Oh, the stories that chickens could tell…

The chickens around this place are a little more ridiculous than normal these days.  You see, I hatched out a batch of chicks with my students this year, and after all of that was said and done, we’ve got 10 birds that have survived.  They’re the teenagers of this pack, and, for the most part, they’re a gang of teenagers.

The teenagers

The teenagers

They hang out, get bullied by some of the adults (maybe their parents), but there’s a total hierarchy amongst them.  Two of them (we call them the Egyptians, due to their colouring), have started roosting in the house at night, on the TOP most roosting bar, pooping on all of the adult birds below them, all night long.  But, as teenagers are wont to do, and to be, there’s one that just doesn’t fit in.  Normally, in human situations, I would blame this on the big group, and accuse them of being conformist and traditional and rude and mean.  This, however, is not a human situation, and the bird who doesn’t fit in is by no means normal. Not in the cool, non-conformist way of not being normal either.

She’s just stupid.

The not-as-clever chicken

She gets lost in the forest.  When we call her, she wanders further afield.  Last night she didn’t even make it back to the house, and so very easily could have been eaten by any one of the predators in our creek… but she didn’t, so she was out there this morning, cheep peeping along, trying to find her way home.  Seriously.  In the wild, this chicken would be dead long ago.  The way it stands now, I don’t know how long she’ll survive.

Plus, on top of the teenagers, we have a baby.

Disheveled mom and babe

Disheveled mom and babe

Although, the baby is growing up fast (don’t they always?).  She was hatched out by a pair of moms (a lesbian love story in the chicken house), and the moms have swapped their momly duties in the past month or so that she’s been around.  The baby’s gone back to the barred rock mom, who is looking as disheveled as any new mom I know.  The other mom, a red rock, has gone back to the land of Ferdinand, our rooster.  The saga in the chicken yard is mighty ridiculous these days.

Stories on the farm are as to be expected.  The cooler crops (peas, salad, lettuce, broccoli, etc.) are really enjoying the cool weather.  Imagine that, huh?  The warmer (and the hot ones especially) like corn and tomatoes and cucumbers and some of my flowers would like it a little… warmer?  So would I.  Then I would spend more time at the beach and the lake and in the water and that would make me happy.  Either way, warm or cool, the garden is growing.  I took a few pictures at our market table this morning (I ALWAYS forget until the end of the market, when the table looks sad and depleted), but my camera was on a funny setting, so excuse the general non-focusness of the pictures.  Then, when I went onto the farm to take some pictures, all I took shots of was flowers.  And broccoli.  I like broccoli.  I’m clearly biased in regards to the crops we grow, but I think you all already knew that.

Broccoli

Broccoli

Gladiola

Gladiola

Dahlia

Dahlia

Sunflower and honey bee

Sunflower and honey bee

Echinacea

Echinacea

Dahlia

Dahlia

Lily

Lily

Market table

Market table

Market table

Market table

Market table

Market table

The end of the chasm?

It’s amazing the way that hours and hours of sitting in front of a computer to write a thesis can put one into a blogless chasm of writing.  Actually, maybe that’s not amazing.  Maybe that’s quite standard, par for the course, regular, normal stuff.  Either way, my thesis was approved almost a month ago, and here we are, after our first market of the season, and it looks like our “website” is pretty… well… outdated.  Not cool Kerri, not cool.  This isn’t to say that I haven’t thought about writing many times, because I have.

