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Chickens and grasshoppers

I woke up this morning to the sweet soft chirps of chickens just out side my bedroom window. They are much more enjoyable than the bird that starts screeching at four thirty every morning. The enthusiasm they show in there job is commendable. I spend way to much time every day herding grasshoppers into their cage but everybody has to have a hobby.

Why the big chickens can’t share in the enjoyment of the feast or even at least eat the hoppers that bounce off of their beaks is beyond me. They don’t like life in the big fancy chicken tractor we (he) built for them. If the rooster were a horse I would say he has started weaving indicating stress over his loss of freedom. If he starts cribbing I will be impressed. They could have continued to roam free through out the yard if not for that fateful day in April when they discovered the green house.

The baby Peppers were freshly set out after sprouting in the house and achieving their first real leaves. It was a warm spring day warm enough to roll up the sides and let some fresh cool air in. As we worked about the yard, I may even have gone for a nice ride, they found it. They, all two of them, squeezed under the side and feasted on fresh pepper plants. Carefully nipping the steam off of each plant. We are just lucky they didn’t like the tomatoes.

And so work began on the chicken tractor.

The bees

The bees are gone. Most of them any way.

Earlier this spring the automatic waterer behind the house was swarming with them. They lined up solid three deep around the edge of the trough each fighting for it’s turn. I would stand at the fence and watch them trying not to cower from the constant buzzing stream of them over my head. I was not going any closer, I like bees a lot, but the shear numbers were over powering. I enjoyed knowing that during this miserably dry summer they had a water source. That water drew them in to pollinate the vegetables, the crops, my flowers.

When I stopped to watch them yesterday only a few bees buzzed aimlessly about. I had heard that the bee people moved the hives but it was sad to see the mass hoards lessened. I will be glad not to have so many of the poor things get trapped in the green house beating their wings against the walls until they collapse to the ground. I do worry a lot about them drowning, they get to pushing and one falls in, they don’t swim so good. At my much smaller and less frequented water hole in my flowers I am always stopping to fish one out, but I was not braving the swarm at the more populous drinking hole.

I have been stung many times because of this fascination with bees. I picked one up on a warm winter day and sat him back on the edge of his hive, unfortunately as I sat him down he fell, unbeknownst to me, into my coat pocket. I discovered his presence later that day as I put my hand into my pocket, he didn’t appreciate the company.

While happy for the remaining wild bees I already miss the larger numbers although with all the spraying for grasshoppers I am glad to see them gone.

Inaugural Post (His Version)

Hello everyone(anyone?)!  There’s nothing quite like the smell of a new blog!  While this isn’t my first attempt at blogging, it is still fun to make that first post.  And like most of my “first posts”, I’m not sure what to say.  Looking at “Her Version”, it seems as if she covered all the bases pretty well.  So maybe instead of writing too much more, I will work on the blog itself…tweaking and tuning to get it just like we like it.  Since it’s so very hot and so very windy outside, this isn’t a bad way to spend the afternoon.  If my aching back holds out that is.  I think I overdid something this weekend.  Hard to say if it was the spraying of grasshoppers, the ditching of the garden for irrigation, or the weeding.  I must say, thanks to all the help from Never, the garden looks really quite good right now.  Hopefully the hail will stay away from us this summer and we can harvest a lot of food this fall, not to mention eat a lot of fresh stuff this summer.  Well, as I said, I never really know what to say, so instead of just babbling, I’m going to end this post until I have something more interesting to write about!

Inagural Post (Her Version)

To celebrate our first Father’s Day we decided to start our first blog together. We are expecting our first, read only, child in October and thought this would help keep friends and family up to date on her as well as our garden, horses, chickens, dogs and every thing else we like to complain about in life. Like our current inundation of grasshoppers. We are engaged in a life or death battle to preserve some small shred of the garden and my poor flowers. The hoards of grasshoppers have eaten them down to the stalks.

We have moved the teenage flock of chickens, all three of them, into the yard. As their cage travels the yard they enthusiastically chase down every little hopper that dares to enter their domain and feast upon them. They are limited to the confines of the cage to protect the garden and so are only as effective as the cage will allow. To supplement them we have been spraying insecticide, not where they can eat of course. I have carefully stayed far away from the sprayed areas with great concern for my rather pregnant belly. I avoided dead heading the flowers and walking barefoot in the grass. Until I bought fly spray for the horses. We went our separate ways through the store and met in the middle with our respective sprays. On the way home we compared labels only to find that the spray I never worry about spraying on my horses and no doubt getting covered in is the same thing in stronger concentrations than the grasshopper killer.