The job is at least. As I write this, I am proctoring an exam. It’s pretty cool because I can do other things while I’m sitting here clean, comfortable and in the cool. I have to get up occasionally and take a walk around to make sure everything is going as it should and as they finish up their exams I have to assist them, but all in all, it’s a way cool thing. The people I work with are wonderful. The hours are good. It’s all good.
The garden … that’s another story. Two, probably four rows of sweet corn are toast due to Japanese Beetles and Squash Bugs. We are engaging serious warfare on the Squash Bugs on the winter squash and pumpkins. It is currently in a tie situation. Of course we are not using conventional pesticides.
The beans I put under the row cover seem to be doing well. Next year, all squash goes under row cover and I will hand pollinate. Plus, I’ll be planting things like Tansy, Mirabilis jalapa (commonly known as the four o’clock flower or marvel of Peru), Larkspur, Rue, Chives, Onions, Garlic and other plants that repel insects. The four o’clock flower is supposed to attract Japanese Beetles and is said to be poisonous to them. We will see.
Buying good garlic seed is expensive, but garlic is supposed to repel insects so I may buy some organic garlic from the grocery store and plant it and leave it in the rows and plant susceptible plants around it. I will not harvest it when it is ready instead leaving it in place to do its trick.
I have a notebook set aside for gardening notes, but before I can start it, I need to go out and write down what was planted in what row. Really, it would be better to put it on the computer where I can make changes as necessary …
The two “dead” rows of corn have been fed to the goats. They enjoyed eating the leaves off the corn stalks and gnawing on the ears of corn. I pulled up all of the Mississippi Purple Hull peas, harvested the peas and fed the vines to the rabbits and the goats. I also pulled up the half row of green beans that had succumbed to Mexican Bean Beetles.
It has been an extremely difficult year to have started such a large gardening project between the lack of rain and extreme heat. I cannot remember have some many 90 degree days as we’ve had this year.
The goats are suffering to some extent as well. It’s too hot for them to each much during the day so they lay around in the shade. Not eating as much as they should means their milk production is not what it should be. It’s okay. They give what they give and I am appreciative of it. At least they are all behaving relatively well.
In three weeks I’ll be back in school again. Then it all gets really crazy! I hope to be able to get at least some fall planting done before I go back. I have several empty rows in the back section of the garden and now have three cleared rows in the front. The cleared rows need to be cleaned up and the beds rebuilt and replenished, especially the row the corn was it. The rows the beans and peas were in are in pretty good shape, the corn row is obviously stripped of nutrients. Luckily we have plenty of rabbit manure to add to it. I’ll probably plant a winter legume in it or I may put a late row of early maturing cowpeas in it.
We got a little bit of rain yesterday afternoon (in Hickory it poured buckets) and there is a 60 percent chance of rain both today and tomorrow. Hopefully we will get some good showers. Next year, during the summer, I plan to have very little in the raised beds. They failed me this year, but it was likely not so much their fault as mine: I did not have them prepped as good as I should have. I’ll build them up as much as I can this fall, plant some things in them for the winter and then leave them planted with some sort of drought tolerant cover crop for the summer.
Know what has performed amazingly well: the Verde De Taglio Swiss Chard. Despite the weather it has hung on and continued to produce. I have not eaten any in some time, but plan to harvest and cook some this week to see how it tastes. If nothing else, it’s good food for the ducks and the rabbits.
I am getting two new Silver Fox does from a rabbitry up in the mountains this week. Funny how things work sometimes. We sold a lot of extra rabbit cages and the guy that contacted me for the last three has a house in the mountains and one in Cherryville (close to us). He is going to pick up the two does this week and deliver them when he picks up the cages. These two does with the buck I bought a few weeks ago will expand my breeding program enough so that I will not have to bring in any new stock for years. I spent yesterday going back through old pedigrees and notes and building pedigrees on my existing stock. We’ve sold numerous pedigreed Silver Fox kits over the past few weeks. I am glad that I stuck with the rabbits because it seems this may be where we can get some income: selling pedigreed rabbits. I charge a good bit of money for them so I hope that if someone pays a good bit of money for an animal they’ll care for it properly. Whatever I do not sell as a pedigreed rabbit, we will eat. We will see how that works, but s far this month, I’ve sold more pedigreed rabbits than I have processed rabbits.
Amazingly, the ducks have been laying well. I do not like having them off pasture and it is a lot of work bringing pasture to them, but we have been getting eggs every day. Not many mind you, but previously we’d go days, weeks and so it seemed, months without eggs. It is possible we just could not find them, but for now, they will stay where they are and I will keep harvesting forage for them and the rabbits. Luckily, there’s tons and tons and tons of weeds in the garden and even chickweed is starting to make an appearance.
Until later …