2020-06-15 log

We are now at five guinea keets. Three eggs remain. The hatch started early, and different eggs could be at different stages of development. I will not assume any remaining eggs are lost until the 19th.

It was chilly and rainy, so I did nothing outside except pluck a few weeds noticed while doing chores, and find the little mirror for the keet brooder I knew was somewhere in the shed.

The shed… needs help. It is out of control and it’s a daunting job. I will think about taking some time off work to focus in it, but I’m up to my neck in projects that need to keep moving right now.

2020-06-14 log

  • Set up brooder and stared at new keet and pipped egg for a very long time
  • Took an hour nap
  • Removed straggler Cynodon dactylon (bermuda grass) from guinea fowl spa area
  • Planted out 16 Panicum virgatum ‘Blue Giants’
  • Planted out 45 Eragrostis elliottii ‘Blue Eros’

2020-06-13 log

Video call this morning. Then I had big problems with executive function, focus, and energy all day. I actually fell asleep on the floor for an hour after eating lunch. Here’s what I did accomplish:

  • Mowed the lawn
  • Staked bent over asparagus and monarda
  • Tidied up the Victorian trenches
  • Pruned back the fig limbs that are not leafed out yet
  • Miscellaneous weeding and trimming


2020-06-12 log

  • Staked the last two tomato plants
  • First pruning of indeterminate tomato suckers
  • Training cucumbers and gherkins up instead of out
  • Cut flower/seed heads off burdock
  • Cleaned up around burn pile
  • Weeded
  • Ate two freshly picked strawberries
  • Severely lopped back Artemisia absinthium, which is starting to get on my nerves, growing two feet a day and flopping over
  • I swear to god I saw one of my guinea eggs MOVE. Eeeeee…
  • Staked some milkweed and asparagus that flopped over in last night’s heavy rain.
Milkweed flopped over in heavy rain last night
  • Saw about five Japanese beetles and this guy…
A bug!
  • Enjoyed the scent of…
Orienpet lily ‘Pretty Woman’

Daily log, 2020-06-09

Another remote hangout after work.

Did some weeding and Cynodon dactylon eradication around the mulch pile.

My weeding buddy Lurkey seems to be reinhabiting himself

My first magnolia blossom, finally!

Magnolia grandiflora ‘Little Gem’: first flower

There are at least two more buds on this small tree.

Still not seeing the expected hordes of Japanese beetles. Dare I hope my milky spore application years ago is finally paying off? Probably not.

Ok, gotta run to bed…

Weddy is a busy bird on the move

Daily log, 2020-06-08

I had a Zoom call with a friend after work and then an acquaintance came to see my place and pick up some tomato seedlings I thought had succumbed to a fungus, but which bounced back.

So I did not do any real tasks in the yard.

I spotted the first Japanese beetle of the season on the cannas, though. I failed to catch it, but later caught another one and fed it to Piper the guinea hen.

I was a bit late getting the guineas cooped due to having a guest, and Zipper and Chestnut took forever to come inside. Then Zipper stood on the poop board and dropped an egg at exactly 21:00. Sorry for crappy photo, but with one hand, I was pointing the flashlight I was using to facilitate roosting. The solar light wouldn’t come on last night and seems to be getting increasingly flaky, so I need to replace it.

Zipper just dropped an egg at 21:00


The site going down and, now, my mood and energy tanking have broken my nascent routine of daily log making.

Also I’ve been turning my brain to mush working on complicated code all day every work day, and do not feel like typing or making words in a line in the evenings.

Sunday, 2020-05-31

  • Planted out six Aralia racemosa (spikenard) seedlings wintersown this year. Three around old wellhouse and three in the southeast shady corner of the yard around the pussy willow
  • Planted out 23 Symphyotrichum oblongifolium (fragrant aster) seedlings wintersown, in one of the new tomato bed quadrants, and in front yard bed
  • Planted out 14 Solidago speciosa (showy goldenrod) seedlings wintersown, in front yard bed
  • Planted out three Baptisia alba seedlings wintersown, in front yard bed
  • Planted out ~30 Sorghastrum nutans ‘Indian Steel’ seedlings wintersown, in/around purple-and-forsythia

Monday, 2020-06-01

  • Not a good brain day. Dragged small piles of branches from piles of prunings and a garden stool to the end of the driveway on a garden stool and turned the chaos tangle into new chicken sticks and stakes, while keeping an eye on guineas.
  • Back neighbors were setting off super-super-loud fireworks erratically all evening which scared all the animals, left me perpetually on edge, and made the air smell farty. This was basically my mood at the end of Monday:

Tuesday, 2020-06-02

  • Got a new, weird goat
Meet Cinnamon Goat—my new, small, weird goat. (j/k, it’s Cinnamon Chicken!)
  • Several guinea hens mysteriously escaped the coop in the middle of the day. My only viable theory is that Lurkey messed with the latch on the coop, allowing the door to briefly blow open. The door was closed and latch turned just enough to keep it shut when I investigated
  • Noticed someone mowed the front north edge of the property, even down into the roadside ditch. I was inspired to tidy up the other side of the driveway and got out the scythe. I ended up scything halfway down the front of the goat pasture as well as around my mailbox.
  • Planted out five Amorpha fruticosa seedlings wintersown, on outside of front tree border
Reaping the satisfactions of scything

Wednesday, 2020-06-03

  • Guinea egg management in the coop (removing old and filthy eggs, gathering newer eggs to eat, and catching up on marking the remaining eggs. Inkpot came in the coop for a bite to eat and yelled at me.
  • Planted out 3.5 Baptisia alba in blackberry bed. One was barely up and probably won’t make it. This involved making plant cages, including one extra.
  • Boiled and peeled guinea eggs and put them in a jar of saved pickle brine
  • Candled the eggs I’m incubating: ALL EIGHT STILL DEVELOPING!


