The moment has finally arrived.
We have chickens!
Specifically, we have six beautiful ladies on our homestead now, just shy of laying age and enjoying life in the sun, grass, and dirt. Chicken TV (AKA the view outside of our living room and kitchen windows) is far more entertaining than anything we’ve found on real TV thus far, especially these days.
Yes, we named them. Chicken roll call!
Not pictured are the last brown hens, Parma and Piccata. (Check out the Instagram page for some quality chicken content, which includes all of the ladies!) Are we above naming our chickens after food? Heck no. (And in case you’re genuinely worried, our ladies are laying hens. We’re not naming them for what they’ll become, so take a deep breath and relax.)
I’m currently most entertained with chicken dust baths (when they flap and roll around in the dirt to clear their feathers) and looking at their feet. Have you ever really looked at a chicken’s feet? Go ahead and take another look at Tikka’s picture, and tell me you’re not thinking of a velociraptor. Rawr!
The chickens are the most exciting development from the past couple of weeks, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have other excellent things happening here as far as produce. We’re now getting about a cup of blackberries a day from our brambles, which is most exciting, especially in the realm of finally getting to use our own produce in baked goods for the market. Yay! (I’m even currently baking a batch of blueberry-blackberry muffins, because we have a serious surplus of sour milk and leftover whey from making feta.)
Our moon garden is actually starting to look like a garden rather than a plot of mulch with some leaves in it:
The gazing ball helps, and future seating will help even more.
Beautiful borage is beautiful, as well as the bergamot (bee balm) blooms. They also smell nice!
Okra’s coming! We’re on our penultimate jar of okra pickles, which is terrifying, so we’re watching these guys hungrily. (The ants are also watching them hungrily, and chomping on the leaves. Stupid ants.)
Seriously twiddling our thumbs with the tomatoes. One of the Roma plants (not pictured) is full of green tomatoes, while our Cherokee purple (pictured right) is taking its sweet time. The left tomatoes are either Summer Tomatoes or a cherry variety – I can’t remember since I didn’t put anything to compare for size. Oh well.
We were a bit worried about our eggplant, but it’s going strong now. Thanks, copious rain and sunshine!
The first bell pepper, and a view of our terrible clay soil. Grow grow grow!
We got our first zucchini last weekend (yay!), and clearly have more on the way soon. Meanwhile, our cucumbers are climbing and going strong. Not pictured (but in the same family, so I’ll mention them together) are the cantaloupes, which are also flowering and spreading and ready to go. Woohoo!
In other not-pictured news, we’ve got several sunflowers coming in (no blooms yet – believe me, I’ll get some good pictures of those), as well as a few nasturtium blooms. All of our fall and winter squash – pumpkins, candy roasters, and butternut squashes – are thriving and will soon be our new glorious leaders. Bush beans are flowering (yay, lima beans!), and the peppers and asparagus in the bed next to the compost are green and gorgeous.
The late start and comparison to last year’s blogs and records (not to mention random cold weeks in June) had us worried for a bit, but it appears our produce is coming in strong. I suppose it’s all part of the homestead life, after all. I’ll leave you with a picture of something you may not be as familiar with, or have taken the time to appreciate its beauty: a blooming dill flower. Not only are they pretty to look at and fragrant, but they beat the pants off of dill seeds when it comes to adding dill flavor in pickles: