May 31, 2005

We’ve been busy and out of town for the past few days. We came home to, alas, weeds and work. Taking a short holiday from a farm always seems like a mixed bag; we get a break only to have to go at it extra-hard as soon as we return….oh well!

So, some highlights. We went to Oregon, and blundered upon a private home showing of one of the most meticulously maintained rose gardens I’ve ever seen. This retired couple had over 750 roses, and I’m pretty sure that they spend most or all of their time working at it. They were both AARS rose judges, very knowledgeable, and their garden was an absolute showpiece. I wrote down many names of varieties I’d like to havel; this was an unusual opportunity to see each plant in action rather than just guessing from the pitures and label descriptions. My own rose garden seemed sad, in contrast! Next year I will be moving many of my roses to a new location, since the growth of nearby trees has occurred at a greater pace than originally anticipated. Roses don’t like shade, at all.

When we travel, Xerxes often goes with us. He requires a housesitter who comes at least every other day, and that wasn’t able to be arranged this time. So he went to Oregon. If anyone ever decides that more spectacle is required in their lives, I offer that they should travel I-5 with a rooster on their lap. The stares and the comments at the gas stations are de rigeur. But the icing on the cake came when we wanted to see the new Sundial bridge in Redding. We couldn’t leave him in the car, as the weather was hot. There was nothing else for it but to carry this ridiculous bird like a chihuahua for the duration of our sightseeing. "Maybe no one will notice him," I said to Ken. That notion was shot down as soon as I exited the car, where he was promptly spotted by a young lady who introduced herself as the president of Redding poultry FFA. It really went downhill when I exited from using the facilities, to find a press photographer pointing a camera at us. Or rather, at Xerxes. Then the comments…."She’s got a chicken!"… "Is that a rooster?"… "Look, it’s a chicken?"…"Is there something wrong with him?".   The facial expressions of the onlookers ranged from endearing (most of the older ladies) to utter incomprehension (just about everyone else).  I had wanted to see the arboretum, but Xerxes was getting too hot, and any hopes of a low profile weren’t manifesting themselves. At least we were given a packet of 100 sunflower seeds by the garden volunteers on the way out. Lovely place, must visit again sometime. Without the bird…

The vegetables right now are still a battle with the insects. Slugs, earwigs and ants, may they all rot in hell. The hollyhocks are blooming and look very nice. The sweetpeas are beginning to die back, we’ll see if they can be kept going with enough water. Maybe half of the tomatoes are in. I still have to sow a lot of seeds before this month ends, the gourds may have to be done over. Right now, the only thing actually thriving is the broom corn. Go figure. Of course it’s doing well, you don’t eat it…….

The Narragansett eggs should begin hatching tomorrow evening, and the Royal Palm chicks are enjoying flitting and flying around in the nice weather.

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