Here they are, this year's chicken flock, just as they arrived in the mail this week, safe in their cardboard box from McMurray Hatchery. We've gotten our chicks there for years and have never been disappointed. In this batch: 30 Cornish Rock X, meat birds; 5 Red Stars, laying birds; and 1 "extra" (replacement, in case of an early death).
The little flock is now safely settled in its bathtub brooder, in our guest bathroom. (Guests, please keep the door shut. The dogs and cat would love to investigate.) I lined the tub with plastic, put down dried grass hay for litter, then (for the first day or two) a layer of newspaper. A couple of 100-watt bulbs keep them warm. The bathroom is next to my writing studio, so it's easy to keep an eye on them. They'll outgrow the tub in a couple of weeks and then go outdoors, to the chicken coop and yard, which is fenced against predators (skunks, raccoons, hawks, snakes).
I'm not crazy about raising the Cornish because they have leg problems if you don't butcher about 9-10 weeks. But the meat is wonderful and they're fairly economical. The Red Stars are great brown egg producers and start early, about 5 months (hoping that we'll have eggs by February!). Starting another laying flock was a big decision: it means that one of us has to be home to feed. We'll see how that goes.
Book Report. The Darling Dahlias and the Confederate Roseis out, to great reviews. Publishers Weekly calls it a "superior cozy"--high praise, from that publication. I'm working on Wild Rose (a novel about Rose Wilder Lane, the writer behind the Little House books)--about halfway through a draft and enjoying the writing process very much. As you might guess, the project involves an extraordinary amount of research: transforming a real person into a fictional character is very different from creating a fictional person out of your imagination. And this particular real person presents some large challenges, so the process is even more interesting. I look forward every morning to sitting down to work--a huge blessing, and I'm hugely grateful.
Garden Report. Some rain this week (amazing!) so the garden is looking especially good. The potatoes are coming up, the tomatoes look good, there's a new planting of okra to look forward to, and beans have mostly survived the cutworm stage. Hoping for a productive fall garden and a late first frost, but of course you never know.
Reading note .If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood. I'd type a little faster.~Isaac Asimov