I made my first batch of pickles for the season last night! I went with a new method, brining them in salt water and pickling spices. I really went out on a culinary limb this time – I added a few dried hot peppers. I certainly hope the ensuing flavor story will make me want to turn the page. (Bess Bess will get that reference, anyone else watch Chopped on the Food Network?)They should be done in about three days. I hope these ones stay crispy; they should because you don’t actually can them afterward, you store them in the refrigerator. As soon as enough tomatoes and peppers are ripe, I’m going to tackle salsa.

I also did my least favorite of the weekend – mucking out everybody’s respective mansions. The turkey chalet is the worst… I have upgraded their poo output from Great Dane to elephant. If this blog has inspired anyone to start raising turkeys of their own, let me be the first to tell you don’t ever, EVER try to nudge a pile of turkey poo out of your way with your foot while wearing Crocs with no socks. I can still feel it. It was foul. (Foul…fowl – that joke never gets old!)

In Bedonkaduck news, I’m a little worried about one of them, because it appears as though his wings are growing in backward. He seems happy and fine; he acts just like the other two, but he flaps his wings up instead of down, and they flop out to his sides whenever he’s just chilling. I think can say goodbye to my dream of being a championship duck shower. (Or whatever you call those people that show dogs at fancy places, except you know, with ducks). I took this Wednesday off work so that we can install the water feature and move them into their new residence.  You’ll certainly all want to check the blog Wednesday night to see how Gene implements all the amazing ideas I come up with. Hopefully the weather will cooperate so poor Gene doesn’t have to build things in the rain. It’s so hard for him to hear me yell instructions through the window after I go inside the house to stay dry.

Since it was so hot on Saturday, I gave the chickens and the turkeys a chilled watermelon treat, which is the chicken’s favorite snack. It was the first time I have fed the turkeys by hand, and it will also be the last time. The male turkey did okay. I held out a watermelon chunk to him, and he politely considered it for minute, then gently took it from my fingers. Not so much with the female. It was like offering Bess Bess a donut when she’s hungry. I damn near lost a finger. And as if it wasn’t scary enough that she clacked her beak together repeatedly while she’s darting in to snatch the treat, she started hissing while she did it. Who knew turkeys could hiss?

Feeding the goats was much more enjoyable, and a lot safer. Little Buttercup was so excited she ran over to her food container, then started dancing back and forth on her front legs while wagging her tail. It was really sweet. I wish I could have taken a minute to enjoy the view, but I had to keep running from the hissing turkey that was pissed I ran out of melon.

Other than that, this weekend I took the opportunity to wander around and check in with all the flowers. I love seeing the roses in the sun, and the Mexican Day Lillies and Gladiolas are blooming as well. I pruned the roses and gave the cuttings to the goats, so they were happy. Apparently roses have a lot of vitamins that are good for goats, and that’s their favorite treat.

The orange tree has started to bloom, and all the exotic plants seem to be healthy. The olive tree is still just a seeding, really, but it’s getting bushier. The pomegranate I sprouted from a seed is about a foot tall, and the one I got from the nursery is still alive (I was worried about that one, it was half dead when it got here). The avocados are about ready to be repotted, so I need to figure out fairly soon how and where I’m going to house them come winter. I would brag about my blueberries, but the birds ate all the berries. Guess I should have done more than just think about putting netting over them. Jury is still out on the Goji berry bush… putting it in the ground didn’t seem to agree with it.

Oh, and my Stevia experiment? Total success!!! The leaves taste exactly like sugar when you crunch them…weirdest thing ever. You would never expect that taste from a leaf. I can’t wait to harvest and dehydrate more leaves! I even bought another small one from the nursery, since they had one on sale. I can’t figure out why I’m always running out of space in the greenhouse….

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