  • Making myself do at least one thing every day is helpful and usually leads to my head clearing a bit and the ability to putter around and do more things
  • I really need to draw a map of my place and assign consistent names to all the areas in which I am planting stuff.

Not quite catch-up

Tuesday 2020-05-26

  • Planted 28 Eryngium yuccafolium (rattlesnake master) seedlings from one wintersowing container in the new bed I finished Monday
Some of 28 Eryngium yuccafolium seedlings and the container they were wintersown in
  • Also planted in the same bed the two Eryngium giganteum ‘Miss Willmott’s Ghost’ that came up from seed
  • Dreamed of a whole garden section full of different Eryngium and Echinops species
  • Did not realize I should have cut the grass while I had a chance. I still thought the ground was too soggy

Wednesday 2020-05-27

  • Inexplicably awake at 4:45am (well, the pain flare-up that started Tuesday probably helps explain it). By then I knew days of rain would be starting again by mid-morning, so I planned to get up and cut the grass after animal care. But it was already starting to drizzle while I did animal care.
  • I ran around and got my last four tomato plants, one pepper plant, and three butternut squash plants in the ground and mulched things before the full deluge started
  • Day 7 of nine guinea eggs in incubator. Candled them and eight of them were fertile and developing!

Thursday 2020-05-28

  • Rain
  • Rain
  • Rain
  • Lurkey spent the day in the neighbors’ yard instead of mine
  • Rain
  • Worked too long and got slightly ill in the evening

Friday 2020-05-29

  • Lurkey was back in the neighbors’ yard in the first part of the day. I tried to coax him back to his normal area on my lunch break, but he was having none of it.
  • However, at the end of my work day, he was roaming my yard, the goat pasture, and down the road a bit. I am now remembering that around this time last year is when he started to not be quite so aggressive and focused on the neighbors’ chicken run, and began exploring the surrounding areas.
Lurkey perched on the goat pasture fence. Gimlet and Toddy in the background.
  • Pulled three cement-mixing-trays full of weeds and grass
  • Pruned back seeding heads of Lunaria annua in northeast corner of house bed area
  • Got excited about more henbane flowers:
Another Hyoscyamus niger (henbane) plant is flowering
  • Enjoyed this area:
Purple-themed perennial area at corner of driveway and roadside ditch. Hibiscus ‘Holy Grail’, Foeniculum vulgare ‘Purpureum’ (bronze fennel), Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Diabolo’ (Diabolo ninebark), Salvia ‘Amistad’, and a Forsythia
Hibiscus ‘Holy Grail’
Flowers of Salvia ‘Amistad’ pleasing my eye against the Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Diabolo’ (ninebark)

Technical difficulties and other crap

And so we disappeared for several days due to silly technical crap related to domain registration. Now that that’s sorted, we should be good going forward.
It’s unlikely I’ll go back and fill in those Daily Log posts, but I will use this post to highlight some other crap.
Let’s start literally…
One of the chickens lodged a complaint about my next batch of chicken sticks.

Sticks laying on a tarp to dry. A chicken has pooped on them.
Chicken’s way of saying: “Here’s what I think of your ‘chicken sticks'”

Last weekend I staked up the Ruta graveolens that had collapsed in the rain. It was a very sunny day, and I was aware that rue+sun can be problematic, because I’d read:
Eickhorst K, DeLeo V, Csaposs J. Rue the herb: Ruta graveolens–associated phytophototoxicity. Dermatitis. 2007;18(1):52‐55. doi:10.2310/6620.2007.06033
We describe an unusual case of phytophototoxicity induced by an herbal plant, Ruta graveolens, from the Rutaceae family. This common herb, also called rue, can be found throughout rural settings in the United States. When psoralens from rue come in contact with human skin that is subsequently exposed to ultraviolet A light, an impressive photoirritant reaction can occur. This report both clarifies the distinguishing features of photoirritant reactions versus photoallergic reactions and reviews the pathophysiology and clinical presentation of phytophotodermatitis. R. graveolens can be associated with an impressive photoirritant reaction and should not be used as an insect repellent.
I washed my arms off with Joy dish liquid just after finishing the staking. But this was still the result:

Skin blisters from exposure to Ruta graveolens
Blisters on my forearms from exposure to Ruta graveolens (rue)

Dark red non-blistered areas also formed on my forearms. The good news is this didn’t itch or hurt. It was only uncomfortable if I directly poked a blister, but— you know— don’t DO that.
Lessons learned: wear long sleeves when dealing with rue and/or wait until it isn’t sunny.

Here is why I have to put up ~6″ mulch containment fences:

All the mulch on the tarp… used to be on the bed to the right of the tarp. Thanks, chickens.

And, we’ll wrap up with some more literal crap and some of the wonderous things that like to grow in it.

Some kind of ink cap mushroom oozing away before my eyes in the goat-poop-straw