I have given up on calendars and temperatures and the like, for they always seem to disappoint me. I am officially declaring the start of summer. To celebrate, and since the temperatures are getting into the 80s (and drop to the 40s at night, whatever, Pacific Northwest), I scheduled the yearly shearing appointment for Shy and Woolimina. Since Gene had to work that night, and thus was not free to assist in the rodeo which precedes each haircut, we decided to catch them before he had to leave and attached long leashes to their collars. Shy and Wool then spent the next five hours convinced that festively colored snakes were following them around. But in the long run it was worth it – Wheat Thins were liberally handed out, and they both look stunning with their new spring looks.(Well, truthfully Shy looks stunning. Woolimina looks like she ate one box of Wheat Thins too many this winter). They still haven’t quite forgiven me for the whole collar snake thing, though.
Similarily, Big Bertha the broody duck hasn’t forgiven me since the day she decided to build her nest, then sit on her eggs, in the highest traffic area on the whole farm – right by the entrance to the food bin room. I put up with her hissings and fussings, and we peacefully coexisted for over a week until disaster struck today. For some reason, she must have gotten confused about where her eggs were, because she was happily sitting in a beautifully crafted nest right next to the pile of them. I thought I was doing her a favor by gently rolling them back underneath her, but she acted like I was about to make an omelet right in front of her. With each egg I put back in the nest, she’d pinch the skin of my hand in her beak, then try to do a gator roll with it. Thank god she only had four eggs. Gene always says, “Just grab her head first with your other hand!” whenever I come to him whining about beak-inflicted wounds on my extremities, but I’d like to see him try that on Bertha. That duck’s got some moves.
After dealing with Bertha’s shenanigans, I figured I’d do something relaxing and plant my corn starts out in the big garden. Unfortunately we haven’t finished the fence yet, so I had to come up with some way to protect the two-foot plants from the chickens. I really couldn’t wait any longer to plant them, because they were badly root bound and obviously tired of being in the tiny pots I planted the seeds in. As I carefully dug each hole, I had tons of chicken helpers, eager to snatch up any worms I unearthed. As I moved to the next hole, they would fill the preceding one in when my back was turned. When I put a tomato cage over each plant, they mocked my efforts by jumping through it and ripping off the corn leaves. When I wrapped fencing around each cage (which looks great, by the way, don’t think it doesn’t) to protect the leaves, they showed their discontent by attacking the corn waiting to be planted. It’s hard to be mad at them, though, since they’re so gleeful about helping me.