Ups and downs

I managed to get 19 tomato plants and 10 bell pepper plants in to the ground in the middle of last week during the one sunny, warm day we had. I also got red and Irish cobbler potatoes planted (have I mentioned what a pain potatoes are to plant? They are. But, the flavor is well worth the effort.)

Then, the weather went to shit. I should have expected it, Mother Nature never seems to want to operate on my schedule and usually has her own ideas. We’ve had rain and temps in the 40s every day since then and more rain predicted for the rest of the week and through the weekend. At least the wet weather this week is supposed to be accompanied by warmer weather rather than these seemingly endless damp, dark, chilly days.

Still have the Yukon gold potatoes and the Beauregard and Georgia Jet sweet potatoes waiting to hit dirt. The onions, romaine and mixed leaf lettuce are looking great. The spinach and carrots, not so great. Right after I planted the spinach and carrot seeds, we got rain, rain, rain, then it got HOT and windy  which made our clay-ey soil dry to an impenetrable crust. Poor little seedlings couldn’t break through. I replanted the spinach and because I spotted a few carrot seedlings, I left them to do what they will. If they don’t pop up this week, something else will go there.

We have chicks! 26 little fluffy peepers are now calling my family room home and we put a second clutch in the incubator last night. Pictures soon.

The fox is back. Little red bastard. He killed at least one of my turkeys this morning, poor thing. In the 15 minutes between finishing my morning chores and leaving for work this morning, that damned fox caught, killed and shredded the turkey. The other turkey couldn’t immediately be found, so he may have gotten that one, too. The fox is now on my hit list and the flock will be confined to the hen house until he’s gone.

I blew the engine in my mower and a little research discovered that it would be cheaper to buy a whole new mower than replace the engine, even with a remanned engine. Ugh. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. Why couldn’t this have happened when the grass wasn’t growing out of control? Welcome to the jungle….

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The Fowl News

The egg pipped, didn’t hatch, and unfortunately, the chick died in the shell. I don’t know what went wrong, it was breathing and pecking away at the shell. The membranes looked a bit dry so I added a wad of tissue soaked with warm water to the incubator thinking perhaps the humidity was off.

When I checked progress around 11 p.m., it was no longer breathing, no longer pecking or moving. It was definitely dead. Very sad and very frustrating. We sure were hoping it would break out of that shell! We have a second pipped egg, it was pipped when I got home from work yesterday, but no more progress this morning and I can’t tell if it’s still pecking away in there or not.

I’m going to give this batch of eggs until Saturday to do something. And, I guess if this one was a failure (I know I messed something up, but I don’t know what), we’ll try again. Maybe pick up a fan for the incubator this time. I’ve heard that does make a difference in the hatch rate. And a hygrometer because of all things, the humidity level was probably the biggest variable. We kept the channels in the bottom of the incubator full, but had no way to really monitor the levels during the incubation process.

In other news, I think Ari and Max want me to open the pool for them.

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We’re just taking a walk on the pool.

They discovered that if they head towards the center of the pool cover it dips enough to sink into the water. The geese LOVE that!

Of course, Christmas and Thanksgiving are hanging out with the geese…I think they believe the honkers are their mommies! All four of them like to follow Kayleigh around like she’s the Queen Bee. Too funny.

Still digging away…

I think we have the raccoon problem solved for now. And all it took was adding a different lock to the chicken yard door. No more fatalities since the additional lock was added and the chicks are all now free-ranging during the day and LOVING it. The adult chickens are still terrorizing the turkey chicks, but, the turkeys are growing fast and I think they’ll be turning that aggression back on the chickens before long. Hoping for peace in the coop sooner rather than later! I’ve never had this problem before and I don’t really know what the issue is. The turkeys and chickens have always gotten along in the past, but for some reason, my adult chickens, really, really don’t like the turkeys this year. They killed one of them early on when it was still fairly small and have bloodied the heads of the remaining chicks. The pecking is lessening as the turkeys get older, so that’s a good sign.

I managed to get the rest of the peppers planted, 17 in all, all of the tomatoes are in (25 plants, egads!) and all of the sweet potato starts are in the ground and looking pretty good (18 of those sweet little things). The peas are looking fabulous, the replanted swiss chard is coming back up and I picked up and got planted two purple cabbages because The Man requested cabbage and I didn’t start any this year. So, those are his I also got all the herbs I started in the ground. If the basil does well this year we will have endless quantities of pesto to make and put up for the winter. Yum!

All I have left to get in are cucumbers, melons, squash, zucchini, beets (a really late start on those!), butter beans and another section of spinach.

I’m hoping (planning) to get it done this weekend, the weather willing! I’ve managed to go through more than half of my compost so I picked up of a couple of bales of straw to cover the garden paths with (weed discouragement and moisture/soil retention). I usually put compost on the paths, not straw, but apparently my garden dreams are bigger than my compost pile this year!

Spring hodgepodge

My wonderful seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. I’m so excited to get them planted! I did start the tomatoes and am pleased to report EVERY SINGLE seed I planted germinated. No duds.

Lovely brown eggs from  my lovely free-range hens. The yolks are like little spots of golden sunshine.

Volunteer red leaf lettuce and spinach. Tell-tale signs that our winter was none too harsh at all.

Well, hello there little turkeys! Enjoy the sunshine.

I dunno what’s in that boot, but Nala is absolutely fascinated by it.

Tomato and peppers are lookin’ good!