Chicken Hawk Training School. FAIL.

"...funny story see... I was dropping by to TALK to the chickens and...well...Hey, you think when you're done taking pictures you could help me out?  Seriously...I just came by to talk."

“…funny story see… I was dropping by to TALK to the chickens and…well…Hey, you think when you’re done taking pictures you could help me out? Seriously…I just came by to talk.”

Earlier today, as I was doing the daily chores, I heard the chickens begin to raise a racket. Sometimes they get vocal and then calm down after a minute or two, so I didn’t pay it any mind at first. Then the dogs joined in earnest so I went to investigate. As I rounded the corner of the house I could see all the girls huddled up by the gate to the run and the dogs in hackles. All these critters were saying the same thing, “There’s something in the run!” Grabbing a pitch fork from the compost bin for protection, I went around the backside of the coop and discovered the fine creature you see dangling in the photo. Since the bird was not flailing about much I decided to grab some shots with my phone before I set about releasing it. We have four foot metal fencing around the open section of the run with seven feet of wildlife netting above that. I just used the trees as posts so the run has an irregular shape and blends in with the surrounding woods. I have never seen a bird get caught in it. This one didn’t appear to be altogether tangled I just think it didn’t want to let go of the net while hanging upside down. After a few glamour shots I went back to the house to get gloves and a camera operator to video the upcoming release (potential funniest home video!)  As we came back around the hawk was flying off through the woods no worse for wear. No idea how I would have gone about releasing it, but I’m glad I didn’t have to find out. Everybody lived to see another day. Did the hawk learn a lesson? I hope so.

Get Up, Get Going, Show Up

This past Wednesday our local farmers market opened for the last and only day in November to give producers one more day to sell, and customers a last grab at some fresh goods before Thanksgiving. As luck would have it, the latest polar vortex gave us a clear morning with a balmy temp of 17 degrees F.  And though I was feeling thankful not to be buried under a mountain of snow like our friends to the north, I was having doubts the night before whether or not I would venture out in the cold the following morning. Continue reading

Stevia Blooming in November

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Stevia blooms longing for a pollinator. “hey buddy….where did all the bees go?”

tWe have decided, perhaps foolishly, to try overwintering a couple dozen stevia plants on our seed starting racks in the office this winter. After giving up on starting them from seed, we mail ordered two plants this spring. The plants arrived healthy and responded quickly to being potted. They grew so fast that we were rooting wind damaged branches within a couple of weeks (Stevia is a very brittle plant once the main stalk begins to get woody). Seeing how easy they were to root, I began to make cuttings to keep them in check. Continue reading

Let There Be Light(ness In My Wallet)

After another late night of playing music for the drinkers and dancers of the Dinwiddie Moose Lodge I find myself waking at first light with the urge to make something out of the day.  The afore mentioned entertained will not likely see todays light before it is half gone, and I would like to take at least partial credit for inspiring their over indulgence, but my days of weekend hangovers are behind me by more than just a few harvests.  So this fine Saturday morning I find myself at the hardware store to gather supplies for the next big project: fencing in the garden, properly this time (more on this project later).  Then I remember that a couple of the outdoor floodlights are dead so I head over to the WALL OF BULBS. Holy crap. Continue reading