Another busy week. We’re all sick with something that isn’t covid, and we’ll just mark our blessings for having avoided it up to this point. My incisions are healing well from surgery and responding well to the antibiotic treatment. And the best for last, Henry is officially done grade 1! His school closed early this year for renovations and we are so thankful to have a little extra family time.
Finally some movement with this project. Jim from Island Bobcat Services was out to assess our land and determine our grading needs. We’ve decided that we’ll go ahead and drill the post holes and deal with grading and build up any slope at the end. This is mainly a cost saving measure but also for time saving since we are behind schedule compared to where we had hoped to have been at this point. We are using rough cut lumber wherever possible and we got word that our first order is now finished. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks we’ll start to see some major progress. Cross your fingers!
I wasn’t planning to get any vegetable starts from a greenhouse but, as it happens I stopped in for just one thing. Butternut squash, buttercup squash, cauliflower, broccoli, leeks and Spanish onions later… These were all really good deals, a 6pk for $3.69 and they just so happened to be horribly over seeded which ultimately was the deciding factor in bringing them home. There were roughly 120 leek starts in this one pack. We ended up transplanting 77 leeks and 46 onions into one 4×8 raised bed garden that we had just completed. The remaining starters are yet to go into the ground but we made good progress on yet another ‘L’ shaped raised bed that is the equivalent space of 4×24. This bed is slated to hold all of the squash including spaghetti squash and two varieties of zucchini that I started from seed and are currently in the greenhouse.
Everything in the greenhouse is growing phenomenally! The melons are growing at least an inch a day, all 4 tomato plants are now blooming with many cherry tomatoes growing. I discovered that an ant colony has chosen a potted pepper to call home, I dumped all the soil and transplanted the pepper into new soil…it’s really small so at this point I don’t know if it will be productive, but worth the try. The asparagus seeds all sprouted this week, when they get a little bigger I’ll transplant them into the asparagus/strawberry bed to replace any that were killed off earlier this Spring.
I’m horribly optimistic about this growing season. Many months to go until we see if everything pays off.
The blooms are mostly dying off now, though of course the blackberries and raspberries are yet to bloom. It appears that we may actually get cherries this year, the first time since we planted them 6 years ago! There are also many peaches that have taken, I do need to read up and see if there are any organic sprays I need to start applying so that they continue to thrive. Our oldest peach tree has been taken with leaf curl this season, despite spraying in dormancy. We will plan to hit it hard with the spray this Fall and again in the Spring before it starts to bud out. Peaches are hard.. Overall things are coming really nicely with our fruit supply – if we can keep everything alive and thriving we will easily have 100% of our fruit covered without having to purchase any from the grocery stores. Yay!
The laying hens are either not producing or the pesky rats are eating them before we can collect them. Everyone has been inside due to the risk of avian influenza, so it’s possible they’re just not happy inside or not getting enough light. We’re continuing to work on the rat problem that accompanies easy feed sources – we have caught many in a trap and are limiting the amount of grain we feed out.
The meat birds are growing nicely, there is a bit of variability amongst them which is to be expected between females and males. We have had a higher loss than is ideal – we are down to 91 birds from our original 100. We didn’t have to raise meat birds last year but it seems year after year the genetics always get a little worse. In the future we may have to consider a different breed.
Are out on pasture full time now, much happier to eat grass than hay.
The sheep were sheared this week which will keep everyone cool during the Summer heat. We were concerned about the body condition of our older girls, but surprisingly they all looked pretty good. Our two purebred dorset ewes are on the thinner side and will most likely need some supplemental grain, but we’ll monitor them to see how they progress on grass.