April is always a challenge. We have so many family birthdays, my professional workload skyrockets, my mind is constantly wandering up into the hills, and the yard calls me out to play for hours on end.
It isn't a terrible kind of busy at all. I don't feel submerged, but just the opposite, super-enabled. I gulp April down, and May too, then finally find some moderation in June.
So, what's been going on? This past week Chirp-chirp became an official, certifiable, 100% teenage girl. Thirteen. I'm the mother of a teen. A teenager. I have a teenager. A teenager refers to me as her mom. "Mom!" says the teenager, referring to me.
How did this happen? Am I old now? Am I too old now? Am I now elder?
Moving on, Mr. Boom also celebrated another year gone by. Next to him, I'm a sweet young thing. Keeping that in mind makes the whole mother of a teenager thing a little less daunting. A little.
So, besides the obligatory partying, we moved a pile of dirt I scored for free into the raised garden beds, added composted steer manure and chicken straw, roto-tilled the whole mess together, raked the beds smooth, and planted the beginnings of this year's garden.
The free soil came from a newly met neighbor. As I was walking home last week, he was in the process of digging out a crawlspace under his ca. 1909 home. I paused for a moment, gathered my courage, then walked up and asked if he had a place to dump all the dirt. He said yes, he did, but if my place was closer he'd be happy to bring it over. When he found out that I only lived three blocks away, the deal was set! In a sense, the soil is dead. It (literally!) hasn't seen the light of day in over 100 years. However, this also means that the soil is very clean. That's a nice assurance to have when you're putting it into your vegetable beds!
A good portion of this weekend was also devoted to the ponds. One pond developed a leak, so we had to remove all the water, remove the rocks from the edging, place a new liner in, and reset all the rocks. We've discovered we're not quite as strong as we were when we originally placed those rocks in about five years ago. I blame it squarely on having a teenager.
What else...oh right! We built a new little chicken pen for the little hens right next to the big chicken pen wherein reside the larger hens.
We built a little solarium for them out of scrap wood and a scavenged storm window. In here, they can escape from the wind and enjoy temperatures a little higher than the natural clime.
The chicks are staying out for a good portion of the day now, but still spend the night in the downstairs bathtub, under the heat-lamp, contentedly chirping away. The new pen butts up against the old pen so that the old hens and the young hens will get to know each other a little bit before the ultimate co-mingling occurs. So far, so good.
Finally, we rescued this poor little white-crowned sparrow who ensnared himself in the netting covering the chicken pen. He was quite calm during the entire rescue mission, and even regaled us with song after the operation was complete.