Monday, May 16, 2011

sunshine and dandelions

The sun finally came out for 3 days in a row, we all got out and followed it just like the dandelions.  I worked in the garden and let the chickens loose to enjoy the warmth of the sun.
Sierra, our great pyrenees is on her zip line doing chicken duty, she's on one side, and Summer, our golden retriever is on the other side of the meadow tied out.  Several days a week they work at guarding for 2 or 3 hours.  We like to let the chickens out to graze, for their overall health and the best quality eggs.  I notice a big difference in the color of the yolks when they are back on healthy pasture, rich golden orange yolks when on pasture, and the whites are a breeze to whip up.  I always whip the egg whites for omelette's, waffles and pancakes.
Rodney and the girls grazing, eating good bugs under the logs, they always find where the pickins are the tastiest.  The sunny weather makes me want to let the chickens and rabbits out to play in the sun too.  I learned valuable lessons my first years of letting animals loose, it draws in coyotes, neighbor dogs, and hawks.  The dogs have been our best defense, and of course a predator proof chicken coop and run. 

The dandelions in all their glory! Looking from the entrance of the chicken coop toward the big house.  This is a living meadow that has never had one ounce of chemicals put on it.  We mow several times per year, and have 3 meadows, we try to let the dandelions go as long as possible for the honeybees, and yet not too long they all go to seed.  Factor in a couple dry days to mow, either before the bees are out in the morning or mow after they have gone to bed.  During the height of the dandelion season, I can go to the beehives and watch the honeybees bringing in loads of dandelion pollen, and when you walk through the meadows, you see worker bees everywhere gathering nectar and pollen.  I watch many different types of insects go to the dandelion for food as well.  The rabbits and chickens also adore dandelion greens this time of year.  I enjoy them for their beauty and health giving qualities, how lucky we are to be so abundantly blessed!

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