Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Vacation Fun and Chickens in the Headlines

Brittan and I returned Sunday night (Monday morning, really) from a four day trip to the Dominican Republic. What a grand time we had. And since it was paid for by my employer, it was even more enjoyable. Over the next few days, I will probably pen a few impressions from the trip that relate to the purpose of this blog. But for now, it's just good to be home.

This morning I read an article somewhere regarding what is called, "The Urban Chicken Movement." It was fantastic. It seems that many urban and suburban dwellers are adding more than a few vegetables to their back yards these days. People are buying chickens. They are building small coops in their subdivisions and keeping a handful of birds for eggs, meat and pets. As I understand it, the phenomenon is spreading across the country, much to the chagrin of Home Owner Associations everywhere. How I wish it would catch on here. Chickens are easy to keep, provide great nutrition via their eggs and meat and their waste, when composted is among the finest (along with rabbit droppings) of fertilizers.

But, alas, our HOA will never cave. They have their image of an acceptable neighborhood and no one dare challenge it. How tragic.

But if you live in an area that allows poultry on your property, then I encourage you to read up on the subject and consider a few laying hens of your own. Skip the roosters. They are only good for upsetting the neighbors just before the crack of dawn.

While we can't enjoy chickens or meat rabbits, our vegetable garden is progressing nicely. We got our first small harvest of strawberries yesterday, about a cup's worth. They are small and juicy and sweet. I love them.

We are getting a small crop of raspberries this year, also. I'm so excited. It looks like a small harvest this year, but the plants are spreading and growing nicely. I expect that next year will have much better results.

The blackberries have survived, but I don't think we'll have any fruit this year. There are no signs of blossoms. Maybe next year.

The fruit trees have leafed out nicely and are growing well, but it will be a couple of years before they begin to produce.

But it is the vegetables that have really sprung to life in the last week. The tomatoes especially have grown large and strong. Some of the early varieties have a good number of blossoms. The peppers and beans are also growing strong. In fact, most everything; corn, squash, zucchini, cantaloupe, cucumbers are looking quite sprightly. I have high hopes for this year.