Ever since I ordered my papaya tree way back in frosty, icy January, I’ve been looking forward to this day with an ever-increasing amount of impatience. When I was placing the order, I figured the delivery would necessitate, at a minimum, two burly men, a truck, and some sort of forklift to get my papaya tree situated in its new home. Imagine my disappointment when I made the daily trek to the post office, only to be presented with a smallish green plastic package, so light I could carry it with one hand. When I got home and opened it, I discovered that reality refused to meet my dreams even halfway as I unpacked the saddest, wiltiest, most despondent two-inch papaya tree I’ve ever seen. Granted it’s also the first papaya tree I’ve ever seen, but still. The poor thing is so traumatized that even though its two leaves are still green, you can literally see through them. I had to check it into plant ICU, where it has its own room complete with a protective plastic bottle bubble and a splint made of shrimp skewers and a twist tie. I also called the company, who said they would send a replacement papaya, but only if I stopped crying.
Also included in what I’m now calling my Order of Crushed Dreams was the three-in-one citrus tree I was elated to stumble across back in January. I pictured a single grafted tree of Frankensteinian elegance, with a selection of lemons, limes, and oranges on every branch. But apparently by “3 in 1”, they meant three separate trees crammed into one pot. That’s the sort of thing I do by accident every time I plant seeds, not something they should advertise as a glorious hybrid citrus celebration. I briefly considered separating out the three trees into different pots, but then shrugged and decided to keep the citrus party going. With all my new acquisitions in pots, plus a few more “had to haves” I saw at the huge Wilco sale today, my greenhouse is officially at maximum capacity. It’s hard to tell from the photo, but along the right side pots are stacked three and four deep. In my infinite wisdom, I left the two plants with spikes on them along the aisle, so I get a pointy hello every time I turn around in there.
I discovered something else as I was unpacking the rest of it – ten asparagus plants that I’d completely forgotten I’d included in my order. Every time I’ve seen an asparagus for sale, I’ve thought, “Ooh, asparagus! I should try growing that!” and I’ll throw a package of it in my cart. Then forget about it. Times five. Now I have over thirty asparagus plants for which Gene is going to have to build a raised bed. Good thing we have over 12 yards of dirt to use! I just wish he actually liked asparagus.
If you want to see the real sign that spring has arrived, look no further than our driveway. Underneath the festive yet functional blue tarp, you’ll see a five-foot by six-foot pile of pure spring. This year’s pile of compost/dirt blend even had a bonus frog delivered with it! It doesn’t get more springlike than bonus frogs. We are going to make a new raised bed that runs the length of the driveway, and also build a few raised beds dedicated to berries. I can’t wait!
Some of the dirt is destined for the backyard garden as well. The cover crop that Gene planted a few months ago has sprouted, and it got tall enough that I decided it was the perfect spot for Cinnabun’s first introduction to the big wide world outside the Bunny Ranch. Instead of grazing, she hopped about frantically, staring up at the sky like she was worried about falling off the ground. After about ten minutes or so, she started panting, so Gene put her back. Harvey was fussy during his first trip outside, too, so her reaction was expected. After a few more field trips, she’ll be happily cavorting right next to him.
Our resident outdoor chick has finally gotten over her agoraphobia, and loves to hang out in the garden. She’s been adopted by both the blue cochins, and it’s absolutely adorable to watch them mothering her at the same time. The three are inseparable, and cram into the same nesting box at night to sleep. I’ve never heard of that happening before, but the chick most definitely has two mamas.
Our newest mama, Daisy, is a happy goat. Now that she doesn’t look like a horned walrus anymore, she seems much more comfortable. Leo spends his days climbing on all the toys and tree branches, running over for the occasional milk break when the mood strikes him. We still close him off with his mama in the alpaca cabana at night, since he’s still firmly in the “Coyote Appetizer” weight class, but he loves being outside playing in the sunshine.
Little Leonidas made his appearance in the world around six am, and he couldn’t be cuter. He’s going to be a big goat, I think, judging by how long his legs are. Last night, I had a feeling Daisy was getting close because for the first time in the history of ever, she didn’t eat dinner. Since she normally inhales her grain, then spends the next thirty minutes trying to cram her head through the fence to get anything that dropped on the ground, I figured her lack of hunger was a sign from above of impending parenthood.
I worked most of last evening to make a few suitable nursery options, then spent the rest of the night shining a flashlight out the window every hour to monitor Daisy’s girth. I finally gave up after two am, took a nap, then got up a few hours later to check on her. I think I missed the event by about half an hour; she totally did it on purpose out of annoyance over the whole flashlight thing. She chose the cabana, which is the one nursery option without a door. After watching goats come flying out of it on the receiving end of ferocious headbutts, Abigail came down and helped me move a chain link panel with a gate over to block the entrance. After using bungy cords and concrete blocks to secure it, it looks sufficiently redneck. If I can find a way to incorporate a blue tarp of some sort, it will be perfect. Daisy seems much happier to have a place to herself, and there’s plenty of room for little Leo to romp and hop.
Leo’s not the only new addition this week; the chicks have arrived as well! Between caring for the chicks and starting all my seeds according to schedule, re-potting everything in the greenhouse into bigger containers, then spending an entire day shuffling pots around to make room for everything, I haven’t had time to post in awhile! I managed to buy 16 chicks before Gene cut me off, and I’m fostering 7 for Abigail as well. When I went to pick up the Frizzle chicks at Wilco, I found a tiny, tiny one that had been hiding underneath some of the bigger chicks. She is literally the size of an Easter Peep. The employee had already boxed up the 6 I had reserved, but I told her I would take the little one as well, since we have a vast stock of chick emergency products. Since the Wilco chicken department staff and I are on a first name basis, I got to take home Little Bit for free! She’s actually doing really well, although she’s definitely not growing at the same rate as the others. Gene often wakes up to find me spoon feeding her on the kitchen table, and once he walked in the bathroom to find me blow drying her butt after cleaning poo off her feathers. Nothing surprises him anymore, he just made a comment about how he didn’t realize we’d added a chicken spa.