Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Garlic drying in the shed, pine bark, new raised bed...

Sunday afternoon we harvested all the garlic in the garden proper.  Still the small bed near the apple trees to go.  G. says there were Polish whites.  They are huge!  Then there is another white, much smaller & prone to weird third thumbs.  (don't know how to describe it.  should take a picture.)  There there were some huge hard-necked purples. 

Persecuted sun chokes exploding up and out. We're standing up to all the whining and wheedling and guilt-slinging the chickens can dish--determined to give them some shade and a place to hide and play a month from now.  As we remember, they'll need to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 4' to survive the girls.  [Not pictured yet--stay tuned.]

Stubborn raspberry sprigs resolutely popping up everywhere all the time.  I spent about an hour digging up roots.  G just shook her head.  She's probably right.  Best to just "mow" them off. [Last year, G finally got tired of being poked to death and hacked them all down.  But their root network is extensive.  I've seen new growth 12' from the original spot.]

Speaking of mowing, G gave the new grass in the front its first-ever "haircut."  It looks really nice.  Still pretty tender, but the dogs haven't been too destructive so far.  G is still watering it pretty regularly, so Ruby likes to lay in the shady damp spots.

After a very strenuous, hot, sweaty morning, the second raised bed is in.  We had enough topsoil to fill it about halfway.  Still need the ribs for shade cloth, etc.  But it feels like progress.

Having gotten rid of one pile (the rest of the topsoil), we promptly created a larger new one:  pine bark to put on our paths!  Not nearly as heavy as the dirt, but as dusty.  We both had dark smudges all over our faces, necks, arms and legs.

Chickens - G is working really hard to keep them as cool as possible, and tolerably entertained.  She let them roam around in the ditch for a few minutes yesterday.  Also keeping the little 'wading pool' full, and flooding the well around the apple tree when possible.  Aye gods.  


Hot, hot, hot, hot and dry, dry, dry, dry.  Wildfires pretty much everywhere.  :(

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Who is eating the radishes?!

Took a photo of these guys. I was hoping to have some greens for the hens, but hungry caterpillars got them instead. So I've been feeding the caterpillars to the hens, but apparently not fast enough! What are they, aside from a bleak reminder that I have forgotten almost everything I read about insects over the last couple of years. :( I figured it would happen... with a third of an acre of grass, weeds, trees, shrubs, flowers, vegetables, chickens and bird baths--bugs just don't attract my attention they way they did when I lived alone in the heart of the city with a postage stamp-sized back yard, potted plants, and in ground irrigation. Here in the north valley, the good news and the bad news is that there is so darned much to ponder! 

Transit of Venus...

Add photo & quotes from the astrophysicist heard on NPR a day or so ago...

About Drought...

The Last of the Straw:

G. went to get straw to use for bedding in the coop, and to mulch the garden.  At Miller's Feed, he shrugged shaking his head. "We're out," he said, "Completely out.  And probably aren't going to get any.  Everything is so dry farmers are switching to other crops.  She went over to Dan's Boots and Saddles.  He had 50 bales for [price was staggering--$6.99?].  He said that once it was gone he didn't expect to get any more either.  So G told him she'd take as big a load as they could cram into the back of the little decrepit Ford Ranger.  10 bales.  $75 she said later.  Then mused that we'd better start mulching with newspaper.  This has also been surfacing for dairy farmers.  We heard this dismal piece on the radio recently, about the number of dairy farmers going out of business in NM this past year.  Apparently milk prices are highly regulated by the federal government (--who? how? why?)... and feed prices have gone through the roof (--what were the figures on this?).  At the moment the report said that dairy folk were losing $3/ per 12 gallons.

And what exactly is "straw"?  Where and how is it generally grown and distributed?

So exactly what is the precipitation data?  Where would I find someone talking about this?