The Best of Summer

By now, you’re all bored (I know I am) of food writers rhapsodizing over tomatoes warm from the garden and the fleeting glory of local corn. Don’t get me wrong – I never tire of those foods themselves, I just don’t want to be told, yet again, to appreciate them.

The chickens don’t need to read the food pages to know what is right about summer. First of all, there are the Japanese beetles, which my husband catches for them in a plastic tub that has a little water in the bottom. That way, the wet bugs still move around but can’t fly off when he tosses them into the chickens’ pen. (Yes, he does spoil the girls.)

The hens stay busy pecking off the last little bits of the kernels off of the corn cobs that we people missed. They get weeds (right now, a lot of crabgrass), and the other day I tidied up the mint bed, so they had a spa treatment – minty aromatherapy! (Did you see Candy sitting on the mint looking absolutely zen-like?)

This summer, without my vegetable garden (it’s almost finished being constructed), the hens have had to do without the bounty of grubs that I invariably dig up. But, they’ve made do with some nice grasshoppers.

Then, after a summer shower, there’s the sparkling raindrops to peck at. And the weather is so warm, that the chickens can run around in the rain, which, for a chicken, is almost as enjoyable as a dry, hot, dust bath.

The chickens don’t need summer camp or organized sports to stay active. Once in awhile a bug will fly by a chicken. The other day, there was pudgy Marge, leaping around the pen. She looked crazy, but then I saw her nail a flying moth. Marge looked quite proud of herself, and rather satisfied.

Isn’t summer wonderful?

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