Wow, after an incredibly slow-paced and uneventful winter and spring, summer really hit me hard and fast. The past two months have been filled mostly with a lot of animals and a lot of homegrown food or food-in-progress, plus lots of middle-school softball and every possible celebration/wedding/funeral/shower/anniversary/birthday party you can imagine. I think we have had two weekend days with no social obligations since Memorial Day.
On the bright side, we did get a vacation where we actually relaxed, which I wrote about here.
The creatures that came into our life included TWO foxes, which resulted in the loss of over half our chicken flock and five of our eight turkeys. It was a heartbreaking spring. This is who's left for turkeys:
The hen, with the remaining one of her two poults, even adopted a much younger poult from another hen who got eaten, but then the poult disappeared. Turkeys have a tough time of things.
The cat brought home a treat:
... which I'm sure he ate shortly after we returned it to the great outdoors.
We got meat bird chicks (and a few bronze turkeys, since we obviously can't eat our heritage breed pets). They started off like this:
Six weeks later (there are 38 in all):
Although Mark built them a gorgeous portable coop last year, the fox issue was too risky this year so they're in the barn, living like good ol' factory chickens, except with light, air and personal space. The turkeys, however, seem to think they're going to be pets like their distant cousins.
We had a visitor one morning:
As seen through a dirty window in early morning light at about 12 feet away. We are no longer keeping birdseed on the porch...
Calvin, world's best rooster, succumbed to injuries sustained during two fox attacks. He held on for a couple of days but it was too much for him. Here is the as-yet-unnamed successor, who's not aggressive but who just isn't handsome like Calvin was.
And the pigs and cows are doing their thing.Can you see the sleeping pig in this picture? Click to enlarge.
The cows and pigs greet each other every morning through the fence, which I find kind of cute.
Sweet Sam. His days are numbered.
And when not dealing with the animals (and the predators), there has been a garden. Long story short:
But no story is short with me. Basically: we ended up with a good amount of strawberries and a small amount of jam, a constant supply of black raspberries that I picked almost daily from June 24-July 26 (yes, I kept track) and a small amount of blueberries that are at least going into my yogurt/oatmeal breakfast every morning. I'm pretty happy to have been eating fresh-picked fruit every single day for about six weeks.
As for the veggie garden, I got a really late start (and am still planting, as of this morning). But everything is growing and if the late blights skips us, we should have enough tomatoes (35 plants!) and enough potatoes (200 feet?) to feed us all winter. No beans or peas this year, but I might try a late pea planting. And something ate my pumpkins, cukes and zukes. I tried a late planting with some half-dead pumpkins and acorn squashes from the hardware store and they're growing great but they never blossomed so I think that's a bust. The brief heat spell didn't do too much damage and although we could use some rain, we're in great shape compared to much of the rest of the country.
I was feeling pretty overwhelmed with the garden a few weeks ago but I made a deal with myself to alternate workout mornings and gardening mornings and what a difference that has made. I may barely maintain in the fitness department from now until the harvest is over, but there was honestly no other time of the day to get out to the garden, and now I get a good hour out there three or four mornings a week, which is enough. Maybe if I had started that schedule in June the garden would be spectacular right now, but I'm still pretty pleased.
Maybe I'll post again before, say, October. Then again, if we get all the tomatoes and potatoes we have the potential for, November might be a better bet.