Tag Archives: Garden

Capturing Time in a Basket of Blue Eggs

Just like that, the frost came, the leaves fell, the days shortened, and the blue eggs appeared. Sometimes, there isn’t a logic to what happens on the farm, and since change is constant around here, it’s easy to miss the subtle shifts. But then you walk outside one morning and it hits you—another season on the farm has gone by and while you’re already busy planning for the next one, there’s one right here, right now. A spectacular moment in time, one that can’t necessarily be defined or pinned down, just marveled at.

There’s really no corollary between golden leaves and blue eggs; it just happens that the Aracaunas (who grew big and beautiful over the summer) started to lay in earnest this week and we finally have a whole clutch of blue and green eggs to ogle. We’ve been wondering if all the eggs would be the color of Sugar’s—a paler shade of Robin’s egg blue. So far there’s a murky tidal green, a Sugary blue, and one true teal.

The Aracaunas themselves match the leaves that are falling by the zillions, Roy raking them up in bursts of energy while I avoid that least favorite task as best I can. I do haul a cart or two into the garden every now and then, as I am ripping out dead veggie plants, adding compost to garden beds and covering them up with leaves and mulch for the winter. I am weighing down the leaves with spent sunflower and zinnia stalks, which are as stiff as bamboo.

I am also nursing the hoop house back to life, filling beds with transplants and seeds, harvesting arugula and kale, discouraging mice. We are curing pumpkins and winter squash for the first time in the green house, too. I’m especially excited about the Japanese kabocha squash we grew in the back field, though I hope we didn’t harvest it too soon. The vines weren’t quite dry, but they needed to come out for Roy to finish prepping the new field, which is looking spiffy.

And wouldn’t you know it, just ahead of the freezing weather, Roy reached water with the well pipe he’s been driving, driving, driving down into the ground. The new well will provide a closer water source for the 500 chickens and will also irrigate the new field next summer.

Overnight, the summer veggies disappeared from the farm stand. I decided not to foist any more green tomatoes or free jalapenos off on anyone, though we’re still harvesting greens and packing them up for egg customers to discover in the fridge.

The skies darkened and the first rains came over the weekend, happily driving us inside to play board games with Libby. Or I should say, to lose to Libby while playing board games. The marathon Gardenopoly tournament ended like this: Libby—$8,000 and every single property; Dad—bankrupt; Susie—$1. Watching her squirm with delight is one of those moments in time that I really wish I could pin down. As she barrels (or more accurately, skips and runs) towards 12 years old, I want to stay here in 11-year-old world with her just a little longer.

One thing I know for sure: While my memory isn’t so great any more, and some of these moments are going to get fuzzy for me down the road, Libby won’t forget. She’s got a whole lifetime to carry happy farm memories forward. Blue eggs and crazy colorful chickens. Leaf piles and fairy houses. Blustery days, board games, beach walks. Arrowheads, deer antlers, sharks teeth, starfish. Turtles, garden snakes, baby skunks. Owl spotting, sheep watching, pig petting. And hanging out with her best furry friend—Farmer, of course.

The Fair, the Farm Stand, and all the Festivities

There’s barely a minute to breathe and yet I am practically hyperventilating. I’ve never been good at containing my excitement, and this year, I seem to be more excited than ever about Fair Week.

You could get really cranky around here during the third week in August when traffic tangles up and thousands of people descend on the Island. And I must admit, after an onslaught of farm stand customers—and traffic jams in our own driveway—yesterday, I was just plain exhausted. But I woke up to the clear air and blue skies today feeling giddy.

This year the President’s family vacation overlaps directly with Fair week, making things even more exciting (or more frustrating—depending on your point of view) than usual. We happen to be on the excited end of the spectrum on this one, too. Friday we were given the opportunity to contribute to a gift basket of local food heading directly to the chefs who will be cooking for the Obama family this week (at a house only a couple miles up the road from us). We sent cherry tomatoes and eggs, and a pint of Fairy Tale eggplants, too, which apparently the chefs especially liked. Roy is really hoping that the President is waking up to a breakfast of Green Island Farm eggs—but who knows?!

