Tag Archives: woodland creatures

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

The chicken that would not die

You’ve all heard me talk about our neighbours.  They’re all kinds of awesome.  All kinds, I swear.  A couple of weeks ago they had a chicken who was going through a rough time.  She was blind in one eye from some kind of infection, and the other chickens were giving her a run for her money (the term “henpecked” comes from somewhere and it sure isn’t pretty).  She’d lost half of her comb, and her skull was visible in parts.  Our lovely neighbours asked if we’d take her for a bit, to give her a reprieve from their birds who knew her place in line and were relentless in their attacks.  Of course we agreed, and for a couple of days “Scabby” lived in our house.  When our neighbours found out that “Scabby” wasn’t well enough to live outside with our other birds, they took her back and built her a lovely pen.  They brought her over a dog house and made her feel special.  Her comb healed over, her skin closed up and her feathers started growing back.  We even decided that maybe we shouldn’t call her Scabby, so kind of renamed her Sorrel, but I don’t know if that’s really going to stick.  A nickname’s a nickname, even if it’s not a nice one, right?

*Yes.  All of this mimics schoolyard politics, nicknames and all.  Yes, I feel emotional about it.  Yes, she’s a chicken and I eat chicken.  What’s your point?

Anyways, we ended up taking Scabby/Sorrel back last week.  Chickens shouldn’t be all alone and our birds didn’t see her as the recluse nerd who deserved to be locked into her own locker.  We were still trying to figure out how to encourage her to be social with the other birds, but she was a bit of a recluse.  She may just have been smarter than them.  She is a Houdini, and never ever seems to be in the pen, but is out wandering the garlic or the potatoes or the kale.  We’ve never actually seen her escape, and none of the other birds get out.  She’s just kinda like that.

Until today, when she wasn’t wandering and wasn’t clucking around with the other ladies either.  Until today, when the remains of a white chicken was dropped, unceremoniously, onto our neighbours’ yard by an eagle.  Until Scabby/Sorrel couldn’t be found and was determined to have died as she had lived – free.

Until she was found, hours later, wandering the garlic.  Free.  Alive.

I don’t know where this chicken got her lives, but she’s certainly got lots of them.  And I’m sorry for whichever bird’s life ran out today… maybe that bird lived happily with it’s compatriots and was ready to go.  Who knows.

Here’s a picture of a flower and our 2nd CSA box of the year (it has garlic scapes in it!).Gaillardia

Box #2!

Options if I’m unable to find a teaching job next year

1) Knitting

Broken seed stitch socks

Broken seed stitch socks

Featherweight cardigan

Benefits include the fact that I do this anyways and that I can literally (not figuratively, I promise) do it with my eyes closed.  Drawbacks include the fact that I refuse to knit with crap yarn, so would spend all of my earnings on more yarn (this is what I do already with all of my earnings from knitting).  Additionally, even if I knit 24 hours a day, I don’t think I could even make enough money to buy dog and chicken food.  Maybe I should go to the Equator and run on a beach ball at 1000 miles an hour, because then the sun would stop moving in the sky.  Maybe then I could knit fast enough.  (I was listening to a Radiolab podcast on the way to work today… did you know that every day is 54 billionths of a second longer than the day before?  This is officially the shortest day of the rest of your life.  Huh…)

2) Flower farmerGaillardia - not another word for a yucky stomach illness

Iris, but not the grape kool-aid kind

Tree peonyThere’s lots of benefits here too… like the fact that I own a farm, that I like to get my hands (and feet for that matter) dirty, that I love flowers and all things colourful, that our bees are all dying and could use all the help they can get… the list can go on.  I’m trying my hand at this too, but with one farmer in the family who needs a farm enabler, I’m not sure that farming flowers is really going to help this situation.  We live on a small island and we’re not really equipped, especially the way that BC Ferries is going, to expand our sales off island.  And some people here like to buy our vegetables, and I’m sure some will love to buy our flowers… but lots of other people here like to grow their own, so I’m really not sure that this is the way to financially support us.  It sure does make me happy though.  Maybe less so when it’s raining out.  Or the deer broke through the fence.  Or when there’s too many thistles and blackberries and prickly things.  Or when thrips eat all of my gladiolas.  I don’t know if I’m emotionally tough enough to be a full-time farmer, come to think of it…

