Week by Week, 17/52: Planting, Pastures, and Plums

Monday, May 8, 2017



This week (well, okay, I'm behind - these photos are nearly two weeks old) was one that gives me a lot of optimism when I see the garden growth. Tiny little basil seedlings are my absolute favorite with their little bitty trapezoid-ish leaves. The peach, plum, cherry, and apple trees are all fruiting, and the trees we planted when we moved in were trying to fruit as well, until I plucked most of the fruit off (their branches are too thin to hold the weight of full-grown peaches, and a few of them had 10-15 baby peaches on each branch! I'm letting the bigger ones keep one or two peaches, but thinned most of them). The potatoes are doing much better than the ones that got drowned last year, since I put them in the raised beds where there's better drainage. And I'm having a tough time not digging up any garlic or shallots, even though they look so fantastic! They're not ready, but it's hard waiting.

Heidi the goat is happy in her little yard, and is totally used to the electric fencing (which, in case you were wondering, smarts for a big when a person touches it, but isn't going to permanently, or even temporarily, injure anyone!) and is calm and friendly. She's taken particularly to Cecilia, and likes to follow her around her yard and snuggle close to her. Basically she's like a big dog with horns who likes to eat pine trees. We're looking for some companions for her, and once we have one or two more, we'll be moving them around to get them to eat poison ivy, wild blackberry brambles, honeysuckle, and baby pine trees. Hopefully it'll cut down on Andrew's mowing a bit! And their manure should help build up the soil a bit as well. Eventually we'd like to expand to dairy goats, but we're not ready for the commitment of milking yet.

The chickens have been moved out to a section of land beyond the current garden, in an attempt to clear that land, build up the soil a bit, and then plant in the summer (pumpkins, fall cucumbers, and probably a cover crop of some sort). Then we'll move them back once we're done using that area for growth, and let them scratch up and eat whatever's left. Free ranging was nice and idyllic until they started scratching up my garden beds! Plus the predators were getting them... So now we've got 36 laying hens and 2 roosters (Andrew doesn't want to get rid of the roosters, much to my chagrin...), and their manure should help improve the soil as well.

Edith has been rolling all over the place, so we're now at the "keep-everything-off-the-floor-do-you-want-the-baby-to-choke-on-that-and-die" phase that means my floor is much cleaner than it normally would be! It's great, and also slightly nerve-wracking. The crumbs stuck to her face after she's rolled for a while show that my "no food away from the table" rule isn't working, and also that I'm not vacuuming often enough...

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