Across the street, the carnival rides on trailers are lining up at the Fair Grounds. Tents are popping up; the hall doors are open wide while workers set up the display tables inside. Hay for the animals is moving in to the barns, bleachers are lining up, and the fireman’s burger booth is already in place. Best of all, two people on bicycles came down the driveway this morning to give us our four free tickets, which we receive for being abutting neighbors to the Fair Grounds. (The best part about this is that we get to smell the pigs smoking all day. Um, other pigs, not our pigs. Who are really big, by the way.)

Wednesday, we’ll all go down to Oak Bluffs, pick up Roy’s parents at the Island Queen ferry, and spend the evening at Illumination Night at the Camp Grounds. After an old-fashioned sing along, at exactly 8 pm, thousands of paper lanterns will light up on the front porches and walkways of every gingerbread cottage in the Camp Ground. It is breathtaking and stimulating and enchanting all at once—even if you do, once again, have to negotiate the crowds.  (If we can pull it off, we’ll go back to Oak Bluffs for the big fireworks Friday night, though the Fair may keep us away.)

The Fair begins on Thursday, and our friends will come and park at our house and join Roy, Libby and I to walk over for dinner. By then, we will have already raced over once in the afternoon to see if the Hall has opened and the vegetables have been judged. I don’t think this is going to be a big year for us, ribbon-wise, but you never know.

We’ll still have to gather, wash and pack 500 eggs every day. And harvest tomatoes, eggplants, beans, zucchinis, peppers, cucumbers, kale, chard, flowers, and basil every day for the farm stand (and set up the farm stand every morning.) But we’ll squeeze in all the time we can over at the Fair. Roy and Libby love the rides, and we all love the animals, especially the oxen, and the um, piglets. (The theme of this year’s Fair is going hog wild!) So by Sunday we will be exhausted. But I don’t care. Did I mention I love Fair week, that we wait all year for this excitement, that this is one of the reasons I love my life and my farm and my family and my Island? Yep.

No More Whining–The Tomatoes Are Here

Proof positive that my patience (or lack of) is worsening by the year (and my memory, too): I checked our records (record-keeping nerd that I am), and, in fact, we picked the first of this years Sungolds and Early Girls EARLIER this year than last year–and the year before! (That’s tomatoes from the garden, not the hoop house. The hoop house ones came almost a full month ahead of the field tomatoes.)

So I must officially stop complaining about the tomatoes (and everything else) being late this year, especially because now they’re officially here! Or at least some are; beefsteaks are still mostly green.  And I have nothing further to say on the subject; I simply offer the proof: Sungolds, Sweet 100s, Yellow Pears, Black Cherries, Early Girls, and Juliet Plums above. Ripening now and soon to be taste-tested:  Cherokee Chocolates, below. Time for salsa and bruschetta. Finally.

Where the Wild Things Grow

I swear, the garden (and the hoop house, too, for that matter) have a strange and wonderful life all their own. Who knows what goes on behind the gate when you’re not there?  Start with bees, birds, butterflies, moths, spiders, beetles, chipmunks, crows, sparrows, slugs, crickets and frogs. Add blossoms, shoots, vines, suckers, spores, weeds, seeds, fruit. Then Water. Wind. Sun. Pollination. Photosynthesis. And all that above ground—you can’t even begin to name the players down below.

Now throw in some man-made stuff. A trellis, a fence, a rope, a pot, a stake, a spade, a cart, a bench. At night, the wild things secretly romance and spar and dance and croon and sidle up and tangle over and generally do what they do. Because you’re not looking.

