Friday, August 23, 2019

Chickens, Kale, Watermelon....Gardens

This is it.

The day before some of us leave for two weeks.  This day was all about chickens and gardens....and a bit of packing.

Our wind had blown up a lot of plastic we put down in the garden earlier in the season. We replaced it. We put another layer of peat moss in the lasagna bed. We harvested kale....

This is the pile of stems/leaves. 

FINALLY - I realized I COULD move a table and use it and the hose as an outside garden produce cleaning area. So NICE not to have all the dirt and bugs in my sink at the end of this project. We ended up with a pile of stems and some yellowing leaves for the chickens. They DO love kale.

We had a big tub of kale leaves for US.....

We took them inside and began filling bags and vacuum sealing them...Krista showed up just in time to join us.....30 more quarts of kale for the winter. I left the main stalks in the garden so we may have some baby kale when we return. If it hasn't frosted.

Did I say chickens? She came to take a dust bath - and left behind our first egg from this year group. 

A tiny start....

A couple of mornings ago one of our hens was dead in the coop.

We have been waiting for Phoenix to start dominating the hens....and then we were going to introduce him to the mean girls. Well - they've actually been sharing a chicken yard for about 6 weeks.  He is finally showing interest in ruling the roost....

AND the bare bums haven't grown back on last year's chickens. We'd been warned they wouldn't survive the winter and their habits had become ingrained.....but we thought about it....and today, we took down the fence and let the two groups mingle.
The big fluffy ones are the "chicks" and the ones with missing feathers
are last year's group. 
 We sat in the middle of the chicken yard  and watched as it became apparent which hens were the mean ones. We did NOT want to cull any chickens - that means butcher in everyday speak.  😞 Our hope is that if we remove the aggressors, the others will regrow feathers before the winter is very cold....and the two flocks will integrate. Lucille snuck in and she seems to be doing well.  She spent most her time in between the two flocks.

Dove is our bravest in this year group. She eyes the inside....

She was the first of the younger ones to try out the nesting boxes.  Two of the mean girls climbed in and began mercilessly pecking her. I was mad enough I forgot to be scared and pulled them out. 

As we watched, we marked the hens which were more aggressive than simple pecking. We were surprised it was NOT , as we had suspected, the ones with feathers growing back that were the aggressors. It was the really bald ones. We think they've been fighting with each other when we weren't watching....anyway, we marked five that were being horrible to their year group and to the younger ones. We now have 5 hens in the freezer. I cried. It was hard and sad and yet....that means we now have 12 new chickens and 6 which went crazy last winter. I hope the dynamic changes out there. It already has in that we feel comfortable letting Lucille try the coop again. She misses the other girls. 

You may thank me for NOT taking a single picture of the sad proceedings. 

We planted squash in 4 different areas of the garden to see where it would grow best. This is the worst area....

With the lettuce, cabbage and kale gone...these beds now have beets and carrots. They should be just fine for a couple of weeks. 

You can see I didn't have enough starts to even fill half the garden spot....

Last week I cut out the center heads of broccoli. Sure enough - baby ones are starting all over...these should be a good size in a couple of weeks. 

Potatoes....I'm assuming they'll be fine too. 

This seems to be the best spot for squash. 

My lasagna bed. I hope to find time when we get back to start some more spots....we should have more brown layers then (fall leaves). 
The 3rd squash site....and our corn patch. I have EARS of corn forming....I didn't rip it all out even though the wind made a mess of it....we'll water and see what happens. LOL  It's all been one big experiment...

Stacia cut back tomato foliage....hoping that will help the sets to ripen. 

Michael fixes dad up with some suspenders....smh. 

I may never live THIS down....all the hard the watermelon 1/2 the greenhouse and THIS is my watermelon crop.  The vines were everywhere...climbing the walls, creeping out the door, blossoms were plentiful. 

I am finally calling it quits for this year. They have done this all season. TONS of vines, lots of blossom and sets...but when they get this size they simply fall off the vine. I have no idea WHY. I'm going to have to do some research about this over the winter. 

Dad hasn't stopped teasing me about my "watermelon crop." ::snort:: It doesn't seem quite fair because the garden is really producing more than any other garden we've ever had....just not melons. LOL

It's 10 p.m. and it's dark. I've been reminded when school and high school football begins - IT'S FALL!  There you have feels like fall, it looks like fall - it's fall. LOL  Maybe it will still be summer in Oregon. 

1 comment:

Amazing Mama said...

So much activity in your world��. Did you know fried melon blossoms are delicious as are fresh flower heads in salad? Might be a way to redeem the patch next year��