducting my arthritis experiments and last night tried to figure out whether or not there's anything to this apitherapy thingee. I read a bunch of articles and figured what doesn't kill me etc etc and if there is any benefit I'm covered. But I'd like to limit it to just one sting a day thank you very much.

Friday, July 15, 2011

miss copperhead shuffles off this mortal coil...

Actually there was no shuffling involved. She was unceremoniously taken out by a small dog visiting our road for only the day, owned by a workman a couple houses down who allowed it to roam free and had no idea what a little killer was his. Randi saw red and tromped up for a 'meaningful discussion' with who turned out to be about 280 lbs. of tattooed muscle, and, if truth be told, a very apologetic, calm human. Money was exchanged. My thinking being if he had to shell out for the dog's transgressions it might help him in future potential hoop-de-doodles, planting the seed of a sort of consciousness if you will. (I SO get those old movies with the farmer bursting out the door armed with a shotgun to chase off any number of predators).

Long story short, be careful what clever names you give your little chickens. And yes, of course, as far as looks go, she was my favorite. Sheesh! Enough with the chickens already!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Apres moi, le deluge...

Gooseberries..taste test this morning: perfect. Every year I add a plant or two.

Yesterday as I was mowing I was surprised to see these doing the ripening thing. Blueberries are always plentiful and carefree here. Should I have actually said that out loud?

Today will probably be the final pea pick. Cannot grow enough to satisfy but will continue to expand.

Hybrid or not and I can't remember but these Sun Sugar cherry tomatoes are so damned delicious. Glad to see them making an appearance.

Update: The aforementioned Red of post past seems to have reintergrated with the collective. I breath a sigh of relief and worry now about what'll happen when the new kids arrive.

Grow a bit of wheat and oats. Again, would love to increase all the grains. Working on it.

This, the first honeybee hive year, finds me following them around with some anxiety as to their adjustment to their new digs. It also catches me noticing all the other 'joe blow' pollinators that have been faithful all these years.

Actually, the name of this post should be 'Before me, the deluge'. It's no secret why professional photographers mist their subjects before shooting. The downside of a heavy downfall: floppy plants. The upside: No watering today. Hay, wasn't I just beefing about the endless rain two minutes ago?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Come here Red...

Life before chickens. A hawk or an eagle flies over and you think, "How majestic". Today a bird of prey does a fly by and you become uber vigilant. The last few days have found me thinking how neat it would be to have just a couple of chickens. You know, I could keep an eye on them as we weed together.

Well, Red has been keeping me company because she has become the object of some pretty mean treatment from the pack. They won't let her into the yard leaving her to hang in the coop. When she does venture out she puffs up as big as she can and she still gets a sustained 'peck' (read bite) from the little martinette that seems to be running the show these days.

So I take her out with me where she gluts on worms, (where the others can see), raspberries, currants, strawberries, seeds, whatever.

Now I've read that the way to deal is to remove the agressor for a couple days and then duly knocked down a peg or three it will behave. However in this case the top hen has her nasty gang of thuggy underlings that also do her bidding when I have removed the instigator. And, of course, it goes without saying that Red is my favorite and if a chicken can be sweet Red qualifies.

Anyway, maybe they're all cranky because they can no longer free range. Once the veg gardens are done I'll let them in there but free ranging here is a gamble one is bound to lose to foxes so confined they must be for the majority of their days.

So yeah, one or two novelty chickens would be smashing except I keep thinking about that line at the end of, I think, Annie Hall..."I need the eggs".