Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Chickens, Bees and a Bad Case of the Uglies

While the boy was helping me cook dinner tonight, he was scrolling through Kate and Crew's blog Gardening Without Skills, looking at the pictures and videos of her chickens. He says to me very nonchalantly while he's scrolling through, "Mom, did you know chicken comes from chickens?" He wasn't looking at me to see my expression, but instead he remained engrossed in Kate's video of the chicken jumping for the string she posted a few weeks ago. I feigned ignorance like any good mother would. He continued, "Yea. It's kind of like milk and how that comes from a cow. I've seen how you get milk from a cow, but I wonder how the chickens make chicken...."

It was at this point that I was even more grateful he was not looking in my direction, but when he did hazard a look up I had to quickly fake a coughing fit into the pot holder. At the onset of his last statement, I had just removed a pan of chicken from the oven; there was no way I was going to detail to him how chickens "make" chicken. When I regained my composure, I just stammered that he should let me know when he finds out.

He's a funny kid. This was right up there with the statement that "all girls are weird." He qualified this. It wasn't like his sister or his mom weird, but just other girls. They were weird like a "spider with a big pink bow" or a "turtle with socks" type of weird. His father just nodded and I couldn't come up with anything in support of my gender. He wasn't far off the mark.
Anyway, back to the gardening. Figured I'd give this day to some happy bees and some ugly mugs.

These guys work so hard all day long. I try to go out there when they've "finished" to lift up the vines to look for cucumbers and the like, but there's no down time for these guys!
This next guy is just ugly. These guys are constantly changing in appearance. I think I took a picture of one of these guys, or wait, he may have been in the film last week, but they start off all nice and black with red bodies and then turn quickly into this ugly thing.
As if it couldn't get any uglier. Look inside this tomato. You can click on it to enlarge it.
Can you see him in there? He's a rather fat one so I'm sure he's been chomping away for some time. Jerk. I wasn't about to pry open the tomato to see what kind of a worm he was, but can anyone ID him from the picture?

I did see some amazing bug action today. I got to watch a ladybug larvae transform into a lady bug. the larvae perched itself on one leaf and slowly curled up on itself. It turned pink, then it got two spots towards the front of his back. I just went out there and now he has four spots on his back. I bet by tomorrow, he'll be a full fledged lady bug. It's been great to watch. However, I now realize I've thrown a couple of those pink things in soapy water, not recognizing them for what they were. I feel very guilty about that now.

On the upside of the world, here is my harvest for the day. I picked another one of those massive zucchinis that had yet to flower and a total of seven cucumbers. I gave six to a neighbor being that we already have four in freezer and I'm not making any more pickles any time soon. I blanched and froze two more packages of zucchini/squash and two of green beans. Those will be very nice in the future. Anyway, I'm trying to post this during an off chance moment of respite which has now come to an end. The boy and girl are playing slay the dragon, and the girl, who is in the knight's costume (the role the boy assigned her, himself), just took his instructions literally and put him out of commission with the wooden sword. I suppose I'd better intervene.

*sigh* The morning comes early, but sometimes bedtime can't come soon enough. :) Sweet gardening dreams.


  1. GAH! What a story! LOLOL. I wouldn't have the heart to tell my boys either and I'm not sure they associate our backyard chickens with the chicken on their plates yet. Kids are so funny with the things they put together. (Oh and my chickens were jumping for spaghetti noodles - their favorite treat).

    Sorry about your bugs! You need chickens now to eat 'em up!

  2. That's right!! It WAS a noodle. I had forgotten that when I started the video for him. He's 5 and called it a string and I latched on to that.

    Trust me. I've tried the chicken angle. No compost pile - no chickens. There's a line that won't be crossed. We have a farm behind us whose chickens run for their lives every once in a while, but I'm afraid our Great Dane's a stone cold killer. Those scurrying chickens look too much like a squeeky toy. :)

    Thanks for stopping by, Kate. I admire your blog.

  3. ribbit - don't kill that "ugly" bug! It's a good guy, and is called an assassin bug. It kills aphids and stuff like crazy, that's why you found him on your tomatoes. Very impressive harvest, BTW.....

  4. Those are some big holes in your tomato, lady. I've had a tomato here and there with one hole, but yours looks like Swiss cheese.

    Gotta love your little ones. I hope you're keeping a journal of all the cute things they say. I did that with one (most precocious)granddaughter. The cutest things came out of her mouth.....sometimes embarrassing things came out of her mouth! I get the biggest kick out of reading it with her now that she's fourteen!

    You need to rename your blog "Gardening WITH Skills"!

  5. That's what I thought. He has the same stance as the colorful one I knew to be an assassin bug. Apparently when they age they shed their skins so to say. Odd little buggers, aren't they.

    EG, you were an inspiration to me from the start. You, Granny and Sinfonian. The harvest is really y'all's doing. Thank you for telling me I could.

    Can you use two apostrophes in a word? :)

  6. Granny, did you enlarge the picture and see that worm in there!? I couldn't get my brace up to cut it open and see him in his full glory.

    My grandmother kept a list like that for me. She's read me a few things in the past. It's hysterical. I actually keep a book for each of the kids that I write in that I'll give them at their high school graduations. They may not read them at the time, but they will soon enough.

    Speaking of.....where are new pictures of that beautiful baby? You're holding out. What about Alecia (sp?)? It's been a while since we've heard about her.

  7. That would be BRAVE up. Not Brace. I's the Enlis techa.

    It's past my bed time. :)

  8. "I's the Enlis techa."

    I are glad u toad me, I woodent uh none iffen u dint toad me.

  9. Ribbit - our German Shepherd has his heart set on flattening some chickens too. That's why ours are kept in a run and not allowed to roam free. He loves to charge the chicken run and slam into it with his paws and send the chickens flying into a frenzy. Dumb dog. I'm not sure he'd kill one to eat it, but he'd kill one by playing with it because he only knows how to play ruff (dog pun?). LOL.

    Can you compost in a trash can like we do? That's the only thing we were able to do thanks to the kids/dogs angle too.

  10. Not this year. I'm taking on one thing at a time. This year was the garden, next year is going to have to be canning and maybe the following year or during one winter I may venture into composting.

  11. I love the little boy story! LOL!

    You are so lucky to have bees! We just don't down here- not may at all. Did you know it is national pollinator week? Bee populations are down by a large % in the US. Obamas just got bees for their garden- see my blog post from today.

  12. My grandfather took me fishing when I was 4. Until that time I assumed meat came from the supermarket, I haven't had meat since :] Good call holding off on the Chicken story!

  13. You know, it wasn't that long ago in the eyes of the world that kids would have had these questions. They would have been intimately aware of where their food came from and most likely more appreciative of it as a plant/animal than my kids are.

    The boy is so impressionable that I don't doubt he'd go on a complete hunger strike if I told him exactly how chickens "made chickens."