It is officially summer and while most of the days are warm, the evenings are getting colder with the increased chance of frost for my little valley. Thunderstorms still move through and usually bring herald their arrival with an onslaught of pea-sized hail. Since the greens are grown in the field, you'll see the evidence of the hail in the head lettuces, chard, and anything else that has broad leaves. I like to think of them as rugged, Montana-style veggies!
The chickens run inside when there is heavy rain since their feathers only over them so much protection, but the ducks LOVE it. Hail, rain, wind; they run around like it's christmas.
Because most of the cut flowers can't tolerate a frost, they live under their low tunnels, and even though those are raised up each day to ventilate they still over great protection from the carnage of the thunderstorms. I can't say the same for some of the radish, spinach, and kale younglings. But they had a good few days to root in before being hammered so they will recover!
What's available this weekend?
A lot of work got done this week but it didn't feel like much as it was as variable as the weather. From sun, sun, sun, to thunder, hail, wind, and heavy rain bursts. I was able to get the new tractor, Oscar, up and running and begin mowing down the tall grass in preparation to expand my plots with just a few thunderstorms that forced me to some different work inside.
The perennial/potato patch got weeded (as will many other beds over the next weeks). A task that has been forgotten and left behind, even if the weeds don't forget to grow.
More beds were prepped and ready for plantings early next week and the greenhouse is full to bursting with flats on the floor, tomatoes bursting from above their beds, and the beginning of their trellising system up and ready to begin use, while the Cottonwoods unleashed their masses of fluffy seeds upon the world. They are a favorite tree of mine but that doesn't mean I need 300 of them coming up in my newly prepared planting beds. Guess there is more weeding in my future!
Plus there are baby deer!
I found this little nugget when I almost stepped on it while trying to set up my camera to film the mower in action. It was nestled right in the center of where I needed to mow, sooo I didn't mow there that morning and have begun walking the areas to be mowed to check for more little nuggets of gold in the grass. While walking back to the house after this discovery I saw a doe leading another little wobbly nugget across the lawn to a new hiding spot in the tall grass. Luckily, this one had moved by the next day and I was able to mow.
Iris, in the rear, and Rosemary. The remaining golden girls from my original flock of 8 backyard chickens. They are 10 years old now and Rosemary still lays a few eggs every spring. They are left to roam during the day but don't roam far, preferring to spend warm days on the cool, shady porch by the little fountain. Don't let them see you with food or they will become your shadow and sometimes jump up to pull it from your hand. Luckily they can't jump too high anymore.
The grass keeps growing and growing and growing. It and the weeds are doing their best to take over the plots. The heat has been turned up a notch, which the tomatoes and peppers love! The chickens don't like the heat as much but it brings out the bugs, which they do like!
Bed preparation and weed control are still the biggest obstacles that hold me up (and all the little plants waiting in flats) but a big addition should help with one directly and the other indirectly!
As always, the lettuces are a weekly harvest, fresh and crisp, and the radishes an turnips are making an appearance!
The beginning of June sees lots of caterpillars on the farm, caterpillar tunnels! This time of year I start planting out the tender annuals and they need protection from my regular frosts (even in July & August). As most of these tender annuals are for cut flowers, frost fabric isn't good enough or at least tall enough to protect them but the tunnels are! They are 4ft high and every morning as the sun comes I cinch up the plastic and every evening as the sun goes down so does their protective plastic blanket. More and more caterpillar tunnels will crop up as the crop go in underneath them.
I also finally got to start planting my tomatoes and peppers into the raised beds in the greenhouse. My Mom spent most of the last month lining the boxes and filling them ⅔ full and now I get to finish them up! The tomatoes got a little unruly while waiting but their stems don't mind being buried so no worries for me! Hopefully the cover of the greenhouse and the heat the raised beds can hold on to will help the tomatoes survive the chilly nights!
The baby ducks are getting their big girls feathers in, the barn swallows have returned to nest in, well, the barn, the chickens and ducks continue to enjoy lazy evenings catching bugs and other nummy munchies, the hummingbirds are busy eating all the feed I make for them (walking near the feeders feels like going into a war zone with all the Rufous chasing each other away), and I chase away the few little sparrows and butter butts (what birders call yellow rumped warblers) that dare to feed on the ground while Hella glares at me.
Oh yeah and the veggies keep growing!
Also, the big ducks have discovered the little ones and are fascinated by them, or at least the drakes are. They better enjoy the company for now as once the little ducks are big enough the one remaining lady duck, Sapphire, will be leaving the company of her four male 'friends' to join all the little ladies. Then the drakes will be lonely bachelors once more.
What's available this weekend?