Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Blueberries, Bread, and New Beginnings

It's not quite spring in Virginia.  But like every year so far, we have been teased with some warm weather.  Just two days ago it was sunny and 65... today, snow.  It's funny that sunny and 65 seems so warm to this California transplant, but I guess that's what you get when you start living in a place where the temperature can fluctuate between 100 degrees with 100% humidity and 5 degrees with 5% humidity.  Everyone keeps asking me if I still love the snow... and I do... but I'm starting to get the Spring bug.   Christian and I have so much planned for the next few months on this little pice of land and I think we are both itching to get going.

And here is proof that spring IS on the way.  I'm not sure what these are going to be since I wasn't around last year for their arrival.   I discovered them under the leaves the chickens were scratching around.  There is a rather large grouping of them along the concrete fence next to the herb shed.  I'm guessing daffodils but we will see in a few weeks.  I bought a bunch of tulips that I forgot to plant in November so in the warmth of this past Sunday afternoon I went ahead and tucked them into the flower bed in front of the house.  Online resources suggest that they may still come up and give a few flowers but if nothing else at least they are in the ground for next year.

We have been getting about a dozen eggs a day for the last week.  We've been baking and giving away what we can't use.  Our over all egg consumption has gone up significantly.   Christian made this wonderful Japanese savory egg dish that was so silky smooth and delicious I asked him to make it again the next night.  Two eggs, a cup of chicken broth, and a dash of soy sauce... apparently that's all you need to make something delicious.

The chicken girls have really come into their own within the last month.  They are fluffy and active and absolutely hate the snow!  Last week while Becca was here with us and we had over a foot they didn't bother to come out of their coop for 5 days.   Interestingly, they kept right on laying.   Which I take to mean they were at least happy enough in there and not crowded or stressed.

Just two hours before posting this it was starting to snow.  I wasn't expecting much since nothing was called for.  BUT, that's another thing about Virginia... our weather people rarely get it right.   Sure enough we have two inches on the ground and it's still coming down as I type.  It will probably melt by tonight.  

The last time it snowed I missed the opportunity to catch the snow flakes gathering on the chickens.   I just love the way it looks.   Especially on the rooster who I have taken to calling the "asshole rooster" since he's getting just a bit more pushy.   If he keeps it up he might just (oops!) get caught up in the roaster chickens we are raising and planning to slaughter in May.  And doesn't he just look like an a-hole?  Look at that face!  As far as I can tell though, he is a textbook excellent rooster to his flock.  He is constantly on the look out for distress, separation in the flock, tasty things he finds and wants to give to his girls, and danger in the form of large bags of pine shavings and metal trashcan lids.  The Turken, sadly, passed away a few weeks ago during the Polar Vortex.   I found him huddled under the coop at 11pm and couldn't get him out to go into the coop.  The next morning he was frozen solid.   I took him out to the woods in the hope that something would find him and eat him.   Christian misses the Turken and while he was super fun to look at, he was not a good rooster.  He never crowed once and seemed pleased to let the A-hole take care of the business end of the deal while he ate all the worms and bugs himself and snuck around mating the girls when A-hole wasn't looking.  It was his time.  

I am beyond excited about blueberries this year.  One of the perks of Christian's new job at Southern States is the discount on plants.   After the discount they are nearly half off and that means we can afford to go big this year with our garden plans.   We bought six bushes in six different varieties that his garden manager assures us will likely produce at least some berries in their first year.   My mom use to read to me from a children's book about a little girl and a bear picking blueberries in Maine and I can't wait for a summer full of picking and cooking blueberries with my mom and my little girl.

Speaking of the little girl and new beginnings I have been busy in her room pulling together a space I can enjoy until she is old enough to have her own opinions about decor.   It is a loose theme of farm animals and wild life with very little pink and I like where it is going.   When my parents come mid March for a week my mom and I are going shopping for a crib and an Amish rocker :)

Finally, this is our latest "bonus chick."  My mom calls him/her Duster because of the feathery feet.  This little one will grow into a very large black chicken known as a Black Australorp.   Up next... the arrival of our two American Buff goslings at the end of March.   I can't wait.  :)

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