The clouds hung low and the air was thick with moisture when my husband went to open up the chicken coop this morning. It’s yet another day with rain in the forecast. Upon his return my husband announced, “we are all going to turn into mushrooms!” I quickly replied, “at least you will be a fun guy (fungi)”. We both had a good laugh and he had given me a great opening for this post which was already in the works. 🙂
Mushrooms are not something that I am knowledgeable about other than to know that identification can be tricky and many wild mushrooms are poisonous. Thus we never consume wild mushrooms. I do, however, find it fascinating how they suddenly appear in random places, their spores having been carried by the wind, then waiting until conditions are right for them to mature. It’s not unusual to see wild mushrooms pop up in around here but some of the mushrooms we have seen lately are unusual.
This baby deer spent 3 days hanging out in the area around our barn. When my husband first encountered it he or she was lying on a stack of lumber that my husband had left on the porch of the barn. We were inclined to think that it was abandoned, or more likely orphaned, because of it’s close proximity to the barn where we spend so much time. Also because it was there for so long. After those three days it was gone, so it now seems as though momma came for it, and more than likely it is now tagging along behind her.
Last week, when I took you all on a little garden tour, our gardens were doing well. We had gotten some much needed rain and did not anticipate having to water anytime soon. Now we have gotten too much rain, and our gardens are suffering .
It is called wet wilt. The ground is simply too wet for the plants and they are basically drowning.
We have lost significant amounts of tomatoes and peppers and the entire row of green beans. Today we noticed that the cabbage and potatoes have also taken a hit.
On June 27th, when we first discovered that we were losing plants, my husband removed all of the straw mulch in order to give the ground an opportunity to dry out and prevent further damage, but with showers and storms adding water to the ground each day there has been no chance of that. We now have about five dry days in the forecast so hopefully the worst is over and all is not lost.
While this is discouraging we must remember –
Do Not Worry (Matthew 6: 25-34)25 Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air: They do not sow or reap or gather into barns—and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 28 And why do you worry about clothes? Consider how the lilies of the field grow: They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his glory was adorned like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles strive after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own.
As soon as the ground dries up some we will be placing some of the lost plants. My husband was able to find some tomato and pepper plants at a garden center and he also bought more green bean seeds. 🙂
Well summer arrived this week – incognito it seems. It came disguised as spring of all things. It showed up as the rain storms that were absent throughout April and May. They dumped over two inches of rain on us in about 12 hours Sunday and Monday. It also brought cooler temperatures that dipped down into the 40’s in the overnight hours.
The rains returned today and it seems as though we have gotten at least two more inches. If there is any accuracy in the forecast for the next 10 days our drought problems should be over since there are some chances of rain everyday over the next 10.
For some crops. such as our strawberries and blueberries, it’s too late to make a difference but other crops should be served well by the rain.
Shall we take a look around?
The apple trees have some apples, not a bumper crop, (we had several days of frost while the apple trees were blossoming) but hopefully enough for a pie or two.
The blueberries are beginning to ripen. Again this won’t be a bumper crop. I suspect these were impacted by both frost and drought but we are grateful for what we get.
In garden 3, which now has become the puppy playground, these cabbage and onions were some of the first vegetables to be planted. They are doing well.
Also in garden 3 the potatoes (above) were also planted early. They have blossoms.
We also have a row of potatoes in the main garden (above). These were the first to be planted and despite being hit by frost on several days they have flourished.
The above photo was taken as I enter the main garden and look to the north. Sweet corn, pie pumpkins, cantaloupes, tomatoes and three different types of squash are growing in this area.
The photo below is from the same spot looking to the south.
Pumpkins, cucumbers, hot peppers, sweet peppers, eggplant. tomatoes, okra, green beans, beets, swiss chard, and dill are growing on this side of the garden.
We have several varieties of tomatoes. Some have begun to blossom and make fruit.
Jalapeno peppers are starting to bear fruit
as are the bell peppers.
It will be a while before we are picking green beans (above) but just the thought of them makes my mouth water.
We also have sunflowers planted in several areas along the fence, some of which came up as volunteers.
Thanks for joining me for a garden tour. Are you enjoying any home grown produce or looking forward to doing so?
We have had very spring-like weather this week – so much so that I did some work in the garden. As far a I can remember this is the earliest in the year that I have worked in the garden.
After pruning last year’s dead foliage off some of the plants and raking dead leaves from their winter resting place I discover that the thyme is growing green leaves
as is the oregano
and the sage.
It’s not only the herbs that are coming back to life. I also spotted dandelions, winter cress and some other UIP’s (unidentified invasive plants) which means that before long the weeding will commence.
In addition to my work in the prayer garden my husband fluffed up the straw mulch in the garlic bed in order to assist the shoots that are beginning to emerge from the ground. We also raked out the straw that was blanketing the strawberry bed and discovered bright green leaves forming on the strawberry plants.
The chickens have been loving this weather. They spend most of their days out scratching and pecking finding bugs and grubs and bits of green vegetation. They did however think that seeing me or walking towards their coop was their cue to fall in line.
Others came running to greet me.
I didn’t have any treats or table scraps for them but they were satisfied when I scattered some scratch on the ground for them.
I then went on to gather eggs – a full dozen that day. 🙂
We have come a long way since December when we were getting one egg every three or four days. In November our flock went through a late season molt. I didn’t take any pictures of the molting hens because they looked so pitiful with their half naked bodies and new feathers poking though their skin that I felt sorry for them. Molting takes so much energy from the hens that they stop laying during that time. It was some time in early January when egg production gradually began to pick up again.
In December, for first time in 5 or 6 years, I ran out of eggs. Thankfully in the spring of 2020 my sister and her husband started their own flock and by fall their hens were laying well. Chickens don’t molt their first year so they did not experience the egg drought like we did.
It was strange a strange feeling, and we had a good laugh, the day I called my sister and asked “do you have eggs?” The tables had turned. For many years she had been calling me every couple weeks and asking “do you have eggs?” I couldn’t have been happier when she replied “how many do you want.” 🙂
It is time to consider adding to our flock so that our egg supply will continue through this upcoming winter. Perhaps rather than buy chicks we will allow a hen or two to brood some chicks. I’ll let you know what we decide.