The Wheel Turns

The wheel turns…the season progresses.  It has been awhile since I have written.  It has been a glorious Fall (Autumn to most of the English speaking world) here in New England and I have been loving it!

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 To catch up a bit from my last post, the girls are fine.  The mysterious red stripes on Amber’s legs were most likely mites.  I cleaned the coop and added herbs to their new bedding and  I put Vaseline on their legs.  Prudence also got stripes but Beatrix never did.  Still, I treated everyone and things are much improved.  I tried adding garlic to their water (mites don’t like garlic flavored blood) but they refused to drink it.  It might have also flavored their eggs but I was willing to risk it to be rid of  the mites.  But  it was not popular.  Well, to be honest, the Vaseline wasn’t that popular either but they had no choice about that. 😊     Amber has finished molting and is gorgeous with her new feathers…but Beatrix is in the midst of a full molt and is looking quite ridiculous.

IMG_3213 I hope her feathers come back soon as it is getting cold!

IMG_3210Prudence has also stopped laying so I think she will molt soon.

As usual at this time of year, I have filled the window boxes with food for the chipmunks and squirrels.   That was not my sole intention, but that does seem to be the result.  

IMG_3004Still, they look nice for awhile….and I love doing it.

IMG_3019Cluckingham Palace is also decked out for the season.  Why not?  

And the greenhouse is filling up!  Some of the plants from the window boxes were still pretty happy so I decided to pot them up and put them in the greenhouse.  

IMG_3102It is so wonderful to see blooming flowers at this time of year!

IMG_3104The geranium is beautiful.

IMG_3109The marigolds and alyssum remain bright and cheerful.

IMG_3026 The rosemary is even flowering!   This little bee is also enjoying the warmth of the greenhouse.  I don’t know how they will do when winter arrives, but I think I will experiment with letting things winter over in the greenhouse.  I hope I can make room for the girls!  It is already getting a bit crowded.

The gardens are mostly done.  The brussels sprouts are still there, waiting for Thanksgiving dinner,  and the garlic for next year is planted..a few marigolds hang on.  And there is a bit of lettuce that I planted late in the season.

IMG_3117The alyssum is taking over the space as things are done.  It is amazingly hardy.  I planted this very early in the season with the peas and it is still blooming!

The last thing to be harvested was the celeriac.  I have never grown it before, and in fact I didn’t intend to grow it this year.  I thought to was celery when I bought it at the Farmers’ Market.  Oops.  But it is fun to try new things so I planted it.  It is supposed to store well and will be good in soups over the winter.

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I must say that as I pulled it up I was reminded of the mandrakes from the Harry Potter series…though it didn’t scream.  But it is not exactly the most attractive of plants…nevermind,  it may be tasty.  We shall see.  It will go in the orchard rack in the cellar  with the potatoes, onions, garlic and squash.  

There are still quite a few Fall chores to finish but we are settling in.  The days grow shorter and colder.  The nights are long.  There is a sense of drawing in.  The season of toasty warm fires, hot soups and knitting is approaching.  And some of us at least, are ready.

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Posted in Autumn, Gardens, Hens, Nature | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Does Anyone Know What This Is?

I am posting this in hope one of you chicken people out there (you know who you are) can shed some light on this.

Amber, my Buff Orpington hen,  has been molting.  Other than being a bit less friendly than usual, and leaving feathers everywhere, she seems fine.  But a couple of days ago I noticed she had pink, reddish stripes up her legs and between her toes.  Neither Prudence or Beatrix have this.  It does not seem to be itchy or tender to the touch, but it is not usual.

IMG_3080I looked for pictures of something similar online and only found one.  That person was also puzzled and had asked for advise.  She wondered if it was mites (which I also wondered).  Someone suggested washing the feet and applying vaseline.  It wouldn’t do any harm and might help if it was mites.  There was no mention of the results.  So I have been doing that.  Amber doesn’t mind and is cooperative.

Still the redness persists….though it doesn’t seem to be getting any worse.

IMG_3082The back of her foot is red as well.

I have not separated her from the others (Prudence is very upset when her beloved Amber is not there) and so far their feet remain normal.

