Securing berry limbs so they stay off the ground and keep growing.
When it comes to bad
bugs in the garden, a stitch in time definitely saves nine.
Last week, the first Japanese
beetles showed up in our garden. I pick intruders once or twice a week
at this time of year, simply dropping the beetles into a cup of water
that I later pour into the chicken tractor. Since these beetles set up
mating territories when they first appear, if you snag the early birds
you'll end up with little damage later in the season.
Cabbage worms are a bit
trickier. I mostly try to avoid them by not having crucifers in the
garden during the summer months. This year's early broccoli was perfect
since we harvested nearly all of the heads before the voracious
caterpillars showed up. But I wanted to plant brussels sprouts early to
get a head start on the winter growing season. What to do? How about
covering up those beds with row-cover fabric to avoid the bug problem
If you'd like to learn
more about my low-work, completely chemical-free pest-control
practices, I hope you'll check out my book The Naturally Bug-Free
your garden ecosystem will be more complete and your harvests more
abundant after the read.
Aurora was not acting like her normal happy self this morning.
We took her in for a vet visit and she got a vitamin shot with some vaccine boosters.
She's feeling a little better and might just be feeling the switch from Mother's milk to weeds and leaves.
of you were concerned about chemical contamination in our
Luckily, we live in an impoverished area where excess chemicals aren't
used that often simply because they're expensive. Here's
my previous post on the topic. If our farm was located in
Lexington or northern Virginia where pastures are weed-free and
perfectly manicured, I'd be much more concerned.
That said, whenever you
find a new source of organic matter, it is
a good idea to test it out before going hog wild. Luckily, we found out
about this year's horse manure from a homesteading buddy and he got his
dump-truck load a solid month before we did. A picture is worth a
thousand words, so I'll let his tomato plants speak for themselves. In
fact, when I asked him what he thought of the fertility source, he
sounded like a born-again organic gardener. "All the years we've been
gardening," he said, "I can't imagine why we didn't add manure to the
soil!" So it sounds like
the manure isn't only safe...it's turbo-charged!
When Anna first moved here she found a white plastic chair in the creek.
It quickly became her office chair behind her desk.
I tried to get her to upgrade but was met with the same "I love my chair!"
Every year I bring it up at least once and this year I finally won that argument and convinced her to upgrade to a proper Executive chair.
She reports better posture and less aches after long hours of writing.
In Mom's family, there's
always been talk of "that woman," who introduced dark coloration to the
family. The romantic notion is that she was a gypsy shipwrecked off the
coast of New England. We decided to find out if that was really the
case, so Mom spit in a tube and we sent in her DNA to be analyzed.
Two of Mom's grandparents came
to the U.S from Sweden during their lifetimes, so it's unsurprising
that Scandinavia makes up such a large chunk of her DNA markers.
The actual percent Scandinavian could range from 0 to 46, so I'm going
to guess that the average shown is a bit of an underestimate.
The Rhode Island wing of Mom's
family can eventually be traced back to at least one ancestor who came
to North America in 1630 from England...and a bunch of other ancestors
with who-knows-what background. Based on Mom's DNA test results, it
looks like many of these unaffiliated ancestors may have been Irish or
from Western Europe (although Mom says Wales is the location most
spoken of in her family).
What about "that woman"?
Maybe she was from Spain, Portugal, Italy, or Greece. Or maybe it was
just dark Irish coloration coming through. Unfortunately, the ancestor
in question has been dead for many, many years, so there won't be any
DNA test results to find out for sure.
We are trying out a new product made by a friend of a friend called Plant-Scaper.
Anna likes the way it looks and I like how easy it is to set up and store.
A nice upgrade from those tomato cages that take up way too much space.
At long last, I can
report good news from the apiary! Both hives are so busy I had to add
an extra box apiece. And our basswood
tree is blooming this year, so we might actually get to harvest honey
despite our spring
The even better news is
that the queen is finally laying in the Langstroth part of our hybrid
hive. There's still brood in the Warre box, so I can't complete the
transition just yet. But hopefully I'll soon be able to take that top
box off and remove it with honey inside.
Tall hives are a good
sign, especially when all but one box in each is drawn and in use. I
checkerboarded new frames between drawn frames in the Langstroth hive,
which seems to be handy for getting the bees to use the new space
faster. In the Warre hive, I instead had to put an empty box in the
stack second from the bottom. Here's hoping the bees put both annexes
to good use soon and keep up the good work.
We met a new neighbor today.
Freddy sold us a dump truck load of his horse manure for 75 dollars.
I'm totally sold on copper
boluses for our
goats. It's been two months since Artemesia's
first treatment, and
I was surprised to see how much orange showed back up in her hair
during the intervening period. The change in hue is a clear sign that
she was deficient in this important mineral despite having free-choice
access to kelp and a salt/mineral mixture, so I'm glad I finally
figured out the essential caprine supplement.
Our doe isn't all the way back to her original coloration, though,
I was careful and only gave her the bare minimum amount of copper
recommended for a goat her size the first time around. So I decided to follow
Dr. O'Brien's advice
and give her another dose.
At the same time, I'm
bolusing our kids for the first time too. The stress of weaning can
cause worm overloads, so now's a good time to make sure Punkin gets off
to a good start. My planned dosages were 1 gram for Punkin
he's huge and being weaned), 0.5 grams for Aurora (because she's
smaller and not being weaned), and 2.5 grams for Artemesia.
no-bake bolus balls were still a bit too big to be eaten in
one go. So Artemesia
actually got about 1.25 grams, Punkin got 0.5 grams, and Aurora got
nothing. I'll try them again this afternoon to see if they'd like
another dose, but I'm also pretty willing to be content with that
dosage since I'm allowed to readminister as early as six weeks. Here's
hoping that by then Artemesia's belly is once more as orange as it was
when she was a kid.
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