29 March 2012

Mack Mack Maaaakkk

Duckies are back on their proper pond. The flying drake was so happy to get into the pond he did a little dance and flew in just for fun.

28 March 2012

Bye Bye Birdies

Tonight I gathered my boarders and crated them for returning to their proper human caretakers in the morning Makes me feel sad- I've grown inordinately fond of them all.

Rounding up the Duck Brigade was the hardest part as I had to use deception and be faster than a worried duck. If you've ever chased a duck then you know it's not a simple task. They will be returning to a better pond, most certainly one better suited to a duck who may be going broody, but who will be my daybreak alarm or demand feed by telling bad jokes until I give in to the demand?

I will miss the little red hen who joyfully joined the Daybreak Chicken Mafia- the hens who have figured out how to make their own pop hole and exit the coop at leisure. She is exceptionally friendly, the sort of bird who enjoys being held. Then there are the Orpington roosters who crow so sonorously. Both leaned toward aggressiveness when they arrived but were soon converted by feed bribery to console themselves with being aggressively hungry and friendly. Yellow Rooster still likes to give a ritual chase but he turns tale (back to the food) the moment I stop and smile at him. I'm glad to be able to live up to my promise that he'd reform his bad boy attitude before he left the farm.

So, dear, poultry-loving readers, by the time most of you read this missive some time tomorrow, I will be bereft of four funny white ducks, thirteen extraordinarily sociable hens, and two beautiful -and reformed- roosters.

27 March 2012

Mushroom Season

The Fuzzys still don't feel confident enough to eat any wild mushroom less distinctive than a Morel but we sure are fascinated by the wide variety of fungi we have on the farm.

I was out at Mr. Fuzzy's garden the other day to harvest some of the last mustard greens when I spotted a new sort of mushroom on last year's compost pile. It seems to like that old chicken litter! Then, last night, I spotted the little brown one in the pots of baby perennials.

We have become increasingly interested in what fungi do in the environment- which is a lot more than simply breaking down dead plant material or providing tasty chunks of fat absorbing deliciousness. "Exospores" bind to plant roots and break down mineral nutrients for their hosts, "endospores" move into plant tissues and neutralize poisons for the plant. When isolated, some species are even capable of metabolizing PVC or neutralizing lead by turning it into beautiful (chloro)pyromorphite crystals.

As before, I'm writing with a handicap so let's see what the fairies do with the pictures. AsI'm not able to embed links either, here are ones to the PVC discovery: http://www.psfk.com/2012/03/plastic-eating-fungi.html
and to the lead story:

26 March 2012

Bowls Runneth Over

It is the end of March which means it must be time for our annual Empty Bowls Fundraiser post. This community soupfest is probably our favorite annual local event.

For those who do not remember, this is a charity lunch where local potters (there are dozens) make bowls (hundreds and hundreds), local soup masters (a few dozen) make a pot of soup each, and people from near and far come to raise money for hungry kids by giving $15 for their choice of bowl and tasty soup.

We now know to arrive early to get the best choice of both. The line was out the door ten minutes after our arrival and remained that way until some time after we left, an hour and a half later.

The money all goes to provide county kids who are likely to go hungry over the weekend a backpack full of ready-to-eat foodstuffs each week of the school year (There should be a photo following the text.) Each child can be fed for a meager $150 each year.

We won't know the final take until the paper arrives on Thursday but they raised $5,000 in the first ninety minutes. Not too shabby for a place with about 15,000 residents.

[Editorial Note: Mrs. Fuzzy is reduced to writing via telephone at present so the photos appear in an order determined by the App Fairies.]

Two lips

Despite the forecast low of 32F for tonight, the day highs are in the mid-60s and after tonight, a decided warming trend for the dark hours is scheduled. The Oregon Giant snow peas are breaking ground right now as you read these ramblings. The radicchio cannot be far behind.

Mr. Fuzzy, being the photo-gearhead he is, photographed the tulips which burst into bloom this very day with four different lenses. The results are below. He trusts that at least one or two readers of this blog (Judy B.,  Golda & ET) may be interested to examine the subtle differences. The unequal image magnification is a function of the minimum focus of the lens.

Remember, click on an image to enlarge it.

24 March 2012

Rain at last

The farmers have been very worried of late; the unusually high temperatures and total lack of rain remind them of last summer, a ten week drought with serious economic and environmental consequences. Mr. Fuzzy, of course, has been deeply concerned as well.

Last night a light drizzle began after dark and continued on until about sunrise, contributing 6/10ths of sorely needed precipitation. If the forecast is to be believed, more may fall before the day is completed.

Here is a red dogwood this morning. Remember, you may always click on an image to enlarge it.

May your part of the world be receiving enough heavenly nourishment.

