Woodpecker Chick


What name do I give this chick? One of Hazel’s chicks has a woodpecker face. It has a featherless neck like Hazel, a Turken chicken. These naked neck Turkens are from Transylvania. This little chick’s biological mother is Special, Hazel’s daughter. Special is a cross between Hazel and Sven, a Swedish Flower Chicken.


Out of the Woods


Ungetsu-hime 雲月姫 brought her chicks out of the woods today. Like many a parent, she’s too proud of them to squirrel them away in the woods. It’s like she’s flaunting them. This one will be a doctor, this one a lawyer, this one a …

I will be curious where she takes them tonight to bed down. Will she take them back into the woods or find a spot in the chicken yard? There are already three hens with chicks bedding in adjoining nests in one quiet corner of the chicken coop. Somehow they manage to keep their chicks apart. When two hens with clutches get too close and their clutches intermingle, it’s like watching soccer moms trying to corral their tots. Chaos. It’s best to go inside and have a beer or a glass of wine. The mother hens get it all sorted out in the end. There’s no point getting my nerves frayed. Mother hens know best.


Hazel Shows Her Chicks Beauty


Yesterday Hazel took her chicks out for the first time. Out and about she took them. Down the path and through the mint and bachelor buttons, to all the places beautiful she took them. This is why chicks need a mother, someone to show them the beautiful places.

Can you find Hazel’s face in the last picture?


A Surprise Every Day


I was heading out the gate on my bicycle to pedal down to the post office when I heard baby chicks chirping in the woods. When I went to check if they were in trouble, I found Ungetsu-hime with a brood of one or two day old chicks. I didn’t even know she was sitting on eggs. What a surprise.


And this is the nest where she hatched her six chicks, a fairy tale nest inside a tree stump with a thick roof of moss and dried ferns. You can see three unhatched eggs near the bottom in the middle of the picture. Below is a closeup of the nest. How many chicks get to be hatched in the woods? These chicks could be the first generation of the wild forest chickens of Bow Hill. If some decades from now you read in Nature or National Geographic about the elusive, mysterious Bow Hill forest fowl, you will know that Ungetsu-hime is the mother of them all.


Baby Beans and Not So Baby Beans


Beans start out as babies too, cute, tiny, slightly fuzzy, green babies. You know how when you look at someone’s baby picture, you can see similarities between their adult faces and their baby faces? It’s probably the same between baby beans and adult beans. Once the bean pods are fully grown, they probably have uncanny resemblances to their baby bean pods.

What about the order of beans in a pod? Are the first beans controlling, the second beans rebellious, and the last beans fun-loving? Has any scientist studied the characteristics of beans based on their order in a pod?


The bean pods below are way past their baby stage. These are the pods of the Shiro-hana Mame 白花豆 or White Flower Bean. They are so large, three to five beans make a meal.


I Knew They Were Good


I knew my eggs were good, and today I received proof. Back in June, Mother Earth News organized nutrient testing for eggs so I sent in a dozen eggs to be tested. I received the results today, and the eggs my hens lay have more than three times the omega-3 fat that regular eggs have. A regular egg has 74 milligrams of omega-3 fat per 100 grams. My hens lay eggs with 250 milligrams of omega-3 fat per 100 grams, 338% more! The complete details are below.

I attribute the high omega-3 fat content of my eggs due to all the fresh greens and bugs and other things my hens find to eat as they roam through the woods and brush and grasses. I also believe the amount of sunshine and exercise they get plays a part. Chickens can’t live without sunshine. They can’t live without dustbaths. They can’t live without room to run to their heart’s content. They can’t, they can’t, they can’t.


Which Is More Beautiful?


Which is more beautiful? Is it this flower? That flower? This plant? That plant? Maybe that one over there. It’s a good thing there’s no test. They can be all the most beautiful. You don’t have to settle for one.


First Blush


The green plums are starting to blush. Every day I check to see if the deer have found them yet. Yesterday, instead of being greeted with plump green plums, I saw tinges of rose and purple. The first blush of ripening plums.


Hazel Becomes a Mother


You’ve got a reason to pop that champagne bottle open, the one you’ve been saving all these years, waiting for that special occasion. Hazel’s a mother. Her chicks started hatching yesterday. She’s two and a half years old and this is her first clutch. She’s a sweetheart. A chicken Dr. Seuss would draw. One of her chicks has a bare neck too. Cheers!


Melon Dew – Beauty Strikes


When you garden, be prepared for beauty to strike at any moment. Being struck by bolts of beauty is a hazard of vegetable gardening. Maybe humans aren’t designed to handle so much beauty. It might be why they flee the countryside and flock to the cities, to get away from being overwhelmed by nature’s beauty. Nature is unrelenting when it comes to stimulating the senses with beauty. It might be safer for the psyche to live in a high-rise, far from nature, with only other high-rises to look at out your window.

This morning I went into one of the hoop houses to tend melon plants, and was awed by the melon leaves. During the night, the melons had shed excess water through the fringes of their leaves. The leaves were fringed with wet diamonds. You don’t see such beauty at Tifanys or Cartier. You can’t buy this beauty. It’s in the garden waiting for you, for free. You just have to have the fortitude to handle such unexpected beauty at any time when you grow vegetables. Perhaps I should wear dark shades when I garden so I don’t succumb to overstimulation. How much rapture can an individual tolerate? There must be a limit. If these posts suddenly cease, you’ll know I have succumbed and am lying lifeless between vegetable beds, a victim of nature’s beauty.