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

A Day in the Life

It has come to my attention that I have not mentioned Fergus in awhile and some of you are concerned about how he is doing.  I am happy to report that he is doing well.  He is symptom free at the moment and enjoying his summer.  Perhaps we should spend a day with him.

 

Morning finds him sleeping soundly on his couch.  He does begin the night in our bed, but he ends up on the couch.  Less crowded I guess.

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While the girls and Merlin are very demanding in the morning, Fergus is happy to wait.

IMG_2311He knows that his breakfast will be ready soon.

IMG_2558Ah, here it is now.

A quick after breakfast walk for toileting and then back inside.

IMG_2564A short wait while I check on the girls.  And then it is Greenie time.

IMG_2565Greenies are a special treat. They are supposed to help keep his teeth clean.  Fergus doesn’t care about that, but he does love his Greenies! Yum!

Once everyone has had their breakfast, it is time for a proper walk.  We get in the car and drive to the “dog park.”  A glorious place!

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Lots to sniff!  

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  And then there is the river.  It meanders along the path…lots of places to swim.  Heaven for a Lab!

IMG_2573And the grass is very tasty!  

IMG_2577Making new friends at the beach….(actually he stole their ball).  

IMG_2574“Ok, let’s go…”    and we are on to the next swimming spot.

IMG_2597Third swim!  Fergus loves the water!

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Back on the trail.  “I love it here!”

IMG_2592Final swim.  The path parts from the river here.

IMG_2607Past the field …

IMG_2613…and back to the car.  “Do we have to go?”

Once home, he is ready for a nap.

IMG_2618  Time to rest and wait for the next big thing..

IMG_2559…..supper!

Which is followed by more treats!

IMG_2629A special cookie..

IMG_2636…and a couple of chewies!

IMG_2616Whew! What an exhausting day!  

So as you can see, Fergus is doing ok.  

I hope you enjoyed coming along and sharing his day…and I hope he has many more!  He is a spoiled and much loved dog!

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“Good night,everyone!”

 

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The Greenhouse is Ordered

As some of you might remember, I had thought about getting a greenhouse this Spring.  And then I got busy with the gardens and then Bill broke his ankle and I got even busier.  So the Greenhouse got put on hold for a bit.  I  found a space for it and even put in 2 small beds, but the greenhouse was  uncertain .

IMG_2079Here are the two little beds that will be inside the greenhouse.  They have overflow veggies in them for now.

IMG_1984Here is the site of the future greenhouse with the potato grow bags in front of it before the beds were added.

In any case, Bill is doing better (though he is a long way from hiking) so he thinks he will be a able to help some.  And it will be Fall before we know it….and wouldn’t it be lovely to have a greenhouse then?

IMG_0579Here is a picture of the greenhouse I ordered.  It is small, only 6’x8′, but with shelves and a potting bench and the two beds, I think it will be ok.  

And on a cold winter afternoon, it will be a lovely warm spot….for me….and perhaps.. 

IMG_2129…for the girls!

Posted in Gardens, Hens | 4 Comments

The Bounty of Summer

We have had a very interesting summer.  Spring was late and colder than normal and summer has continued that trend and not been as hot as usual.  AND we have had lots of rain.  Not so much rainy days, just frequent evening thunderstorms.  Some towns have had bad storms with flooding and downed trees, but we have been lucky and mostly have just had rain.  As a result, I have not had to water at all.  Which has been very nice.  Though it has been humid so powdery mildew has been a bit of a problem.  It is always something.  

In any case, the gardens have been pretty happy and things are ripening.  

IMG_2374I harvested onions last week. 

IMG_2372And garlic as well.  They have been drying in the carport..it smells wonderful!

Today I checked the carrots and they were ready.

IMG_2464They are lumpy and irregular compared to grocery store carrots, but they taste MUCH better!  They even smell “carroty”.

