While Steve graciously painted the coop (without being asked- he just took it upon himself, the prince), I ripped out all kinds of stuff on Saturday. I harvested as much of the kale, broccoli rabe, and escarole that I could, and then tore them all out along with the arugula, which I managed to get rid of just in time. Then Sunday I hilled up potatoes, and planted eggplants, bell peppers, and poblano and serrano chilies. Also onion sets. I'm a little ashamed of using the store bought starts, but if I don't, I have no chance at a decent summer garden. As it is, the weather is not exactly the essence of summer, so I may not get any of the aforementioned or tomatoes this season. Why?
Well, today it rained. Not so big a deal, you folks in the east and south are probably saying. Except that instead of being ninety-six, with the same degree of relative humidity, it was sixty-seven today. In the middle of July. This year's start to summer is even later than last year's start. This morning I got a taste of what it's going to be like caring for the chickens this fall and winter. Methinks I'd better get the feed hoppers put together. I bought the materials for them last weekend but couldn't bring myself to make them when what the girls have is sufficing for now and the garden was screaming for attention.
In other homestead news, Steve has contracted with our regular contractor for a new metal roof, after weeding out all the competition. I'm glad Jef won it because we can trust him; he's done a lot of work for us and he's a super nice guy.
We also know where he lives.
And then just yesterday, Steve announced to me the company to which he'll award the solar photovoltaic and solar hot water work. Mr. Sun Solar has been doing solar installations since 1980, and while they weren't the cheapest, they gave us the largest sense of comfort. They generally did the best job selling us the system because they answered Steve's barrage of questions, and actually came out to the house again with their electrician to check out the electrical panel. It needs an upgrade which will get rolled into the total cost of the installation, which will go into the state and federal tax credits as well as the rebate from the Energy Trust of Oregon. The other guys either said we didn't need it, or their electrician estimated it from a photograph of the panel. The best reason for doing the panel upgrade now, aside from the aforementioned credits and rebate, is that it will be done already if we decide to buy an electric vehicle later on, and we'll have had a little help paying for it.
The girls are adjusting well to their new home, and the two of us are adjusting to separate chicken chores as well. I handle letting them out in the morning and rustling up their breakfast, as well as taking care of their water needs, and Steve brings them greens and tops off their water in the afternoon. Then I take care of getting them to bed, which proves to be an interesting challenge every evening. One night we were watching a movie and forgot to get them to bed on time, and they were still down in the run, waiting for me to come put them to bed (read: bribe them up the ramp with yogurt). With today's rain, they came down for breakfast, but Steve said they went back to bed afterwards. He looked out and saw no chickens in the run, and the next time he looked out, there were two brown head sticking out of the pop hole. Then early this evening they were up and down the ramp, but never really taking themselves to bed. But every night it's the same thing: I bring out the yogurt, Ethel (Front and Center Ethel) rushes to be first, Vivian thinks about it a little bit and then follows, and Violet misses the whole thing because she's truly clueless. I have to stand out there for awhile, coaxing the girls to come on up for Yogurt Time (which so reminds me of a line from Auntie Mame), and it's getting old.
But then again, they're teenage pullets.
Maybe I shouldn't expect them to go to bed at a decent hour.