the fluffy butt of a barred rock chicken
A Diva with the fluffiest butt

We’d been out grocery shopping, and when we got home, I went out to the run to let the chickens out into their garden. They heard me coming, and Mrs. Dashwood stood in the coop door and started into the “I laid an egg!” song. I opened the run door and everyone ran out. Mrs. Dashwood continued her song while making a slow and stately descent of the ladder from the coop. Such a diva.

I walked around to the egg door, anticipating a warm, just laid egg. I opened the door to a big egg on the nest, reached in, and it was cold. It had been laid a long time ago and Mrs. Dashwood wasn’t even in the coop sitting on it. I took the egg from the nest and closed the door. 

Mrs. Dashwood had finished her song and was milling about my feet with everyone else. I looked at her and I looked at the egg, not even certain it belonged to her, almost certain that it did not. Yet, she took credit for it. 

I have since noticed that she often does this. When someone starts singing, Mrs. Dashwood will too, and she will keep going long after the one who laid the egg has stopped. I’m not sure if this is a The-One-Who-Sings-Longest-Wins contest, or, if Mrs. Dashwood’s taking up the song (often louder than the layer) gets the other to stop sooner so she can take credit. The only one she doesn’t really do this to is Elinor. I suppose when you are top chicken you get to claim the labor of others as your own.

We reached a record breaking 92F here on Tuesday. It was summer’s last hurrah, and good riddance. The sudden heat scorched the poor Kentucky wonder pole beans climbing up the deck who had been hanging on so valiantly through the summer heat and drought. I don’t expect any more fresh beans from them, but I hope the pods that are growing for seed make it.

The fortex pole beans did just fine and continue to go like gangbusters. I have decided I love the beautiful filet beans. They are quite tricksy though and know how to hide until they are much too large to pick. Lots of seed for next year! 

small yellow crookneck squash growing on the vine
Getting bigger!

I continue to cheer on the crookneck squashes. There are a whole bunch of them now. I go out everyday to water them, check their progress, and whisper, Go, squash, go! There is also now a tiny zucchini, about the size of a fat pencil. I sprinkle cheers and water on ki too. 

And finally, the potatoes are beginning to die back. They are still not ready to dig, the greenery needs to have gone yellow, unless I want smaller potatoes. So we wait and anticipate. 

The squirrels have gone into autumnal overdrive. They are stealing the few tomatoes that my plants actually produced, doing the hated thing they do—take a bite or two and then leave the rest. They have also discovered the ground cherry next to the tomatoes and are now getting all the pineapple-y goodness instead of me. I’m actually surprised it took them this long to discover it, since last year they ate most of them.

We finally finished picking all the apples off the tree yesterday. Well, all the apples we could reach. Even with our super-duper telescoping fruit picker, there are always some—usually the biggest and best—that we are unable to reach. The squirrels can’t get them either because they are on the ends of spindly branches. I don’t know what happens to them, I suppose they fall eventually, but I like to imagine them as a sacrifice to the apple goddess. 

There actually is an apple goddess. Idun, if you are of Norse inclination, and Pomona if the Romans are your jam. Though their apple associations are completely different. Idun keeps the apples of immortality and Pomona is the keeper of orchards and fruit trees. Perhaps they both get some of my sacrificial apples. You know, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” for youth from Idun, and flourishing trees from Pomona. Why play favorites?

Anyway, we have quarts and quarts of apple sauce, several pints of apple butter, and James will soon be making an apple pie. I love apple season! I am glad they are easy to preserve because the season flies by much too fast into winter squash season, which I also love. Pumpkin, most definitely, but butternut squash is also amazing. And delicata, and the ever so strange spaghetti squash. And all the other weirdly shaped and lumpy winter squashes. They look so delightfully odd. But I run ahead of myself since I am still cheering on my summer crooknecks.

Go, squash, go!

several tiny crookneck squashes growing on the vine
  • Book: Stolen Focus by Johann Hari. A book about why we can’t focus anymore. Really fascinating. Also, it’s not your fault.
  • Book: Belle Greene by Alexandre Lapierre. Belle Greene was the librarian of J.P. Morgan’s private library. She was also a black woman passing for white. Lapierre stresses that she stuck completely to the historical record and there is nothing in the book that didn’t happen. I’m only two chapters in and so far it is quite good.
  • Podcast: Between the Covers: Elaine Castillo: How to Read Now. This was super interesting and I am looking forward to reading the book. My library doesn’t have it yet, and then when they do have it, there are a few people in the queue in front of me.
  • Series: Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power. It took a couple of episodes to really get going, but I am rather enjoying it. I love that there are black elves, hobbits, dwarves, and even a black queen of Numinor whose father, the ailing king, is white. All the haters out there saying elves can’t be black can go suck it. Elves can be black and so can mermaids.

