Cottonwood Tree

I identified this tree – pretty sure it is a cottonwood – in the corner where the backyard meets the orchard. Then I found two more – another in the orchard along the property line and one down by the creek.

Chinese Privet

The end of October we started sawing away at this Chinese Privet. It is a highly invasive alien and we just realized what it is. Hard to see the small red bud tree among it’s foliage.

We also found a small American Beech tree.

So green! When I realized it was a beech I begged Dave to come out with me in the rain to put fencing around it to keep it from the deer. I’ve been thinking about the large beech tree we had in the backyard of our house in Springfield. The wildlife loved it. I’m very excited to watch this little sapling grow.

We also found another small tree but I guess I didn’t get a photo of it. Not sure what it is – possibly (hoping) a native plum.

Here is the mass of privet. I was amazed that Dave took down most of it over the course of a week. As you can see it is in the far corner of our front yard.

Here is just some of the wood from the privet. We’ve been told it makes good firewood.

Strawberry Babies

The tractor just needs it’s driver to start skimming off this area for a strawberry patch.

The strawberries that the landscapers planted early this summer really spread. So I potted the babies for transplanting.

Still attached by a runner.

We hosted an hOUR Economy work party and potluck. About half a dozen people showed up to help us prep the bed and plant the strawberries.

The chicken wire will protect them from the chickens and the deer. It didn’t take long for weeds to sprout!

Pines Along the Road

We had 17 white pines growing along our road and the electric company comes around every few years and tops them. It looks awful so we finally took them down over three weekends.

Before

After

Before

After

September 30 – a view of our two paw paw trees on the right and a crabapple tree on the left. Pines are behind these trees.

October 14 – two weeks later. The photo is taken later in the day and season but I think you can see how it has opened up the space.

another before with the pines behind these trees

and after although not quite the same view. The trees on the left are some of our very tall pear trees.

lots of branches to shred

Our pear trees are so tall we can’t pick the fruit. Dave gathered these from the ground. I cut out the good parts to eat and they were pretty tasty.

Dave got to use his new tractor.

stumps left behind

We planted 11 red chokeberry bushes along the fence.

This one is particularly loaded with berries. These shrubs have pretty white flowers in the spring, berries form in the summer and the leaves turn bright red in the fall. Berries are edible for humans and birds though not very tasty. Even the birds leave them until late winter when other food sources are scarce. I also read that the chokeberries are a good urban shrub and don’t mind road salt. We aren’t in an urban area but we do have a school up the road so we get salted at any sign of inclement winter weather.

So nice to have this done.

The Second Half of September in the Garden

I’m very behind in posting my photos!

We had a lot of mulch left over from the landscapers so I edged this bed, weeded and mulched it. In the foreground is foxglove, then wild geranium (a favorite of mine) and the fig bush.

Another view.

These are the lantana and meadow sage I planted in a bare spot of our native garden. I know the lantana isn’t native and it is just an annual here. Not sure about the meadow sage.

Just giving an update of the landscaping we had done. This is blue mistflower. Unfortunately, the 3 other plants died so they replaced them with irises (you can see one of the irises there on the left).

On the left are coneflowers (orange or pale purple, not sure as they didn’t bloom for us yet though I know they planted both). Toward the back are strawberries and lavender is on the right.

Wild quinine

The strawberries really took off.

I love the wild geranium because it is so hardy. It’s doing great here even after being on a tarp for almost a month. It has a very shallow root system so we just raked away the mulch, scooched the geranium off the tarp, and then sprinkled it with the mulch. Two months later and it looks like it was never disturbed.

I think it was late August when the landscapers returned to plant the white wood asters under the yew tree.

An aromatic aster

I took the rest of these photos right after they returned again to plant the “chionoides” rhododendrons.

The asters bloomed profusely late September and into October. They attracted a lot of pollinators.

The Home Stretch

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.

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!