It’s only in the morning when you shuffle across the dewy grass and open the gate…or in the evening when the light is dying and you finally remember to check on those hoophouse tomatoes…that you see. And even then you must be paying attention or you will miss something great or weird or funny. But you will always find something satisfying, something that’s grown another foot or finally started to bear fruit.

Here are a few surprises from this week on Green Island Farm. (Admittedly, not all of them are nature-made. There are two farmers working on this farm, and very often one is doing something that the other doesn’t even know about it. Until stumbling upon it.)

This is definitely the weirdest thing I’ve seen in a while: A Patty Pan squash plant on steroids, I guess. I have no idea why this happens, but where one or two blossoms are supposed to be, there are literally hundreds–and dozens of fruits already forming. This surfaced beneath the UFO-Saucer sized leaves (right) of one of the hoop-house squash plants.

Also seemingly overnight, the cucumber plants climbed up to the top of the hoophouse, unleashed a shower of little yellow blossoms, and began to spit out little spiny cucumbers.

By sunset, the cucumbers were full-grown. Okay, maybe not sunset of the same day, but it really seemed that way.


Out in the garden, there were strange going-ons everywhere. One day I found Farmer meditating by the bush beans. Or perhaps he was praying, I don’t know. But the next day, I collected our first nice batch of beans. Farmer might have some special communication powers I don’t know about.


Weird balloons, fake birds, fake snakes, and other puzzling man-made objects also began to show up in the garden this week. Then one day, the plastic falcon moved, presumably to protect a ripening Early Girl from a sparrow attack. He knows his job.

The balloons with the eyeballs are just plain creepy (wait until Libby sees these), and I do a double-take every time I see them. They seem to be working though; nothing goes near them. Go figure.

Of course, there are some pretty accidents, too. (Or maybe they’re not accidents.) This year, the daisies, coneflowers, and daylilies made friends, completely unintroduced by us. Who knew they would get along so well?  (About as well as the eggplants and green peppers, which are neighbors, too.)

And finally, there are just some things that happen on the farm that you really can’t explain. If you remember, we brought home two pigs a few months ago. If you look very carefully in this photo of our pigs, there are three heads. I couldn’t get them all to look at the camera at the same time, but trust me, we’re feeding three fast-growing, mud-loving, root-grubbing pigs. Which is why their pen doubled in size. (How that happened, I’ll never know.)



You really have to keep your eyes open around here.


Summer Farm Frittata with Fingerlings, Fresh Herbs, Greens & Goat Cheese

Late at night, after I’ve spent an entire day fooling around with vegetables, what do I do but curl up on the couch with a book about—vegetables! My new favorite cookbook is River Cottage Veg by the unstoppable British food writer, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. I must admit, I’m fond of his pro-veg (rather than anti-meat) philosophy, because, well, it’s pretty much the point of view I offer in The Fresh & Green Table. But it’s more than that. I just plain like his food—honest and sensible but inspiring too. Somehow, this big hefty book, its thick matte pages covered from ear to ear with colorful but homey food photos and whimsical illustrations, feels like just the right thing to plunk on your lap at the end of a long day.

I only got to page six before I saw the thing I wanted to make for supper the very next day.

And I did.

Only I didn’t exactly follow Fearnley-Whittingstall’s recipe. I know, I know. (Insert sheepish look here.) But I’m really in the mode of “use what we have around” so into this lovely early summer frittata went all kinds of interesting things from the garden.

I started with 9 little pullet eggs. These are the smallest eggs our new chickens are laying (many of them have already upgraded to medium and large eggs). We don’t sell a lot of them, so they wind up as house eggs. Voila, 9 into a frittata—way to use those eggs up, Susie!

