Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Late Summer Garden News

A lot has been happening here in the last few weeks. Remember those three new chicks? Well, two seem to be beautiful pullets. They are growing quickly, and at about 14 weeks old we moved them from the small pen into the main coop and run. They spent the first week hiding in the corner and going into spastic, screaming fits whenever one of the older hens ventured near! With few exceptions, the big hens occasionally give a passing peck, just to show who is boss, but are very easy going. The exceptions come from Lena, the lowest in the original pecking order, who really does go after the new girls now and then. That is an interesting dynamic, isn't it? Here are the new pullets. The one looking up at the perch, with white legs and a big fuzzy tush, more Buff Orpington qualities, is Frederica. The one with yellow legs, mildly darker red feathering, and more dark tail feathers, more Rhode Island Red qualities, it Petronella. Their combs are still small and pale, so I don't expect those first pullet eggs for awhile yet. They will be appreciated, however, as Lena is broody and not laying and Louise is molting and not laying. That leaves poor 5 year old Pauline to pull the whole egg laying load. She is not keeping up.

Following expectations, all 50+ apples on the larger tree were destroyed by birds. We were able to completely cover the small tree, however, and we rewarded with this one large fruit and about a dozen smaller ones. My first apples! I am thrilled, and now determined to find a way to keep the birds out of both trees next year. I am saturated with figs, so adding a new fruit, one that is so delicious and does not need immediate processing when picked, is a treat.

The summer crops, with the exception of pepper plants, succumbed to the intense heat and have been pulled from the garden. Although a bit early, I could not resist four perfect broccoli plants grown locally, so here they are in the garden. Each is bordered by some leafy twigs that I broke off a nearby wax myrtle. They shade the young broccoli during the worst heat of the day. If it ever stops raining (don't get me wrong, I prefer this to the drought we suffered the last three years) I will start planting kale, collards, more broccoli, carrots, and other fall crops. I need to find some arugula seed!

Finally, I need to tell you that the bee hives are gone from their spot in my yard. It is quite a story, and so I will give it a separate entry.