Garden Update

Readers, I am awash in a sea of busy-ness. The rooster, as I said, unfortunately passed away on Sunday. We got two new hens. The garden is at a reasonable place, for once. I have a few more tomato transplants to put out, and need to fertilize and trellis, but things are more or less under control for the first time since we got started in April, thanks to the magic of the wheelhoe, which burns through rows of weeds in about a minute. The strawberries- well, I’m just going to pretend the wire grass isn’t there.

But the thing really keeping me busy is of course the normal summer things- harvesting our vegetables, canning, cooking, and of course sewing. The Renaissance Festival is on it’s way, and I’m starting to get a little panicky about how much work I have left to do. If only I could skip work to work! Ack!

This is all to say that you aren’t getting many real blog posts. Pictures and recipes are about all I can manage right now. Hopefully you’ll stick with me until things settle and I can write again.

Here’s our new chickens, two Rhode Island reds. From a really strange guy who questioned me examining the chickens. I was confused by this- if I’m going to buy chickens from you, why wouldn’t I look them over to make sure they’re healthy and don’t have lice or anything? Duh. He also apparently hadn’t thought to, I don’t know, round up the chickens before I got there. So “picking out a chicken” actually meant, trying to see which chickens looked healthiest while they ran around several acres of pasture, criss crossed by electric fence. And then chasing said chickens with a net and hoping you get the one you want. This is Georgia:

Remember you can click on this pictures to see them bigger.
And this is Rita (for Rita Skeeter):

They haven’t been very photogenic so far, but we’ll see how things go, if they survive. Rita is kind of a bitch, and keeps pecking the other chickens. I’m hoping that will cease once they all are fully feathered (Disco, the white one, is almost done molting, and the two new chickens had both been harassed by roosters because the weird guy had too many).

The three sisters garden is going mad, except the poor beans. I think they’ve just been scalded by the amount of nitrogen in the soil. The corn loves it though.

I can’t believe how huge the squash is. I can’t believe that only a few weeks ago it was a little tiny seed in the ground.

The sweet corn is coming along as well.

We’ve finally got started on trellising the tomatoes. We’ve used a kind of sandwich method to keep them up. Basically you loop the twine in a figure eight around the tomatoes- two plants between each pair of stakes. Starting at one end, you go round one side of one plant, and around the opposite side of the next- and then back again, making a figure eight. It sandwiches the plants between two pieces of twine. We’ll add more twine as the tomatoes get taller.

I finally got around to mulching the zucchini and cucumbers. This involves putting down a layer of cardboard and a layer of straw. I hate mulching more than almost any other activity, mostly because straw always makes me break out in a rash and wheeze like crazy. But it’s the best way to keep weeds down, and when we till in at the end of the year, it will add extra organic matter.

We’re having a lot of trouble with the zucchini. The irregular watering I’m able to give them with the hose means there’s a lot of end rot, meaning the end of the new fruit will rot before the whole zucchini matures.

This is what is becoming of our spring plantings.

Carrots.

Leaf lettuce.

Melons!

I love the way things look in the morning.

Beans. We have three successions going. The tallest ones are the first go, then you can see the medium sized ones (that didn’t do very well, because we couldn’t keep them moist enough to germinate during the two weeks without rain we had), and finally the ones we just planted, that are just starting to come up. We’re going to have an unholy amount of green beans (though the long solid row is black beans).

Green beans have gorgeous flowers.

Zucchini keep on coming.

This is Disco’s favorite pastime. She sits up there all day, her huge ass hanging down over the side of the food can.

And our very happy puppy. He loves summer too.

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