Sunday, July 10, 2011

Meanwhile . . .back at the ranch

So this is the first chance I have had to sit down and write about what happened here during my summer vacation. (read - I have coffee and everyone else is asleep)

First up - we now have 5 chickens. As Hubby grumpily emailed me while the girls and I were chillin' by a lake in N. Minnesota "Here I am wringing the neck of sHeena before I've even had my coffee" He had been woken at 5am by the Polish's attempt at crowing - again. We had an idea that a second rooster was with us - the female's head feathers are soft and curving and sHeena's had grown out spiky. It also explains why he always had a standoff with the bigger meat chickens (of which Dumpling is still left). I emailed My Pet Chicken and they responded promptly that I was covered under the 90% guarantee. We want 2 more hens and will be looking at our options (either chicken swap, county fair, or 2 new chicks)

Cadbury escaped again. Chris found his doors open when he got up Tuesday morning after fireworks. After searching unsuccessfully for a couple hours he enlisted the help of the boys next door. They found him in ten minutes - hanging out under the far corner of the shed asleep with Ivan. Wish we had a pix of that!

The peas are done. I fed them to the chicks. The branches I had used for them to grow on were way to flimsy - before planting again later this month (for fall harvest in theory) I need to come up with another option. (I only have one of the decorative metal things shown)

Our beans (rattlesnake, gold of Bacau & Christmas Lima) are finally up and also need a climbing option - that needs to be done this week.

The raspberries took the transplant hard. Being brambles I am sure I will see them happily growing and producing next year. Same with the rhubarb.

All of the squash and melon planted from seed are still on only their second or 3rd set of leaves. Even the 3 I transplanted from inside are slow. I have heard this from other gardeners also.

Here is a white oriental lily that I discover last fall smothered by vinca and virginia creeper. It is still small and in danger of being covered again - but it didn't bloom last year.

The rose blooms are small this year - I am not sure if it is from the hard pruning I did, need for soil amendments or the weather. I will examine them next year.

This year I also have hollyhocks! Last year the plants were rusty and stunted and never bloomed. Following directions from various sources I cut them to the ground and trashed the plants. We have 2 shades of pink and a few whites. This almost makes up for none of my 2 packets of seeds I planted indoors surviving to be planted outdoors - if they germinated at all.

We have peppers forming! Also tomatoes.

On a totally different note. Quail are freaking messy! At least 3x a day we have to clean out bedding and poop from their poultry style waterers. The style used for parrots would be a better option. Now I know why rabbit hutches were suggested (wire floors) The rabbit style of hopper feeder stays cleaner than the poultry (jar) style.

My "needs" list for the animals and garden is almost as long as the "needs" list for the family.

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