This weekend has been long, with lots of ups, and unfortunately, some downs. When I got home Friday, this huge, beautiful single rose was waiting for me. "Just because," said DH (darling husband).
Saturday started with a trip to the farmers market, where I scored some great tomatoes and cucumbers for food preserving. I mentioned to the farmer, Lisa of Lisa's Petals and Produce, that I wanted some paste-type tomatoes for making tomato soup, and she offered up a great variety of which she had several pounds that were a little soft and were perfect for my purposes. And when I said I also wanted to make pickles, out came the tray of "too small" cucumbers that were, again, perfect. More on that in a bit.
A stop by the nursery to pick up some broccoli starts. I will start kale and peas from seed, but it seems like I always start my fall broccoli too late and never get good production, so I'll just get a jump with the transplants. They are going in a bed that had bush beans which are now done producing, so they'll have plenty of time to get established before the weather turns cold.
Saturday night was the Nevada County Land Trust's annual fund-raising concert. It was at a new venue this year, Pilot Peak Winery, which turned out to be beautiful. By the time the second performer finished, it was after 11pm, the stars were out and the waning moon was just popping up over the horizon...
Let's just assume that after two glasses of wine at the concert (it was a winery, afterall) and getting home just after midnight, all I really wanted to do was sleep. So when I was wakened by chicken squawking at 3am, I was pretty grumpy. Went out to investigate, and the chicken coop was still secure, though the perch had fallen down. Since I hadn't installed the hinges on it yet, it was possible that it just fell under the weight of the chickens shifting on the perches. It wasn't until 6:45 that my husband spotted the gray fox just down the hill from the coop. We thought everything was ok, until we noticed that Nina, our sole remaining hen from the original group, was bleeding around her beak. Her face had been scratched and the bottom of her beak half torn off. The fox had been able to stick a paw through the mesh and managed to get at her on the perch. We tried to clean up the blood to assess the damage, but you could tell she was in a lot of pain. We kept her under close observation, and forced her to drink, but she couldn't eat or drink with her beak damaged. So once again, my courageous husband took care of things. And then we attached fine wire mesh to the more open mesh of the large door. I don't think anything short of a bear could get to our chickens inside the coop now. And I attached the perch to the wall, the last, finishing touch.
Numbed, like my poor rooster, I focused on preserving the extra produce I purchased on Saturday. We put up four pints of garlic dill pickles, six cups of an Indian influenced relish and three and a half quarts of tomato soup. I want to put up some extra jars each week so that we can enjoy the fresh flavors deep in winter, when the produce is just a memory.