Tuesday, July 9
Reader advice and expertise needed:
|I like the black hollyhock from a distance. It is just so dramatic to see something black in the garden.|
\When I get close up however, the blooms always look so greasy uninviting.
|What is eating my hollyhock?|
Monday, July 8
All this humid and wet weather has been doing wonders for the veggie gardens and I am going to go out on a superstitious limb here and say that I think it is going to be a great year.
As of today my 30' x 40' food garden has given us strawberries, radishes, lettuce, spinach and I saw the first peas ready to pick this afternoon.
Garden roll call, in sections:
Gold rush bush bean, Scarlet runner bean, Green bush bean, and Purple podded pole bean
Peas, carrots, radishes, lettuce, spinach, red and white onions, strawberries
Broccoli and cauliflower
Tomatoes - cherry, sungold, evergreen, red brandywine and yellow pear
Peppers - hot, green and red
|The first few tiny tomatoes got my attention today. Since I misplaced the wooden popsicle sticks|
that told me which tomato plant was which, I can only guess the variety shown here.
|My spinach, carrots, white onions, radishes and some marigolds thrown in |
to ward off hungry mammals.
|I am happy with the runner beans this year even though they got off to a slow start thanks to the |
hungry woodchuck. My new garden mantra: fencing, fencing, fencing!!!!
Saturday, July 6
My chicks are almost grown and tonight I think I am going to introduce them into the flock. They are still a little smaller than my adult hens but not by much. And they feisty. Very feisty.
The other day I arranged the outdoor run for the hens against the smaller run I made for the new girls so they could see each other up close and personal. There was some interest from both parties but overall they each pretending the other group was not there and went out eating bugs.
I still have no idea what breed of chickens my new girls are. For now I call them "Tractor Supply Mix". I have two that are mostly white - one has some black spots on her lower neck and the other has light brown feathers that slowly turn lighter down her neck and the rest of her body is all white. I have two that are a darker brown - one with white sections and the other with a white 'fin' tail. The last two are 'in-the-middle' brown with white sprinkled throughout.
Tonight is the night. I am going move the girls from the tractor to the separate enclosed area inside of the main coop before it gets dark. Then right before I go to bed I will open the enclosure door and leave it open. My hope is that they will integrate into the flock and all will be well. This is the same approach I used last year and I did not have any incidents, however, last year I waited until the end of July. I may rethink my decision and postpone to next weekend.
In related chicken news, I have brought back the portable grass run. A couple months ago the fox took some of my chickens by gaining entry through the portable fencing - in broad daylight! I feel I have waiting the sufficient amount of time for the fox to lose interest and move on to better hunting grounds and I reinstalled the portable fence so the flock can get to fresh grass. This time, I made it a smaller area and added a light netting top. I have been vigilant about fence and netting inspection and in the daily counting of chickens.
Last week the kids and I went strawberry picking with my parents at a local farm. The kids had a great time, my parents got all the strawberries they could handle for their jam making, and i got to take in the sights, sounds and all around wonderful atmosphere of the place.
Three goats were in a shady pen close to the stand and tractor loading area, munching on grass. The little girl loved them and sat crouched down, nose to the fence, absolutely beaming.
After a tractor and wagon ride out to the fields, we were told where to pick and we were left to enjoy the beautiful weather and the berries. Rows and rows of plants full of red berries. It took Mom, Dad and the little man 6 feet of picking on two rows to get 12 heaping quarts full.
The little man had a great time helping pick the berries and any fears I had of him going crazy, trampling plants or throwing berries we quickly dismissed. Grandpa kept him in line, of course, but the little guy was helpful and picked a few quarts all by himself.
The little girl and I wandered the rows and she watched other people picking and discovered rocks and sticks and other interesting things on the ground.
It wasn't long before we were back on the wagon, heading back to our cars with all the berries.
The jam has been made, canned and stacked in the white metal cabinet at Mom and Dad's. And the kitchen smelled wonderful.
Friday, July 5
|The peonies before the rains knocked them flat.|
|My so-light-pink-they look-white roses climbing up the barn.|
|This light purple clematis was one of the first things I planted when I started the garden by the barn.|
Now it climbs up and mixes in with the pink roses.
|I love this light peach iris, especially next to the maroon |
foliage of the moneywort plant.