Any suggestions would be MOST welcome.  Thanks!

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Ta-daaa…the greenhouse is finished!!!

After being rained out on Saturday, we were able to finish the greenhouse on Sunday.  We were almost done anyway.  We added the door, and a few stabilizing brackets and it was done.

IMG_2908During the rain on Saturday, we assembled the potting bench, so that was ready to go inside.

IMG_2911It fit nicely in the back of the greenhouse.  

So today I installed the shelves and did the “finishing touches.”  My  favorite part of every project.

IMG_2915One set of shelves installed.

When I ordered the greenhouse they had a special offer.  With every greenhouse they would send you a “starter set” for free.  This included potting soil, an assortment of pots and some plant food.

IMG_2916I added it the potting bench and it all fit. Looking more and more like a greenhouse.

IMG_2927Plant labels and a marker were also in the starter set.

IMG_2928These plant trays for seed starting were another bonus.  I am ready to go!

IMG_2914Here is the second set of shelves.

I am very happy with it.  It is small, but there is room to start seeds, and two small beds for veggies…and it is VERY warm inside!  That will be nice in January..it was bit hot today.

So there you are.  One greenhouse, complete.  I still think it is adorable and it will be quite useful as well!

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The Greenhouse…continued

There was a bit of a delay with the greenhouse construction.  We put up the frame last week and had hoped to finish it over the next few days.  But when we began the next step we realized we were missing some parts.  The parts are all numbered and we had two bundles of #801 and no #800.  Oh no!  I called the company and they were great about it and promised to send along a bundle of #800.  They said we would get it by the end of the week.  It arrived yesterday.  So today we were able to do a bit more.

IMG_2860We put up the roof rafters (that was what was missing) and the uprights on the sides.  It was a bit tricky but once you got the hang of it it went fairly smoothly.

IMG_2861Next was uprights in the front and back and the window for the roof.  

IMG_2862The panels are made of plastic..polytex it is called.  They slide right in.  Here is the front done, but for the door.

IMG_2863Checking the directions as we go.

IMG_2887We got all the panels in and we got the roof window to open.  It is looking very much like a greenhouse!

IMG_2876That is enough for today.  Time to clean up and get supper for Fergus and Merlin….

Tomorrow is another day..

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Greenhouse, Part One

Lovely cool weather arrived today..at last.  Yesterday was ridiculously hot and humid..not September weather at all.  But last night a cold front moved in bringing rain and much cooler temperatures.  And today was just perfect.  Low humidity, sunshine and temperatures in the 70s.  Nice.

A good day to work on the greenhouse.  A few days ago, when it was cool, I leveled the area, but  Beatrix  got out and unleveled it.  Dirt and straw were everywhere.  So today I  started over..leveling with pea gravel and adding a bit of decorative stone.  Time to start the assembly.

IMG_2825 Box no. 1 opened.

IMG_2824Box n0. 2.  Lots of little parts.  This is going to be interesting.

IMG_2826Bill actually reads directions.  Well, the directions don’t actually have words…just pictures.  But the pieces are numbered so it should go smoothly.

After leveling with pea gravel and decorative stone, we got the frame together.

IMG_2836I think it is quite adorable.  Lots of pieces left….lots to do.  I am very excited about it and think it will be wonderful when it is done.  Bill, who can be bit of an Eeyore , thinks it will get trickier as we go along.

IMG_2833The girls  are checking out what we are doing…and scratching and pecking.  They will enjoy the greenhouse in January when it is 10F..but they don’t know that.

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So this is as far as we got today.  Tomorrow is supposed to be another perfect day so I hope we get a bit more done.

Stay tuned for part two!

 

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Summer Fades

Having spent a good part of my life in school, Labor Day week end feels to me like the end of Summer.  I know the Autumn Equinox is still a few weeks away…and our first frost even more distant..but schools reopen this week and that signals a change. The days are noticeably shorter and the air feels different. It has been cool here this week end, though a bit humid. The crisp days of Fall are not yet here, but Summer is fading.

