Sunday, August 14, 2016

Dog Days of Summer

(That saying doesn't mean what I thought it meant...)

At any rate, it's still hot, and dry.

The forecast for this past week was for heavy, soaking rain, 3 to 6 inches, and much cooler temps, down in the 80's for the highs. Not even close.

Nope, no rain for you.

Heckuva storm right up the street. Not here, tho.

 I don't have a picture because I haven't even bothered going into the garden for several days, but I lost all my pumpkin plants. Couldn't keep them watered enough, I guess, or I don't know if the sun was right?
The jack-be-little pumpkins I planted last year, which ended up in the shade until around lunchtime or so did really well.
These pumpkins get/got sun from morning until later in the afternoon, 3 - 4 o'clock. The package said "full sun", but...I don't know.
Anyway. It was probably the lack of good, soaking rain waterings.

Corn and tomatoes.

Also don't have a picture - well, I do have video, but I won't post it - we're down 4 roosters.
Two went to dinner, the other two are at freezer camp.

Still have 4 roosters left. (Not counting the last four chicks, which I think at least two of are also roos.) Trying to sell 3 of them. Not having much luck, though.

The last babies, the 4-pack, are getting big. I still don't know what kind (breed) they are, but I'm pretty sure two are roosters and the other two are probably/possibly hens. 

I went up to visit my Mom and Dad a couple of weekends ago, and ended up getting roped into shucking and putting 150+ ears of corn in the freezer.  (By myself. They weren't home.)
After several hours, I determined that corn silk's only purpose is to make you work for your meal, or torture. (Actual reason.)

I brought home a box of peaches from my Dad's fruit orchard. They were really small this year, I think because of the drought, which affected them up there also. But they were still good tasting.

I canned some of them in a light syrup. This way they can be eaten right out of the jar, or used for pie or cobbler. 
I also made 3 quarts of peach pie filling, but I think just canning them in syrup is more versatile.

We've been (fairly) hard at working on the Ugly Stairwell this summer.
I'm not really sure how that happened exactly. We had to replace the ceiling awhile back, not much choice, it was falling down, but otherwise the stairs were way low on the list of House Stuff To Do.

I couldn't decide what I wanted to do with the space as far as how it should look. It's a really tall - 16 feet high - really narrow - about 3 feet wide - space.
I finally decided it'd just be best to stick with the plain old white drywall walls (any darker color would make it look even more closed in than it already is).

So we got one side drywalled and I started mudding it, but it just did not go well at all. It was bad. To the point I even contacted someone about hiring them to fix the mess.

(Not surprisingly with my history of managing to find the worst possible candidates for hiring to do anything around here, the person never got back to me. I didn't bother trying to find any one else. I figured with my luck I'd find one to charge me a fortune to not do any better of a job than I did. )

In the end I decided we'd go with the faux planking/shiplap and cover the whole thing with wood.

Found out pretty quickly why the drywall wasn't working out too well. The walls are badly warped and wavy and weird. 

The boys said they kinda liked the plain natural look, but it made the tiny space look even tinier and darker.

Painted, scaffolding removed, moving on to lower wall.
I have no idea what kind of decor/art work to use in this tiny space, but it needs something to distract from the bulges and uneven gaps and other bad looking places.

(It maybe (hopefully) doesn't look as bad as I feel like it does because I compare it to the work on Fixer Upper or Blogs where people have better conditions to work with, or their husbands actually care about doing a good job rather than the least they can get by with.)

We got rusty tin put on the lower ceiling to match the rusty tin on the upper ceiling.

I mentioned thinking the space needed a light, but my suggestion was ignored. 
I went online and found some battery operated, motion sensor ceiling lights. They're not very pretty but I have an idea for making it look like it maybe goes with the rusty tin, but I haven't worked on it yet because I'm afraid I'll mess it up.  

A light I did finally work on is one of the (two) old chandeliers I pulled out of Cousin Joe's scrap metal pile.

I had originally intended to find some solar lights I liked and make them into outdoor chandeliers, but then recently, I can't remember exactly how/when the idea came from...probably something I saw on Pinterest, I got the idea to fix it into a Halloween decoration.

It's not finished yet, but here's a peek of it in progress.

