Tropical depression Bob descended on us around 2 p.m. With SIL’s mom visiting for the weekend, we wanted to take her on a hike one that the kids had not done before, so after the morning Farmers’ Market run we set off up the mountain to a nice 2.6+ mile loop trail that has a gorgeous rock outlook about halfway through the hike. It has a 180 degree view that is totally unspoiled, not a road, power line, nor structure can be seen. The easier part of the loop goes through a forest that once was home of American Chestnuts before the blight destroyed them almost entirely. You see Chestnut Oak there now, but not native Chestnuts. There are some medium sized Hemlocks that have not succumbed to the Wooly Adelgid that is destroying them as well.
The last Mountain Laurel and the first Rhododendron of the season, wildflowers, bird’s nest, interesting fungi, fern fields, cool breezes, shade were all present for a delightful walk. On our way out on the more difficult part of the loop, where the elevation drops many hundred feet on a series of switchbacks to a few hundred feet of creek crossing and walking through a Rhododendron thicket, the lost elevation must be regained a bit more gradually, but still challenging. As we were beginning the ascent, the thunder began and we kicked into overdrive to get back to the car before the storm descended on us on the ridge line. Granddaughter, the 3 1/2 year old was a super hiker, being carried only part of the way in each direction, especially when we had to really kick up the pace. As we settled in the car and started the drive back the 12 miles across the ridge and down the mountain road back to the house, the rain began.
Yesterday, Momma Hen 3 hatched a trio of her 9 eggs, but 2 of them did not survive, the remaining chick has settled under Momma Hen 4 in the next nesting box. The remaining eggs should hatch by Monday from both hens. We now have 8 chicks a few days old, 2 that are 4 weeks old and still waiting to see what else might emerge in the next day or two. I fear we may not get as many chicks as we had hoped for flock replenishment and meat for the freezer. I really don’t want to have to purchase chicks and raise them in a brooder and hope that we may yet have enough chick hatch this year to make this a viable experiment.