My camera has been possessed, and is holding my great photos hostage! I have yet to determine the cause of the problem, but for now I am unable to retrieve images from either my old or new memory card. I have some great photos, too. I'm quite sad about it.
Meanwhile, as I've been fighting the camera, several things have happened:
1) Mama and her buddy, the Blue Laced Red Wyandotte hen, have successfully hatched two chicks as of this morning. One was from a brown egg, one from the sole Easter Egger egg. Paul and I rebuilt "rooster jail" and reduced it to 36 square feet, moved it to a nice spot behind the garage wall, added food for babies and mamas and fresh water, and I carefully moved the whole nest box - with Mama, yesterday's chick and the eggs - inside under the top of a plastic Dogloo dog house. Not pretty, but quite functional. After considering that Mama's little body really is too small to incubate the remaining eggs and two babies, I moved the BLRW into the nursery. As of this morning, both Mama and she were sitting on one chick and three eggs apiece. (I wonder how they divvied them up equally? So weird.) I am excited to see how many more babies I'll get in the next couple of days. (I don't expect a 100% hatch rate.)
2) We scheduled our 2011 Highland baby-daddy. CC Hercules, a 5-year old (i.e. big!) silver dun (i.e. pretty!) bull will be coming for his "job" in the next couple of weeks. He will be breeding Sheila and Natalie only; Bridgit will be "retired" this winter due to several disappointments we have with her, including her inability to keep her weight up appropriately, her attitude, and the conformation of her rear legs. It's the right decision.
3) The vet will visit us on Monday to, among other things, castrate Cowboy and Clyde. This, too, is the right thing to do, as neither is really impressive enough to consider keeping as an intact bull. This means they'll be freezer-ready by Fall 2012, so will stay on our property until then, growing big.
4) Our gardens have been quite sad. June was a cool, wet month, resulting in tomatoes that didn't grow (let alone fruit!), squashes, corn and beans that were slow to start, and yet gorgeous cauliflower and broccoli plants! I purchased and planted several more tomato seedlings July 5th, and those haven't done much, either. I finally broke down and watered using a dilute Miracle Grow solution, something I didn't want to do. Wouldn't you know the tiny little original tomato plants are now trying to flower?! Too funny...and still pathetic. The rest of the garden is finally picking up, so I do anticipate a nice (albeit likely late) bean, corn, beet, squash harvest. The brassicas are still gorgeous and right on schedule!
I'll try to be better about posting, and will work on a solution to this lack-of-photos problem. You deserve to see the cute little chicky fluffballs!