Ok, I know it seems strange to even be thinking about fall when Summer only just started. However, if you have any interest in growing pumpkins and gourds for Fall decorating and carving now is the time to get them going.
Last year I took the advice of a man at the nursery who said he was sure pumpkins should be started by the end of July…he was wrong. My pumpkins were ready by December. By the time the pumpkins were ready I was so frustrated with them I ended up cutting them open and feeding them to the goats, chickens and pigs. The animals loved it but I felt like I failed again.
I’ve always wanted to grow a real pumpkin patch for my kids. I have never, not even once been successful. As you can imagine south Florida is not an ideal place to grow pumpkins but I kept trying. I spent hours every year trying to find a real pumpkin patch to take my kids to…try to get that great photo with the kids sitting amongst the huge pumpkins and vines. All I ever found were fake pumpkin patches that sprout up in parking lots. Forgive me, but I wasn’t looking for liquor store and bank signs in the background of my idyllic photo. Sigh.
Today, I started 9 pumpkin vines and 3 gourd vines. Fingers crossed, I just don’t want to fail….again.
In other farm news, That hen that’s been sitting on eggs for what seemed like a year finally hatched out 5 chicks. Then for some reason she decided that was enough for her and she jumped off the nest taking her chicks with her. When I went to clear out the nesting box I found 4 eggs partially hatched with the chicks inside at way too low a temperature. I collected these poor eggs and ran inside to see what I could do to save them.
There is a certain amount of moisture that is required to keep the chick from sticking to the inside of the shells. The Momma hen usually takes care of this. She quit her job and so I had to try to provide that moisture at the last moment.
I was able to get all of the chicks hatched but….unfortunately, 1 chick was stronger than the others. He killed the other 3 over night. It was horrible. We named that chick Manson….after the serial killer. That chick doesn’t look evil but he sure must be!
Now I was left trying to figure out how I would get the Mamma hen to take Manson back with her other babies. Every time I tried to put him with the others she ran him off. It’s way too hot outside to waste time trying to reason with a crazy hen who only likes half her own kids. So, I did the only thing I could think of…. I grabbed up all of her chicks (she chased me and hissed then started screaming) I rubbed all the babies together mixed in with Manson. Then, once I figured she wouldn’t be able to tell him apart anymore I gave her back 6 babies instead of the 5 she had.
She stood there with her legs spread wide apart fluffed up to twice her size. I said I was sorry and tried to make nice with her….she bit me. I swore at her….
The chicks all ran back to her and tried to hide under her. Manson being the weirdo he is just stood there…standing out like a sore thumb! I shoved him under her….she hissed but accepted him long enough to smell him. Manson smelled like the others so even though she seems to know something was not the same she can’t figure out what it is.
I gave them fresh food and water (looking to buy favor) and backed away.
I checked an hour or so later to see if Mamma was still accepting Manson and of course checking to see if he had killed anyone else.
Mamma sat there with her (now) 6 chicks very happily. I had done it. I have neosporin allover my hands but hey….it’s better than having another chick living in my house.
Tomorrow, I have an amazing recipe for dried strawberry muffins to share with you. They are the best I’ve ever had. A cup of coffee and one of these muffins….makes being covered in chicken bites not so bad.
Try and stay cool out there….see you soon!