May 27 – My potato farm is growing!  Soon I’ll have to add some straw and dirt to some of the bags and unroll them a bit.  It’s exciting to see this working.

May 28 – Look what David built us!  Three new raised beds, made of discarded bleacher boards.  Some of them even have old gum on the undersides, as well as teenage graffiti with names in hearts.  We’ll have to import some topsoil as that part of the garden, even with three years of chickens on it, is still mostly sand.  Once we get some larger creatures here, their manure will help improve our soil even more.

While pulling out clumps of weed roots, this bug grabbed my finger and gave me quite a start.  I had to shake it off.  Then I stared at it wondering “what?”  Here it is closer:

I was searching to find out what it is (my mind loves classifying) and thought it to be a cricket.  Then I looked closer at this photo and realized it was a beetle and then found it is a Whitespotted Pine Sawyer male (the white spot on its back is the key).  It is commonly mistaken for an Asian Longhorned Beetle.

May 29 – Took the goslings out for some grazing and exercise.  The dogs are endlessly fascinated.  I keep a very close eye on the dogs because they could easily hurt the babies.  They know about chicks and chickens but geese are new.  Phoebe gets close and looks.  She quickly learned that if the geese are doing something she doesn’t like, she should just get up and move.  They do like to come in close and nibble on dog fur, which the dogs do not like.  Sadie keeps walking around them lifting their wee butts up with her nose, sniffing.  She also steps on their feet.  Keeping her still is much harder – she overstimulates quickly and gets frustrated.  Phoebe is much better at controlling her impulses.

They do stay close.  Here they are under my tractor scoot.  Those eyes are a very deep blue.

Here’s the cage they are in.  This is one day’s splashing in their water and making a mess.  The shavings make good mulch for the strawberries.  I’m going to have to do some moving about as they are getting to be too big for this cage.

Henry looks quite wise, doesn’t he?

May 30 – back in the garden again, though my how the weather changed.  Yesterday was quite warm, today I’m wearing a sweatshirt.  Phoebe continues to be fascinated.  The goslings seem to believe the dogs are part of me, the same way the chickens do.  They will follow the dogs for a bit, then run back to me.  The chickens will follow the dogs to the barn, then turn back to me for the food.  Lately, when I arrive home after driving to town, the way the dogs bark alert the chickens I am home and they swarm the gate while I’m trying to get my truck in the yard.  Sometimes I have to distract them with food.  Hank currently has no horn, so I can’t honk them out of the way.

Gardening with Henry.  That ergonomic trowel is wonderful.  Interestingly, I had read that female geese bond easier with people.  For me, it’s Henry who is always close, always talking to me.  I think we’re going to have a fine relationship.

As many of you know, gardening is tiring!  Plus, there’s only so much grass one can eat at a time.

Then we got chilly:

I don’t think they’ll fit in my sweatshirt pocket any more.  Maybe one, but definitely not all three.  We came in to warm up shortly after this.

May 31 – Moved the meaties, who had also outgrown their box.  I cobbled together a space in the anteroom of the barn, using the lids of the brooder box and a screen door.  It’s working quite nicely and they have more than double the space.  This means the brooder box is available for the goslings.

June 1 – It got quite chilly last night and the basil almost didn’t make it.  Then it started raining and raining and raining (2 inches!) and the herbs are quite happy.  I bought full plants of cilantro, basil, rosemary and thai basil.  I have sage from last year and a lemon thyme that is growing in the rock garden.  I plan to transplant some of it to what will soon be my herb garden…just need to dig up some sand and move some dirt.  When it stops raining.

June 2 – I moved the brooder box in during a lull in the rain.  I swear baby chicks and geese are like gold fish – give them a bigger space and they grow like weeds.  Look how much bigger they look already.

Less than two weeks ago I could hold one cupped in my hand.  Look now!  I also figured out a way to keep the water mostly contained.  It involves a bowl inside a bigger bowl.  It’s still raining so we haven’t been back outside.  That means I bring them grass.  I have discovered that goslings, at least my goslings, wake up hungry at 4 a.m.  They start working over everything with those bills of theirs.  I end up getting up to change water, add food, and since the dogs tell me they need to go out as long as I’m up, I grab a handful of grass for the goslings.  They do love their grass.

When I put them in the brooder box yesterday morning, their heads just barely reached the top of the box.  Now this is what I see when I come in from outside.  They can see my chair from their box, so sometimes while I’m reading I’ll suddenly hear whistles and look over to see this.  And I swear Henry is trying to figure out how to get out of the box.  Fortunately, they can’t jump (yet?) but Henry has reasoned that he’s taller when he stands on the water dish, and was trying to use his neck to lever himself out.  I moved the water dish back from the edge.  The box is 2 1/2 times the space they had in the cage, so it will do for a bit.  They are just beginning to get tiny pin feathers.  I’m thinking I may be able to get a heat lamp in the tiny coop, which means evicting Baby Chicken and the tiny bantams.  I think it will work.  Then the goslings will have a house with an attached pen to graze in but still be warm when they want it.  Being in the pen has made Baby Chicken more a part of the flock, so she doesn’t panic when she sees chickens.  The banties appear to be curious about the others.

Special bonus if you read this far!  Here’s a video of how the goslings use their bills on everything:  video clickage.  Perhaps someday I’ll pay for the video embedding.

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