Next I went out to the garden with my home gardener/home cook hat on. (Not my market gardener/professional cook hat). And I picked little tiny bits of interesting odds and ends that happen to hang around when you grow a few of your own vegetables. I get a huge kick out of these things that you never see in a grocery store—cilantro flowers, pea greens, little tiny potatoes the size of marbles, spring onions, squash blossoms, garlic chives. I picked some flowering oregano, too. A few sprigs of mint. A couple stalks of Swiss Chard. Mature pea pods. A sprig of Purple Ruffles basil. Calendula flowers. Yeah, never in a million years could I get away with publishing a recipe like this in a book or a magazine. (I can only imagine the car trips one would have to make in search of that list of ingredients.) But once in a while, it’s fun to indulge myself, and to give a little not-so-subtle boost to the idea of growing just a tiny bit of your own food. If you like to cook, there’s no better way to become really familiar with an ingredient than growing it.

The two non-local ingredients I used were fresh goat cheese (about 4 ounces) and unsalted butter (a couple tablespoons). Oops, and a splash of heavy cream. (You could omit.)

I got out my 10-inch slope-sided nonstick skillet and melted the butter over medium heat. I preheated the oven to 350°, and put my potatoes in a saucepan of water to boil. I sautéed the spring onions, then the chard and the pea greens, in the butter.

I whisked the eggs, cream, salt, pepper, and all the herbs (chopped) together. I crumbled the goat cheese and added that to the custard. I transferred the cooked potatoes to the skillet with the greens and added just a touch more butter. Turned up the heat to a sizzle and poured in the custard. I scooted everything around with a spatula to evenly distribute it, scattered on the calendula petals, and nestled the nasturtiums in last. I turned up the heat ever so slightly and waited for the edges of the frittata to set. Then I carefully transferred it to the oven and set the timer for about 18 minutes. When it was puffed, firm in the middle, and lightly golden, I took it out to cool on a wooden board. (Frittatas are tastiest warm, not hot.)

I took a picture of this concoction before it went in the oven, thinking the final product might look a little muddled or faded—or something. Well, it actually looked rather comely in the end. And it had great flavor—a big boost from the herbs and goat cheese, and those fingerlings really made it feel filling. Roy ate three pieces—and leftovers for lunch–which is saying a lot, in his language. I thought with all those flowers and herbs he might find it a bit too frou-frou.

The thing is, you can make this frittata with any greens and herbs you can find—no calendula petals or cilantro flowers needed! So take a cue from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (and a couple of budget-minded farmers who live on an Island where meat is very expensive!) and have an all-veggie supper once or twice a week. Next on my list (though I know better than to promise that I’ll follow the recipe) is his “Vegeree”—a spicy rice dish with roasted eggplant. Yum.

Famous Farm Dog Finds Nirvana in the Garden

There’s no doubt who is top dog around Green Island Farm. But lately, what with the addition of more baby chicks and pigs, too, Farmer has been feeling a bit insecure. (He tends to be a little clingy, anyway, having been a rescue dog.)

Normally he lies outside the back door on his lede, where he can watch all the activity and greet the farm stand customers. He is especially fond of the ladies (lots of tail wagging, no barking), but can be skittish around certain large men with deep voices and lots of facial hair! And the ladies love him. In fact, a woman I had never seen in my life got out of her car the other day, rushed over to him and said, “Hi, Farmer!” Turns out she’s been reading the blog for a long time and knew who Farmer was, only this was her first visit to the farm. Lots of regular customers greet him by name and regularly coo over him. He loves it. (Joannie, Sarah, and MJ all bring him biscuits, too–so spoiled.)

But he doesn’t like losing site of Mom and Dad, so lately he has started whining when he can’t see us. Usually I am in the garden harvesting or working.

At some point, it became clear to me that Farmer wanted “in” to the garden. I was pretty hesitant to bring him in there with me, because when I’ve done this in the past, he’s started running around in circles, tearing through beds willy-nilly. But, you know, he is two years old now, very mature. And with the raised beds and paths clearly delineated, he has pretty much learned to go up and down the paths in a polite manner.

