Garden roll call

Redbud, Cercis canadensis, in flower. Photo taken April 3. Previous post – redbud in bud, around March 22.

04032018 redbud

April 14. Goji berry (Lycium barbarum, Gou qi zi 枸杞). I’m experimenting to see how much fruit all of this new growth will produce. Also, I’ve heard anecdotally that the dried goji berries at the store are treated with a colorant to give them a redder hue. I will investigate this further.

04152018 goji

April 14. Jewels of opar (Talinum paniculatum). They survived the winter!!

04222018 jewels of opar

April 22. Heuchera spp. Enjoys the shade of the elderberry.

04222018 heuchera

April 22. A bit washed out due to the overcast sky, I suppose. A nice perennial polyculture, front, from left: figwort (Scrophularia marilandica), comfrey in flower (Symphytum spp.), back: Carolina lupine/Blue Ridge buck bean (Thermopsis villosa).

04222018 polyculture

Rooster Dance

Jack the yard rooster (Gallus gallus domesticus) and his successor who remains without name.

Jack, formerly the alpha, lost his eye in a fight with the black rooster, and so was demoted to beta male, and banished to the garden. Once, he got in a physical confrontation with the now-dominant black rooster, but, with only one eye and no longer at the peak of fitness, he literally ran away screaming like a scared child. It was humorous and bitter-sweet.

Now, all confrontations (rare as they may be) occur with a fence in between.

04012018 rooster dance 1
They mirror each other’s movements, in an age-old dance of dominance that probably dates back to their dinosaur ancestors.
04012018 rooster dance 2
First down, then up. Then the neck feathers flare out.

04012018 rooster dance 3

04012018 rooster dance 4
The black rooster has outgrown Jack. I suspect Jack has some banty genes.
04012018 rooster dance 5
Chickens really are tiny dinosaurs.

Contemplating Eggs

On my way back from the chicken house, I realized that I spend a satisfying amount of time contemplating eggs. I could probably stand to spend more time doing so. I examine each egg as I gather it and put it in the egg bucket. At the egg cleaning station, each eggs receives a second, more detailed scrutiny, to determine if it is clean enough to be put in the carton, or needs a brief washing. Every now and then, an egg will be coated in the yolk and albumin of a thinner-shelled egg that just couldn’t stand the pressure of a broody hen (the chickens are fed crushed oyster shell to strengthen their bones and the egg shell – my best guess is that the thinner eggshells are either coming from very young or aging layers).


09182017 blue and pink