What’s the Deal With June Gloom?

When I was a [little] kid, we lived in California. There was a weather “season” we called June Gloom. Foggy, rainy, and cloudy was the forecast more often than not.

As I type this, June 7th, 2022, there is a most romantic thunderstorm taking place outside. The rain is falling straight down and steadily. Thunder is gently growling near incessantly. We have windows open, birds are still sounding off between thunder rolls, and there’s not much “gloom” to be found.

A Different Kind of Alarm

It started off as a strange day. Just as I was waking up and convincing myself to become fully conscious, I heard a kerfuffle outside. The roosters and our sole remaining guinea were raising alarm. I didn’t know what time it was, but I knew it was too early for a hawk to be after the birds.

I hopped out of bed and peered out my window. The only thing I saw was a few grackles flying around precariously overhead. I went out and looked at the dining window and saw a coyote, no doubt the same one from before, gleefully trotting through my garden. I swear it had a smile on its face as it neared closer to the house – and to the chickens.

For the first time in my life, I went for a “morning run”. I darted down the hallway, threw on my muck boots, and dashed outside. By the time I rounded the corner, the coyote was bounding away. Not running in fear, but bounding off like, “Ha, that was fun! I’ll try again tomorrow!”

The chickens were not seeking shelter at all. They were still out foraging while the roosters stood at attention, making their alerting sounds. I bet you, as our chickens are used to being harassed-but-not-harmed by our dog, they figure the coyote is another one of the same creatures. They had no idea they were almost a morning meal. We’re going to have to do something about that coyote…

Had it been successful in its hunt, that would have been a different kind of June Gloom entirely.

FIRE!

I was definitely awake by this point, and headed back inside, though it was a beautiful morning. It was cloudy, but light and the temperature was only the slightest bit crisp. Not June Gloom by any means, but a beautiful summer morning.

I made buckwheat pancakes for breakfast as I sipped my morning coffee, and thought about the plans I had for the day.

After feeding all the household humans, I set about making sure the birds had food. We have one little hatchling from our broody hens that I’ve got in a big tub in our entryway, and I had on my agenda for the day to bring her home a couple of playmates if there were any available.

I also had to go vote. [I am pretty sure this is the first time I have ever voted in a primary. That’s a different kind of June gloom altogether.]

As I headed from the garage, I saw huge, towering flames and a big pillar of black smoke, rising up from the north. It was probably a good five miles away, but there was no mistaking it was a giant fire, and for how tall the flames were, I was nervous as to what could be burning.

That is one thing about this hilltop homestead. Prairie fires, even in this modern age, are a very real thing. Fire happens to be the only thing that goes faster when moving uphill. It’s definitely something I’ve thought about multiple times since moving here. I was grateful it was a beautiful, calm weather day.

After stopping at the post office and the voting booth, I headed to the bigger town, 24 miles away.

Tuesday Town Day

I stopped at the hardware store first and found some bargain items I couldn’t live without, of course. That entry aisle gets me every time. I got some more of our favorite soup as well, then headed to the garden section to get tree protectors for the 30 trees we still need to get planted…

I spent a lot of time browsing, but finally checked out and spent only $28 more than I thought I would. Whoops.

The sun was shining and it was a gorgeous day. I was enjoying the sunshine as much as I was enjoying the retail therapy.

I called my parents and asked if they wanted to meet me for lunch. Since I still owed them a meal out as a thank you, today was as good a day as any to make good on that. We met at a local barbecue restaurant, I took advantage of the fried catfish special, and we had a fun lunch together.

After lunch, I went to Hobby Lobby (because yarn…), then my last stop was arguably my most important.

Lucky me, I was able to find a pumpkin start and a buttercup squash start. I wanted to grow pumpkins this year, but I have yet to throw the seeds in the ground. Since they require a long season and ours is unpredictable at best, I thought buying a pumpkin start was the way to go. The buttercup squash start was a bonus find.

Chicken Math

I also found two three four five playmates for our little hatchling. The gentleman who helped me get my chicks said, “This is the last week we’ll have any.” I found it hard to believe chick season is already over, but then again, I suppose it is June.

The plan was to only get two chicks, as small as I could find. But then they had another breed I wanted, and then they had larger chicks marked down in price so… It’s called chicken math. It only ever makes sense to those of us who own chickens.

My friend, Jacque, calls me a crazy chicken lady. She’s not wrong. However, I’ve dealt with enough chicken drama this spring, I was ready to throw in the towel and give up on chicken raising altogether. Instead, I got more.

That’s how chicken math works.

June Gloom? Or June Bloom?

I ended the day getting the squash and pumpkin starts transplanted, got all of the birds settled in their various houses, and went for a short walk. I saw the rain clouds moving in and thought I’d better head back to the house rather than walk the full mile I set out to.

Also – while settling all the birds in their various places, I found chick number one. Sadly, it was smooshed up in a corner of mama hen’s nesting box and buried beneath the pine shavings.

The good news is, it was not predated on. The bad news is, mama hen was not a careful mama. Also, we’re still missing two other chicks that hatched out – so goodness only knows.

At any rate, we’ve got plants in the garden. We’ve got new life on the homestead. There’s a peaceful, picturesque thunderstorm happening outside. There’s no June Gloom here. Only June Bloom.

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