Welp, that's about it from here for now.
Hope everyone is enjoying their Summer. Or, well, Season of Back to School (that I am so thankfully finished with!).

"Goodby Amigos!" ~Cisco Kid
"See you soon, ha!" ~Pancho

Friday, July 22, 2016

Summertime Update

Whew. It's hot.

We've been experiencing a pretty severe drought here. Actually, a lot of the area shows to be experiencing drought, but I feel like WE, right here in this spot, are having it worse than they know.

We watch the storms pop up every afternoon on the radar, and in the sky around us.

We'd hear the thunder, and it would rain within less than a mile from here.
We'd watch neighboring communities not far up/down the road report heavy rains, severe lightning, flash flooding, trees down, hail.
It got to the point I would take that, if it would only rain.

Finally, today, we got our turn. 

Not to be ungrateful, but within the hour of this storm, the drought started back up again.
How do I know?
We were notified of a Severe Thunderstorm Warning, and saw on the radar another big storm moving South towards us.
And watched it make it a few miles just to the North of us and fizzle out.

I really hope I'm wrong, and the drought has broken, because my pumpkins need a lot more water than I've been able to give them even watering three times a day.

I planted these June 29th. I think they should be a lot bigger nearly a month later.

Otherwise, the garden did surprisingly well, despite the drought conditions.

I've canned altogether about two dozen pints of stewed tomatoes, plus plenty the guys have been eating fresh.
The plants have pretty much stopped growing anymore new tomatoes, or really even growing the ones still on the plants, but they are still fairly full of tomatoes trying to ripen up.

Only about 6 cucumber vines came up, and they were really spindly and sad, but still gave me enough cukes to can up some pints of dill pickles.

There were originally 5 squash plants, but I lost two of those, to vine bore bugs, I think?

We didn't get enough squash to put up, but that's alright. I froze some a few years ago and ended up feeding those to the chickens, so.
We've enjoyed fresh fried squash for dinner a few times this summer, and that's sufficient.

The pepper plants that lived have done/are still doing well.
I made another couple of pints of Pico de Gallo, but J said he had enough of that, so now I'm slicing/seeding/freezing them.

The corn came up and did, not fabulous, but did grow a few ears. I need to harvest those.
I think I could pull the stalks, till, and plant a fall crop of corn, but, meh, I'm done. (With all except pumpkins. Really hoping to have pumpkins for Fall.)

One day I went out on the back porch to work on an art project, and somehow PO'd a couple of yeller jackets.
I didn't mess with them, I didn't even know they were around, until BAM! BAM!
They double-teamed me. Synchronized stinging.
Right between the two first knuckles of my right hand.

 Luckily I'm a quick healer and was back to normal in about 3 days.

Turned out there was a pretty large size yellow jacket nest inside an old canopy canvas I was hanging onto something with. I don't even remember.

Got rid of them, but never went back to my art project.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Chickens Update

 The first four chick(en)s hatched in the incubator back in mid-March are about 14 weeks old now.
There are 3 roosters and 1 hen.  (I believe.)

The roosters have started crowing within the past couple of weeks. They aren't too loud yet, though.

The three to the left are roosters, the far right one I believe is a hen.
My plan is to group one rooster with two or three hens from the 9-batch and hopefully sell them as a "starter pack" for new backyard chicken farmers.

There are roosters in the 9-batch, but the eggs came from the same farm so I don't know which/if the chickens are related and am not sure about breeding chicken siblings.

The 9-batch chick(en)s are about 13 weeks now.
They still hang together in a group mostly. Buff, their Hatch-Mother, doesn't really have anything to do with them anymore.

(Buff tried to go broody again right before Hawk hatched the last 4-pack of chicks. I put her off the nest a few times but she was persisting. I decided I'd get her some eggs when I got back from Florida, but when I got back she was no longer broody, so that was good. I didn't need more chicks right now.)

The 9-batch roos haven't started crowing yet - thank goodness, but then again, kind of weird because they're only like a week behind the First Four. Seems like they would have started crowing by now.

I'm still not totally sure which of the 9-batch are roos and which are hens.  I'm fairly sure these two are roos:

I thought the black&white was a hen, but something the other day (I can't remember what now?) made me think it might be rooster afterall.  Also, it's huge, bigger even than some of the suspected roos.

