Still think they're cute? These Cornish roasters (that's the name of the breed) have the biggest feet in chickendom, and they're on their way to filling out the rest of themselves to fit their feet. I weighed three birds today, and each weighed in at two pounds--gaining now at the rate of about a pound a week. They're friendly, curious, and gregarious, like most chickens, and lots of fun to watch (a serous distraction, since I'm supposed to be writing!) When the air temp climbs to around 93 or so (about 1 p.m.), I turn on the mister to keep them cool. They eat constantly, and there'll be plenty of chicken poop for the compost.
The spring garden is just about finished. I cleaned out the spring Three Sisters planting (corn, squash, and beans), although there's one more planting of corn (you can see it in the photo), which is just beginning to tassel, and the Porter tomatoes are still going strong. I pick enough for a couple of pints of tomato sauce every two days or so. I'll be harvesting spring cantaloupe and a few little watermelons soon. Just getting started: sweet potatoes, southern peas, pigeon peas (this is a new crop for me), and okra--Texas summertime favorites. In a few weeks, I'll be planting in the empty beds: fall corn, beans, squash, and potatoes. In some ways, having two seasons is great. But it does multiply the garden work.
Family stuff. Had a great weekend with son Michael, visiting from Juneau by way of Ohio (on a family vacation with wife Sheryl and their kids, Becky & little Michael). Several meals and some good talking time with Michael and his daughter Dorothy and her husband Jason. Wonderful to catch up on everybody's doings and be impressed by their multiple talents.
Bill reports from Coyote Ridge (our place in New Mexico) that it's been hot there, too. The Pacheco Fire is still burning, over 10,000 acres now, and the smoke drifts over the mountains and into our valley. You've probably been seeing the more dangerous fire, near Los Alamos, on television. Los Alamos has been evacuated in an impressively orderly way, which is good news. The bad news: these fires are likely to burn until there's a break in the weather. They're caused (in part) by the long-term drought and heat produced across the Southwest in this era of global warming. For more (including the 116-degree record-breaking high temp in the Texas Panhandle), check out Jeff Master's blog post on the topic. Here in the Hill Country, June has brought us the highest temperatures ever, and the longest string of 100+ degree days.
Book report. The Darling Dahlias and the Confederate Rose is moving a little slower than usual, because life has been so full lately. (I'll take that tradeoff!) We've rescheduled the publication date to September, 2012 (instead of July 2012), which gives me a little more time. I got my author copies of The Darling Dahlias and the Naked Ladies--they're beautiful! Absolutely terrific cover. Hope you all like it as much as I do. The book goes on sale on July 5. If you've ordered from Story Circle, I'll be packing/shipping your book next week.
Reading Note. The question is not whether land belongs to us, through titles registered in a courthouse, but whether we belong to the land, through our loyalty and awareness. . . In belonging to a landscape, one feels a rightness, at-homeness, a knitting of self and world. Scott Russell Sanders