Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Harvest Moon

What a beautiful day we had today. Low humidity, sunshine, and temperatures in the low 70s--the perfect mix. Best of all, the weatherman promises more days like this are to come. This lovely day is being topped off with a colorful full moon. It is what we call a harvest moon.

The tomato plants are looking a bit ragged, but we are still getting tomatoes here and there. Most of them are smaller than the ones from earlier in the season, but I picked this giant tomato off one of the "Robert's Best Black" heirloom plants. The picture doesn't really capture it, but to me the tomato somewhat resembles a miniature pumpkin. The shoulders are ribbed like a pumpkin, and there is just enough stem to look like a pumpkin handle.
We have also picked some decent apples off our old apple tree. We don't know what kind of apple tree it is, and we give it only a minimum of care, but every 3rd year or so it produces a bountiful harvest of small, red, and fairly tart apples. Yesterday afternoon I picked some of the nicer ones and quickly put together an apple pie. It was absolutely delicious. I was proud of the fact that the apples went from tree to pie in only a couple of hours. Of course I did have help from the store bought refrigerated pie crusts.
The only bad part of the day came after dinner when Nick went to check on the chickens. He brought our little Silver Seabright bantam, Starlight, inside because she was being picked on by the other chickens and looked to be in pretty bad shape. Poor little Starlight's head had been pecked bald, and one of her wings seems to be hurt. She looks pretty bad, and we can tell she feels pretty bad, too. Starlight is one of our more elderly chickens, and the others in the coop have no tolerance for weakness. Sad but true, chickens can be pretty cruel. You've heard of a pecking order? It appears Starlight is currently at the very bottom. We'll let Starlight spend some time in the chicken crate in the basement and see if she perks up. I hope so. We have had her since we bought her from another 4-H poultry family 8 or 9 years ago. Starlight doesn't really know she is a chicken, and given the chance will follow us around the yard or fly up to sit on some one's shoulder. Starlight is the hen that taught us that chickens can have personalities. Starlight has also proven that she is quite a spunky and brave little hen. I'll share that story in another post. Starlight is special enough to us that all summer Nick would take her outside the coop at feeding time to be sure she got her share of the wild mulberries that the chickens loved and fought over. Hopefully, Nick rescued little Starlight in time. I'm hoping to see her regain her strength and spunk so she can go back to the flock, kick some chicken butt, and re-establish herself at the top of the pecking order. That's my wish for the harvest moon.

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