Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Well, those cute fluffy chicks grew up. And it looks like we’ve gotten 5 for 5. Roosters, that is. We’ve been checking and hoping and waiting for any signs of hennyness, but no. They’re old enough to lay eggs now, and we’ve had several visitors who’ve raised chickens say, Those sure look like roosters to me. I think they’re not full enough in the breast, and their combs are pretty big, and yeah, they are aggressive and loud.

So now I have to figure out what to do with five roosters. They don’t make good pets; when I go into their yard to feed them they act like starved maniac chickens and fly up and bite my arms and hands while I’m filling up their feeder.

Our other male pet, Basil the bunny, is a perfect angel. He’s working out great, and K--- has bonded with him in a huge way.

But this is a post about disappointment. This morning after I took the girls to school, I got out 12 quart jars and put them in the dishwasher to sterilize. Then I retrieved the steamer-juicer from downstairs and set it on the stove to start boiling. Out to the backyard to do the fun part: harvesting our beautiful merlot grapes.

I pushed through the tangle of raspberry canes, rogue tomato vines, and the wildly proliferate grape vines, ready to cut bunches of ripe grapes into my waiting colander…and all I found were a few stunted, measly, sad little excuses for grapes crouching under all that lush foliage.

Why? I wondered. Not enough watering? But I watered even more faithfully than last summer. Was it the way I pruned the vines last winter? But this spring I had seen the abundance of tiny green grape buds that seemed so promising.

After a half hour of dispirited hunting and pecking, I had filled the colander half full. So I put it on to steam all the same, and in an hour I just might have myself a whole pint of grape juice. Ah well. I’ll raise it to what might have been. To dozens of eggs and well-behaved hens, to quarts upon quarts of fragrant, sweet, organic juice. To next year, in hopes of a better harvest.


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