Life has been more than a bit hectic since the last post, nearly none of it involving the Homestead fortunately or unfortunately. As it is, the Homestead just moves along rapidly as we come in to what would normally be the heat of the summer, and seems to instead be monsoon season.
The rabbits are doing overall well. We haven't had as much time to interact with them as I'd like, though I suspect that will always be true. The kits are growing well, and Dawn's kits are starting to outpace everyone else's. I suspect due to her only having 3 kits and being a good mother. On the not so good side, when doing butchering on Saturday of the teenagers I didn't handle one of the killings perfectly. Turns out I had killed the rabbit correctly on the first try, but it definitely shook me up a bit and I wasn't up for eating rabbit that night. Not quite at the 200 hour mark where you tend to make your first major mistake after being solid in what you're doing, but it definitely reminded me to be careful.
The big thing going on in the garden is the squash. On Thursday we left for the day and they were relatively self contained. On Friday they were sprinting across the yard. Saturday they'd gotten 5 or 6 feet from their mounds, and I made some improvised trellises that seem like they'll do the job. Above you can see what I improvised with. They seem to be doing the job, and my main concern was them shading out the corn we planted somewhat near by. So far despite the corn being very small it is still doing quite well all things considered. We will be planting pole beans around them shortly.
Not all of the plants are enjoying the lack of sun and constant rain, but some are. Right is the best example of variation between plants. The near row was planted at the same time as the top row of tomato plants. The near row is barely living, and really can't even be seen in this photo, while the top row has plants that are nearly 6' tall and as you can see Below already are flowering. The Lady of the House even saw the tomato starts today, though the photos I'm working with are from yesterday. The big news is, so far the twine and bamboo trellising seems to be holding up. It isn't perfect for sure, but it isn't expensive and as long as we put the bamboo in the ground firmly and tie strongly it is so far supporting the biggest plants. As we get tomatoes we'll see if that continues. Right now our concern with the tomatoes is watching for horn worms because one of the buggers could take out a big plant in a day given how long we are out at work. The Lady of the House has been checking the plants for pests morning and night while I'm doing rabbit chores.
So, our biggest preoccupation right now is the freakin' bugs. They seem to have mouth parts in everything. While the Squash above and the peppers Left are doing generally well, we've been picking plenty of bugs off both. The peppers seem to be attacked on the peppers themselves, and the squash and the potatoes on the leaves. Since we're trying to avoid using pesticide right now it's all hand picking of bugs. The Lady of the House has a system, and that system is a tall glass of soapy water. With the squash plants she just holds the glass under the striped cucumber beetles you probably remember from before, and startles them. Apparently striped cucumber beetles just drop when you startle them despite being able to fly. Left is the glass after a morning where she wasn't able to get many bugs. One of the things we've had recommended is spraying the plants with soapy water, but with how much it's been raining that wouldn't help for more than 15 minutes.
As long as we continue having functional plants we can accept losing leaves to some extent. With the weather we seem to be set to get a huge crop of raspberries. The little brown balls all over the plant Right are going to be raspberries within a week or two at most. Our only concern there is Below these little blue bugs that are ALL over the plant, and we can't seem to identify. So if anyone has any ideas let us know! Sorry again for the late post!