Well, it turns out we've been blaming the wrong predator for at least some of our chicken deaths. Yesterday the Lady of the House heard the turkeys giving alarm calls, and saw they were up the tree. When she looked out in the back yard, there, in broad daylight was a first year coyote. She didn't get a photo of it as she was busy chasing it off, but fortunately neither of the turkeys, nor the remaining chicken were killed. We're going to have to do some strong behavioral remediation for this coyote, because as interesting as they are, we Really don't want them around the homestead when we have livestock. At beast they'll scare the rabbits into not wanting to breed (gee, maybe that's why they haven't been accepting breeding) and at worst they can do a Lot of damage as is clearly evidenced by the nearly exterminated chicken flock. At least we know what we're dealing with because a coyote is very different from a fox. Fortunately they're smart enough to be easy to scare, and lazy enough to not want to go to much trouble. But now, let's talk about the garden successes.
To me the success that is co-equal to the beans that I've talked about so often is the garlic. Not only do we have a good selection of garlic for storing and eating that's currently drying, the scapes went to seed quite nicely! The bulbs of the garlic aren't huge individually, but they don't have to be if the flavor is good and strong, which it smells like it will be. The thing I'm looking forward to is planting.
The other big success stories are the leafy greens. The Swiss Chard in particular stands out to me because we got it on a whim from the seedling swap, and they just did great. We harvest from them from time to time, and every time we think they're going to die off because of one thing or another, they just keep going. The Kale on the other hand has never faltered, and nothing seems to bother it. All of our kale this year is volunteer kale from past years, and it is definitely acclimated to our hillside, and the biggest problem has been keeping it from interfering with things we've deliberately planted. I'm going to let the Kale that's there go to seed over the spring, and distribute the seeds next year. This is a strain of Kale we want to keep around! It makes for great slightly spiced sauteed greens, and a great kale chip. The last success story is the potato buckets, but I don't have good photos of just how well they're doing right now, so we'll touch on them next week.