Mad Scientist!!

I’m starting to feel like a mad scientist with all the experiments we’ve been doing around here.  Using shade cloth on the row cover over the squash plants didn’t quite work.  The growing style of the squash got crimped and the stems became fragile.  When I took the cover off and attempted to pull the squash out of the bed so we could start to train it to climb, some of the stems broke.  I did see a couple of squash bugs on top of the row cover before I took it off so they found the bed.  Once we got the cover off, we discovered keeping the bed covered to keep the chickens out was going to be close to impossible.  I decided to just leave the cover off and hope that the plants would be strong enough to withstand some chicken scratching.

The squash looks good and since the bed is up close to the house I can keep a closer eye on squash bug damage and keep it watered more frequently than I do in the garden down below.  Also, and this I think is more important, the soil that is in the beds that I planted the squash in down below is not as good as the soil in this bed.  We skipped a few steps in those beds (there are four of them down there in this state) and this may have contributed to the resilience of the squash.

The next experiment will be growing squash in 50 gallon water tubs.  Yesterday we took the tubs and filled them with some good soil and compost to which I’ll add rabbit manure.  I’ll cut a piece of chicken wire to size to fit inside the barrel (on top of the soil) to prevent chicken scratching.  I’ll plant squash and nasturtiums in the tubs and keep them up near the milk parlor and keep them well watered and inspected.  A couple of good squash plants will provide Wally and I with all the squash we can eat and probably then some.  Once they mature and start to vine out, I can either train them to a trellis or let them grow along the ground.  The only problem with that is making sure the goats don’t get into them, however, I am not sure squash vines are terribly palatable to goats.

The green beans that are growing in the tomato plants are flowering and seem to be doing well.  It seems the shade they are getting from the tomato trees is enough.  The ones in the bed are not growing all that well and I may consider that experiment a failure as well.  Oh well, you live and you learn.  The two beds up near the house will be set aside for winter plantings and for low-growing crops like carrots and beets.  We found a brand of wire that works excellent for covering the hoops and I devised a method to keep them tied down in a way that I can lift them up and secure them up so I can easily work in the bed.

Last week, Wally and I watched Lonesome Dove.  I may have seen bits and pieces of it, but never the whole movie.  We both got caught up in it.  Yesterday, we watched part of Return to Lonesome Dove.  I have seen a good bit of this series, but not the whole thing.  When it’s hot as blue blazers outside, it’s nice to hole up inside with a good movie.  While I was watching the movie last night, I thought to myself, I have no regrets.  That was sort of an odd thing to realize while watching Return to Lonesome Dove, maybe it was in response to one of the characters saying he was born lucky.  I surely wasn’t born lucky, but I have no regrets about where my life has gone and where it is now.

While we were out yesterday, we looked at those rent-to-own storage buildings.  While it would be nice to have one of these buildings to store hay and grain in, we can’t afford the monthly payments.  The insurance adjuster is coming out next Saturday to inspect the damage and if that claim comes out okay, I guess we’ll just buy another cover for the ShelterLogic building and replace it.  This time, we’ll secure a tarp over the top of the ShelterLogic cover to provide additional protection.  The ShelterLogic covers do not seem to be able to withstand exposure to the sun and they degrade far too quickly.  It would be less expensive to replace a tarp every year than it would be a ShelterLogic cover.  I wish we could afford to put a real building down there, but we just can’t.  It sucks being poor.

I had a pretty good homeopathic success yesterday.  When I went down to get Sudi to bring him up to have his feet trimmed, I saw that his right eye was severely swollen.  You could barely see his eye.  When I brought him up, the farrier said he saw a laceration in it.  Great … he was at risk of getting an ulcer.  I called my vet and discovered he was out of town until tomorrow.  He asked if I had this drug or that on hand.  No, I do not.  Once the farrier was finished I went in and got the homeopathic remedy Apis and administered it.  We put his fly mask on and put him back down in the pasture.  Late yesterday afternoon I went down to check him and was very happy to see the swelling had gone down quite a bit.  Last night, Wally took his mask off and said that the eye looked completely normal.  Yea!!!!!!!

Now that Rosie’s feet are trimmed, she can re-enter barrel horse boot camp.  I believe there’s a race this weekend so we’ll plan to take her and see if we can get her a new home.  As much as I hate to have Sudi as an only horse, he’ll be better for me if he is.  He was fussy while being trimmed yesterday and while it may have been because his eye was bothering him, I think it was because he wanted to get back down to Rosie.  Some of the riding issues I’ve been having with him relate to his wanting to get back to Rosie.  That’s quite typical behavior with horses, but I need to have the opportunity to have at least a little bit of an upper hand with him.

Time to get a few things done outside before it gets too hot.

Until later …