Besides, I soon learned, all he really wanted to do was lie on a nice soft bed of hay mulch and rest, keeping one eye on me and one on the sparrows swooping everywhere. Occasionally he’ll get up and sniff around a bit (he likes the strawberry plants), or move to the shady side of the pea trellis. If a customer comes right up to the garden fence, he might get a little excited and trample something (nothing too major), but mostly he is happy to be leash-free and in the thick of things.

For a real treat, Roy will come get him and take him out the back gate (leash back on) to visit the piggies. He desperately wants to be friends with the pigs and will stand up, his paws on the edge of their wall, and whine. He and Wilbur reach out to each other, nose to snout, and seem to be saying a pleasant hello.

Back to the garden Farmer goes, where from a particular vantage point, he can also keep an eye on “his” 500 babies—the chickens. All is well in Farmer’s kingdom. As long as he doesn’t get left alone.







Three Peas, Two Piggies, One Baby Skunk & A Farm Update

We’ve entered that zone—that zone where time disappears and you simply move from one thing to the next on the farm and wind up at the end of the day exhausted and dirty (and eating a hot dog at the picnic table)—but happy. And ready for the bliss of the outdoor shower.

The summer visitors have reached the Island (how they get here so fast, I’ll never know), and all day folks are coming and going down the driveway to the farm stand.

And now, all of a sudden, with the summer light-switch flipped on, all kinds of things are happening in the garden. I don’t want to miss anything, so I took a break from salad duty this morning (right) and did a farm check.

The America rose (above) that Roy gave me for my birthday last year is blooming. Stunning.

The blackberry plant that my friend Cathy gave me (also for my birthday last year) is shedding its rosy blooms to make way for huge berry clusters. The blueberries are fattening up too. At least the ones that I managed to cover up before the birds got the blossoms. I thought you were supposed to protect the berries from the birds—I had no idea the birds ate the blossoms, too.

In the hoop house, the first of Roy’s early tomatoes are blushing red (and we’ve got 80 more planted outside in the garden). Also in the hoop house, we’ve got cucumbers coming up, and some patty pan squash plants that look like they’re on steroids. And the basil couldn’t be happier.

Just north of the hoop house is Roy’s potato field—the French fingerlings are blooming and it won’t be long now before we can dig some plants up.

Over at the pig pen, the two pigs are as happy as can be. They eat, root around, make mud baths, and mostly sleep in a nice comfy hay mulch bed. They always look very relaxed. (Update: Libby did name them this weekend, and I’m sorry to say that she did, in fact, pick Wilbur as one of the names. The other (bigger one) is Dozer, short for Bulldozer. Feeding them apples, cereal milk, Ritz crackers, and pasta was a big activity this weekend.)


In the garden, the first row of green beans is flourishing and two more are germinating. Forty eggplants are in the ground; a new variety called Orient Express has gorgeous purple leaves.

I’m growing three varieties of shell peas this year to compare. The first is called Coral and it delivered on its promise of being early. But these short vines bloomed all at once and produced a very low yield. (This sort of defeated the purpose of having early peas, as I didn’t have much to sell every day.) The second variety—a gorgeous deep-green plant with a profusion of tendrils about 2 feet up—is delicious and sweet. Called Easy Peasy, it is definitely yielding more than Coral, but still looks like it will end production without anywhere near the yield that my Green Arrow gives. Green Arrow grows very tall (vines curl off the top of the trellis as in the photo at top left) and blooms all up and down the vines, not just in one spot like the others. And it blooms over a longer period of time. The pods are extra-long and the peas delicious. I think I’ll go back to just this one variety next year.


The chicks in the barn are getting really big—which means that Roy has to build another coop! The brooder is now the entire length of the barn, because we had to add two additions for two chicks that we separated out from the rest. (One of them has been living in a box in my office, the other in the living room.) Here is Polly, the Polish Crested. Her other nickname is Don King.