Pretty sure the black one is a hen. I plan to couple her with the white rooster of the First Four, and see if they make black&white checked babies.

The white chick (lol) on the left is the last, little baby yellow chick of the 9-batch. She has a few names: Number 9, Lucky 13, but I just call her Baby.  Pretty sure she's a girl, too.
I plan on her being Blackie's sister wife with White Roo.

The one on the right...I don't know much about. I think it's a hen. She's generic-looking to me, until I see her in the pictures, I don't know that I've even ever really seen her in the flock.
I don't think she typically looks like she's walking on stilts like she does here, lol.

And then there's the 4-pack, the last batch of babies hatched June 1st.
They're about 3.5 weeks old now.

I think I let the 9-batch out into the flock earlier than 3.5 weeks, but then there was only the several older hens/flockmates.

When I brought the First our home and tried to integrate them in with the original seven and the 9-batch, it didn't work out. I probably didn't really give it enough time, but I couldn't stand to watch them fight and pick and carry on like they were, so I said forget it and put the First Four in their own coop.

So I was worried how these 4 babies were going to fare with the 9 "teens" and didn't want to let them out until they were bigger.
Well, Hawk, their Hatch-Mom, wasn't having it.
She kept throwing temper tantrums whenever I would come and let the other chickens out, but she was stuck in her cage.
She hollered at me, and then it got to where she was flipping their food plate over, and turning the waterer over and all the water would spill out, leaving her and the chicks nothing to drink.
The food spilled out too, but at least it was still in the bottom of the cage where they could eat it if they got hungry enough. The water would just be gone.

Finally I said, fine, go then. Hope your babies don't get eaten.
So I let them out, and they did fine.

Sometimes some of the 9-batch would peck at one of the chicks if it got in their way, but mostly to warn it, not to hurt it. They didn't chase the babies to attack them, and too, Hawk does a pretty good job protecting them and herding them around, making sure they get to eat and scratch and dust bath.

I didn't check their wings at a week old to even try to guess what sex they are, so I have No idea if they are boys or girls.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Farmlet Garden

Our little garden is doing pretty well this year.

For what reason I can't remember now, we moved the garden back down to the original location in the lower back yard....about the furthest point from the water hose...and of course we're having somewhat of a drought this year.
I have 3 water hoses stretched across the yard, and water up to twice a day.

We had lost about half of the peppers we'd planted early on, not sure what happened to those. I wasn't sure if I'd planted them too early, but apparently not. The remaining peppers started producing very nicely, and the Early Girl tomatoes produced well.

The Goliath tomatoes have started turning this past week or so, and the Black Russians have a good many tomatoes on stalk, just waiting for them to ripen up. 

I was able to make nearly a pint of Pico de Gallo (fresco salsa) from most of our first harvest (J ate several of the tomatoes before I could get them).

Squash to the left of the trellis, cucumbers to the right, corn behind.

My fishing-line-and-coke-can deer fence has apparently worked very well, and we've had no deer visitors eating up the tomatoes.

I only planted one row of squash, and three rows of cucumbers, but only one row of cukes came up. All the seeds were old(er) and I wasn't sure any of them would come up at all, so we've gotten a few squash and cucumbers here and there.
J gave some squash to the neighbor, and grilled some with burgers yesterday.
I plan to make some dill pickles when I get a few cukes saved up.

It seems like I'm seeing a good bit more bees around this year than previously.  I'm not sure if being further from the house leaves them more undisturbed, or maybe they were there all along and I just didn't see them.  Whichever, I'm glad to see them.

The corn patch is coming along well so far. The plants are tall and looking good, and ears of corn are growing, but it's hard to be too excited until we can actually break open the ears and see they weren't demolished by worms.

Got the pool opened and going. It's very nice on these hot, humid Georgia June days.

The fountain is my favorite.  I love the trickling water sound of it.

Friday, June 17, 2016

So from the June 1st - 2nd hatching, 4 of the 5 eggs ended up hatching a baby chick. 

I don't know the breeds, as the eggs were taken from a few different nests and I didn't note/mark what was what. Will find out eventually, and if 3 of the 4 (or more!) are roosters, like the 1st 4 turned out to be.

The babies are 2 weeks old now. Here's some vid of them at 10 days old.