CleoI thought about telling you when I hatched out baby chicks in my class, and especially when the humidity in the incubator got all wonky when I took it home on the last weekend, and, in so doing, pretty much drowned half of the almost fully formed chicks in their own mucous… I’m sure you wanted to hear about that.  We got 12 chicks, and they’re adorable, and have been given names such as CleoIago, Pingu, Iago, Boots, and Sox.  On other small bird (both less, and more small), I also thought about letting you know about the tiny nest of Bewick wrens in my toolbelt, which was hanging in the tractor shed… I thought about telling you how the eggs were the size of a tiny jelly bean, and that the three birds were the Pingusmallest creatures with the biggest mouths I’ve ever seen.  I also thought about telling you when I saw twin baby eagles in their nest… especially when, while looking through binoculars, I saw one of them wiggle their bums at Jeremy, and then let go the most amazing projectile poop.  It was spectacular.  It would have shot clean across my house.  I would not be surprised if people started betting on how far a baby eagle could poop.  Seriously.  I wonder how much poop there ended up being in my tool belt.  I wonder if the wrens even tried to projectile poop out.  Hrm…

DSC_0245

I also thought of writing to you when I finished Rainbow socksknitting some beautiful things.  I’ve knit lots of beautiful things.  I dream of knitting more beautiful things.  I always dream of knitting beautiful things.

Over the winter, I thought about introducing you to some of the other new critters with whom we share our time.  Minstrel is a ginger cat who came to hang Minstrelout with us in the month of January, supposedly for a month.  He’s still here, and he’s a snuggly poofball.  I don’t think we could have asked for two hairier pets… Also, Ferdinand the rooster came to live with us over the winter.  He’s named after FerdinandFerdinand the bull, and he’s lovely and kind and beautiful.  I like him.  I like him a lot.  In March, two hives of bees came to live with us too.  I thought about telling you about how bees are like Jeremy’s knitting.  I thought about telling you when some of the bees swarmed and we caught them, or when we cut out some queen cells to give to a friend, or when some of the lady bees started coming back neon yellow because they were collecting broom pollen, or when the honey started tasting like rose because of the wild roses in bloom.

New bees

New beekeeper

Swarm of bees

Swarm in hive

I thought about telling you about the trips – those to Tofino, or the interior, or the car disasters that happened en route.  I’m not going to even go into those events, because they’re not very farmy.  I’ll leave you with this, and hopefully we’ll be in touch again soon!

West coast instrument

 

 

Gallery

And that, my friends, is a wrap

This gallery contains 34 photos.

That, my dear friends, was a doozie of a farming season.  The last farmer’s market was yesterday; our last CSA box went out on Tuesday.  We just harvested the last of the corn and tomatoes to process for winter, and … Continue reading

Grateful, even with the bucket

I told people over the weekend that I was done school.  They thought that meant I was done my Masters.  That’s not what it means.  It means that I’m done for the summer, and that’s not even true.  I have to edit a colleague’s paper, and then read over how she’s edited mine (but at least I have a good first draft, which is 11 pages more than I had yesterday!), and then I have to edit my ethics application, and THEN I’m really on summer vacation.  Then I have 2 courses, some research, and a thesis to write, and then I’ll be done my Masters, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  First I get to go on summer vacation.  Granted, I’ve done lots of summer vacation things already this summer, but mentally, emotionally, and physically (I was living in Nanaimo for the most part dammit!) I have definitely not been on vacation.  Jeremy can attest to that, but he probably won’t unless I’m not around, because he might be a little afraid of my reaction.  I can’t say that I’ve been the most patient this month (even though I used to say that patience is for chumps, I didn’t mean that being patient with your friends or partner was chump-ish… I just meant that you shouldn’t wait to do things because waiting is dumb).  I can’t say that I’ve been especially thoughtful this month (although I did knit Jeremy an entire surprise sweater, which is pretty thoughtful.  And which really hurt my wrists, which makes typing 11 pages in a day hard.  Dammit again).  I can say that I swam almost every day this month, that I spent time with my flowers every chance I got, and that I was almost always grateful for where and how I live.  You would be too, I think.  Except for maybe the toilet part.  I don’t think everyone would be grateful to give up their flush toilet for a bucket.  I can’t think of very many who would be, actually.  I certainly wasn’t initially… but I am grateful that I don’t use gallons of clean water every time I pee.

