It has been unseasonably cool outside this week. I was working in the garden yesterday morning and found myself chuckling at the thought of the sun shivering beneath a blanket of grey. How quickly I grow accustom to the warm weather in the springtime, waking up early, waltzing out to the coop to collect eggs or just meandering out to the deck in my skivvies to sip coffee while basking in the warmth of the morning glow. My body, my bones, my brain thrives on sunshine. I love a dark day filled with lightening cracks across the sky and thunder crashing athwart the heavens, but one day of cloud cover and a 20-degree drop in temps and this little mama is ready to couch crunch beneath a mound of blankets with smart wool socks, baked goods and a movie marathon.
So my turkeys ran off with the wild Tom that showed up at our homestead a few weeks ago. I once read something about how heritage breed turkeys have been known to integrate with wild flocks and then return to your barnyard with a whole new gaggle of feathered friends a year or so later. Wouldn’t that be interesting? The whole situation has inspired me to write a short children’s story about a turkey family’s exciting adventures with their wild flock of newfound friends. It’s sort of a “fish out of water” story as the family has only ever lived in a barnyard and now they’re seeing the countryside for the first time ever. I actually miss those stinking birds. I’m happy to do without the massive sludgy poops they so diligently dropped all over my patio each day, but who knew I’d miss those echoing putts, gobbles and purrs so much? One turkey hen however, decided to stay behind. She’s been broody and sitting on eggs for about 2 months now. She desperately wants to be a mama. My heart hurts for her. Every one of her little hatchlings died before they ever made it out of the shell. Now she’s holed up in the chicken coop, stealing all of their unfertilized eggs and nesting on them. It’s sad to see her so desperately deep into MotherLove mode, but it’s also making me lose my mind because she tries to kill me every time I attempt to collect our eggs! I just need to find this turkey some babies to love or some eggs to hatch so we can move away from the perpetual angst lingering in the henhouse.
In other news, our bees are busting out at the seams (so it seems) and we’re keeping our fingers crossed for massive amounts of honey in our near future! Our blueberries are beginning to plump up and shift to their first shades of lavender lush, the wild blackberries are abundant this year and although the garden is being overtaken by weeds at the moment, it’s ever so healthy producing potatoes, peppers, tomatoes and peas daily. The first round of green beans are on and will soon be ready for harvest in a week or less and our kale, cabbage and lettuce is still going strong and feeding us well every single day. I’m saving seeds from the arugula, spinach and radishes which are on their way out for the season and I enjoy watching the corn, okra, carrots and onions grow a little more each day. Our cukes and zukes, watermelon, squash and pumpkins are beginning to climb the fence and I’ve not killed the artichokes yet, so that’s great news! Between the tropical storms, Hurricane Matthew and winter snows we experienced during 2016, the fig tree has taken a serious hit over the past 12 months or so. It’s now a quarter of the size it once was, but I’m happy to announce that what is left of my cherished tree is completely covered in fruit! If it doesn’t break any further this season we should have a nice harvest of fig fruit at the end of the summer. Our herbs are spreading and our flowers are blooming all around with the magical scent of magnolia blossoms (the size of my head) dancing on the breeze.
I’ve managed to collect one quail egg so far. ONE. MEASLY. EGG. An egg that I was so excited to pluck from the cage, admire with delight and celebrate for an entire day before my hunk accidentally dropped the little gift on our cast iron sink basin. Kaput.
Pickled eggs, strawberry pies, creamed kale, cabbage stir-fry, garden salads, chicken salads, tomato sandwiches, onion garlic and egg tarts and so much more goodness is being whipped up daily in the homestead kitchen. Eat well, live well!
Summer, summer, summer on the horizon.