You Are My Sunshine


You are my sunshine, my only sunshine,
you make me happy, when skies are grey …

Sunshine made me happy when I caught her checking out a nest. She didn’t know how funny she looked, standing apprehensively on one foot as she deliberated whether to use the nest or not.

This swelling Artemis melon also makes me happy. It hangs like a green moon in a cloud of melon vines. For happiness, live among the chickens and plants. They’ll keep you entertained and humming a song.


Back in the Land of the Wet


We are back in the land of the wet. Saturday’s storm blew away the sun with enough force to topple trees, knock down climbing beans, and floor rows of corn. It also whipped the electric lines from here to kingdom come. The power company says our power will be restored by Tuesday night.

I got some of the sunflowers upright again, and while I cleared out the fallen beans, filling a basket with green beans and a wheelbarrow full of leaves and vines for the compost, a wild bee quickly found the upright sunflowers as if there had been no storm at all. Where did that bee pass the storm? Warm and snug in its burrow? Or did the storm blow it in from the San Juan islands or even Vancouver Island?


Skunky at the End of August … Vogue in the Future?


Nearly five months ago, at the beginning of April, Skunky was an adorable chick who could easily fit in my palm. She’s a stunning hen now, maybe a month away from laying her first egg.

She is so elegant, I could see her on the cover of Vogue. It would be a bestseller. First hen to ever grace the cover of Vogue. The press would go nuts. There’d be a line of reporters from the gate out to the road, and up the hill, and down the other side. They’d throw their drones up in the air to swoop around until they spotted Skunky. They’d push and shove and knock the fence down. Skunky and the other chickens would shriek and fly off into the woods, never to be seen again.

Maybe it’s best that Skunky not be on the cover of Vogue. She’ll do better without all the attention.


If a Woodpecker and a Chicken …


If a woodpecker and a chicken fell in love, this is what their children would look like. The turken chick that Madge hatched is mostly black with a white face and white trim on its wings. When it walks around, it looks more like a woodpecker than a chicken. Is it a male or female? I don’t know. It’s a special chick and I’m very curious what it will look like when it grows up.


Late Summer


Cattails in bloom are a sign of late summer. The female flowers form the dark brown, spongy tails. The male flowers are on the spike above. In the spring when the tails turn to fluff, birds use the fluff to line their nests. Next year, this cattail may provide a soft bed for baby birds. Will a migrating bird fly through here this fall and decide to come back to this spot to make her nest on account of the cattails?


Forming cabbage heads are another sign of late summer. These are filderkraut, the pointy cabbage of Germany. These cabbage are so good when eaten fresh out of the garden. A few more weeks and they will be ready for picking. There are just a few market days left at Bow Little Market this season. Do I take some to sell in September, or keep them all for myself?


Sunflower’s chicks are enjoying this late summer day. Born two and three days ago, they are full of curiosity and have already learned that when their mother scratches the dirt, good things to eat appear. While taking these pictures, I saw her knock bugs out of the flowers for her chicks to pick off the ground. Mother hens are constantly thinking about their chicks.


Love You, Love You Not


A sunny day is a good day to crack out of an egg. The sunflowers are blooming as brightly as the sun. Sunflower’s hens started hatching on Sunday. One of her new chicks is part Turken, a breed of chickens which has no neck feathers. This one is all yellow, an usual color for a Turken. You’ll see it in the last picture in this post. When it walks around, it looks like a tiny bobblehead doll.

Sunflower is a very protective mother, one fierce hen. With her chicks, she is all love and sweetness. With everyone else, there is no love, just a threatening glare, and a painful, blood-drawing peck if you dare get too close.




The artemis melons in the hoop house are developing. In just a few days, the size of the melons have grown noticeably. They get to be round, two pound melons. The description from Territorial Seed Company reads:

A French Charentais type, Artemis produces ravishing, rounded globes with silvery white, lightly netted rind that’s ribbed in emerald. The 2 pound fruit have luxuriously sweet, deep orange flesh with a divine bouquet and relatively small seed cavity.

I have the vines growing vertically and am limiting each vine to producing one or two melons. Not too long ago, I watched a show on how the $100 to $400 melons sold in Japanese department stores are grown. They are grown in greenhouses, vertically, and only one melon is allowed to develop on each vine. The ones that end up in lavish, satin-lined boxes with $100 plus price tags, are specially selected, with only one out of a thousand ranked good enough to fetch the eye popping prices. Think I’m making this up?


Letting Go


The dancing poppy blossoms of late July are gone. What was a bed of delightful poppies is now a morgue of wilted poppy plants. It’s time to let them go. Gardening is a meditation in letting go. You want those delightful colors to stay, to tickle you again, but they move on without your permission. It’s as if you don’t matter. They will slip away no matter how hard you try and make them stay.


So let them go. Toss them on the compost pile and move on. Plant something new and watch it slip through your fingers too. That’s life, holding your fingers out and enjoying things as they slip through them. You can’t hold onto anything in the end, but that’s OK.


Happy Greens, Happy Reds


Few vegetables let you know you’re alive like arugula. Some lettuces are so bland, you could fall asleep eating them. Not spicy arugula. Toss this in with your salad and your eyes will pop out with happiness when you bite into their peppery, nutty leaves.

And if you’re needing to get fussy people to eat vegetables, serve them a plate of chioggia beets, and watch their dour faces burst out in a smile. Not only are the beets sweet and tender, the beet greens are fabulous too.