We've given our chickens the full run of our back and side yards since they started living outside, but we decided to restrict them this past month.  Aside from digging everywhere looking for worms, having their poop everywhere has gotten tiring.  We also hope to get some grass growing in part of our backyard so that Madeleine has a play area for once she's running around.

So we have fenced in the north corner of our backyard, as well as  the area under our deck.  They still have quite a bit of space, and we occasionally let them out to our side or front yards to graze on some grass (or weeds).

Unfortunately, until I can extend the network cable and remount the camera to point to their new feeding area, the ChickenCam will be on vacation.

It seems that our bee hive got hit by the mysterious disease called Colony Collapse Disorder that is sweeping the country recently and killing tens of millions of bees. Twenty-four states have reported bee apiaries being effected by an unknown plague that wipes out entire bee colonies at a time. What is unusual is that beehives affected by the disease are being found empty since the bees fly away to die, which is unlike their normal behavior. The day after we read about this disease in the San Francisco Chronicle, we went out to check on our bees and discovered they had all disappeared. Our beekeeper says it's possible they ran out of room in the hive so they swarmed and flew away to find another home, but we think that we or the neighbors would have noticed 30,000 bees taking flight at once. 

We were fortunate to get our bees replaced by those of a friend, so we were only without our local pollinators for about two weeks. Our new colony arrived in time to start pollinating our plum trees at the time of their full bloom. This time the hive is just over the fence in our eager neighbor's yard so little Madeleine won't incur the bees' wrath by sticking her curious hands in the entrance to their hive.

It's official. Madeleine is a very fast crawler now. The other day Ann left her alone for about 10 seconds and returned to find her stunned and half buried under a tub of cloth diapers she had pulled over on top of herself. When Ann lifted the diapers off of her, Madeleine quickly crawled away with nary a whimper. Crawling has been one of her primary activities this month, as well as trying to grow teeth. She has none to show for her efforts so far, but it seems the first two are getting close to making an appearance.

The weather has been beautiful this past month so Madeleine gets time outside at the park and on a blanket in the front yard almost every day now.  New photos are here.