Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Planting Days

It is cool and rainy until tomorrow, when we expect the heat back. I am planting intensively, trying to clear out the seedlings in the greenhouse.

Since Saturday, I've had some visits from friends bearing plants. My plan to restrict my pepper planting to two types has been quashed. Last night, I tucked pepper plants into beds until it was too dark to see. There are at least six types of peppers that will grow in the plastic garden this summer.

Nearly all the tomato seedlings have been planted. Squashes are coming up. Beans are flowering, and little cucumbers are formed. I can see the beets have begun forming. Chinese greens are big enough to harvest, as is spinach.

The plastic garden liveth!

In the meantime, red and black raspberries are ripening and need to be picked daily. Plums have begun to ripen.

There's a new batch of tiny chicks under a tiny chicken and a brand new calf in the pasture.

There is not enough time in a day to do everything that needs to be done on the farm.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Here Kitty, Kitty...

When we Americans reference a "sitting duck" we are speaking of someone who is vulnerable. The correct term is probably "sEtting duck" and has its origins in the agricultural understanding that most fowl will set on their nests for the 21, 28, or 31 days necessary to hatch young.

Setting fowl will bear with heat, cold, rain, lack of food and water in order to incubate those eggs! They also have to fight off wild predators of all kinds which are trying to get their eggs or newly hatched young. I've seen some pretty tough mamas, willing to fight literally to the death to protect their young.

Last night, my husband walked in to just such a scenario in the goose house.

Every evening, we feed the geese and close them up for the night. Yesterday, there was a black cat attacking a setting goose in order to get her goslings. The goose was killed.

Now, when it is a fox you know that it is probably going to feed its kits with the livestock or fowl it kills. I know that cat wasn't particularly hungry, nor was it going to feed its young. It, like skunks and possum, just enjoys killing newly hatched birds and fowl.

Geese are lovely animals with tons of personality. Sure, I know that cats can be lovable pets as well. I don't dislike them. We tolerate neighbors' cats in our barns and fields. However, I sure wish they'd be aware of the destruction cats can do to songbirds and poultry and waterfowl. I wish they'd keep them inside their homes so that they can enjoy their company without endangering our livestock.

I'm not shy to tell dog owners to keep dogs away from our goats. There are clearcut laws regarding the killing of livestock by dogs. Of course, the first thing I hear is that "Fluffy would never hurt a flea" or some such. Every year, goats are run and killed by packs of Fluffies who are just doing what nature dictates.

Is it time to make laws that will impose a financial penalty on cat owners as well?

Sunday, June 07, 2009

June is Berry Month

I picked the first eight red raspberries today. I ATE them all. They were very refreshing, and full of antioxidants.

All types of black raspberries and blackberries are loaded with blossoms.

Fruit hangs on all but the fig tree. It got zapped by the last surprise late frost.

There is a little spinach and some snow peas which I can pick tomorrow morning. The asparagus continue to bear.

If poke and Virginia creeper were cash crops, I'd be rich today. That stuff grows so fast that you could probably sit and watch it. 'Don't have time.

Beans and cucumbers want to grow right now. The cucumbers have started growing and have flowered and there are tiny fruits on the vines. I forgot how swiftly the plants grow and develop in June. Even an overwintered pepper plant has little fruits developing.