Back to the Garden

School ended this weekend with a wonderful graduation ceremony, and with only in-service meetings standing between me and my garden (grading is done!), I can finally start thinking a bit more about what I hope to accomplish this summer (which I keep wanting to call “this year” – knowing how disproportionately long summer seems when compared to the rush of the school year).

First, an update:  The chicks arrived a week ago today, packed into their delightful little crate from McMurray Hatchery.  We ordered 26 Buff Orpingtons and one mystery chick, who appears to be a Spangled Hamburg (they also threw in an extra Buff Orp).  The chicks arrived healthy and happy, picked up drinking and eating with no trouble, and are now (after a week on paper towels) busily burrowing in their new pine shavings in our former guest bedroom.

The best use of a canning jar. Ever.

The only issue we’ve had with the chicks, was one weak chick who struggled for the first week, but seems to be coming out of it.  Otherwise, they’ve nearly doubled in size, have begun testing out their wings, and seem genuinely interested in the world outside their brooders.  The mystery chick has been a particularly interesting addition to the brood, as he’s a bit more flighty than the otherwise calm Buff Orps.

After several weeks of heavy rain, we have some of the garden in, but the majority is still sitting out in the chicken coop, hardening off.  Yesterday, I transplanted herbs and the nasturtiums into the gardens/planters and put out the majority of our hanging baskets around the porches.  Today, if it clears off enough, we’re hoping to install an asparagus bed (better late than never), transplant cabbage and broccoli, and finish hardening off tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and a huge variety of squash.

This summer, amid the variety of work-related responsibilities I have, I’m hoping to: reorganize the house and basement for better functionality, finally make those cloth napkins I’ve been thinking about for the last six months, put up a clothesline outside, finish building the hoop house for the chickens (so they can semi-free range when they are old enough), and continue working on the gardens.

If that doesn’t keep me busy, I’m certain the 28 chicks, dog and three cats will do their best.