I also picked our second strawberry of the year. This time I ate it before kids realized I'd picked it. It was delicious. The epitome of what a home grown strawberry should taste like.
I was admiring my spitz chickens today. We snagged two Golden Spangled Appenzeller Spitzhauben chicks from our mystery box. I've been watching and waiting to see if they are boys or girls. Their color differences are starting to become more apparent. The darker one is starting to get saddle feathers and is challenging other birds - clearly a rooster. The lighter one doesn't appear to have saddle feathers, but I'm not sure it's a girl. It could just be a slower-to-develop roo. If they're a pair, I'd love to set up a coop and let them breed. If I were to buy more from the hatchery, they'd be $14.90 each. If a coop from the store runs about $200, I'd have to sell 14 chicks at $15 each to make up the cost. That might just be a good investment. Or better yet - sell 20 chicks at $10 each. Either way, as long as one is a male and one a female, and they survive winter to breed in the spring... Knock on wood. Once I know for sure I've got a pair, I'll run the idea by Tony. Just out of curiosity - would anyone in the area of central Minnesota be interested in purchasing GSAS chicks or hatching eggs?
Tonight we removed the wall from the brooder in the barn. The chicks we hatched from #1's friend and from Henrietta and Big Red are now free to mingle with the flock. Happy Feet and Gaetos were also in this group, so they are free to go too. I don't think I remembered to tag Happy Feet, so we may need to catch him/her tomorrow to put on a leg tag. Any bird with a tag is pretty much guaranteed a permanent place here. Gaetos should get one too, but he's incredibly shy, and we already have his older siblings - Nicey and Charlie... So if Gaetos is a girl, she can stay... but if Gaetos is a boy, he'll have to go. We already have three males now (Nicey, his dad Omelet, and our dominant drake Helvegan).
We have not named the ducks in the basement brooder because only the ones that turn out to be hens will be staying. We really weren't planning on hatching so many ducks, but the excitement of an incubator got to me, and I put in way too many... I guess they call it chicken math... but yeah, too many males will cause problems. This fall the extra drakes will be joining the extra roosters in our freezer. I don't even know if I like duck or not, but it's food, and I'll know it was grown here in happy free-range conditions... I'd really rather not think about the end though.
Tony did say we've really over-reached our bird hobby for now, and I have to agree. As much as I really want more guineas, and some ancona ducks, and a couple turkeys... that order will have to wait until next summer I think. We will have our hands full with the birds we already have. Of course, if someone local had some and wanted to trade for some of our chickens or ducklings... I'd be open to that too!