Friday, May 28, 2021

Flock updates

There's been another breakthrough in the sheep flock! When I was sitting and schmoozing with Berlin (and others) one evening, look who approached:

That's (blurry) Bette, who not only approached, but stayed and enjoyed! She and her half-sister Bernadette have been holdouts since they were lambs, so this was a huge surprise – and gives me hope for Bernadette, too.

The chicken flock's new members have landed! My friend ordered two Whiting True Green chicks for me along with an assortment of 15 brown egg layers (plus a bonus chick) for herself and another friend from Murray McMurray Hatchery, and they arrived early Thursday morning. After work, I drove out to admire them all. Mine have reddish brown dye on their foreheads:
Kate's chicken tractor/brooder

Once they are big enough to hold their own with my adults, they and possibly one or two others will move to Boulderneigh. In the meantime, there will, of course, be more photo updates. Hopefully I can take Poppy with me sometime (I went straight from work Thursday); she loves to play with Glory, and I think Glory would love to show Poppy 'her' new water feature.

Speaking of Poppy, she got to share the bed with me one night this week. Rick was taking care of a patient on and off through the night, so he slept when he could in his recliner. She slept under the covers all night, but in the morning she moved up and laid her head on the pillow, just like folks. Too cute!

She'll be sleeping with both of us in the camper tomorrow night; it'll probably be a little crowded. We're joining some friends at Mt. Adams Horse Camp for part of the holiday weekend, leaving Brian to hopefully care for the other critters (we're not taking horses). Poppy has been exploring the camper with great excitement as we've been getting it ready; she's always up for an adventure!

That's it for now from . . .

Thursday, May 27, 2021

More than a dent, and more flowers

Weeding is like knitting; "just one more row." As I filled buckets with weeds and started to see progress, it was hard to stop, and I spent much of my free time Tuesday, Wednesday, and even the short time I had today between work and agility class 'not stopping.' As a result, I've made more than a dent, weeding probably half the island, as well as some of the gravel.
from a dent...

to major inroads!
Full disclosure: The weeds on this side of the island are easy pickings; the grass that has invaded the other half is much, much harder to pull. Also, I would love to fill this shady area with more hostas, but the few I have struggle because of regular grazing by deer. I'm thinking I may plant some Vinca Minor there.

Chuckie, always trying to insert himself into whatever I'm doing outside!

After sharing a few flower pix in the last post, I found more on my camera:

That's enough photos for one post. I have some animal updates (with photos) to share, so will try to do another post tomorrow.

That's it for now from . . .

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Bizzee start to the week, plus – RAIN!

I won't bury the lede; after getting teased by cooler temps and gray skies, yesterday we got RAIN! Not inches or even an inch, mind you, but measurable, and that is significant this very dry, dry spring. Which means this morning after chores I just couldn't resist pulling up bucketsful of weeds and grass from the driveway, island, and iris bed. I had to stop to check email to find out when a fleece customer is coming, and, well, once I sat down.... My elbow is saying "Take two aspirin and call me in the morning;" my brain is saying "Strike NOW while the soil is soft . . . even though you know you can't do more than make a dent in the rampant growth." If only I could find the "On" switch for the able-bodied 19-year-old who didn't have to go to work today . . . or yesterday . . . or Friday. 🙄😒😖😩😡

The bumblebees have been enjoying the 'bunny ears' lavender along our front walkway. I tried taking photos of them Sunday morning with limited success; they certainly set the tone for the day.


future Boysenberry


future raspberries

Our good neighbors to the east offered us some seed onions and sprouting spuds, so I picked those up and tucked them in our now full little garden space. You can keep your deer candy roses; I like to take time to smell admire the future food! The starts are all looking good; there are blossoms on the caneberries; and strawberries are on the near horizon. Yesterday's rain should turbo-charge everything, even though I watered on Sunday.

I had called our local hay guy Friday, and he had just gotten 400 bales stacked in his barn, ready for us to pick up whenever. Since our big trailer was full of firewood, Brian took the pickup to get a couple loads which he and I stacked in the barn. (Rick wasn't idle; by the end of the day, he had singlehandedly unloaded and split the whole trailer load!) The hay looks great and the horses approved; after getting the sweepings of the new hay, they didn't want to eat last year's! (There are only a few bales of 2020 first cutting left; the rest of what's in the first photo is 2020 third cutting for the sheep.)

Of course, the horses are also getting some pasture time almost daily. In the upper pasture "the corn grass is as high as an elephant's eye":

Although Lance seems to prefer the corner with the iris:

It has been a good year for iris, especially at the end of the bed from which I pulled a boatload of grass a couple years ago. Motivation to clean out the other 2/3rds, for sure!
And other 'pretties:'

Look who's a quick learner!

all the lambs end up doing this
This is the next time I went into the fold and sat down after our 'breakthrough.' In spite of the greedy group of adults crowding me, Little Miss Berlin persisted in getting to my hand for some rubs, and not just on her head. You can see her blissing out on a brisket scritch; she liked it just about everywhere! Yep, I think I have a friend for life. 😊

Well, I think I've recovered enough to go out and pull more weeds and grass.