All of these things may be too much information.  The sunset’s really pretty right now.  I’m going for a sunset stroll.  Look at the pictures.  You’d be grateful to live here.  Even with the bucket.

The things we do, or don’t do, for education

I’m living in Nanaimo right now, doing the residency portion of my Masters.  One of the first friends I made on the coast just coined that term – residency – and I think it’s especially apt because Jeremy’s aunt Susan recently spent some time in Lantzville doing a residency of her own.  Anyways, here I am, only 100 km or so from my real home, living in this cute but fake home, and feeling pretty far away from home sometimes, especially right now because I have two special and amazing and really spectacular friends who are going through something (one is wearing a neckbrace, and one is going to be wearing a dress that would typically be white, but I don’t know if hers is going to be, and she’s wearing it all the way over in Bali, so I won’t find out unless I ask her pointedly or wait to see the pictures), and I wish I could be there for both of them, but I can’t really be there for either of them because I’m here, questioning the entire education system (like reading!  READING!  I’m questioning whether we actually need to teach all of the people, all over the world to read, especially when that education comes at the cost of losing one’s culture and traditional knowledge.  I know, crazy.  Watch this film), which I’ve been questioning for a while, but I’m questioning it in different ways than I have before, and that’s good too, but maybe not quite as fun as watching someone wear a white or not-white dress say nice things to and about someone wearing something that’s probably not-a-white dress, and then having that other person say nice things to and about them, and then toasting the things they said afterwards.

This is where you pause to take a breath.  That was one sentence.  Actually, that was 3 sentences, but the first two sentences were of normal length.  The other sentence was a little more lengthy, but I like it, and I’m not changing it, but you should take a breath if you didn’t while reading that sentence.  Just a thought.  Oh, and yes, there were sentences in my parentheses… but those don’t count.

And while my masters (especially this course) may be more “fun” than supporting a friend who’s wearing a neckbrace, she probably isn’t having very much fun and could probably use any kind of not boring loneliness I had to offer (I read recently that loneliness was as bad for you as smoking.  Go get yourself a dog or a cat or a fish lonely people!  Or a person, but you should probably ask them before you “get” them.).

Anyways, I wish the two people I love who are going through these things luck and happiness and unloneliness.  I love you both.

A cop-out of a post

I’m a bit of an emotional mess from today being the last day of school (teachers have to go in tomorrow for meetings and such, but that really doesn’t count), especially because I have to change schools again for next year, so instead of saying anything about school or work (and instead of apologizing for not having written in months), I’m going to inundate you with pictures of the farm… or at least pictures of my flowers from around the farm.  I’m hoping to write a real post soon.

 

My top 10 Spring Break activities that actually happened

So I’ve been writing this post in my head over the past few days, while weeding the strawberries of nettles (I am, by no means, against the nettle plant.  I am, however, against all sharp and spiny and stingy [not stingy as in miserly, but sting-y, as in nettle-y] plants interspersed with my berries or my flowers.  NOT FAIR.), or while formatting pictures for this poster I had to do for school, or while driving up and down that island beside this island.  So I have ideas about this post, but they’re all pretty meandering.  I would not be surprised if the post is the same, even if it makes a claim to be a list.  Just thought you should know.

Climbing rose

Climbing rose

Kerri’s top 10 Spring break activities that actually happened

10.  Finishing my poster.  I had to do this poster for my Master’s.  It took way longer than I thought it would.  I finished it.  It was pretty.  It felt good.  Now I have this poster that I spent 2 days making and I don’t know what to do with it.  I guess there is always the woodstove.

Baby asparagus.  Only 2 more years!

Baby asparagus. Only 2 more years!

9. I got my haircut.  I’ve been wanting to cut my hair for a long time.  My mom told me not to shave any parts of it.  Then she said that I shouldn’t listen to her.  So I didn’t.

