Our Most Photogenic bird

Meet Roger – our Plymouth Rock hen. (And, yes, Roger is a girl. Ginger and Pepper are responsible for the name. They dubbed her “Roger” after a character in The Great Escape.)

Roger is a beautiful chicken and one of our rescue birds. She’s a steady egg layer and extremely good-natured. But, what sticks out most in my mind about Roger is how much she likes to have her picture taken. I find chickens, in general, hard to photograph. They’re constantly moving. They don’t like you getting too close to them. But Roger is different. Roger holds a pose. Roger likes to get close to the camera. Roger looks like she’s really enjoying the experience. And, as a result, I usually end up with better pictures of Roger than any of our other birds.

Thank you, Roger. I appreciate that.

The Ducks Go Outside

The ducks are old enough and it’s been warm enough for Ginger to take them outside for a daily swim. They love it! We don’t keep them out too long, but they really do seem to enjoy their time outdoors.

Here you can see they’re starting to stand upright like the runner ducks they are. Their names (from left to right) are named Pearl, Ponyo, and Lilo.

Have a great day! Here in Massachusetts, it’s going to be a warm one.

Mrs. Smythe

Patriotic Flowers

A peek at the red, white, and blue flowers currently in bloom in my garden.

Milkweed (More pink than red, really, but they look like fireworks, so I included them.)
Shasta Daisies

The Ducklings Have Arrived!

Such exciting news! Our ducklings have arrived! Two weeks ago, they flew all the way from California in this box.

They were born on a Monday – we got them on a Thursday – and they’ve been growing exponentially ever since.

Here they are taking their first swim.

They love the water. It was amazing how natural it was for them to swim and how good they were at it from the start.

They’ve since moved to the bathtub for their daily dips.

When not swimming, they live in a pen in our basement. There’s a heat lamp to keep them cozy, and Ginger keeps their food and water filled and their quarters clean.

The first pet that got to meet them was our cat, Shadow.

She’s intrigued and enjoys watching their swims.

We’ve also introduced the ducklings to our chickens.

The chickens weren’t terribly interested.

The ducklings, however, loved being outside.

Hopefully it will be warm enough for them to go out again today. That’ll probably be the highlight of our Fourth…that and the barbecue CPT A is planning.

I hope you all have a fun and safe Fourth of July!

From the dining room table, thinking I should probably go get dressed now before it’s time to make lunch,

Mrs. Smythe

Hello, June!

Hello, all! I hope this post finds you well.

We’re still staying mostly at home these days, though things are slowly opening up in our state. CPT A continues to experiment with sourdough recipes in his free time. Most recently, he made hamburger buns. I think they turned out very well – don’t you?

In crafting news, I’ve started yet another sweater with the infamous green yarn. It’s a good thing I like this yarn. If I didn’t, I’d be tempted to toss it in the garbage after three failed attempts. This time, I’m going in a different direction and am using a crochet pattern. I’m hesitantly hopeful that this will be “the one” – but we’ll see. So far, so good.

In garden news, our peach tree is putting out fruit for the first time! We’re thrilled, but also a little nervous because we have no experience in this area. CPT A is looking into thinning the crop today, as the branches seem to be a bit overloaded.

In the vegetable garden, the radishes are taking center stage. They’ve given me a much needed confidence boost with their enthusiastic growth. Even the rat’s tail radishes (an heirloom variety I’m growing from seed) are doing well! They grow above ground – more like beans than traditional radishes. These are the blooms – aren’t they pretty?

We’re seeing lots of bees. I think someone down the road has added a hive because honeybees are everywhere. Also – the bumblebees (my favorites) are very active. It can make weeding a bit tricky, but I’m so happy to see all the pollinators, I can’t complain.

I’m growing mammoth sunflowers. I started the plants inside and didn’t put them in the garden until they were well established. So far, I’ve only lost one to the chipmunks. I’m currently growing three more replacements just in case something else happens, but the others are growing so fast, I think I’m past the initial danger point. I’ve planted a total of 11 plants so if they all make it to the flowering stage it should be quite a sight!

I’m also planting beans using the same strategy. The first round were dug up and eaten by a critter. So, the second round I’m growing in seed flats that I can take into the house each night. When they’re large enough, I’ll transfer them to the garden, and hopefully they’ll see the same success I’m seeing with the sunflowers.

Because I left things to go to seed last autumn, I have a lot of “volunteer” plants coming up in the front yard. Near the porch, I have a huge patch of parsley where I had a single plant last year. I was going to thin it out some, but then I spotted a caterpillar – the sort that turns into a Black Swallowtail butterfly. So, I’ve decided the parsley patch can stay. I hope to see lots of Swallowtails in the coming weeks!

I’m thrilled to report that my peony bloomed for the first time this year! This is a remnant of one that I replanted elsewhere. The transplant didn’t make it, but the remnant obviously did. I have two other peonies plants that did not bloom this year, so I’m wondering if I planted them too deeply. Maybe I should try to move them as well.

The wild yarrow is beginning to bloom. These pop up all over the yard, but are very popular with pollinators, so I encourage them as long as they don’t get too overbearing.

And, finally, inside the house, Ginger’s peace lily is blooming again. Such an interesting flower!

We’re seeing lots of warm days, but not much rain. I seesaw between feeling overwhelmed by all of the growth in the yard and being thrilled by it. The garden changes daily, and I have to remind myself to stop and observe and savor things – flowers, the light, the bumblebees – all of it. These things don’t last forever, and in the case of some of the flowers – they last only a day! It’s a good lesson to me to enjoy what I have while it’s there. Gardens are good at teaching lessons – don’t you agree?

From the dining room table, getting ready to do some sketching, and hoping you have a great week!

Mrs. Smythe