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16 thoughts on “When You Rule the Roost

  1. I have been so remiss lately for which I terribly sorry. September and October were demanding months somehow. I read less, blogged less, etc. I did enjoy this and particularly hearing about Mrs Dashwood’s shenanigans. How funny.

    Your squirrels remind me once again of our possums and their impact on gardens.

    1. Ah Sue, no worries at all! Some days I feel like just getting to work on time is a big accomplishment because there is so much on my plate. We have possums here too but they are not at all destructive. They are not very attractive critters, but there is something about them that I like very much. Squirrels on the other hand, one minute I love them and the next I am wishing someone would eat them to control the population 😀

  2. Great story, Stefanie 🙂 Wow, 92F sounds high for late September – is that unusual, or do you sometimes get those late heat waves? Here in Serbia it’s most definitely autumn and has been for a few weeks. We’re drowning in a sea of walnuts right now, so if you happen to be passing this way and have a strong nutcracker to hand, please take as many as you want!

    1. 92F broke the day’s high temperature record. We typically have a day or two that warm very early in the month, but late in the month is extremely rare. If I were nearer you I would definitely help myself to your walnuts! Love them!

    1. I very much liked Stolen Focus Laila. It has lots and lots to think about in it. Mrs. Dashwood takes being the matriarch seriously and for that alone I love her dearly 🙂

  3. When one of my girls lays an egg, we totally get a chorus. I find that one of my Barred Rocks is always the one singing the loudest and longest, regardless of who did the deed. It’s amusing, to say the least. We had a bad apple year (scrawny and wormy) but the pears are looking pretty good; I need to keep an eye on them so I can determine when to pick them — pears are tricksy! Speaking of tricksy, Rings of Power is good, and beautiful, and I do NOT understand the hubbub around the color of the actors. It certainly makes for more beautiful viewing to see different faces and imagine how, in the ancient times of the Rings, different races/colors/families evolved. I like that it is not explained.

    1. Interesting Daphne! Mrs. Dashwood is a barred rock and I always assumed she was just joining in the chorus. Perhaps I startled her and she was just trying to divert my attention because she was busy scheming something 😀 Sorry it was a bad apple year, but I hope you are enjoying the pears!

  4. The people clinging to white-only fantasy creatures are just bizarre humans. I don’t think they have a problem with fantasy creatures of different races, only that they think adding actors who are not white is some sort of super liberal tactic to shove diversity in their faces. I don’t truly understand that, either.

    I wonder if Mrs. Dashwood sings because she’s celebrating the lady who laid the egg. You know, there is a special place in hell for women who don’t support women, and Mrs. Dashwood doesn’t want to end up Kentucky Fried Hell Chicken!

    1. I’m glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t understand it Melanie!

      I have assumed for years that Mrs. Dashwood liked to celebrate along with everyone in support because KFC Hell 😀 But then this incident has made me wonder. Perhaps she does a little of both.

  5. Possibly Mrs. Dashwood is just the most enthusiastic about eggs. I know I’ve sometimes been singing or laughing longer than anyone else!
    The Rings of Power is entertaining. I gave my husband (who has read everything by J.R.R. Tolkien and Christopher and all the associated materials and almost all of the secondary sources) permission to “nerdgass” during the show, and the worst of it has been in Numenor, where the scenery is pretty but the writers for the show have made most of it up themselves.

    1. She is enthusiastic, that’s for sure Jeanne. When she lays an egg of her own she goes on and on and on and on… 😀

      Very kind of you to allow your husband to “nerdgass” and also what an excellent word! I read the Similrillion ages ago so my memory is hazy, but yeah, I frequently find myself thinking, I don’t think it happened like that… But it’s still pretty to look at, though they are doing a lot of cribbing from Peter Jackson.

  6. It’s a little depressing to find out that power even corrupts chickens…😂 Both Belle Greene and How to Read Now are on my TBR, it’s good to hear that you’re enjoying Belle Greene, that’s one I’m really looking forward to.

    1. Ha Jule, right? The chicken pecking order is disturbing and distressing for the human keepers but the five of them operate just fine within its parameters. I’m still enjoying Belle Greene, though it reads kind of like a biography at times, but it’s always interesting!

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