When you know something is going to happen and you really want it to happen but you’re not quite sure when it’ll happen, you get really excited when it finally does happen! It was a good week for things that have been in that almost-zone to get into the it-finally-happened zone. First the starter eggs. Then the crape myrtles.
It’s super exciting that the hens, now about five months old, have started laying! Kaileena found the first one in the brooding box when she was here and came running to tell me. “You have to come see!” Starter eggs are small and have soft shells. To find one unbroken is quite something. I think the hen can hardly stand up from laying it without cracking that shell. When we picked this small one up, it was broken underneath. See the size difference? The regular size egg on the left is a fake, placed there to train the birds where to lay.
The second starter egg that came was just as soft. I got it into the house intact, but before I could take a photo of it next to a real, regular size egg, I had cracked the shell. You can see how the soft shell is also dented.
It won’t take long before the eggs that come are normal size and filling up my bin (fast!). In the meantime Coco gets a treat. They say eggs make a dog’s coat glossy. I don’t see how hers could be glossier:
but she is so happy for an egg, however small, that I don’t care about gloss.
I have been in this house for more than seven years, and from the very beginning I have wanted to have crape myrtles somewhere on the property. If you are not from Virginia, you might not be familiar with this glorious tree. When mine are fully mature, they will look something like this. Crape myrtles bloom all summer and remind you that even when things look dark, there is beauty in the world.
It will take years for my trees to gain this height, but rain was in the forecast. When rain is in the forecast, it can be very motivating. When you have a trip coming up and will not be home for a few days, and there’s rain in the forecast, it’s super motivating. Especially for planting things. Crape myrtles were on sale this past week. Guess what I did.
Yup. The trees will be great in front of the garden fence along the driveway. Here is what that space looked like at 7am when it was already misting.
I can dig in the mist. Bless my children for having churned up this soil six or seven years ago to make the garden. Because of their work, I encountered no roots when digging. Just clay, but I expected that.
You can’t plant a beautiful young tree in this stuff. Well, you can, but you don’t want to. It’s best for the tree if you dig each hole about each twice as deep and twice as wide as the tree ball. I cut pieces of cheap landscape fabric to put the clay on (it’s hard to call it dirt!) so I would have it to mound around the tree later.
I dug three holes. As digging goes, this was not bad, nor did it take very long. Spacing them was easy. The fence posts were the right distance apart to allow for the 15-foot canopy there will be, and I dug the holes about eight or ten feet out from the fence posts.
Into the holes I put chopped up leaf matter and some good compost mixed with the red clay. The leaves will break down and add nutrients later, the compost will add nutrients now, and the clay was there in the first place and can’t be all bad. How the early farmers in Virginia managed with this stuff, I have no idea.
I broke apart the roots that were bound up in the pot (no wonder these were on sale) and introduced the tree to its new home.
In the rest of the hole I put more leaf matter and compost and finally all that clay that was on the landscape fabric waiting patiently. This made a good mound around the tree but as the leaves decompose, it will settle.
One at a time, till all three were in. Then mulch. Then water from the hose because all the while it still just misted. Then finished! Not till an hour or so later did the rain come. And I smiled. I think my crape myrtles are going to love their place of prominence. I didn’t get these in seven years ago (imagine how big they would be by now!) but they are in now. You have to start somewhere.