The gardens are looking a bit tired.  Things are definitely past their prime.  I had to pull most of the tomato plants up yesterday because they have gotten a blight which unfortunately also spread to the basil nearby.

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 I have a lot of green tomatoes ripening in brown bags and plenty of pesto already in the freezer, so it is not a total disaster, but it is early to be without fresh basil and ripe tomatoes from the garden.  

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I was able to leave a few plants, though you can see how pathetic they look after I removed the yellow leaves.

But it is not all bad news.  Some things are doing quite well.  It has been a good year for cucumbers.

IMG_2750I brought three big ones in yesterday and today I see there are more coming!  I am not a big pickle fan so I think cucumber salad will be in our future.

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The peppers are also pretty happy.

IMG_2702And we have an eggplant!  Despite the fact that some bug has been feasting on the leaves of the plant, it has managed to produce an eggplant.  That is one more than we got last year.  And there are more flowers.  So fingers crossed for a few more.

The brussels sprouts are getting bigger.

IMG_2754They will stay throughout the Fall and in fact are improved by a frost.  I always save some for Thanksgiving dinner in November.

The winter squash is also growing well and there are quite a few of them.

IMG_2714Another favorite for Thanksgiving dinner…

IMG_2752The orange of the marigolds and nasturtiums  add an autumnal glow to the emptying gardens.

And the Three Sisters’ Bed has a look and feel of Autumn as well…

IMG_2707..with the bright scarlet runner beans and a few pumpkins.

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Someone has already sampled one of the pumpkins.  But we also have gourds.

IMG_2708There are a few scattered about and they are all different.  

Summer is fading….the late summer flowers are having their moment.

IMG_2724Goldenrod and jewelweed are just glorious at the “dog park.”  Nature is not done.  There is much more to come.

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Our morning glories are blooming at last!

And miracle of miracles…

IMG_2773..we have green beans!  The deer have left us a few!

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The pinks and whites of mid summer are giving way to the reds and golds of autumn.  There is change in the air…as Nature quietly moves on…and the cycle continues.  The harvest will continue for awhile…

IMG_2729…..and our greenhouse has arrived! 😊

 

 

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Potato Harvest

Last year the deer ate my potato plants.  I have since been told that potatoes are part of the nightshade family and are toxic.  So deer shouldn’t have eaten them.  All I know is the plants were there, healthy and happy one day and the next day they were gone.  The strawberries, nearby were also gone, eaten by deer.  Something ate them.  So this year, when  I planted potatoes,  I  fenced them off.  

IMG_2258I planted more potatoes in grow bags.

IMG_2077I wanted to make sure I got a few potatoes at least.  

To my delight, they grew well and flowered.   The deer seemed to have gotten the memo about potatoes being toxic because they have left them alone.  How many potatoes would there be?  And where would I put them?  I hadn’t really thought about that.

Luckily, Gardener’s Supply (a workers’ co op and my favorite place to buy gardening toys) was having a sale.  They had a few options for storing harvest.  I chose this orchard rack.

IMG_2623It has six pull out shelves.  It will be good for onions, garlic, potatoes, squash and you could put green tomatoes there to ripen.  It came yesterday and we put it together.  I love it!

So today I went out to see how the potatoes were doing.  It has been over 10 weeks so new potatoes will be ready.  I checked the grow bags first.  There may be time to start some new sprouted potatoes…especially if the greenhouse is up by the time it gets cold…and I was curious. So I  harvested the grow bags and then planted a Fall crop.

IMG_2650New potatoes and russets.  Some were still small, but there were a few good sized ones.  Not a huge harvest, but better than last year.

Still I decided to leave the bigger potato patch for awhile.  I will wait until the plants start to die back and harvest them then.  Though I did take the fence down and weeded a bit.  

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If each on each one of  these plants has a few potatoes growing, there will be plenty.

And there is room for them in the new storage rack.

IMG_2651Three more drawers!

Luckily, when I checked the winter squash, I found this.

IMG_2659And this..

IMG_2660…..Babies!

 So we may just fill that rack yet!

Posted in Eating Well, Gardens, Nature | Tagged | 5 Comments