Thank goodness school is out so I can catch up on outside chores now. Steve even took a three day weekend over Memorial Day and managed to accomplish an amazing amount of things, most notably butchering.
We’ve thinned down excess birds and may have to do another couple of dozen. Our laying-age chickens have either stopped laying again or have started eating every single one of their eggs. Not happy. Frankly, at this point, we’re just about ready to butcher them all. Stupid chickens. We do have that new batch of Buff Orpingtons up & coming, along with a couple of Icelandics and maybe another dozen or two dark eggers in the incubators. Maybe we’ll have better luck with this fresh batch.
The garden is coming along well. The no till, deep mulch method is finally showing some results here. Where we’ve done well with good mulching, it’s fairly easy to pull the occasional weeds out by hand and moisture is moderated by the chips. When it’s too soggy out, the chips absorb the excess. When it’s dry out, the chips release some moisture. It’s a good thing. Each year, we expand the well-chipped area a bit more and, eventually, we’ll have the entire main garden done up nicely.
I planted cucumbers out this morning and, yesterday, planted muskmelon and watermelon in the boys’ front beds. The goats found a new way out of the fence three days in a row. I think we’ve finally fixed that but not before they ate down all of the blackberries and strawberries in the boys’ beds. At least they didn’t touch the tomatoes up there or anything in the back gardens.
Speaking of goats, Steve finally got a chance to redo the goat fence on the driveway side. It had always been there as a “temporary” thing but you know how that goes. Times gets away from you and it’s still there a year later… Anyway, he got up the smaller, tighter version of it around the shed so we can use that for separating babies from the mamas in order to milk. Cody and I will work on taking down the rest of the leftover temporary fence this week. Then we can get back to piling wood chips there and parking the trailer, etc, in that spot. The driveway has been pretty crowded lately!
Maisy & Missy have still not kidded. Dorks. I know they’re pregnant but, dang, how long can a goat be pregnant for? We got Susie’s bucklings disbudded the other day. And, by “we”, I mean Steve. I was out there “helping” by holding their heads still while Steve took the disbudding iron to them but it didn’t take long for him to tell me to just go in the house. Apparently, my “helping” wasn’t terribly helpful. Might have had something to do with the fact that I was turning green and looking like I was going to have a nervous breakdown any second.
Strawberries! We harvested the first strawberries and, man, are they good! We picked nearly a gallon last night but only half of them made it into the house. This morning, the girls went out and picked another (almost) half gallon. Of course, their standards for ripeness are a bit lower than mine.
The bees are doing well. I caught a tiny swarm a while back (did I already mention that?) but it didn’t make it. Do you know that I’ve never, ever had a swarm stay and/or make it? Ever. Except that package last year that tried to leave and we caught it in our yard but that’s not really a swarm. That’s just absconding. Anyway, the packaged bees are doing well and have their second brood boxes on. The overwintered hive that we split into two are both doing well. And that nuc I was supposed to pick up from Bernie? It’s the best thing ever! I need to get out there and check all of the hives again but, dang, this stupid weather just isn’t cooperating. I’m hoping after this next round of storms passes, I’ll have clear day or two to get out there and do some digging. I won’t dig through the splits until it’s been over a month, though. That’ll be another couple of weeks.
Speaking of bees, the old bee club website at mvbeekeepers.com is stuck in limbo so we’ve started up a new one. It’s now at MVbees.com if you’d like to take a look. It’s only a couple of days old and not yet prettied up. We also now have a Facebook page for the MVBA. Holler if you have any suggestions for it, anything from design to content to helpful links. (If you’re an MVBA-er and would like to be a contributer, shoot me an email and I’ll set you up.)
And did I mention Nellie having the Best Birthday Ever? Grandma came out one weekend and a giant pile of friends came out the next weekend so she had two parties! She got a pink, sparkly bike as her gift and has been riding it practically nonstop since. Well, as nonstop as you can get with all of the stinking rain we’ve had lately.
Okay, that’s it for today. I’ve missed a bunch of happenings I wanted to note here because I keep waiting for the “perfect time” to sit down to type it out. Unfortunately, too much life happens in between the perfect times for me to keep up. Doh. I need to accept the imperfect, as disjointed as the results may be. <— Life lesson for today. And every day.