Vermont finally made national news, but not in a good way. Tropical storm Irene came through Sunday afternoon. The flood damage in the state is unprecedented and kind of hard to wrap your head around. Brandon, a town not far from here, lost several downtown buildings when the river overflowed.
I am touched by all the people from far away, most of whom I've never met in person, who have emailed to see if we're OK up here. Actually, our town saw relatively little damage, and our property saw no damage at all. Roads outside of town are apparently washed out and causing major headaches for lots of people, like dairy farmers, whose milk has to be dumped because the milk trucks can't get through, not to mention the people in outlying towns who've been stranded. So, all is well at the Lazy J. But thanks for your concern.
The blog would have been updated two weeks ago, because I had the cutest pictures I've taken all year, including a series of my husband sitting out on the porch Sunday morning sharing a bowl of cereal with a hen who had made herself comfy on his lap.
But I deleted the whole set of pictures by accident. I'm just getting over the loss now.
There's not much farm news. It's late summer, I need to process the corn and tomatoes, pick the basil and green beans, and shell the dry beans. And brew another batch of beer. Same old, same old.
A few weeks ago, I picked the last of the shell peas.
The results, though always meager, are delicious.
I pulled the pea vines and they made some goats and a sheep quite happy.
Other veggies from a few weeks back:
We had a hailstorm, but as with Irene, it didn't do any damage.
Sunday, when Irene came and it rained and rained, was the day our meat birds were scheduled for slaughter. My husband and the two guys who came to do the work did despite the rain, in the barn. The day before, we had spent the morning trying to get 76 giant, not-too-bright chickens from their portable coop into a holding pen in the barn. Not exactly the running of the bulls at Pamplona, but eventually they got in there. Now they're all in freezers around the county.
What we have in this photo are five young Araucana ("Easter-egger") laying hens. And one Cornish/White Rock cross meat bird. "The one that got away," I guess you'd say.
He was gimpy from the get-go, but never immobile. Still, while his coopmates ate and grew strong and healthy, he never left the coop. Each day we brought food and water to him and my husband kept saying, "I should get rid of that bird." But he never did. Slaughter day came and went and we were stuck with this undersized, limping bird not fit for eating. My husband, once an avid hunter, doesn't care to "get rid" of animals on the farm if he can help it. So this one got a stay of execution.
For the time being he's living with the other birds. The big chickens peck him hard whenever they get near him, but the young girls don't seem to mind him. Maybe he'll be rehabilitated, probably not. Maybe he was faking a limp so we wouldn't eat him. Whatever. He's staying for now.
My last batch of photos, the ones I deleted, dammit, had some pictures of the meat birds on pasture. I have not yet tasted one of these so I can't say if keeping them outdoors on grass made a huge difference in the finished product. However, contrary to what many people told us, they DID move around a lot outside compared to the ones we've kept in the barn in years past. They DID chase earwigs and other bugs, they DID peck in the dirt, they DID eat grass, and in general they acted a lot more like real chickens, not like lifeless eating machines. Just getting sun and fresh air had to make a difference in their health. I'll report back with a taste test soon.
The tomatoes are coming in fast and furious, and thanks to my friend Jenn, who came out and saved me with her gardening skills a couple of weeks ago, the weeds have been beaten into submission and the garden is once again thriving. Which may not be a good thing; it means more work for me.
So tonight I have a date with the Squeezo and a batch of tomatoes. But there's this other thing I've been wasting my time on lately:
Yeah, knitting. Remember that thing I used to always do? This is Vivian, a cabled, shaped cardigan by Isolde Teague. Winter is coming, after all, and fast.
So, wrapping up, life at the Lazy J is crazy, as always, but smooth and untroubled compared to the rest of the state. Thank you to all who have expressed concern as to my safety. We got lucky with this one. Just ask Roy and Trooper.