Schmidt Homestead

Our new home in Woodburn, IL

Monday, July 23, 2007


It was another big weekend for us! Jeff and Emily came out, and we picked 12 lbs of green beans, 7 lbs of blackberries, and a couple dozen each of squash, cucumbers & beets. We have about 10 watermelons and dozens of cantaloupes growing, and the many green tomatoes are finally starting to turn red. Emily attempted to make blackberry jam last week. I say ‘attempted’ because when we opened a jar, we could barely shove a knife into the ‘fruit roll up like’ congealment. It tasted ok, but was MUCH too stiff. The sweet pickles, on the other hand, are excellent – taste just like the ones from the store. I ate about a half a jar (quart size) by myself.

The big excitement of the weekend came from our next door neighbor, Bob. We ran some errands Saturday morning, and as we were about to pull out of our parking space to head home, Bob pulled up beside us. Steve rolled down his window and said hello. Bob told us that he just left another dozen eggs at our house for us. Then he said “I have two chickens in a cage at my place. I’ll bring them over to you.” WHAT??? As we drove away, I said to Steve “I think he may have been serious.” Steve said “I’m pretty sure he was!” Sure enough, he showed up Sunday morning with two young chickens in a cage! We have chickens!!!

The dogs were initially very excited to have birds so close, but the excitement quickly turned into curiosity. In a very short time, Stacy was sitting beside the cage just watching them. She lay down with them, and every so often she opened one eye to ‘check on’ them. We’re pretty sure she’s looking after them, since her demeanor is not one of curiosity, but more of making sure they’re okay – similar to how she behaved with her pups. Zeus keeps sniffing the cage and pointing at them. He tries to stick his tongue thru the bars to steal the pieces of bread that we gave them. Bob thinks that the lighter one (Gertrude) is a hen, and the darker one (Rusty) is a rooster. We won’t know for sure until they get a little bigger. Emily and I sat for quite a while yesterday watching them and seeing what they would eat. They really like grass, clover, bread and birdseed, and they like to splash around in their water bowl. They constantly make the ‘peeping’ sound that is associated with baby chicks, and every once in a while they let out a full CLUCK!