As autumn barrels towards us, and the first frost is threatening to arrive any night, we are rushing to harvest the garden and trying to predict the weather enough to do what we can to frost protect the veggies when the frost arrives. The weather apps are notoriously inaccurate about our area as far as frosts go. I cant even count how many times now, spring and fall, we have had two different apps say the low would be 41 and we wake up to find we got to 32 and we have garden damage. I complain so much about them that the kids hung up a “Weather Rock” for me on the porch.
If the rock is wet, its raining.
If the rock is white, its snowing.
If the rock is swinging, its windy.
While I do love my weather rock, and smile when I see it, it is not exactly helpful to determine when it will frost. So we are doing our best to keep an eye on the weather apps, in conjunction with our own senses as we go do evening chores, to try to guess when the frost will come and protect the plants as much as possible.
We continue to struggle to grow potatoes. We have tried year after year. We have tried several different methods. We still are not very successful. We just harvested this year’s and again it was a small harvest.
But a lot of the other veggies are doing great. We harvested and canned 7 quarts of purple beans, plus another 10, 2-cup bags went to the freezer.
The bell pepper plants are producing great this year. Much more than last year. As are the peas. We have been enjoying them fresh and have frozen a lot of peas too.
It was a hard goodbye yesterday as 2/3 of our flock departed to their new home. The person who bought them is very excited to add their genetics to their breeding flock though, so we are happy for that.
And on his way home from taking them to their new home, Mtn Man picked up the first of our new dairy sheep!
We are still working on a name for her. She is an almost 2-year-old ewe, who has already lambed once. She is 70% East Friesan and 30% Lacaune.
This is a very exciting new project for us. We will be adding some more dairy sheep to the flock in September.
Eves is now setting on fertile eggs. The first bunch of eggs we put under her was from the adult hens. Not one was fertile, proving the cockerel is not yet breeding the hens. But then we put a bunch of pullet eggs for setting, and it is clear he is doing his job with the younger pullets. Out of 12 eggs, 9 were fertile and we had one early death. So she is setting on 8 now. In a couple of weeks we will have some chicks.
Our current chicken flock is not very welcoming of everyone. This is the first year we have had the flock kill one of their own, and attempt to kill a second. We don’t like it, we don’t know why they are like this, and we don’t know what to do about it. We do a lot of integrating and switching around of pens and breeding groups and our methods have always been successful, for all these years, until this year. This year the flock will accept some birds, but not others.
This has left us with some outcasts. We didn’t know what to do with the outcasts besides butcher them. At least it would be better for them than the flock pecking them to death. But then I thought of the bantam flock in the lower coop. Maybe they would accept the outcasts into their little flock. It was worth a try. And it was successful! Over time they have now gathered three standard-size hen outcasts into their flock.
The most recent was Carrot, the hen that got attacked by the Golden Eagle. She has had a pretty miraculous recovery in the grow pen in the barn. But now it was time to try to figure out how to get her back with other chickens. Since she is still very thin, and needs more recuperation, I did not think it was a good idea to risk putting her with the big flock considering their behavior this year. So we moved her in with the bantams and the other outcasts. She has settled in nicely and seems happy to be in a bigger space with other chicken friends.
Little Miss wanted to try her hand at making a braided wool rug all on her own. She has made them with Mtn Man before, but never by herself. She finished it this week and it looks beautiful.
I am almost done with my cabled cardigan. I just need to do the front bands and collar, plus finishing weaving in ends and it will be done. I am really looking forward to having this done because it has been on the needles for over 18 months now and kept getting set aside for other projects.