The big patch of turned soil in the backyard is calling my name. The seedlings in the sunroom and on the stone wall out back are begging for room to stretch their roots. And my fingers are itching to dig in the dirt. Patience is not my forte, but Ben wants to expand the garden before I get started (and it does need to be bigger), so I’m building character here.

I’ve been working on getting the chicken tractor painted in preparation for attaching the wheels and wire, and it’s looking pretty cute. The chicks, who will be very happy to get out on grass and have more space, are in their early adolescent stage, so they’re not so cute right now.

They’re also filthy, thanks to the duck, who isn’t content unless the brooder floor looks like a swamp. (Seriously, I’ve been expecting Troy Landry to float by in a pirogue, hollering, “Choot ’em, Jacob!”) I finally separated them a few nights ago and put the duck in its own box. That plus the dust bath box I’ve provided the chicks should have them looking better soon.

It should be noted that the duck (which I’m now about 95% sure is a Cayuga) is not happy with this new arrangement and is making his/her displeasure known very loudly. Don’t worry, though, he/she is getting lots of extra attention and will be reunited with his/her friends soon. (And by the way, I’m really rooting for it to be a “she.”)

Our laying hens have had a few “off” days this past week, so I’ve been giving lots of pep talks and thanking them profusely every day we get a dozen or more. Yes, I know they can’t technically understand me, but I’m pretty sure they get the idea. I’m grateful for every egg they give us, but I have requests now for six to seven dozen a week, so job performance has become an issue. When the new pullets start laying, I know we’ll be up to our ears in eggs again, but right now, we’re stretched pretty thin.

So, if you’ve read my other posts, you’ve probably deduced that I find the idea of a self-sufficient village dynamic very appealing. That preference got much stronger after my son and I went to Williamsburg, VA, last fall with my mom, sister, and two nieces. Our favorite spot was the colonial garden and nursery, a new addition since my 8th grade trip there in 1994. We visited at least twice a day to drool over the hotbeds and withy fences.

Now, one of the resident gardeners, Wesley Greene, has written Vegetable Gardening the Colonial Williamsburg Way, full of wonderful information about eighteenth century techniques and heirloom vegetables. It’s a great book, full of beautiful photographs and useful tips.

Vegetable Gardening the Colonial Williamsburg Way

So while I wait to put all of those young plants in the ground, I’m reading about organic gardening “from a time when organic was the only gardening” and thinking about how strange it is that the chemical-laced produce in the grocery store is now considered “conventionally grown.” Oh yes, and I’m being patient…


2 responses »

  1. The gardens in Williamsburg are amazing, aren’t they? I love the wattle fencing and the glass bells used as singular greenhouses. I hope my garden will compare one day. Love your duck! Aren’t they the messiest creatures? We had a bunch of ducks once and while they were the cutest things ever, they were filthy. Good luck on your garden and thanks for stopping by!

    • I know, the Williamsburg gardens are inspiring. So many simple, clever techniques I’ve never seen elsewhere! And yes, the duck is a weird combination of cute and gross — cleaner since his swim today, but give it 24 hours and I’m sure he’ll be back to normal. 🙂 Thanks for reading!

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