Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Failing miserably, or not

I've been failing miserably to keep up with this blog.  The only thing I can say in my defense is that actually DOING the garden has taken priority over writing about it.  One side of the hoop house is entirely planted.  The other side is half weeded.  The rest of the weeding needs to be finished, the entire side double dug, and the manure needs to go in.  Getting the irrigation system to the trees and the hoop house by Friday has taken priority over that.  Next week is supposed to be dry, and windy, when it isn't in the upper 80s.

On the planted side of the hoop house, the peas and rhubarb are doing great.  The second and third plantings of radishes are up (I gave up on the square foot spacing and went with rows because the seeds are old and the germination rate was low - planting every inch in rows four inches apart has gotten me enough radishes that I will thin them once, hopefully tomorrow, and eat those as greens, then wait for the rest to actually be radishes.  We ate the four radishes we got from the first square-foot.  NONE of the carrots (any of the three plantings) has come up.  Admittedly, those seeds were old, too.  Or it could be Ph level - which I didn't check (something else to do tomorrow, now that I have a tester).  The kohlrabi is doing fine since I covered it with chicken wire to keep out whatever little beastie was chomping all the leaves.  We've harvested a bagful of spinach (the regular kind) that we need to finish before Friday.  The leaves are huge - I won't wait that long to harvest them again, because I like baby spinach best.  A few of the early beans actually came up - more will be planted tomorrow and/or the first week of June, along with more Malabar Spinach, since the cold nights took out most of that.  Two of the cukes (the big ones under the cloches) are doing okay.  The rest are dead.  Some of the gourds are okay, but I don't know which are which (someone mixed up my labels when they were in the Jiffy pellets indoors). 

On both sides we are munching the occasional strawberry from the plants that were there when we moved in.  And the figs in the middle are coming back up from where I had to cut them to the ground after those late cold winds killed them back.

I still have the peppers in the house because it has been too cold at night to put them out.  Also more white wonder, lemon, and paris cornichon cukes.  And there might be more gourds in there, too.  Or morning glories.  Like I said, the labels didn't stay where they should have.

On the rest of the property, the fields are tilled.  I should walk down and see if they planted yet.  The fruit tree I couldn't identify earlier in the year IS a pear tree.  El Jefe got a little too happy with the chain saw while taking out the branches that were making mowing such a pain, and he cut off all the low-hanging branches on the cherry trees, so I'll be harvesting those from a ladder.  There are lots of pears and cherries.  I think we lost the apples to the late frost.  Oddly enough, though, we have peaches... on a sad looking tree that is nearly as many dead branches as live.  And the magnolia STILL has buds and open blossoms.  Last of all, El Jefe figured out what those three scruffy little shrubs in one of the unmowed strips were - Gooseberries!  Then I found more of them mixed in with the raspberries or blackberries (really which is which?) that are everywhere.  There is a difference, though - all the berry bushes at the edge of the woods have white petals and white to green centers.  The ones by the gooseberries (and there are a LOT of gooseberries) have the same white petals but the stamens are yellow.  Really bright yellow.

 And that is all I have time for today.  Now off to the TaeKwonDo tests...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

More pleasant surprises

We've found more rhubarb, buried in unmowed areas.  Also, more asparagus, leeks, and GARLIC.  Oh, happy day!  I love garlic.  I had already ordered some to be delivered for planting in the fall.  It would be nice to be able to harvest some this year, though.

The bees in the nuc are quite busy.  They've chewed themselves a slightly larger opening.  This is fine, since I doubt they'll chew anything larger than they can defend.  And I'll get the woodware for real entrances, hopefully by Thursday... right, El Jefe?  Also, tomorrow I have to set the swarm lures.  Should have done it today, but I was distracted by cutting off the plastic the wind tore across the hoop house, and painting RoundUp on the area where the hops will go.  My list of things to do keeps getting longer faster than I can get anything done.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Birds and the Bees...

We got a bit more done on the coop yesterday after church and lunch, since the weather held.  The Princess and the Pirate both helped.  The Princess by gophering, and the Pirate by keeping the dog out of our hair and then by weeding half of the next section of the hoop house (which I need to get dug, and add the manure to, since I've also planted the entire side that was ready).  Let's see if I can post some pics...

This was actually how much we did LAST weekend.  I don't have the pics of what we did yesterday.  But we added the corner posts, with temporary braces to hold them, and two of the beams across the tops.  It's a learn-as-we-go experience.  We stopped working yesterday because I wanted supper, and we needed L-brackets that we didn't have.

In the process yesterday, we discovered we have two racoons living in the barn... way, WAAAYYY up near the roof.  One of them is a monster-sized beast.  They have to go.

We also took El Jefe's new revolver down to the river where there is a backstop, and I tried it out.  In the process, we discovered again that the dog will never be a gundog, since at the first shot, he lit out for home like a bear was after him.  He came back to us looking highly embarrassed about ten minutes later, as we were walking up the path to home.  I like the Ruger LCR better than any other revolver I've ever tried, but I still much prefer semi-autos.

Friday morning, I got a call from a friend about a swarm of bees hanging 7-8' up in a pine tree in her back yard.  She had to go to work before we could get there, but she left good directions, and I found them with no trouble.  It was the easiest bee capture EVER.  Even though I had to do it by myself.  I transported them home in the trunk of the car and they are happily ensconced in a nuc box I had.  We hadn't planned on getting bees again until next year, but darned if I'm going to turn down a free swarm.  El Jefe is on his way to Dadant to pick up a hive body so I can transfer them as soon as they have built out four/fifths of the frames in the nuc.  I should have told him to pick up a swarm capture box while he's there, since it occurs to me that the weird warm weather we've had this spring may provoke more swarms than usual - I believe I'll sign off and see if I can get him on the cell to do that.

Pic of the bees in their tree...  That ball is slightly smaller than a football, maybe three pounds of bees.