21 March 2012


Its official, yesterday was the first day of Spring. Bookended by a beautiful sunrise and sunset. Here's a pic of a cloud detail at sunset.

12 March 2012

Spring is here - definitely

Two irrefutable proofs that spring has arrived : the native wildflowers are blooming and the gnats are pestering. Not to mention the daffodils are peaking (and the crocus) plus the forsythiae are opening. There may be further cold spells but on the whole, the seasons have turned.

The recent full moon (shown here setting just before dawn a few mornings ago) is the first of the planting moons and Mr. Fuzzy has been at labor in field & garden. Shown below are his very white jeans, coated in powdered lime from spreading on the lawn. There was perhaps enough in ears and nose for another 100 square feet of lawn had it been possible to easily extract it.
 The coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara) is in its greatest glory right now. The Cherokee and early white settlers (and farmers here) have used its medicinal properties for time immemorial. It has a quite queer life cycle with the bloom dying before ever a single leaf is produced by the plant. I cannot think of anything else with similar character.

 It would seem that beaver have made their appearance along Longman Creek. Every tree felled by massive incisors has been an ironwood tree (better known as hornbeam outside of this region); one must wonder what asset of said tree is so valuable to the rodent. Mr. Fuzzy observed many beaver trees in the West but never anything like this one, cut at so many different heights; it is not easy to fathom a beaver tall enough for the uppermost gnawings. Can any of the erudite readers of this blog enlighten Mr. Fuzzy about this? I thank you most kindly in advance.

Mrs. Fuzzy left Mr. Fuzzy in charge of her feathered charges; he may have failed as those that normally sleep rough (not in the coop) seem to have vanished which vexes him greatly. However, Mr. Fuzzy is glad to report that all of the wee chickies are thriving - this from today. Amazing how fast they grow.

And I leave you with Jacktar taking his restorative catnap, having been thrown out of whack by the initiation of the infamous Daylight Savings Time.

07 March 2012

Under the Full Moon

The modern Cherokee name for the full moon of March is "Ah-nv-yi" and that certainly describes today accurately. The wind was never still and gusted to at least 21 mph. The majority of the day was cloudless and would have been exceedingly pleasant at 55F had the winds not played havoc. Gardeners are getting itchy fingers here in Floyd county and many have put out their cold weather crops. Mr. Fuzzy intends to do a little planting soon himself.

Since Mr. Fuzzy has lately been a traveling man, he may have missed the precise moment of opening but the witch hazel is now in full bloom. Most of the daffodils are now in their radiant glory although because of the occasional frigid night, some have thus far withheld their shameless displays of beauty. Greater bounty awaits us.

06 March 2012

Well now...

Where did those photos get off to? I made the last post from my new smartphone and they showed in its' web browser. Mmmm. Will have to see what's up.

In other news.... we have chickies!!!

Over the weekend I built a makeshift brooder coop on the back porch and installed 16 Buff Orpington pullets and 10 Americuna (hopefully) pullets. An old timer at tractor Supply showed me how he'd been taught to sex chicks by behavior and all ten do the "girl thing." (Cross your fingers!) There are Orpingtons in the flock I'm keeping for the neighbor and they are lovely birds. The Americunas are an Aracuna cross bred to lay larger eggs. They lay blue and green shelled eggs so, if all goes to plan, the eggs I sell will be a mix of white, tan, brown, and blue.

Because the brooder coop is decidedly NOT a Fort Knox style structure Mr. Rufus has been put to work minding the coop at night. With the aid of an electric blanket set on high, he seems to really enjoy his work. Indeed, he seems to understand that he's doing a job that I consider very important and has not barked without cause (admittedly, "cause" was a cat) any night he's been out. He'll continue to sleep out until the chicks are big enough to go into the main coop.

Perhaps Mr. Fuzzy will post some photos for you. Right now I'm packing for a long overdue trip to visit my mother and brother.

01 March 2012

Playing Catch-up

Greetings, devoted reader.When there is much to tell there is no time left in a day to tell you of it. When there is time then there doesn't seem to be much worth telling except chicken jokes and, really, there is only one real chicken joke but it takes a couple years of living with them to understand why it IS a funny joke.

Spring has officially arrived as of last week when, after an eight inch snow, we received a warm rain two days in a row. By "warm" it should be understood that this is a mountain scale warm and not a desert sort of warm. It was 66 degrees Ferenheight. We may still have some minor frosts but it should now be safe to plant out brassicas , peas, and lettuces. (Provided we can exclude the chickens...)

Much of my time has been turned over to the task of reducing the volume of fabric in my sewing room. Few tasks promise to be so daunting and pleasurable at once. Already, I have one quilt about to go on the frame and three more at various stages of cutting and design. There are also a few simple clothing projects in the works.

Included below is a picture of the weather station on that rainy day and another of Jack and Lilly in their roles as devoted sewing supervisors.