Everybody Up

I am not a hot-weather person, but I do like this time of year for the simple fact that it gets light so early. I love that I can lie in bed at 4:30 a.m. and watch the sun rise over the tops of the mountains. The rooster is up and crowing as soon as he thinks he can get away with it. If we don't let him out of the coop into the chicken yard immediately, he stands in the window where we can see him and crows. And crows and crows and crows. 

This is our rooster in charge:

I caught him mid-crow. The chickens have an established roosting order. Only the oldest chickens and the rooster in charge are allowed to sleep on this nesting bar. Everyone else is relegated to the roosting bars lower down or to the tops of the nesting boxes. When the leghorns are gone—we're down to only eight and will probably butcher in the fall—the Black Australorps will get to roost up here at night. This is an ongoing pattern. It doesn't change. 

We have two roosters. They have a hierarchy just like the hens do. Their disagreements consist mostly of the big rooster chasing the smaller rooster off the hens. This morning, just as I was closing up the smaller part of the coop after letting the chicks out, the big rooster came tearing around the corner after one of the hens and ran into my leg. He fluffed himself up indignantly and huffed back out into the chicken yard. 


I went out early (about 6 a.m.) yesterday to weed the strawberry bed. I made some progress, but it's going to be an ongoing project. There are a couple of bare spots where we lost plants in a hard frost a few years ago. I moved some of the runners over to those places and dug up as much quackgrass as I could. At one point, I could feel something staring at me. I turned around and found the neighbor's dog standing on the other side of the fence. She barked and ran away. Her name is Rosie. She's a funny-looking little mutt of a dog and she likes to come over to our house and visit Lila and Rusty. I do not, as a rule, appreciate other peoples' dogs in my yard—especially when they harass the chickens—but I make exceptions for Griswold (our renters' dog) and Rosie. 

A little bit later, I felt something staring at me and turned around to find Rosie standing behind me in the strawberry bed. The husband had come out to feed the piglets and left the gate to the garden open. I tried to get Rosie to come over so I could pet her but she just barked and ran away. 

The strawberry bed is way at the back of the garden where our property backs up against the neighbor's horse pasture. The horse wasn't out yesterday morning, but there was a big tom turkey trying to impress a couple of ladies. When I finished with the strawberries, I weeded the potatoes for a bit, then trimmed up the grapevines. I also picked a bunch of lettuce in anticipation of a salad for dinner. Sometimes I'll get out a ham and make a big salad with pieces of ham and hard-boiled eggs and that will be our dinner. That was what we had last night. We will chip away at the ham all week and then I'll cook down the bone and make red beans and rice. Yum. 


Last week when I was in Spokane, I spent some time wandering around Wal-Mart. I don't usually shop there, for a variety of reasons, but it is the only store open at 7 a.m. when I am up and ready to go. I like to check out the ethnic food sections—grocery stores in big cities tend to carry all sorts of stuff we cannot get here in Podunk, Montana. I also looked at the bags they were selling. I joined the Creative Bag Making list on Facebook a few weeks ago. It's a great group, very supportive of newbie bag makers, and the amount of creativity is just astounding. Interestingly, the styles of bags in stores tend to track pretty closely with the styles of bags that are currently popular among bag makers. I am not sure whether that is because the bag makers buy stuff at the retail stores and take it apart and reverse engineer it or whether the big box stores are cannibalizing the designs put out by bag makers. I suspect that tends to flow both ways. In any case, I was pretty horrified at the awful quality of the materials in the bags that Wal-Mart was selling. Cheap cheap cheap. How did we, as a society, allow ourselves to think that this kind of stuff is acceptable? 

I finished cutting up all the ladybug fabric last night. The first batch of squares I left at church has already come back as finished bags. The Ritzville quilt is packed up—along with the fabric for the backing—to turn over to Margaret this morning. I also hemmed another half-dozen cloth napkins and cut out some more grocery bags (it's just as easy to production-line 10 as it is to do 3). If it doesn't rain this afternoon, I might try to get some more weeding in, but then I am going to sew. 

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