3) A herpetologist

Snake eyeballs Inside-out snake skin 35" longI don’t actually want to go back to school to study snakes, even though I think they’re incredibly cool and I love that they eat critters in my garden.  Mostly I just wanted to figure out what the word was for a person who studies reptiles, use that word, teach it to you and show you these pictures of a snake skin that I found in our garden, full with peeled-off eyeballs and everything.  It was still moist when we found it, and the snake was nearby and super shiny.  Plus, I don’t know if the government, or anyone really, funds herpetologists any more than they’re funding education…

Any other clever ideas out there?

The benefits of peer pressure

It rained on Saturday.  All day long.  It was pretty sucky.  It was the first weekend that Jer and I had both been home in weeks, and we were looking forward to getting stuff done around the farm, and then it rained and rained and rained.  Instead, we had lovely tea and lunch with some of our neighbours, and discussed the merits of peer pressure.  Peer pressure can encourage folks to do awesome things.  Some of my students are learning how to read, because all of their friends are reading awesome books, and they want to as well.  I can think of lots of times when I had the inclination to do something supremely un-smart, and my friends, some of whom had much greater smart meters than I did, convinced me to do otherwise.  Seeing as my grandmother reads this blog, I will not delve into my un-smartnesses, only to thank any and all of you whose reason surpasses my own, or at least surpassed it at one point.

So there’s this “thing” going around west coast facebook pages these days, called the Winter Challenge.  Basically, someone gets nominated, jumps into really cold water, and then nominates some other folk.  I got nominated.  Essentially, I was being dared to go jump into frigid water.  Normally, I’d be all on board.  But normally, these are things you do WITH your peers (and then you’d drink beers with them and possibly go hang out in the hot tub of some person that you kind of met once, at a party, who said you could use their hot tub, but maybe not at 4 in the morning…), not do because of a dare by your peers over social media.  The whole peer pressure over social media thing strikes me as strange and uncomfortable on a whole lot of levels, but I did it anyways, because jumping into the water is fun, and encouraging others to do the same is fun.  I just hope that we’re thinking about why we do these things.

Spring arrived yesterday.  That also may be why I jumped in the water.  Rain sideways on Saturday, then warmth and sunshine on Sunday.  Thanks goodness.  I don’t know how much more winter I could take.

The post that wasn’t posted

I wrote a post a couple of weeks ago.  I thought I posted it.  Ended up I saved it and didn’t post it.  Oops.  It said that

“It was our dog.  Maybe that’s why the really pretty bunting didn’t seem to work.  Maybe that’s why it happened on weekends, when Jer happens to spend more time indoors.  He caught her with a chicken in her mouth.  She ran.  He chased her.  The chickens had the eggs scared out of them and we haven’t had an egg in over a week.  The dog seems better now (I don’t even want to remember how angry and hurt and sad I was), and the chickens are, I think, sorting themselves back out.  They must be kind of lonely, as our flock went from 11 to 5 in a matter of a couple of weeks.

Today was Family Day in BC.  That means I didn’t have to go to work.  So I spent the day marking papers, hanging with some of Jer’s fam, and playing in the snow.  I like the snow.

I got a haircut.  I bought new glasses.  I’ll show you a picture when I get the glasses.  They’re blue.  That’s all you need to know for now.”

My birthday amaryllis, with 4 flowersI have the glasses now.  They’re awesome.  And they allow me to see.  It’s awesome.  I’ll get you a picture asap, promise.    Today I went to watch a play at my school.  It was awesome.  Lots of awesome.  An organization came to our school on Tuesday, had an audition with our kids, cast them, rehearsed with them all week, and today there were 2 shows.  So amazing.  I also went for coffee… I’ve finally found the cafe in Courtenay that makes amazing coffee, and it’s going to change my life.

Spring really started to spring here this week – there were crocuses, the nettles were up and almost at edible height, the owls came back, and an eagle perched in a tree in our yard (that has nothing to do with spring – it was just really cool).  Then it snowed.  I don’t know where that leaves the flowers or the nettles, but spring is starting.  I can feel it.

Just outside the garden

Eagle in a tree