Dave has spent the spring and summer painting the ceiling and trim and priming the walls of the foyer, stairway and upper hallway. A little bit here and there. Now we feel like he is on the home stretch by starting to paint the walls. I chose Benjamin Moore’s Green Tint. It’s a greyish green. We’ve been using their Simple White throughout the house.
Monthly Archives: September 2017
Eggs and Chickens, Chickens and Eggs
Here is our eggs collection for today. Given that we have close to 20 chickens this isn’t very much. And it is actually a good count. For quite a while now I’ve only been collecting 1-3 eggs. That little brown egg is the first from this years pullets.
The chickens have presented a challenge for us this year and we’ve kind of just thrown up our hands. They were breeding like rabbits and we quickly found we had too many for our coop. They are free range so that is good but it was causing a problem at night. The young birds started roosting in the nesting boxes and then the hens didn’t want to lay in there because of the poop. I wasn’t good about cleaning them out and so the hens started laying elsewhere.
At one point we had more than 40 chickens. We sold some and gave some away and were down to about 35 chickens. Then last month I saw a fox after them. Did a count that night and found we were down to about 23 chickens. Boy, were we not paying attention. Then the following week Dave saw a hawk after them. Today I saw a hawk fly away as I took some melon rinds out to the compost. I saw something down in the pasture. Went to investigate and it was a dead hen. Why couldn’t he/she have gotten a rooster! We butchered 2 of the roosters last weekend so now we have 20 chickens or less.
Not sure my numbers are adding up right (or subtracting). The bottom line is we aren’t getting many eggs considering the number of chickens we have and we have a predator problem. Looking on the bright side – we no longer have a problem with too many chickens in the coop at night and I found the pullet egg in the coop – on the floor and not in a nesting box, but that’s okay!
The Summer of Fruit
Another sweet watermelon
Zinnias in the kitchen garden
purple hulled cowpeas
The pollinators love this Sedum in the front bed.
Little Tansy flowers.
We even harvested a ripe fig this afternoon. We need to move this bush. It doesn’t get enough sun. Just have to figure out where to put it. It will be interesting to see if we get more than just these two figs. The others are still very small and green.
I think fruit has done so well this year because we did not have a late freeze in the spring. They’ve had a long stretch of warm weather. That is coming to an end. The last two nights have been in the 40’s. Very cool for this time of year.
Just a quick post to help me remember how to harvest melons. We had neighbors over for a cookout/potluck Sunday and I asked Bobby how to know when it is time to harvest watermelons other than a yellow bottom and a deep sound. He said the little curly cue on the vine near the melon should have turned brown. So we harvested one and it was a little too ripe but still very good and sweet. I have harvested two more since then. Seems they all ripen at once! As far as cantaloupes go, Bobby said you have about a day or two between the time they ripen and the time the bugs find them. The loupes in the photo above look like they should be beyond ripeness. I cut into one of them and it was very good. I think the watermelon had better flavor than any I’ve gotten at the grocery or farmers market. I can’t say the same for the cantaloupes I’ve cut into so far. Maybe we’ll have to try another variety next year.
We opened up the barn garden for the chickens. There were just so many squash bugs. I think the butternut squash is a bust this year. Oh, well. Some things do well and others don’t. What does and doesn’t changes every year. Can you see the egg at the bottom of the above photo? I saw Bonnie making clucking noises near the marigolds and made note to check later for an egg. She didn’t disappoint!
A Cool August
Catching up with the photos on my phone. We’ve had unseasonably cool weather. I’ve been wearing flannel!
We were excited to harvest our first watermelon a couple of weeks ago.
It wasn’t quite ripe. It was okay and will ask our neighbor about how to determine ripeness. We got the seeds for these Crimson Sweets from him a couple of years ago.
I bought this geranium from Elk Run Farm – a vendor at our Saturday Farmers Market. I think it is called apple blossom.
This is our first cantaloupe. We thought we were late harvesting it since the bugs had already gotten to it. We’ve found that the bugs are a good determination of ripeness. We’ve harvested others that have a strong scent but when we cut into them they aren’t quite ripe.
A Melon Petit Gris de Rennes – a sugar-sweet French favorite! We just have to be diligent and get them at peak ripeness before the bugs do!
Saving seeds – the cantaloupes (actually I think they are technically muskmelons though I’m not sure of the difference) and the large brown seeds are from bitter melons.
I love this African Violet. I was admiring the way the sun hit it a few mornings ago.
Our rain garden during a heavy rain.
Our harvest from yesterday. Lots of bitter melon. No one but me seems to go for it. More muskmelons, Doe Hill peppers (a small, yellow, sweet variety), green beans and apples. I made an apple pie and apples sauce earlier in the week and these went to Doris, our neighbor. She says she peels, slices and freezes them to use in the winter time.
Bitter melon on the vine.
The Staunton Historical Foundation holds noontime walking tours the first Friday of the month. Usually we are in the historical section of our downtown but today we went to Montgomery Hall Park which is about 4 minutes from our house. We took a hike in the woods during the rain. This is a wall from a bank barn. The barn burned down in a blaze many decades ago. The hike was led by an archaeologist. It was very interesting and fun to go tramping in the damp woods.
Just a pretty view.