Summer’s Tomatoes, In October

Food & Drink, Kitchen Gardening, Nature, Photography


I had nearly given up on having tomatoes at all this year — they kept getting munched — but the fall cool-down is making for tomato heaven. It’s cool enough for flowering and pollination, but not cold enough to freeze them. Long may it last! [click to read on…]


Our First Livestock Loss

Current Affairs, Food & Drink, Livestock, Nature

rip-chickenIt was bound to happen, of course. We prepared ourselves by buying eight chicks, when we only wanted and expected six full-grown hens. Either they would die in chick-hood, we thought, or one of them would turn out to be a cockerel — as sexing chickens at one day old is an inexact science. Or perhaps, as ended up happening, one would get gotten by a predator.

But it’s still disturbing, especially since we’ve gone so far without any losses. It didn’t help that the one we lost was the only one that was laying regularly — we called her Layla, as a result. It was completely my fault, though I have lots of explanations for what happened. [click to read on…]


Ode To The Egg

Food & Drink, Kitchen Gardening, Livestock, Nature


I wandered out to the chicken coop yesterday afternoon to make a cursory inspection of the shelter and its environs, and, when I opened up the top, I wasn’t too surprised to see two eggs — one in each of the top two nest boxes. We had put the pretend eggs into the nest boxes to show the chickens where to lay, and I was rotating them around (we have two, and four nest boxes). Both of the eggs I saw were exactly the color of the pretend eggs.

Upon looking more closely, however, I noticed that one of them was a bit smaller than the other. I picked it up, and couldn’t feel anything different about it. It seemed substantial, and solid, like the ceramic eggs we’d purchased at the local hardware store. When I put it beside the other, though, the difference was clear. The one I’d picked up was tiny and more oblong than what I’ve come to expect from an egg.

But if this was a real egg, where was the second pretend one? It turned out it had been pushed behind some straw. It finally sunk in — our first egg! [click to read on…]


The Edge Of Autumn

Current Affairs, Food & Drink, Kitchen Gardening, Livestock, Nature

the-chicken-coopYesterday, temps were in the 90s, but all afternoon, we heard the howling of the wind. It’s probably the way our house is situated, or maybe the metal roof, but when the wind comes through, it sounds super intense and can be a little frightening. Considering how hot it’s been lately, though, we welcomed the first real cold front of the season.

Today, the high will only be in the 60s, a brief taste of the fall and winter ahead, before we head back into Texas summer territory. I can’t help but remember a visit from our niece and her now-husband the first year after we moved here. They came in early September, hoping to avoid the August heat, but landed smack in the middle of a drought — and the hottest summer on record. One day, determined to show them a good time, we all packed up and headed to the Hot Sauce Festival in Austin. Temps that day climbed to the highest we’ve seen — 113 degrees F (that’s 45 C).

Since it’s been a while, I’ve got a few little stories to tell about what’s been going on hereabouts, so I’ll break the post into little vignettes. [click to read on…]