I know I’m not supposed to like bunnies in the garden, but I do. they make me happy, with their little fuzzy ears and their soft fur and sweet little tails. And, besides, our garden is in a state of complete disarray at this point – every time we make plans to plant the veggies the weather throws rain our way, leaving the beds far too wet to plant. So it isn’t like the little thing can do a whole lot of damage at this point.
Here a cheep, there a cheep
The next best thing to having chickens of your own? Your parents getting chickens, letting you pick out a breed you want, and letting you have one all to yourself to name (which may turn out to be a bad thing when we figure out which ones the roosters are – instead of Mother Clucker laying me eggs I might be eating Cluck Norris). My parents have been building a chicken coop for a while now, but yesterday they finally brought home chicks from the local farm store to raise while they put the finishing touches on it. Of course this farm-life dreamer had to immediately go over there and see them!
I somewhat randomly picked out a Silver Laced Wyandotte and we quickly became friends – or at least I’m choosing to believe we did given how quickly it calmed in my hand and then nestled up against my chest on my shirt. There’s something quite heartwarming about it to this wannabe farm girl, though my husband was less amused. He grew up with chickens as a kid but they didn’t really handle them or treat them as pets so I’m afraid he finds my excitement over chickens a bit ridiculous. But how can you not love the little chicks?!
Here’s hoping I end up with a hen and not a rooster :)
Natural Dye Play
It’s Easter today, which means this weekend I had a bee in my bonnet about dyeing eggs. But I didn’t want to just do any ol’ dye job – no, I wanted to play with natural dyes with what I had in my kitchen. Which happened to be blueberries and turmeric.
I mostly just winged it after looking at a few online sites (the process isn’t complicated by any means) – boiled up some blueberries with some water, strained the whole thing and added some vinegar, and then let my eggs sit overnight in the refrigerator to soak up the dye. The turmeric I just mixed with some hot water and vinegar and shook it all up in a canning jar before adding eggs and popping in the fridge.
The eggs had a ‘film’ on them – you had to be careful handling them because it would easily rub off. At first I thought I did something wrong, because they didn’t seem quite as perfect or as pretty as ones I had found online. But then, they don’t really need to be perfect, do they? And that film? It’s because the vinegar starts to eat away at the shell after being left in the dye overnight. I rinsed two eggs to see how they looked – the turmeric one ended up retaining dye but looking mostly pale yellow compared to its bright and golden counterpart. The blueberry version ended up looking speckled and quite pretty, though obviously not as vivid as the non-rinsed version. Next time I’ll start the dye process in the morning and not let them sit for quite so long and see how that effects the film issue. Or find a different mordant to use instead of vinegar.
And of course, being a knitter, I had to skein up some spare wool and dye some yarn with the leftover blueberry dye. I soaked the yarn in some warm water for about 20 minutes before draining it and moving it to the canning jar. Microwaved it for a few minutes off and on and let it cool until the dye was “exhausted” (meaning the color had been absorbed by the wool and the water was quite clear), rinsed it, and now it presently hangs from a door handle to dry. It’s quite a pretty pale purple color and I’m curious to see how the color changes on the yarn as it dries, especially as the eggs ended up more slate gray than purple or blue.
Better late than never
I finally managed to start my seeds last week (there was quite the meltdown about money to fix the cars, and how starting seeds saves us money on plants and whatnot) and they’re germinating nicely. I skipped the peppers, since they take a lot longer to germinate, but there are tomatoes, brussel sprouts, tomatillos, basil, lemon balm, cilantro, and marigolds all planted. I’m trying the newspaper cup thing to save some money on buying the biodegradable ones at the store, and so far I’m pretty happy with it.
We’ll end up buying peppers and eggplant and maybe a few other plants to fill things in, but it’s a good start so far.
In the early spring garden
In what might be the best thing ever to happen to this lazy gardener (who still has yet to start her seeds… I really should get on that) – chives growing from last year’s plantings. I had no idea that they would end up a perennial once established, and had assumed I’d have to re-plant all of my herbs this spring. I had also assumed that even if a few things around the house were perennials, the bitter cold and snowy Ohio winter would have killed things off entirely.
And, yet, here they are. Lovely little green spikes, rising from the wasteland of death that is my raised beds. It also appears that there is quite a bit if squirrel poop in the beds, as well, which really is to be suspected. We’ve been fighting squirrels getting into our attic, and they feasted quite well on the leftovers of last year’s garden over the winter. I feel like I’m fighting a losing battle with them, at this point.
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