Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Some success in the garden.

Apologies for the photo quality, not only was it raining today which makes the lighting a little iffy to begin with, I don't have a machine that I can edit photos on right now. Even without edited photos I'm glad to be able to share that our remaining squash plant seems to be doing well. As you can see from the plethora of blossoms it is adding fruit constantly. Not having a trellis isn't seeming to hurt it at all. I'm looking forward to being able to cut summer squash and steam it.
Our tomatoes have also set fruit, and seem to be doing fairly well. Some of the fruit appears a bit crowded as you can see here, though it seems to be growing fine. From how close the fruit is set these are probably sungold tomatoes since I think that's the only kind of cherry tomato I planted this year. The tomato plants are very stunted this year compared to the past, and we didn't even plant them late. They just haven't been doing well. Some of that is probably us having not used the bunny fertilizer we've used so liberally in the past, some of it is probably the very strange weather we've been getting with cold nights, and scorching dry periods.
Given the attention we've been able to give the garden at all this year I think it actually speaks very well to the benefits of mulch. If we'd given as little attention and watering to our plants in the past they'd probably be dead by now. With mulch they seem to be able to retain moisture well, and stay hydrated which has prevented the tomato plants from having strange split tomatoes, or just turning yellow and drooping after a week of no rain and hot sun. When we garden in the future I intend to make sure we mulch our garden beds, because the cost seems to be well worth it!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Garlic scapes, and chicken intrusions.

I'm sorry for not having a post up yesterday, with trying to get everything done, I've been running out of time and brain power. This is especially true as we've started packing up the Critter's things and he's getting upset and concerned about why his things are going away. That's led to evenings being a lot more challenging for us, and less sleep. Either way, while we have gotten rid of a lot of the homesteading things with the rabbits and being down to two chickens, there are still things left to do.

First of all, as you can see the garlic is doing very well. I went through and cut all of the scapes, and have put them in a vase. From the experience of a few seed savers this should give them enough energy to get through flowering. Over the next couple weeks I'm going to be keeping a close eye on them so I can pull the bulbules out and try to give the flowers room so we can save actual seed from them. It's one of those things that I really don't want to let go of  since it's been a goal for some time now.
Another thing that's going on is that the chickens are still very much around, and our red girl has survived and is thriving despite the attack from what I assume was a hawk. Unfortunately her desire to stay close to the house lately has led to some interesting behaviors. Including staring in the dining room window during dinner. The other thing that happens with this has become particularly relevant to my sleep. She's been perching there during the night, and as dawn approaches she starts shifting, and the bush taps the window. That wakes the dog up, who given the events of a couple weeks ago, thinks that the bear is back and wakes up barking. The barking wakes me up, and because you can't assume a false alarm I bounce up, run down stairs, and check for intruders. This of course cuts my sleep short when he does this 3 or 4 times from 4 - 6:30 AM.

Something we haven't discussed a lot in our homesteading talking is dogs and dog training. Dogs are an integral part of homesteading in my mind, and good training is an important part of that. We aren't expert dog trainers is why I haven't talked a lot about training. I would say though if you intend to do homesteading in the future, bone up on your dog training, and get good at it so you aren't looking for the best way to train this kind of false alarm behavior out, without eliminating the alerting behavior we do want!

Finally, we really appreciate all of the help we got on the GoFundMe, The push with the doubling met the goal, and it has helped a good bit. We're still struggling but it has made a huge difference for us, and thank you to everyone who has helped.