Tata for now from . . .

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Digging in the dirt, Update #3

As my official record-keeping diary for this year's garden,
I will be updating this post with additional information
as I plant, tend, and harvest.
Top to bottom=newest to oldest entries.

May 23, 2021
Wouldn't you know it; after I wrote the update below, our good neighbors on the east side emailed me to say they had leftover white and red seed onions. Did I want them? Why not?

So this morning I walked down, and was handed not only a carton of seed onions (plus a couple of bigger ones) but also some little red (and maybe Yukon Gold) potatoes starting to sprout. I carried them home and set about rejiggering my watering system before planting. My goal is to have set watering lines and soaker hoses so all I have to move is the supply hose; that increases the likelihood of regular watering and decreases the potential damage to plants. Rick had purchased a soaker hose last year that I never pressed into service, so I retrieved that, connected it to the old soaker hose, and turned on the water. Interesting; the new hose releases water much quicker than the old one. Wanting consistent delivery, I disconnected them and gave each a dedicated task. Then I laid out and planted my onion row, which is really an onion "L" (hey, I had to get a little creative with space – I even tucked a few in the arugula/kale row!).

Now my dilemma is what to do with the potatoes. All my water lines and soaker hoses are in use and I am not sure where to plant them. The most logical spot is tucked between the east fence and the first row of bush beans – I think. Stay tuned; this year's garden is getting full! (Weird warping in pano shots but good documentation for me.)

May 21, 2021
Yesterday after work I stopped by the farm store where I purchased my lonely tomatillo plant to get it a mate. Good thing I only needed one, because there was only one left! I also picked up an Armenian cucumber, and sugar pod pea seeds. This morning, I got it all planted.  That will fill up our little space pretty well if everything grows, although if someone offers me some stray starts, I'll find a place to tuck them in somewhere. But no other additions are planned.

I don't think I've ever grown English or Armenian cucumbers before, but since cucumbers have never done well for me here (although better than winter squash!), I figured I might as well try something different. As I said in the comments, this is a kitchen garden, not a pantry garden; if I get enough of anything to preserve I count it a bonus, so I grow cukes for fresh eating and in salads. These are both supposed to be mild with fewer seeds, so that's a plus.

While thumbing through my recipe box looking for my butternut lasagne recipe, I started anticipating my zucchini harvest. I was a little alarmed (my guys would be really alarmed!) when I planted a six-pack of spineless zucchini starts, only to realize I already had a seed packet of three colors of zucchini. Three hills of zucchini?!? Well, I have neighbors who love handouts, and I have a LOT of recipes that feature this versatile vegetable. Breads, cakes, fritters, casseroles, vegetarian 'burgers,' salads, stir-fry, pasta dishes – even candy! And not every year has been a great zucchini year, so three big hills just might be enough for all I want to make with them.

May 18, 2021

I haven't let that lovely tilled garden dirt stay idle for long. After work yesterday I went shopping for starts, coming home with six tomato plants, four eggplants, a pot of parsley and of English cucumber, a six-pack of spineless zucchini (which I wouldn't have purchased had I  remembered the fancy tri-color zucchini seeds I bought 🙄), a six-pack of arugula, and a six-pack of kale. I came home, laid out our water lines and planted about half the starts yesterday afternoon. This morning on my way to ride Stella at the fairgrounds, I picked up a tomatillo, three bell peppers, and some more tomato cages (for the eggplant, tomatillo, and peppers). This afternoon I finished planting all the starts, including the three pots of basil I bought earlier, put in two hills of assorted zucchini seeds and two rows of bush beans – one of tricolor bush beans and one from seed I saved but didn't label, and laid out soaker hoses. The fancy tricolor mixes of zucchini and bush beans I purchased earlier this spring; they looked like fun. There is a row prepped for sugar pod peas and a hill prepped for another variety of cucumbers; I'll buy those seeds on Thursday.

Below are two panoramic shots I took of the almost completed garden, the first taken from the NW corner and the second from the SE corner. Instead of orienting my rows east-west (uphill-downhill), I ran them north-south this year. I also laid out some pieces of 'dryer felt,' left over from covering our horse stall floors, between the berry canes and the tomatoes to reduce weeds, and plan to utilize some more. Both photos also show the baneberries on the south side, the rhubarb (probably ecstatic to be getting watered now!) in the SW corner, and the strawberry patch in the NE corner.

And here are all the things planted (except the basil and the unlabeled saved bush bean seeds) for my own documentation. The only one of these that is for sure an exact repeat planting (besides the saved seeds) is the Redbor kale; I planted it once before and really like it, so nabbed a six-pack when I saw it.

two of these

three of these

That's almost it for the start of the 2021 garden at . . .