IMG_2515The girls are enjoying the carrot tops.  As you can see they are back in the big run.. They were so unhappy in the little run I decided to just cover the holes and check on them often to make sure they haven’t made new ones.

IMG_2466I used a sheet and an old tablecloth.  It is a band aid fix and will need a more permanent solution eventually, but it works for now.

IMG_2480The tomatoes would like hotter weather, but they have finally started to ripen.  And there are lots of them.

IMG_2489And even after making a bunch of pesto to freeze yesterday, there is still tons of basil!  I will make more soon.  In the cold of winter, it will be delightful to enjoy homemade pesto…the taste of summer!

IMG_2487We have peppers coming, though they are still small.

IMG_2485The eggplant has flowers, but no eggplants yet.  You can see that something is eating the leaves so it may be struggling.  Hopefully we will get a few eggplants.

IMG_2498The broccoli is mostly done, but there is at least one more meal here I think.

IMG_2492The chard and the kale continue to produce.  They have been very happy this year!

IMG_2500The winter squash is flowering but no fruit yet.  Mildew has been a problem for all the squashes and pumpkins.  I have removed a lot of yellow leaves.  But there are lots of green leaves left so I am hoping the plants will be ok.

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We have Pumpkins!  And a few gourds as well.

The Three Sisters garden is not quite as I had imagined it.  The corn is up and looking good.

IMG_2539But the squash, which is supposed to make a ground cover at its feet, has decided to climb up.  And the beans, which are supposed to climb up, are wandering all over.

IMG_2478This is the only bean that climbed up the corn.  I did try to guide them, but perhaps all the rain knocked them down.  Or the squash just got there  first.  In any case it has been an interesting experiment.

We have had a few cucumbers and some zucchini.

IMG_2545But they are not as prolific as usual.  Perhaps the mildew is affecting them..or maybe the cooler weather.  We do have more coming, but we do not have more zucchini than we know what to do with….yet.

Unfortunately, the deer have been enjoying the green beans.

IMG_2526The plants are still alive and growing, but every time I think they may be ready to flower, the deer return.  So I am not expecting many beans this year.

But the potatoes look good.

IMG_2258I think we will have a good harvest.  They still need another week or two, but I dug down in the grow bags just to see how they were doing.

IMG_2517They are still small, but they are definitely potatoes!  Yum!

It does seem that the bounty of summer is upon us…and will be for awhile to come!

And most important of all, the catnip is glorious this year…..

IMG_2522…much to Merlin’s delight!

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Mystery Solved?

As many of you know, I have had a bit of a problem with the girls escaping this summer.  Prudence has been renamed Houdini since I keep finding her outside the run.  And Beatrix and Amber are not completely innocent either.  So I was not totally  surprised today when I discovered Prudence and Beatrix wandering around the gardens…OUTSIDE the run!  Amber, at least today, was still in the coop.

IMG_2430Here is Prudence enjoying the gardens.

IMG_2425 Beatrix sampling some grass.

IMG_2433Amber, in the coop, wondering where everyone had gone.

I caught Beatrix and Prudence and put them back inside.  But HOW did they get out?

A close inspection of the run revealed this.

IMG_2408And this..

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SOMEONE has been making holes in the fence!  At first I was quite concerned that some evil predator was trying to get in and get my girls.  But I am almost certain that those holes were not there this morning and if something chewed those holes today while the girls were out there, someone would have sounded an alarm.   No…I don’t think a predator would have made these holes and then simply left.  I think my girls have figured out how to make these holes!  Peck, peck and you’re out! Freedom!  How exciting is that?  I am sure they think that they are incredibly clever to find a way out.

So they were very upset when I closed the door.

IMG_2415“Hey!  Open the door!”

IMG_2417“Let us OUT!”  “I didn’t do anything,” said Amber.

Sorry.  Not with those holes in the fence.  Not with hawks and Mama Bear about.  Silly girls.  And mending the holes won’t help if they can just make new ones.  Not a good situation.  You are in for awhile I am afraid.

