I’ve had a couple people refer to our place as a “farmette”, which I find charming. To update from my previous post-it is not the baby chick crowing, it turns out it was just…a hen. Which is weird, but not unheard of. It’s been a bit rough for the chickens since the fox attack. Tree Bird has returned to sleeping safely in a tree, rather than in the coop. Big Silk still seems unwell, whether from an illness or something that occurred on that night we don’t know. He’s also taken to sleeping under the coop. It turned out that Droopy Butt was not one of the ones killed by the fox, but…she died two days ago. And last night Old Mother Hen peacefully passed away. We knew it was only a matter of days for her and I’m glad for her that she had loving pats and goodbyes from us in her final hour. In more cheerful chicken news, I noticed that the hen with the bald back has 3 brand new feathers growing! I thought she was bald for good, but perhaps new feathers can grow in. And tonight is Laura and Mary’s second night sleeping in the coop with the grown-ups. They are not going in on their own-I’m placing them in there-but they seem to be doing fine with their integration to the flock. Well, actually they are keeping entirely to themselves, but no one is harassing them.
The butterfly garden is doing great and I got one of my best pictures in a long time there yesterday when a black swallowtail butterfly was busy on the coneflowers. So busy, in fact, that it didn’t mind me standing right next to it and watching as its proboscis darted in and out over and over again all over the head of the coneflower. Here it is, doing just that.
I had a big day of cooking and baking to keep on top of the in season things, specifically zucchini and blueberries. On Sunday I made: a double batch of lemon blueberry muffins in assorted sizes, 3 loaves (assorted sizes) of zucchini bread, and a peach-blueberry-mango crisp.
I also made zucchini scrambled eggs for breakfast, and for dinner a Ricotta Zucchini Galette. Whew! The baked goods all were wrapped up and placed in the freezer, to be enjoyed at a much later date. And I didn’t make any spectacular recipes, just some standard quick bread type stuff. I figure I’ve got a good half a summer left for zucchini ginger cupcakes and the like. Unfortunately my blueberry muffins came out terribly. They tasted good, but were impossible to get out of the pans and were just a mess.
The galette I’d been dying to make ever since a friend posted a picture of it a few days earlier. It’s a Smitten Kitchen recipe and I do love galettes and pies for dinner, and I do love ricotta, so this looked like a winner. The recipe is here. The pastry was indeed flaky and tangy (sour cream and lemon juice are in it) and our ladies’ rich egg yolks made a beautiful glaze.
Perhaps best of all was that it was finally an evening that was not too hot and not humid and we were able to enjoy it outside!
Also this week I sewed up a couple of custom orders for some lovely baby things. These have actually been in the works for a while-at least in terms of fabric which we selected and ordered quite a while ago. Check out the end results here.
The most surprising excitement occurred this afternoon. I was standing in the back of the yard looking at a very large tree on the edge of the yard and noticing that a large branch had come down (I assumed it happened last night, Paul tells me it’s been down for a few weeks–so, not very observant of me.) Staring at the tree I noticed a strange drooping shape on one of the branches. At first I thought it was the same fungus on the plum tree, but then I realized…..BEES!
A swarm! I ran inside and called Paul. He come home a bit early to see what was what and how we’d get them back. Retrieving swarms is something they learned a lot about in his beekeeping course, but upon closer inspection we were able to see a couple things that make a difference. It seems that this swarm has been established up there for quite a while. Which means that when the bees vanished from the hive we thought was dead (we knew the queen was dead and the ones left seemed ill or something), they had actually just swarmed and gone up to that branch (it’s very close to the hive.) We can tell they’ve been there a while because they have actually built up a lot of honeycomb, which we were able to see very well with the big zoom. (This is at once both icky and awesome.)
So after consulting with our bee guy we’ve learned that in this case we can leave them there a little while as long as we get them back in the hive before it gets cold. This involves cutting off the honeycombs they’ve made and tying them with cotton string to the frames in the boxes and then they will apparently just return to where those combs are. I’ve requested Paul wear a veil for the cutting off of the combs, while possibly standing on an extension ladder. Overall, we are very happy to find out our bees were nearby all this time and that we should be able to get them back.