Home and Checking on the Critters

August 22nd, 2010

Oh my… home again! It was a nice journey around the upper midwest, and after the Iowa State Fair we made our way to Missouri, stopping over one night near Mark Twain Lake to clean things up a bit. It wasn’t all fun on the way home… I picked something up at the fair and spent a few nights with a fever and cough.

I’m getting there but it really knocked me out for a few days. Salmonella anyone? Who knows… I had several eggs at the fair, and a couple of egg breakfasts in Wisconsin and Iowa. It wasn’t a fun way to finish the trip, but hey that’s the price you pay for having fun, huh?  Home again and school starts this week for the boy.

That last night at the fair was really nice, and we rode the Skyride up the hill to the campground.  

On the way home the boy learned how to play dominoes.  He found an old dominoe set at an antique shop at the fair for a reasonable price… nice little wooden pieces.   After playing a game or two he would build things that didn’t stay up very well while driving along.

The chickens must have known we would be home… they gave us five presents for the first time with that many eggs. I was really hungry this morning and had four poached eggs on toast! Of course they were half-size eggs anyway :)

We have one or two chickens that don’t know where to lay their eggs… well, maybe they do, but one likes to put an egg in the corner of the coop. I found four eggs in the nest boxes this morning however, so maybe they’ll adapt.    They’re a cute bunch, and race out to see you whenver you come near the coop and run.  Of course they’re motivated by food… they go crazy for scratch mixings of corn and other seeds.

Hello Chickens!  We’re Home!!!

It was very dry while we were gone and all the grass was going to seed and nearly two feet tall. Weeds everywhere… I can’t believe how much things grow up in such a short time. We missed our Concord grape harvest! They were just ripening when we left and I thought our timing would work out… but the dry weather wilted the vines and all the grapes dropped off.

While cutting the grass I nearly ran over a little turtle scooting through the field. He was heading toward the pond a good hundred yards away. I believe it’s a Western Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta belli).

Colorful little fellow, and he kept paddling in the air as we looked at him. I took him for a free ride to the pond, and let him go… he swam quickly for the depths.

A quick check of the bees and they’re working away like crazy. There goldenrod is blooming! I watched dozens of bees at one hive bringing bright packs of pollen into the entrance. Three of the four hives appears to be doing well, but I may need to order a new queen for the other.

It’s good to see the bees doing well.  Still not a lot of honey this year, but their populations have increased dramatically.

The garden is surely winding down… the squash bugs got most of the pumpkin and squash vines, and cucumbers too.  But the corn is still growing taller and the carrots are growing bigger.  The tomatoes, not so much… between wilt and hornworms they’ve had a pretty tough summer.  But we probably took more than 30 pounds of tomatoes from the garden this year so we can’t complain. The elderberries have half dropped their fruit as well, so we hope to run around and cut some berry clusters before they’re gone.  Soon it will be time for jelly!

We may have some cooler weather ahead and I need to make the rounds and catch up on all the writings in the blogosphere.    

Sometimes I think of my grandmother on my father’s side.   I last saw her in 1999 when she was in a nursing home and when I asked how she was, she laughed and said “I’m here…” and then, “Time waits for no man…”    She passed away a few months later.   Somehow I’ve been thinking about life in the context of time lately… but (with luck and a little time!) those thoughts will await another day.   Stay well…

Here’s someone who really loves little Brownie the chicken!

9 Responses to “Home and Checking on the Critters”

  1. Delighted you’ve had a good trip. And a pity about the bug.

    I’m reading up about Bees with the view to getting a hive or two. Who knew they used so much water. Gallons of the stuff.

  2. Looks like all is well, just needs a little tending. I’ve noticed the golden rod this weekend–a sign that the hot weather won’t be here for long. Nice post!

  3. Glad you’re back safe; and just in time for school. At least you’ll know you’ve got a solid week’s activities to get back to normal from the vacation.


  4. Ed

    I don’t believe you got salmonella because the symptoms for that are generally on the other end from your mouth. Trust me on that one.

    Up here a month or two ago we had some bug going around that manifested with a 24 hour fever so you may have gotten that. Never knew what was causing that.

    Too bad about the grape harvest. I would have thought you could have at least harvested raisins!

  5. i agree with ed about your diagnosis, lol (kinda). the massive egg recall kinda confirms my thoughts that factory farming/large scale food production can be very bad for our health (not to mention that of animals). i’ve never gotten sick from my eggs or chickens, although i do wash my hands regularly. i wonder if salmonella strains get stronger when you have zillions of animals crammed in together. of course, it could have been the result of a breakdown of the processing structure, ie, washing and packing.

    i really enjoyed your vacation stories; isn’t it funny how much home changes while you’re away for a short time?

  6. Bees are looking good!

    It’s hard to beat dominoes btw….we love it in our house too!

  7. Traveling is good but it’s always good to get home, particularly if you’re feeling poorly.

    I have egg-envy. Your chickens did a good job, those eggs are works of art.

  8. Vincent- Good for you with the bees! I hope it works out… they have a presence that makes everything so alive.
    Sage- Wow, already up there too? I sometimes forget how your weather turns faster than ours :)
    Randall- Ah yes, just enough to think about next time… but it’s good to be home too.
    Ed- I’m sure you’re right… just makes me wonder! There is something going around here too.. I’m trying hard not to give it to everybody. I was really surprised about the grapes… they withered and fell so fast.
    Chook- So true about how changes happen so fast. Felt funny to share those stories, but I enjoyed how technology and writing can bring that as an experience. I’m not a facebook or twitter guy, at least yet. So maybe this is one form of social networking? And yes, I’m still amazed at how fast the weeds have grown and how insects can decimate the veggies. I’ve wondered about having chickens and salmonella. I’m surprised how clean their eggs are right in the nest boxes, but keeping things clean goes a long way :)
    Warren- I’m trying to get those hive populations up! With luck I may try to add three more hives next year… we’ll see. The dominoes are really fun!
    Kathleen- Thanks, and for the chickies too. Today we had our first batch of 6 eggs :) They sure are pretty, and taste good too!

  9. Man, you live in paradise! My fiance never ceases to marvel at how well and wonderful the images she sees of the states and how people make their surroundings so beautiful…

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