Farm life and regular life continues to keep us very busy…too busy to post much lately. Let’s see if I can catch you up on some of it.
The County Fair is closing in on us faster than we can get ready. The kids all have their 4H projects for fair, and several of us are also entering things in the open class. We are excited, but also a little rushed to complete everything this year.
The garden is going so well this year! The vegetables that have done not-as-well in previous years are doing very well this year, and most of the veggies that normally do very well are still doing very well this year. The three veggies not doing as well this year are carrots, lettuce, and spinach. The carrots are not doing well because I used some seeds I had saved and apparently they didn’t get saved properly because they had terrible germination. And the lettuce and spinach aren’t doing well because one of the drip lines broke and they didn’t get the water they needed.
The cabbages are absolutely loving the pest control tents, and the compost-filled place they were planted. Normally, we don’t harvest cabbage until September, and even then they are only about 1.5 lbs each. We have already started the cabbage harvest and they are all in the 3-lb range, with the biggest being 3.5! There are still several that are not ready yet, which is good because we don’t really want all of them at the same time. We will be making a big batch of kraut in the fermenting crock this week with these cabbages.
We harvested our first beet as well – again, normally we don’t harvest beets until later in the year.
We have been getting a handful or more of strawberries each day for a couple of weeks now. They are so delicious! Very sweet and juicy. And bigger than previous years by far. A few are growing some strange shapes that are fun for the kids.
We had quite an aphid infestation on the currant bushes, and it was spreading to the tomatoes as well. We decided to try ladybugs, which we had never tried before. We got a cup that said it had over 1,500 in it and put them by the infested plants during a cool/cloudy time of day per the instructions. It really helped with the infestation and we are happy with the results.
The three-year-old grapevine is doing extremely well this year. It is vining all over the lattice and has numerous clumps of grapes on it. As long as the critters don’t steal any, I expect we will have a great harvest of grapes this year as well.
The peas are doing much better this year than in previous years as well. We have harvested mostly snap so far, but the shelling peas are coming along well too and should be ready very soon. All the tomatoes are flowering and the earliest one has some tiny green fruit on it already. The beans are growing so fast that each time we go out in the morning we can actually see the difference in size.
We left the WOWs on the squash, pumpkins, and melons longer than usual, which helped keep them a bit warmer and protected them from the June hail storms. A couple of WOWs are still on. So the pumpkin patch is looking very good this year and we are hopeful for a good harvest there as well.
We should have some zucchini ready very soon.
The Red Kuri squash leaves curl in on the edges, which looks really cool.
Three weeks ago I put some hatching eggs I bought under our little silkie hen, Eve, so she could set and raise some chicks. She is currently hatching them out, we have seen two chicks so far and she still has two viable eggs left.
We tried to sell our old milk goat, Gretchen, since she can’t be bred again. But not many people are looking for an old nanny goat that can’t be bred, so after trying for a month we decided we just needed to butcher her. We will use the meat for dog food.
Our new milk goat, Fern, arrived at the farm this week. She is a registered Nubian with excellent udder confirmation and is very easy to milk. She is currently fresh. We are glad to be back into milking and having fresh milk.
Anya has an interesting habit of burying her food before she eats it. She uses her nose to push whatever is available over the food and the dish. Then she paces around, then digs it up and eats it. It is very cute. She is continuing to do well with her training and excel as a guardian dog. She is doing well with all the animals now, including the chickens. We still are not leaving her alone with them yet, since she is only a year and the lambs are not full size yet, but whenever we are out and can keep an eye on things we put her with the livestock and when we are not around she is in the back pen by herself and can interact with them through the fence.
Tundra, our head LGD, is not doing so well. He is 12 and 1/2 years old now and his age is getting the best of him. I don’t think he has long left. He has been such an amazing guardian dog all these years and truly loves doing his job. We are hoping for an easy and peaceful passing for him. It is going to be very hard on the family, but there is nothing that can be done about it. I often wish dogs lived longer.
I always knit socks, sleeves, and mittens two-at-a-time because I hate having to do another one after I have just finished one. Well, for the first time ever I learned why it might be beneficial to only do one-at-a-time. I was almost done with both sleeves for Mr. Smiles’ sweater and then I realized that I had done the increases wrong and had to completely take them out. Taking out and re-doing two is definitely more work than just one. 😦
But I got them fixed and am about half done with them again. I can’t wait to assemble this sweater! It is so cute with the cables up the front.
That brings you up-to-date about most of the going-ons around the homestead! I will leave you with a picture of the beautiful wildflowers that are blooming along the path to the barn. There were even more of them in bloom a week ago, but you can still see how pretty they are.