Monday, July 04, 2011

Holiday Weekend Update 7.4.11

Happy 4th! Henry and I celebrated by driving out to see the fireworks at the fairgrounds. "Fireworks mean it's someone's birthday," says Henry. We did mainly watch from inside the truck, though, since he was worried that we were too close and the noise was too loud. No problem, fewer bugs that way. Frannie celebrated our nation's birthday by taking a too-short nap and going to bed early. Daddy celebrated the 4th by spending most of the afternoon inflating and filling the backyard pool. He's a good daddy.

All sorts of new and exciting things are happening here on the farm. We have acquired 8 chickens, all hens (technically pullets, since they aren't laying eggs yet). They reside in a "chicken tractor," which is a mobile henhouse + fenced run that can be wheeled around the yard. We are hoping for eggs in September (if we're lucky). For those interested in the finer details, we have 3 Buff Orpingtons (the yellow/buff colored ladies), 3 Rhode Island Reds (yep, the reddish ones), and 2 Dominiques (the black and white gals). There's always a chance when you start with chicks that you will end up with a rooster or two anyway, but it looks like these are all girls.

New baby chicks, less than 1 week old.

The chicken tractor in action.

A couple of the girls up close.

The garden is ridiculous. We started with 100 tomato seedlings, of which about 70 have survived. Yes, we may be crazy. Lots of green tomatoes, and lots of flowers, but no fresh 'maters yet. Soon I will be complaining about the gwazillion tomatoes we have to get canned. I'm also planning to dry a bunch of the cherry tomatoes.

Just a sampling of the tomato garden, before it became a tomato jungle.

The potato plants look good, and the spring peas are just about spent. Kale is still going (surprising in the heat we've had lately). The onions may or may not survive a grass invasion--I've pretty much decided to give up and just see what's left in the fall. Que sera sera. Our Louisiana purple pod pole beans just had their first harvest; they are super cute! Pepper plants are still tiny, bush beans, soybeans, cucumbers, and carrots are still pretty small, and the beets look dismal. Artichokes were dug up by some mean little animal, so we'll have to wait until next year to try that again. Brussels sprouts and okra have been planted (maybe a bit late, but we'll see). Overwhelmed yet? We are. And due to the crazy weather I never got around to planting several other seeds I wanted to try this year (canteloupe, several herb varieties).

Henry has made it through 3 rounds of swimming lessons, which he loves. He can now jump off the platform by himself and swim to his teacher. It's an ugly dog paddle, but, hey, it's a work in progress. He and Daddy went to the movies last week to see Cars 2--Henry has been waiting for this all summer. Next on his agenda is August, when he goes to the beach! His favorite word currently is "actually," and the most frequently heard sentence in our house, "I'm four and a half now."

Hamming it up at the Louisville Slugger Museum.

The boy still loves his leaves.

Frances is, of course, growing fast. She's also a little bit of a daredevil and tends to lead with her head, literally. So far no major injuries, though. She has decided that while it's fun to let Mommy put bows and pony tails in her hair, it's more fun to immediately yank them out. I'm starting to understand the short haircuts I always had as a kid. If this doesn't change soon we are going to seriously consider trimming some bangs. Not many words out of this girl yet, still mama, diddy, heehee, and mwah! but she usually gets her point across.

"Yes, I can walk and drink from a sippy all at once. Aren't I talented?"

Check out the cabinet door-to-nowhere. One of the finer features of our modern kitchen.

It's one of Frannie's favorite play spots.

I can't forget to congratulate both of my "baby" brothers on their recent graduations. Michael graduated from UVA School of Medicine, and Jacob graduated from UK General Surgery Residency. I'm so proud of both of you (and your wives)!

A rare family photo opportunity.

Miss you all!

No, that's not the grim reaper, just Dennis out in the field with his scythe.