Farming, House, Husbandry, Personal Interruptions

In Summary: The To-Do List Just Got Longer!

This long weekend unfortunately turned out to be less productive than we were hoping. Had things gone according to the original plan, we should have at least gotten some progress on the chicken coop, finished planting everything, and maybe cleaned up the house. Instead, we only got a little bit crossed off on our to-do list and still have a pile of dishes in the sink. Saturday threw a wrench into things, and we used that as an excuse to run errands for most of yesterday and today.

But, we did get some things done and I wanted to post some updates on that! So here’s our progress from Saturday and Sunday. Today the only thing we got done was to pick out a caterer for the wedding (mmm, barbeque!). It just means this week will have that much more for us to get done.

The biggest thing we got done was the corn garden! Of course, we still haven’t planted the corn yet (I’m going to have to get it in the ground tomorrow), but we are aiming for a three-sisters setup with a mix of summer squash, sweet corn, flint corn, winter squash, and both shelling and snap beans. It’s a little late to be planting, so I suppose I’m looking at late season corn.

Of course, we like to try a few things at once, so we went with a lasagna-type garden to get started. We didn’t plan ahead, or we would have gotten it started 6 months ago in the fall. So we’re working with what we got, because tilling wasn’t a realistic option, as there are still lots of dead spruce tree roots in the area. I did a bit of research and hopefully the newspaper will kill the grass and decompose under the compost by the time the roots hit soil.

First we built the bed edge. We had to do this to hold the soil in, because it sits on the decline of a hill. The bed is 32 feet by 8 feet up–so not very big but I should be able to get 24 corn mounds in there.

Next we mowed the grass, since you can see that it’s gotten very long! Then a layer of newspaper covered in compost. I would have gotten a better picture but Saturday was an extremely windy day, and it was a battle just to get the newspaper down.

As you can see, the compost comes out about 2-4 feet on the edges. This way, the bed ends up being 32 x 12. I get three rows of corn and two rows of squash in between. Let’s just say this is going to be an interesting experiment! We had to get more compost and layer it up, so I think right now it’s about 3-6 inches. We’ll create mounds to round it out to 11 inches tall at each mound.

Luckily we had a dump trailer!

But it still wasn’t enough compost, especially since we had more planting to do and still have to do up the area for cucumbers and watermelon, plus we’re using compost in our pots. So Saturday it was off to the dump (with every other person in the county!) to pick up our compost. We know people who come from one county down to get the compost from our dump–I guess we’re lucky, huh? It’s nice, since the dump trailer fits about 2 tons–a $30 trip, and we’ve filled out a lot of areas in our yard/gardens with four 1/2 trips.

View from the top of the compost/mulch area.
We shouldn’t ever run out!
All wrapped up like a present!
Of course, the dogs came along for the ride too

Once we had more compost down, we could finally hunker down to some planting. I got my mint planted in pots, my sage and basil in the garden, and some cherry tomatoes in hanging pots.

Try not to look too closely. The Buick is a project car, currently used as a catch-all for whatever is lying around–including the future roofing for our chicken coop.

Of course, it was about this time that the neighbor came by and the dogs got in a fight and I went to the ER (photo at the end). It all went downhill from there. The only other thing I have to update is that we did get into our hives, only to find they’re not building as fast as we were thinking. In some ways this is good–no swarm cells, since the blue hive was maybe 40% drawn-out comb and the yellow hive perhaps 60% drawn-out comb, but it was also disappointing. They’re not as strong as we were hoping, but they’re alive and it will simply take time. Also, now we have a deep each ready to go, and are on our way to having 2 mediums each for them. We won’t ever have to rush like this again.

We also have the clover coming up all over the yard and boy do the bees seem happy!

Clover all over
Crazy bee comb
Going strong

So, there you have it. What we got done this weekend. Mike got a new miter saw (we have an unspoken agreement–he goes along with what I want and I go along with what he wants, which is usually power tools). It doesn’t work quite like that, but it’s working and he is finally returning some of his friend’s tools that we’ve been borrowing for a year. When he dropped off his friend’s miter saw this morning? He asked, “Is it broken?”

We still have a lot left on our plates before the Maryland Poultry Swap comes up, as I’d like to pick up some things there. Hopefully I’ll come home with some Blue Wheaten Ameraucanas and perhaps some Tolbunt Polish. I’d like some hanging pitcher plants, too, though that’s really Mike’s thing–he loves the tropical plants. But we still have to build the second coop/brooder first (to be used as a quarantine after the swap).

I may or may not come home with some rabbits at the swap. I’m going to look closely at the the area and see if it’s doable or if we should just wait.

However, the plan all along was to pick up our Welsh Harlequin ducklings at the swap. I still haven’t heard from the breeder, but as much as I still want them…. I’m reconsidering. The area we can devote to ducklings is inside the dog’s pen and with the escalating fights, I’m nervous to put in something that Dixie or Huck may claim as their own. Sure, the chickens are on just the other side of the fence, and the rabbits (were we to get them soon) would also be just on the other side. But the ducks would be right inside the area that for 2+ years they’ve called their own, just stuck behind some chainlink fence.

I’m thinking seriously about the safety and necessity of it. Perhaps it will just be the chickens and bees for now, with rabbits later in the year. All I know is if we get ducks, we’ll have to be careful with the training of the dogs and diligent about proper eating schedules.

From Sunday. The swelling has gone down since then, and the stitch looks mostly even.

To end it off, some followup pictures. Poor Dixie girl drops to the floor and wags her tail in submission every time I approach her–it looks like between her biting me and me dropping her, we have some trust issues to work out. But at least I’m trying to make stitches look good.

But I love you.

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