Yes, it is Animal-Central around here. In fact, this weekend we cared for an ailing baby (and I mean baby—a few weeks old) skunk that stumbled into the driveway. Libby took to little Skunky in a big way and did her best to nurse it along with milk and cat food. But most likely it was not going to make it from the start, and Libby understood that. No, the little skunk did not have a functioning sprayer, and truthfully, it was the cutest darn critter you’ve ever seen. But I never would have taken it in myself. Leave that to my two National Geographic nature/animal lovers who also had a snake in a bucket this weekend and a collection of sand crabs in sea water.

We got Libby’s garden planted, too, with two tomatoes, one pepper, a row of green beans, sunflowers, cosmos, carrots, and two squash hills—one of pumpkins and one of summer squash. I can’t wait for Libby’s school to end and we’ll have her out more. Because any “work” we do with Libby is always fun. The only problem is that the days fly by even faster. Pretty soon, it will be August and time for the Fair!


My 40-Carrot Parents

By now, I doubt my parents are surprised by anything I do. I’ve dragged them along through three (maybe four) different careers, from North Carolina to New York City to Newport and Newtown. Surely this latest venture—farming on Martha’s Vineyard—has given them a chuckle (and a wrinkle) or two. But they’ve never been anything but supportive.

Still, I don’t think they realized that Roy and I were going to put them to work as farm hands when they came to visit last week.

We didn’t have a choice. I don’t get to see my parents much, and I didn’t want to miss spending time with them. But the farm stand has been hopping and there are a zillion plants still to get in the ground (not to mention the daily farm chores of harvesting and egg collecting and washing), and no matter how early you get up, half the day slips by in a heartbeat.

So we had family farm time. This is a most excellent concept, I tell you. Now I know why farmers traditionally had big families. Lots of help! Help that already speaks your language, knows your quirks, and can interpret instructions without a lot of explanation.

Granted my parents, though they are not exactly young anymore (they don’t want me to embarrass them, but they’re probably used to that, too, by now), know their way around plants and fresh food. My Dad is a talented landscape gardener and long-time plantsman, so asking him to turn over soil was like asking him to put on his socks. (And turn over soil he did, de-weeding a huge bed and making it tomato-ready in only a few hours.) My Mom is a great cook and vegetable lover, so asking her to help wash and pack greens was a no-brainer.

Even better than all their physical help was just having them here at the farm to meet friends and customers as they came to the stand. One morning I asked my dad to set up all the tomato plants for our sale (we’ve sold more than 125 tomato plants in the last week or so), and customers started to arrive while he was doing this. He was awesome with the ladies, and convinced one woman to buy five plants!

So he asked me what his commission was, and I handed him a freshly picked English shell pea—the first pod to plump up on the vine. Absolutely delicious, he mused. And each morning I set aside little baby carrots for Mom, who loved these sweet and crunchy treats that are now coming out of the hoop house.

They were plenty happy with the peas and carrots, and even happier with the fresh salads we ate at night from the garden. Cheap help, yes, but still the most precious kind. At this point in my life, I feel lucky to have two healthy parents who are willing to drive hundreds of miles to see me (and bring treats, too, like a chest freezer and a table saw!). So what the heck, today I think I’ll call them my 40-carrot parents.

Waiting for Sandy: Hurricane Prep, Farm-Style

I’ve lived my whole life within a few miles (sometimes a few feet) of major coastlines, so hurricane prep is something I’m accustomed to. However, the possible combination of frequent 70-mile per hour gusts, 60 live animals, and a recently constructed parachute-like structure called a hoop house is a new one for me. And I noticed yesterday that Roy was being particularly meticulous about nailing and weighting and tying things down. Hmmm. The last time we had hurricane warnings, he seemed fairly nonplussed. This one, not so much.

