Monday, June 13, 2016

"Sprummer" in the Hollow

It's not even officially Summer yet, but the garden, critters, and occasionally, the weather, are all in Summer mode.

Those 3 or 4 days we had of 90+ degree heat we had a few weeks ago seemed to put our raspberries over the top. We've been getting a pint per day as of late, and they haven't even hit their stride yet. I think I'll be making a LOT of jam this year!

The strawberries are doing good as well, but tend to fall victim to the slugs and roly-poly bugs if not picked the second they become ripe. Thankfully, the duck yard is directly next door to the garden, which keeps the slugs and bugs in check, though a few still get through and leave their unmistakable mark.

The pumpkins, beans, carrots, sunflowers and watermelons are all up and looking decent. The potatoes are growing like gangbusters - we need to hill them up again!

The snow peas have finally bloomed, and will hopefully have their first fruits ready by this weekend. Besides a little Sungold tomato or a sun-warmed raspberry, snow peas are my favorite garden sneaky-snack. ;)

The pollinator bed is taking a little longer than usual to get going. The borage, not surprisingly, has reseeded itself con mucho gusto, to the point where I may have to pull a few out to ensure that my breadseed poppies, calendula and phacelia have half a chance at making it.

The lemon balm and spearmint have all but squeezed the chamomile completely out of the tea bed, meaning that a minty-reckoning is overdue. Since none of our critters are terribly fond of the stuff, and I have waaaay more already dried and put up that I could ever need for tea, I think I'll be offering up cut mint & lemon balm this weekend to anyone who is willing to take the stuff.

As for the critters.... OY.

The ducks are doing well, but their egg production is down due to thieving ravens. We're looking to add a net or some sort of barrier/deterrent to the duck yard/Quack Shack to keep the hungry little buggers at bay. Especially since we want to hatch out some babies, which we learned the hard and heartbreaking way, are also a favorite food of hungry ravens. :(

The chickens are doing well. Ruby the Easter Egger took off for about a month and came back with a single little black and yellow chick. We're calling her Garnet, though he/she is still way too small -and fast! - for us to get a good look at in the hopes of accurately sexing him or her. I suspect that Garnet's papa is our Cuckoo Marans rooster, Godzilla, which would make Garnet, if she is in fact a she, an Olive Egger pullet. The other gals in the flock seem to be falling prey to chick envy/baby fever and have been trying to sneak off to raise families of their own. Wrangling our stubborn laydies has been more challenging of ever as of late.

Just hatched! "Kotori", Japanese for "small bird". :)

Our quail flock is expanding! We have ten 5-week old babies, and another four 1-week olds coming right behind them. We'll be hatching out more later this Summer, but the ducks have dibs on the incubator next.

The bees are humming along (see what I did there?)! We have three top-bar hives and one Langstroth, and as of last week's peek, all are looking healthy and full o' honey. Beekeeper Bill says that we should be able to pull some honey at the end of this month! These were all new packages as of this Spring, and they're off to an awesome start owing to everything blooming so early this year. Let's hope that our luck (and theirs) holds.

The goats are happy. We're down to just our two old ladies - Sophie and Chardonnay. They're doing a pretty good job of keeping goatlandia mowed down, and will soon be the recipients of a big windfall of blackberry vines just as soon as Bill and I can find the time to bushwhack the chicken yard. There's never enough time for everything!

So, that's about that. The critters seem happy, the garden seems happy, and the lawn and weeds are out of control, as ever. Life is busy, but good. :)