I have fallen into an early morning routine the past few weeks that I am very pleased with. I wake sometime between 6 and 7, before anyone else. I throw on clothes and pull my hair back and sneak out the front door. Then, for about half an hour, I pull weeds and putter around with all the little plants I started from seed this year. My current obsession is black hollyhocks. I started those that are blooming now last spring. I started a new batch this year, so I’ll have blooms again next year (from what I have read they are short lived perennials or biennials.) Each morning I inspect each of the plants that is blooming for spent blossoms, and tuck them in my pocket. Once I have about forty, I can dye a skein of yarn. I dyed my first last week, and it is the most gorgeous soft blue! That skein will certainly become something for Mabel. I am working on another dye bath now, and I’ll try to share my results on Instagram later this week.
We’ve been a little preoccupied with our chickens the past few days because we are having predator problems again. Our property is mostly forested and that is proving to be deadly for our poor flock. Most of them are fenced in, but Larkspur’s little black copper maran flock has been completely free range for some time. Her rooster was taken Thursday afternoon. We didn’t realize until it was time to lock up their coop. Then Friday afternoon Beatrix watched in horror from the back porch as a fox sprang from the woods and began chasing Lark’s remaining four hens. We all went tearing out of the house screaming like a bunch of crazy people, but it was too late. The fox took Eggna, Lark’s favorite. The crazy thing is that we had been out there most of the day to make things less hospitable to predators. Seth cleared all the low brush along the tree line and mowed the grass around our coops. That fox must be awfully hungry, because after taking Eggna, and most of us running through the woods yelling and carrying on, it came back! By that time, we had caught Lark’s three surviving hens and put them in with our fenced large flock. We thought we had things secure, but then Saturday, Rose, Beatrix’s favorite hen was taken. We found a gap under the fence with her feathers just beyond. My goodness. What a few days it’s been! Sunday we were all on high alert all day, and there was no sign of the fox. We’re all being extra vigilant. I really, really love our chickens, and so do most of our kids. It’s really hard to lose them this way. It makes me feel helpless and a little bit crazed. But, as I reminded Larkspur, this is the nature of things, and part of keeping chickens.
Mabel’s birthday is Wednesday, and her quilt is finished. I have a birthday dress cut out and ready to sew and her Juniper Kitty is well underway. It will be a last minute rush to finish I’m sure, but I still think I can get everything done. Thank you all so much for the gift and book recommendations! I did end up ordering her a few new books. Those are really a gift to Jonny and me as well. It’s nice to have a change from reading the same ones over and over again. Anyway, once I have the gifts finished, there’s not much more to do. We’re not planning anything fancy this year, just a quiet birthday for our baby. (Two is still a baby, I think.)