Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Farm Report!

The garden looks pretty good, considering our lack of rain. We have most of it mulched and we have soaker hoses on nearly all the plants, so things are coming along. We are eating peas, greens/spinach, lettuces, radishes and green onions from the garden, and all of them are delicious!

Some assorted lettuces:

I have half the garden covered in pine mulch. The half that is not covered revealed something very interesting this morning. I could swear that I see deer tracks! I'm going to damp down that entire garden tonight, and see if there are fresh tracks tomorrow. We have never had deer here, but hubby has started seeing them much closer to our place. So, I guess we'll see. Something has eaten some leaves off my green beans. I had assumed it was rabbits, but it might be deer.

As I type this, my little sweetie is eating a few cherries from our sweet cherry tree. I only picked about a cup of them this morning - there will be more over the next few days. They are so tasty! We aren't seeing as much fruit this year as we had last year, but it looks like we'll have plenty of peaches, pears, apples, sour cherries and plums, along with some sweet cherries, apricots and nectarines. Yay!!

We lost one more broiler chick over the weekend. The rest of them look fine. Of course, the two we lost looked fine beforehand too. Our altitude (and the decreased oxygen in our air here) can be a real problem for these guys. The two bantam hens are still bossing the three giant (teen-age) roosters. It's funny, to a point, because those boys weigh about 8-9 pounds, while the girls weigh about 2. Once those roosters reach 'mental' maturity, I think the tables will turn a bit, but for now, the hens are all-powerful.

It's so dry. The fields around us have not greened up at all. We have gotten a few sprinkles of rain lately, and we need it desperately. Our old lilac shrubs were withering, so we watered those to get them through, but it seems like a lot of trees and plants are really stressed this year. Hopefully we'll get some rain soon! EDIT: I typed this earlier today, and I'm back now adding a couple photos. This afternoon, we got rain! It was probably about a quarter inch or so, but it came down steady, soaked into the ground, and we are so happy!!!

We've been working on lots of different projects. Hubby's mowing the orchard and knocking down wasp and hornet nests - my hero! I've spent some time mulching the garden and trimming branches out of trees. We've been putting down that rock border around the house and flower garden too. It's all coming along nicely. There is plenty to do!

Our propane tank has a leak in the fill valve, so we're having to run it dry in order to get that fixed. The gauge has registered zero for close to a month, and the tank is so light that we can rock it on the concrete pad. It still reads about 100 lb. pressure, though, so there's still propane in there. The service tech from the propane company was certain we'd be out a long, long time ago. Maybe we have a magic tank? Wouldn't THAT be nice? Since I can't be sure that it's magic, and will just go on forever, I'm getting antsy about it - I really don't want to start canning fruits and vegetables, jams and jellies, with no propane in the tank! (Our kitchen stove runs on propane gas.)

I'm making an effort to get the ground squirrels to go away. I don't want to kill them, I just want them to move on. Yesterday, I took the litter scoop and the kitty litter 'nuggets' and dropped one nugget in each hole. I covered each hole with dirt, and I'm hoping this will convince them to leave. They are really tearing up the yard, and as dry as it is, I don't think the trees need all this air down in the roots.

Finally, I've inadvertently taken up worm farming, on a tiny, tiny scale. We got some nightcrawlers so we could go fishing, but we only used a couple. I couldn't let the other ones starve, so I put some shredded newspaper and soil into a larger container.

First, I put some sticks, to make a pocket of air space at the bottom (in case I add too much water)

I covered that with sheets of newspaper. That's the dirt/newspaper shreds in the bucket.

We put the moistened (not wet) dirt into the 'farm' then added the worms.

Hi, little friends! Can I pet ya?

I read that you can feed them chicken feed (I have that!) so I moistened the soil/paper mix and we gave it a try. It's been a couple weeks, and they seem very, very happy. We spritz the top of the soil every day (just a little) and add feed when I can't find any. So far they all seem to be alive, and it looks like they might be mating! We can use them for fishing, we can add them to the garden to improve the soil (the worm bedding is rich in nutrients as well ) and we can feed some worms to the chickens as a protein source. We'll see how it goes!

Also, tonight when I checked the worms, I found several grubs in the container. We have these gray grubs that get nearly as big as my thumb - our chickens really like them. The eggs must have been in the soil I used (I just got it from the garden). They were all near the food, so I guess we're raising worms AND grubs. These were tiny, but I know they'll grow!

Plenty going on - that's why I call it Ten Things Farm! :)

1 comment:

desert said...

i just LOVE reading your blog, you are amazing, all the things you got growing and stuff, its just wonderful.
i know what you mean about the rain, it had been real dry here too, and nature was having a hard time, but for about a week now we've been getting some rain every day. some days not so much, but today we got plenty.. for being in the desert :)
wish i could sample some of all your wonderful fruit and veggies


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