IMG_2420Unhappy girls in the coop.  “What about this door?  At least open this one.”

I will have to reinforce the fence with something….it will be a few days at least before I figure out what to do.  And the girls will be stuck in the little run until I do.   Poor girls.  Too clever for their own good.

IMG_2438Perhaps a bit of watermelon will help to pass the time.

 

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Houdini Hen

As many of you know, I have a “big run” for my girls in addition to the permanent run which is attached to Cluckingham Palace.  It is a movable run and not as safe as the original run.  I added it so they could have access to fresh grass and insects and to have a better place for dust baths.  I had hoped to make it safer and more permanent this year but with Bill’s fractured ankle and all the other gardens, I wasn’t able to.  I ended up putting up basically the same run that they had last summer.IMG_2348I added ropes to keep the netting up so it was easier for me to walk in the run.  There is netting over the rope to keep the chickens in and the hawks out.

IMG_2346 I have earth staples in the bottom every few feet.  This secures the bottom and discourages anyone from digging under.  Since the girls are only in this run during the day and when I am home it feels ok if not perfect.

IMG_2344Close to the coop, where I connect the fence after opening or closing the door I put a log on the bottom of the fence.  There are no gaps….top or bottom.

IMG_2343I even lined up potted plants along the section of the fence closest to the coop…the only section without earth staples.  There is no way in or out without disturbing something.

So you can imagine my surprise last night when I went out to put the girls to bed and found Prudence happily pecking and scratching  OUTSIDE the run!

IMG_2362How did she get out?!

IMG_2351And she had been busy!  Clearing the straw around the zucchini.

IMG_2352Sampling the last head of lettuce..the only one that hadn’t been consumed by the bear, deer or the bunny!  We are not destined to have lettuce this summer!

IMG_2353More signs of Prudence’s adventures.

I caught her easily and put her back in with the others.IMG_2345Much to her dismay.

IMG_2350And they all went into Cluckingham Palace for a little snack before bed.

I checked the entire run, top and bottom.  There is NO WAY she could have gotten out!

 Houdini Hen.

It is a mystery.  I will keep checking to try to figure out her secret.

IMG_2359  And Prudence, no doubt, will continue to forage….on one side of the fence…or the other!

 

Posted in Gardens, Hens | 6 Comments

An Unexpected Visitor

This morning, after I let the girls out, I wandered through the gardens for a bit.  Everything looks so happy and refreshed in the morning before it all starts to wilt in the heat of the day.IMG_2088

I noticed that the lettuce was looking especially beautiful…salad for dinner tonight..yum.  There were some heads under the cucumber trellis.

IMG_2093And more in the long bed in front of the carrots and celery.  I planned to take a little bit from each of the heads, leaving enough so it would keep growing.  I would harvest it right before dinner.  Or so I had planned.

But things do not always go exactly as planned.  After Fergus and I got home from our walk we went inside.  I chatted with Bill for a bit and as we were talking I looked out the window… and this is what I saw.

IMG_2186Sitting in my garden, munching away on my beautiful lettuce, was a bear!  She looked like she was settled in for a nice, long snack.

IMG_2184Beautiful as she is, this is NOT a good thing.  Bears have long memories.  They will return again to any place where they have found food.   I do not really want her returning to my garden!  I thought the deer were a problem last year, but this is worse.

IMG_2190Despite their cuddly appearance, bears are wild animals.  They are very strong and can move surprisingly fast.  And the bears around here are very used to people….and very bold.  (as you can see here)

IMG_2195Eventually she left.  I was nervous because she was heading up toward Cluckingham Palace and the girls were out.  But she wasn’t interested in them.

IMG_2153Instead she turned toward our hammock.  Was she going to take a nap now?!

No.  She was picking up her three little cubs who were playing there!  Unfortunately I wasn’t quick enough to get a picture of them in the hammock.

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She collected them…and off they went….

And my beautiful lettuce?

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I think salad just got taken off the menu for tonight…. 😢

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