Sunday, May 10, 2015

Sunday Walkabout 5-10

wild grapes along the fenceline

So, here we are…

…it’s Sunday once again.

 I know I keep saying “time flies”, but, you know, it does! It really DOES!

GOOD NEWS! the tree swallows are back
they eat lots of bugs
This week was one of those good-news/bad news kind of weeks, depending on your perspective.
We got a lot of work done around here (including the beginning of a project I’ve wanted to do for AGES) and that’s GOOD.
a new path in front of the processing shed
definitely a GOOD thing!

But, we lost a lamb, realized that we lost more of the early broccoli crop than previously noted, had to re-plant some of the onions and are now facing what promises to be an epic battle with the potato beetles.

…and I guess I don’t need to tell you that all those things are BAD.

With the exception of the lamb and broccoli losses, everything can be corrected during the rest of the season and life goes on.  (and we feel confident that we know what happened to the lamb, and we can address that for next year’s crop…and all the other animals look fine) We will be sure to start more broccoli for the fall to cover the Spring shortage.

the farm in my rearview
see the Boss tilling?

As I headed out for the town run, the Boss was working on cultivating the gardens. Not only does this make things look tidy, it cuts down on the weed pressure for the harvestable crops and gives him a chance to fertilize the plants directly.

Since the timer on the irrigation system needed to be replaced, the Boss took the opportunity to upgrade and organize the “command center” at the hydrant.  At first this looked quite intimidating and confusing, but it’s actually much better than the old system and hopefully I will no longer find that actually watered nothing because I overlooked a valve.
irrigation "command center"

While working on the command center, the Boss modified the garden gates...again.  In an attempt to keep large, white dogs OUT of the garden, all the gates now have multiple bungee cords latching them shut.  The dogs getting into  the garden had never been a problem until about two weeks ago when one of the gates blew open and the dogs were finally free to explore the forbidden wonders of the compost pile. Since that time, we’ve found Ellie in the garden first thing in the morning on numerous occasions.
a big white dog in the garden is a BAD thing
Amazingly, Gus was not in on the overnight adventures. We still haven’t completely solved the mystery, but our best guess is that she somehow opened the gate and let herself in. So far, the latched gates have been successful.  However, I keep forgetting the gates are latched and I’ve been stopped dead in my tracks on more than one occasion. (it’s not unlike pulling on a “push” door) But, no more giant dog footprints in the garden!

I spent part of an afternoon “potting up” the tomato and pepper plants.

rootbound tomato

going in a bigger pot

watering the re-potted plants
  By putting the small, root-bound plants in bigger pots with plenty of soil and some fertilizer, we are assured large, robust transplants when we put them in the garden.  And, yes, I did see all those HUGE plants that left the Market on Saturday (some even had tomatoes on them!)  and yes, I did see that a couple of the neighbors down Mbrk road have already planted theirs out in the garden.  And, yes, I know that makes it look like we are “way behind” on our garden.  But, we’ve been out in the garden in the middle of the night, trying to salvage the newly planted tomatoes from an unexpected late frost because we got a little overly anxious.  So, we’ll err on the side of caution and let the tomatoes sit in their pots in the trailer in the backyard for a while.  And in so doing, have tomatoes until late in the season (hopefully).

That night, as we went to sleep, I was feeling quite satisfied that the tomato/pepper job was done…only to be nearly jolted out of bed by the ominous rolls of thunder.  Lightning crackled across the skies and rain began to pelt the roof. (and was that hail?) MY PLANTS!  I hate night storms when I can’t see anything and all I can do is worry over what might happen to the crops and animals in the dark and stormy night.  And, yes, I did run out and check as soon as the storm was over. Thankfully, there was no damage and we got ¾ inch of much-needed rain.

tomatoes and peppers after the thunderstorm

Then, it was “weeding the onions” day.  This year’s onion plants are not the greatest. Actually, they are more than a little disappointing. I think that has something to do with the ongoing drought in Texas where the onion farm is located. They are small and spindly and the three days of relentless wind a couple of weeks back didn’t do them any favors.  The plants were somewhat stressed and stunted and the weeds were beginning to take over. 
this is an onion planting fail
No, I can't see many onions either

Unfortunately, in one bed, the weeds actually won the battle for survival.  Since we didn’t have any extra plants, and it would take a while to get any replacements, we decided to fill in with onion sets (little onions) as an experiment. But, we didn’t have enough sets…and time would be of the essence as it’s getting late in the season for planting potatoes and onions.  An emergency run to the farm store was in order.…”and if you’re going to town, you might as well pick up a few other things…” Next thing I knew, I was standing in line with a buggy full of onion sets, gardening supplies AND a pitchfork, and the clerk was exclaiming “wow, you’re gonna be busy!”  Yep…it’s Spring! 

onion sets
yellow onions store well

planting onion sets

Somewhere in there, we got the first squash transplants of the season situated in the garden. We use a lot of transplants in the garden to an effort to thwart losses due to pests and disease. (I’ve been meaning to write a post about this…maybe one of these days)  With that transplanting job completed, we are just 6 weeks or so from fresh squash and zucchini. Here’s hoping!  (and it’s time to start the next batch)
first planting of squash after the rain

look closely
see the beetles?
I’ve been anxiously awaiting the first potato sprouts in the garden.  And, apparently, so have the Colorado potato beetles. The plants are starting to pop out all along the rows.  The beetles are coming up out of the ground along with the plants and destroying the plants with their voracious appetites.  And, it was more than a little disheartening to find more beetles than plants.

We’ve never seen anything quite like it…this year’s battle for potatoes promises to be epic.  And, yes, I noted more than a few asparagus beetles AND cucumber beetles were checking out the squash plants as we planted them. Ugh…bugs!
nine beetles on ONE plant

the drive to town was beautiful

Then, it was time for Market.  

Since it was Mother’s Day weekend AND it was warm and beautiful, a LOT of folks were out and about, shopping downtown.  We sold 44 dozen eggs in just over 2 hours…and we could have sold more.  …and we sold over 150 bags of salad greens…

at the start of Market

And, now it’s time for a little break and a

Happy Sunday!  

I'm totally loving the knockout rosebushes we planted!

Happy Mother's Day to all the mamas out there!

Thanks for stopping by.  Come back and “visit” us again real soon.

ewes enjoying a fresh paddock on  Sunday morning

1 comment:

  1. So sorry about the lamb Barbara - it is always sad to lose a young animal.