8.  Weeding the strawberries of nettles.  Also the blueberries of wild blackberry.  While I, for the most part, enjoy weeding, I especially enjoy weeding when the roots are really long and tangly, and the ground is pretty soft, and the weeds themselves are pretty big.  I like getting a big pile of weeds without a lot of work, especially when a significant part of that pile is root mass.  I get enjoyment out of it similar to the enjoyment I get when I pop an awesome pimple.  You should try it sometime.  The weeding part I mean.  We have lots of blackberries you can try it on, anytime.

Tractor sign.

Tractor sign.

7.  Beer on a patio.  In the sun.  A whole lot of years (6?  7?  I don’t remember) Jer and I went on our first date on Easter weekend.  We had beers on a patio in the sunshine.  A seagull shat in my beer.  Friends joined us and things got raucous.  It was an amazing day.  This was not that, but it was beers, on a patio, in the sun, with friends.  In April.  Win.

Jeremy made me alder buttons for my sweater.  I win.

Jeremy made me alder buttons for my sweater. I win.

6.  Fancy cocktails with friendfamily in the city.  I like fancy cocktails.  I like beer too, but fancy cocktails are special, and when we were in Calgary we went out with my cousin to a hip place and got to pretend that we weren’t bumpkins for a few hours, and there was a painting of a turtle in a suit, and we drank cocktails with names like “The Dirty Pigeon” (with tamarind and a salty cucumber!) and “The Meat Hook” and “Corn and Oil” and it was a lot of fun.  It made me feel young.

I made me a sweater.  It's orange.  It has handmade, homegrown buttons on it.  Seriously.  I win.

I made me a sweater. It’s orange. It has handmade, homegrown buttons on it. Seriously. I win.

5.  Rock and stick throwing parties.  When we got our land stumped last year, a bunch of rocks came to the surface.  Some sticks too.  Then Jer bought a tractor.  Rocks and tractors don’t get along so well, so I decided to have a rock and stick throwing party.  I thought friends would figure that I wanted them to work for me for free.  They didn’t.  One of them even googled “rock and stick throwing party” before deciding that it was probably a weird Denman Island thing, and hoped that it wasn’t going to be too competitive… I think it’s awesome that my friends trust me enough that I can host a work party with an unclear name and they’ll come and work… before going to the beach and drinking beer in the sun.

See?  Homemade sweater, homegrown buttons.  Orange.  WIN.

See? Homemade sweater, homegrown buttons. Orange. WIN.

4.  Planting all of the flowers.  Well, not ALL of the flowers.  But lots of trays of the flowers, and 2 50-foot rows of the flowers, and there are still all of the flowers coming in the mail.  My lilies are dividing and conquering and growing tall, and my starts are starting and they’re coming.  It’s going to happen!  Be ready for all of the flowers!

"Goats, eating fire-starter".  Almost "Goats, on a fire."

“Goats, eating fire-starter”. Almost “Goats, on a fire.”

3.  No diggity by a campfire.  In harmony.  On an acoustic guitar.  That is all.

2.  Hiking in the mountains.  In the sunshine.  On Vancouver Island with a friend and in Canmore with my mom.  To lakes.  In the sunshine.

The rhubarb is growing!

The rhubarb is growing!

1.  Not working, and especially not commuting.  Do you know how much time I would have in my life if I didn’t spend 5 days a week going to work?  I could ACTUALLY plant all of the flowers.  The blackberries would be exiled to the fences.  The nettles to beyond the fences.  I would knit all of the sweaters and blankets and shawls and hats and socks.  I would hike all of the mountains.  I would drink all of the cocktails and sleep in for all of the mornings.  Until at least 7.  I would miss my job, as I do (a little) right now, especially after drinking all of the cocktails and buying all of the yarn for all of the sweaters.  I would miss my job, but one of the best things about having a job is the days you don’t have to go.

This carrot top was haunted.  Naturally.  As in we didn't carve that face.

This carrot top was haunted. Naturally. As in we didn’t carve that face.