Welcome to One-Quarter Acres

Here's a chronicle of life on a plot of land right smack in the suburbs in Minnesota, whose owners would much prefer to be in the middle of nowhere.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Chicks love me

Me and Pippi, Frances, and Katy
have a special bond. (Photo
courtesy their mama.)
My friend Karen (of mamalooma) is living the chicken dream. Whereas I promised myself last year that 2010 would be the year of the chickens, I did not achieve that goal, and I still haven't worked up the guts to apply for a chicken permit. Part of it is because I resent having to jump through hoops and appear in front of a city council to justify using my own land for my own purposes. But it's mostly that I have a terrible fear of authority figures, even if they're just councilpeople in a rather small city, and do not wish to be publicly humiliated. I am afraid there's some neighbor out there within the 300 feet of the corners of my property who has a life-long phobia of chickens and will protest vehemently, and I will be able to do nothing but cry.

But Karen has jumped right in. Granted, she lives in a different, chicken-friendly city, but it's still quite the plunge. Today I had the privilege of meeting her little ladies: Pippi, a Barred Rock; Frances, a Silver-Laced Wyandotte; and Katy, a Rhode Island Red. Katy's the assertive, adventurous one of the bunch and Pippi's the runt. Frances likes to peck me. But they all seem to love me. Just call me the chicken whisperer. Pippi quickly hopped into my lap, and when I told Frances that she could come up, too, she did so, with Katy not far behind. Instead of pecking the ground, they snuggled me.

Attempts at getting a neighborhood robin to join us was not met with success.

And I saw a giant earthworm and freaked out.

However, I remain very impressed with Karen's cute little urban garden and her even cuter soon-to-be-finished chicken coop. I hope I will get to visit her ladies often, and think I'll bring them some (much less frightening) tiny worms next time I visit.

Friday, May 13, 2011

"Dandylion" cordial using child labor

You see weeds; I see liquor.
My daughter is entranced by "dandylions." She's been providing me with a steady stream of bouquets, which are being plunked into mason jars and placed on the dinner table. It's a good thing, because our beautiful suburban lawn is inhabited by as many plants in the weed category as those in the grass category (though, between you and me and everyone else, my heart is with the LessLawn folks so it doesn't bother me one bit). Dandelions keep this little girl occupied for a very long time.

My helper's always
near-at-hand bucket.
Today I decided to take advantage of the combination of her love of dandelions and her love of helping after seeing a recipe for dandelion cordial. I had a whole (two) lawn(s) full of blooms and half of an enormous bottle of the very same Prairie vodka; it must be fate. My helper grabbed her bucket and tore heads off of dandelions like she'd been doing it all her life. I helped in between taking pictures and calling to the dog to get her to stay in the yard, and the bucket quickly filled with the smell of spring.
Free-range booze.

The blogger who posted the recipe suggests drinking dandelion cordial with tonic water and lemon. I'll let you know in six weeks if this is a good idea, or if I am very upset at sacrificing my lovely vodka for this little adventure.

In other news...

The garden was partly planted with lettuce, spinach, rainbow chard, beets, carrots, and snap peas several weeks ago, and the seedlings are finally, gradually emerging from the ground. I am very eager to get everything else in, and also for Minnesota to decide it would like to get warm and stay warm (and sunny, too, please). I already have a farmer tan going on, at least.


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