The reasons for my most recent blog hiatus fall in the dog-ate-my-homework category.
Just when I had that fleeting senses that I was about to get my work-life-gardening balance back, Con Edison had other plans. Early in June, they descended on my street, unannounced, with jackhammers and backhoes so they could dig it up and replace my gas main. This was how the edge of my driveway looked about three days into a week-plus of work.
With additional contributions to the deafening decibel level from my neighbors, who took down a tree and another who used another backhoe to help reseed his lawn (I’m going to get an “I hate backhoes” bumper sticker), my work schedule fell back into the toilet, and I needed every single June weekend—and July 4th—to catch up.
And my birds, who would make Mr. and Mrs. Rabbit blush with their antics, finally did what nature intended. Addi was about to lay an egg. But things did not work according to plan at all. The books and websites tell you that you can let the budgie lay an egg and replace it with a dummy.
The hen presumably will sit on the dummy and eventually lose interest. Addi Bird doesn’t seem to know that. She tried to lay the egg and could not. She was eggbound, which is serious and can result in injury or death. So off to the avian vet we went, and he removed what looked like a boulder compared to her tiny size (imagine giving birth to a 12-lb baby, and you will get the idea). She did not respond right away and looked really miserable a day or two later. Back to the vet we went for antibiotics and cortisone, to relieve the swelling in her nether parts. I’m happy to say that she is now better, but she and Larry are renewing their commitment to having a family. From the moment they wake, they begin the courtship routine with mutual barfing into one another’s beaks—a sign of birdie affection.
What can I do about this, because I don’t think Addi really should lay more eggs any time soon? Well, essentially not much. Female birds can lay eggs without males present, although they’re not fertilized. So there’s still a chance she will have another egg or two or three. The vet said I should keep her in the dark more to give her the sense that it isn’t the breeding season, but you can see how well that is working out. The extra couple of hours of sleep just seems to give both of them more energy. I have attempted to break them up, but this is a fool’s errand. Yesterday I just turned around to change their water, and they were mating again. I can only imagine what goes on when I’m in the shower or on the phone.
And the garden has had some new surprises for me. My garden is looking pretty lush for the beginning of July.
I’ve replanted the rows that kept us in lettuce and mustard greens for the spring with carrots and parsnips, the tomatoes all have tiny green fruit, we're eating the beets and their greens now, the onions (lower left) are about ready and we’ve enjoyed scallions all spring as I picked and ate the thinnings, but my cucumbers are being attacked by striped cucumber beetles. These little nefarious critters chew the leaves and flowers, lay eggs at the base of the plant that hatch into larvae that eat the roots, and spread bacterial wilt, which kills the plant. So I covered the cucumber trellis with row cover, to help keep them off. Although this has worked (I can’t tell if the larvae will attack, however), the beetles are now on to my squash. It probably wasn’t such a good idea to plant squash next to the cucumbers because they’re in the same family, but that was the only space I had in my crop-rotation scheme. So even though we’ve enjoyed some summer squash so far, I think there won’t be that much for the growing season. And, of course, I spent hours on the web researching what I can do to protect the plants—not much here too, unless I want to spray with chemicals that also kill bees.
So knitting has offered some respite. Sirdal’s first sleeve is done.
I’m up to the end of the cuff on the second, but I need some thinking time to position the rest of the sleeve above it. And I’ve knit quite a lot of Wing of the Moth, and I’m up to the bottom border.