Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Weather for growth, pecking order changes.

First things first, I want to give a shout out to our now 4 Patreon supporters. Thanks to the group of you for your contributions, they have made a difference for us.  A week after returning from the convention, I'm finally feeling fully recovered, and refocused at home. As we were away, the plants got rain and sun, and positively shot up! Many are doing very well, but for today I'm going to focus on the beans, and the potatoes. Other than that I'm going to talk about the turkeys and the chickens a bit.
I hadn't quite understood just how fast beans go Up, or how strong their little tendrils are. Because the cattle panel isn't tall enough for their tastes, I put in twine runners, and drop lines for them to climb up, and within a day they're twining around and going up. It's fascinating to watch. Before I had the twine in place, the beans were growing up beyond their supports by twining around each other, and climbing. The tallest of them was over a foot and a half over the top of the support. I'm happy with how well the beans are growing, and that barring some catastrophe wiping out the plants we should have a good harvest of beans this year. Obviously, as with everything on the homestead, don't count your beans, or anything else before harvest.

Next, we are stopping at the potatoes in their buckets. They are getting very bushy, and just going nuts! The Lady of the House has been keeping up on them, and they're definitely her baby this year. She's kept them filled up with manure, and watered the rare times that it's needed. For the most part this year watering isn't necessary due to the regular random storm bursts. I was also going to be talking about the asparagus that has recently flowered, but the photos didn't come out so I'll have to touch on that on Thursday.I'm not sure why, but so far the potato plants haven't been mauled too badly by bugs, and I'm actually going to put at least part of that down to the fowl we have wandering the yard, eating anything that moves, and much that doesn't.
At this point we're down to 1 Cinnamon Queen, Mr. Bond MkII, and 3 chicks for chickens, and two very lanky turkeys. The social dynamics of the flock are definitely in flux right now, which ends up with the one laying rooster regularly off on her own. The Lady of the House jokingly pointed out that she's just Far too mature to want to hang out with the teenagers that think they know best. The turkeys, and all of the other chickens are effectively teenagers, and don't really care what she thinks. The turkeys have also from time to time gone after her hard, and she probably doesn't feel too welcome with them around. I missed the real action, but the Lady of the House saw the dominant turkey, the one with less marking that's on the ground Above, head fully red attacking the Cinnamon Queen full force. No blood, but it was clearly problematic. I really hope that the pecking order settles out without major conflicts. Every time though we introduce new chickens it's going to have to be worked out again.
The chickens are teaching the turkeys "how to chicken" which is funny, except when they're rolling around on the garden bed and knocking over everything they touch. Their claws are big and sharp, their wings are powerful, and they peck hard. Turkeys are a whole different beast. They even poop big, which reminds me, the photo Right demonstrates just why I need to get chain and put the waterer off the ground. They sit on it and shit in it. The turkeys are still very much a learning experience, and I'm going to really need to figure out just how I'm going to work with them long term. Getting them herded back into their coop is difficult. The one time I've managed it, instead of letting them roost outside, which I want to avoid, I ended up carrying a hissing turkey under each arm. I really do need to get them in regularly. Having them lead the chickens off into the woods to roost in the trees is not so good, and actually led to the chicks being outside overnight last night even with the turkeys in.

The electrical netting is looking better and better.

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