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Posts Tagged ‘incubator’

I was in the kitchen and went to grab an avocado from the fruit basket only to encountered a bumble bee (these things happen when your kitchen is outside). Then a few minutes later I went up to the road to cut a sprig of rosemary and saw honeybees in amongst its purple flowers. “What’s going on,” I thought, “have I been asleep?” The weather is changing and everything around me is waking up – I’m just a few steps behind. I resolved to spend the rest of the day being a little more observant/productive than usual, and this is what I came up with:

eggs

I love the colors of eggs. I’ve decided that if I ever paint the walls somewhere, I will just use the colors of different eggshells and possibly the color of good butter from a grass fed cow, too. That top right egg is the very first egg from one of our Copper Maran hens – we hatched those chicks last summer. What a lovely, rich chocolate brown! I am still waiting on the Ameraucanas, hatched at the same time,  who will lay bluish eggs – another lovely wall color…

daphne

This is a box of Daphne odora Aurea-marginata (a.k.a. variegated daphne) cuttings. As you can see, they are flowering and the smell is heavenly. You don’t even have to stick your head in that box to smell it — the whole greenhouse is deliciously scented. That would be enough to make these special, but there is a story behind these particular cuttings.

Outside my aunt and uncle’s house in Portland OR, there is a variegated daphne. It’s right in front of the porch and it’s huge. When my aunt died way back in 1998, we started to  flap ever so slightly about the daphne. Would it survive? My aunt had been the gardener, after all. But the daphne proved that it could take care of itself, as did the cosmos that sprung up along the side of the house. Other plants didn’t fare so well, but my uncle gradually took over the back yard and grew Chinese chives and tomatoes every year. daphne1917

That’s the daphne behind me, to the left. Incidentally, that photo was taken in 1980 when I was 5. It was the year of my first unaccompanied  trips on an airplane (although I did have a traveling companion in Blue Bunny, also pictured above). I flew from NY to Portland and back – a not insignificant 5 1/2 hours of air time. Back then, your parents could come right on to the plane with you to get you settled in, which seems hard to imagine now. I asked my mom how she didn’t completely freak out just putting me on a plane and she shrugged and said, “Your father said you’d be fine.” And I was, of course. I mention it because it looks like this year might be Baki’s first solo trip – from NY to Istanbul, no less. I’m not sure how I feel about it just yet, but Baki can’t wait. I tried to break it to him gently, but he was whooping it up when I told him. But I digress…

When my uncle died, the flapping over the daphne began in earnest. My mother had gone out to visit him a few years back and brought a cutting, but it struggled and didn’t make it. The house was going to be sold, and I hated the thought of losing our connection to that daphne. So my mother appealed to my cousin Pamela to send some cuttings to her in NY, and she received a package of them, each with its own little capsule of water attached. My cousin Elaine has some of them, and the rest my mom brought out to Turkey and that is what you see in that box. So that smell is a sweet one, indeed, and for more reasons than one.

veg bed

And lastly, it is the time of year when I haul out my early spring allies — the plastic bottle cloches. I’ve got lettuce and bok choy under those ones. On the periphery of the bed there are shallots and garlic. This is my new method of planting alliums — I’ve got them dotted along the edges of all the beds. I thought it might be a bug deterrent. We’ll see how that goes.

Well, that feels a little better. I’ve got my ears to the ground at last, and it’s humming with activity. It makes me buzz with excitement a little myself.

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We have been celebrating some around here, some things quietly, some not.

To begin with the least quiet celebration imaginable, Baki had his first proper birthday party yesterday (although he turns 8 on the 28th). Until last year, I was able to convince him that birthdays were something celebrated with your family. Then he started primary school and the invitations started coming and the cat was out of the bag.

Baki wanted to have his party at McDonalds, which I can completely understand since at his age my greatest hope was to have a birthday party at Burger King (and just for the record, mom, I am soooo glad we never did. Our parties were the best!) but empathy aside, that was an idea too depressing to entertain, so I decided that the only place I could face having a party was at Sundance Camp.

We filled the big geodesic dome with balloons for everyone to jump around in, which Baki and Kaya carefully monitored for quality before the guests arrived:

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And I started some flower seeds (calendula and annual dahlia) for the kids to plant in pots and take home. The seedlings were doing really well and I felt quite pleased with myself… until the whole box of them fell off the top of the car as I was trying to get Kaya into his car seat to go down to Sundance. We lost a few, but there were enough survivors to go around.Image

We hunted for Easter eggs, played nature bingo, but mostly the kids did what kids do best, particularly outdoors — they just ran around like mad and found fun for themselves. It was a gas, but I am very, very glad to be done with it. Thank goodness these things only roll around once a year (and Kaya is still young and impressionable enough to just blow out a candle or two with mom and dad and be done with it).

I also celebrated, quietly, the new batch of small fry on its way.

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It’s not very romantic, and I tend to think nature handles these things best, but we are incubating some eggs to increase our laying flock. I was highly skeptical of the whole idea, and I still worry about rearing chicks, but I have to admit that I am also kind of excited about becoming a mama hen. Today was the 8th day of incubation, so I candled the eggs (actually, I iPhoned them — I used the flashlight on my phone) to see how things were going. I was nervous! Happily, 15 out of 18 eggs appear to be developing normally. At this stage, I was looking for a network of veins and a dark spot. My heart leapt as the dark spot I was looking at swam around in the egg! Yes, I know, living things will move, but it was a thrill. I held extra still to make sure I wasn’t the one making it move, but it really wasn’t me, and subsequent eggs did the same thing. Amazing. The three that were not developing just looked empty in comparison, and when I cracked them open to check (I held my breath, I will admit), they just looked like eggs. They were the smallest eggs of the lot, so maybe the hens were too young.

The eggs came from Sundance; here is a look at the new gene pool:

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Aren’t they a handsome lot? They are an exceptionally peaceful chicken community, and they have the run of the Sundance garden in the afternoons. Not that their coop is such a bad place — in fact, Kaya is ready to move in. I think he likes the little doors, just his size.

And the quietest celebration of all, just in my head, a little cheer — two years on WordPress. I moved here after my former blog host was blocked in Turkey. I can’t remember why it happened, but the result was that I could edit my blog but not see it. That was weird, so I came here and I am glad I did.

Here’s to celebrations, big and small!

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