So it is safe to say we have a healthy degree of concerned anticipation (I wouldn’t call it anxiety) about what Hurricane Sandy might bring our way. Frankly, I’m more worried about my parents in Delaware and my friends in Connecticut, where the storm will bring much more rain and flooding. But we do have a responsibility to protect live critters. We’ve done our best to secure the hoop house, and even if the greenhouse film rips and writhes in the wind, leaving us with a mess, we can replace it and fix it, no problem. The hope is that no other supposedly immovable objects start acting like projectiles around the yard, with the potential to hurt us or the animals.

Moving Cocoa Bunny into the barn was the first and most obvious precaution. (We’ve done this with previous storms.) Her cage is easy to lift, and she will be happy and snug through the two days of high winds. (My lifelong friend Liz Pardoe Gray is here visiting and snapped the pic of Susie and Roy.) Also obvious this time was clearing the farm stand completely and turning it over before the wind has a chance to do that (like it did in last fall’s Nor’ Easter). We had to wait until later in the afternoon to do this, though, because we had the farm stand open to sell eggs today. We put out 7 1/2 dozen—everything we collected yesterday and today, thinking we wouldn’t put out any tomorrow or Tuesday—and they all sold. Not surprising, really—Vineyarders may be hunkering down, but they’re still going to eat well!

For the seven older chickens, we’ll let them go into their coop tonight, supply them with extra water and feed, and not let them out into their yard in the morning. They have spacious digs, so they will be fine hanging out inside the coop. This afternoon we corralled the bigger flock of 48 into the small permanent pen adjacent to their coop—much less area for them to roam around in, but also much less chance of breaking tree limbs crashing down on them. (Some of them needed more convincing than others to leave their new grazing area, so Roy helped them along.) We will probably let them go back out into that limited area in the morning, though we’ve put an extra waterer in the coop in case that turns out to be a bad idea. They’d probably rather wander in and out of the rain and wind instead of being “cooped up” together all day. We’ll also need to get in the coop to collect eggs and that can be difficult with all of them in there. But we’ll have to see what we think in the morning.

Most importantly, Roy has filled a big trash can with water for the chickens in case the power goes out and we can’t use the well. Chickens drink a lot of water, and going even a day without is not an option.

There wasn’t much I could do in the vegetable garden. Nature will take its course out there and I am fine with that. I harvested some lettuce and arugula and green beans for our dinner tonight (first bay scallops of the season), and picked the prettiest zinnias, as I know those plants are going to get nailed. But otherwise, I mostly just picked up any tools or random stakes I could find and tucked them in the shed. I moved pumpkins and potted plants under the covered front entry, and I stacked random outdoor furniture in the outside shower.

With everything as secure as we could manage, Roy and I moved inside to enjoy the kind of Sunday afternoon only possible when a good friend is visiting and a hurricane is threatening (even the ferry boats to and from the Island have been canceled so we are essentially  marooned!). Being forced to slow down for a few hours is actually a gift for us; so no matter what Sandy brings, we are glad for the interlude.


Open House! The Hens Get a Preview

The chickens got to see the inside of the covered hoop house before I did. While I have been otherwise occupied (a funeral, a photo shoot, a TV filming), Roy has been humming along on the hoop house. Maybe humming isn’t the right word–more like whistling. Last week he reinforced the ends, put in a door, and nailed wooden battens along the hoops, and this weekend he slipped the cover film on so quickly that I’m still not sure how he did it. This is a task that usually takes a few people. Hmmm. Anyway, he then moved the chickens’ temporary fencing so that they could wander into the hoop house during the day, cleaning up the weeds and kicking up the dirt in the process. A nosey hawk has been circling around lately, too, so it’s a good time for the hens to be under a little more cover.

Finally this morning, with no big task ahead of me, I was able to get out, poke around, and take some pictures. I never get tired of watching the chickens, and the light inside the hoop house was lovely on this clear October day. It feels cozy and peaceful in there. I can only imagine the life it is going to take on when plants and hoses and boots and trellises and pots and buckets take over. Nothing like an empty space for the imagination to fill. But in the meantime, the chickens get the honor.