May 03, 2005

I had a look at the white mulberry tree, this may be the first year that we need "the sheet" for harvest. We used to just pick the fruit, but the tree has grown so much and has so many berries on it that we may just be shaking them off the tree. We’ll see how that goes. We ate some of our first artichokes that the gophers didn’t ruin. The rotten rodents wait until the artichokes are almost ripe, and then at that magic moment they find and eat the roots of the plant and kill the whole thing. But the plants are spaced out randomly, and they haven’t found all of them. Yet. They were tasty but not quite like the store bought ones. I am losing the battle against the slugs, which are worse than I originally knew. They have taken a toll on the poor eggplant starts. I think my strategy any more is to plant 3x what I need in the hope that 1x survives. I have beer bait out, which every night claims a disgusting mass of bloated corpses, but they still keep coming. Anyone have old beer they aren’t using? Somehow I forgot to place tanglefoot on the apricot tree, so that was accomplished. Most fun of all, I went and bought the orange, yellow and purple paint for the front gate. You have to love a color named "Atomic Tangerine"! Can’t wait to paint!

May 02, 2005

Another weekend gone by in a dizzy. Sometimes on Monday I try to remember what I did, and it’s boggling. Must concentrate….. Saturday’s agenda was “hay, weeds, and seeds”. Many bales of hay were put down for mulch. New emitters were added for irrigating the newly moved berries. I actually went and LOOKED at the berries, I had thought there were so few flowers this year…..ummm…..those few flowers were just the tip of the iceberg. The vines are covered with them. Last year during the berry harvest I was working until 9:45 each night. Picking, cleaning, sorting and putting in baskets. I really can’t think about it right now, except for the good part where I eat one for every one that went in the bucket. I am going to lay down a LOT of sugar/boric acid and diatomaceous earth in that area, hoping to reduce the ant populations beforehand, since so much time was spent getting ants out of the fruit. The apples have set a nice crop, we thinned some of them. Peaches too. The apricots are halfway to eating time. I noticed it raining milkweed seeds, and decided I should really deal with the mess of milkweed in my abandoned purple and orange flower garden. I had lost my “red whackitty”. Many garden implements have been christened with some odd name, based in onomatopoeia. Ken suffers through “the whum-whum isn’t working, the Zzzzzzzz needs the throttle adjusted, and I mislaid the snip-snip.” It’s really hard being Ken sometimes. Anyway. The potatoes were hoe-ed (hoed? ho-ed?) and partly mulched. We are going to try the “straw” version, where the potatoes are stacked in increasing amounts of straw and dirt, theoretically making it easier to harvest. I sowed some mixed flower seeds in one area, to try and see if more can grow there. The wildflowers are blooming more and more but needed water, so all the rainbird systems were checked and started. Somewhere in there another turkey chick hatched. This will be the last chick from this batch, since I pulled the plug. The incubator has to be disinfected for the arrival of the Narragansett eggs this week. I don’t know what we would have done without that incubator! Saturday was the Arbuckle Spring Celebration. The feed store had its grand re-opening; we met the new owners, told them about our turkey endeavors, and talked to the Nutrena Feeds representative. They have the hands-down best feed prices, no more shopping in Davis! They also have three beautiful new brooders for chicks, and are willing to receive shipments of live chicks from the Post Office. This opens another possibility for acquiring birds for us, since I would never be willing to have live birds shipped to the house. Everything looked very nice, and we even got to learn about commercial hog feed versus show pig feed. Who knew? Back to the turkey chick—Beautiful took it in, but it was hard going. All the siblings are almost a week older than this little critter, and so it had a rough time getting under mom as she shifted back and forth from activity to activity. The head count revealed nine chicks this hatch. We lost six between chick disasters and egg disasters. The bacteriology came back on the one dead chick I brought in to work, looks like nothing contagious (good). Ken finished the grape arbor, and is working hard now on the arbor/gate up front. I’ll buy some of the paint this week. We attached the grape vines to the grape arbor; the vines are growing like weeds and popping out little miniature grapes. We had to cull a few vines, I clipped and froze the grape leaves for cooking dolma. I remember my grandmother telling me this is what she did, and it’s the first time I’ve had expendable grape leaves (though likely not the last). The roses were deadheaded, and 5 gallons of flower petals set aside for a friend with a potpourri project. I started building some whimsy plant tripods out of sticks and wire. Xerxes has been spending more time outdoors and is getting sunburned. The only thing worse than a scraggly white frizzle chicken is a sunburnt one. Poor thing, he just doesn’t have much going for him. Sunday we found Galahad in the living room, staring around. He didn’t seem very impressed with our home and strolled back outside. He screams nonstop now and nothing may occur without his permission (although it does anyway). Sunday seemed rather hot, I always wonder what I’ll do when it really IS hot. The dwarf banana is recovering from peafowl abuse. The astilbes have started blooming. I noticed that some rootstock-rose growing in a corner of the property has bloomed. It bears a suspicious resemblance to the rose my neighbor gave me, which blooms spectacularly once a year. Hmmm. Maybe I have enabled a rootstock! I checked last weekend’s fruit tree grafts, they look OK so far. I finished most of my entry for a pond contest, to win a free pond and $$ for landscaping. I’m not holding my breath, since I never win anything. Still, it IS a unique project, how many people want to install a beautifully landscaped pond for rare geese?