Wednesday, July 13, 2016

It's Been a Wild and Wooly Summer

I probably should substitute "feathery" for "wooly" in my title as we have no wool on the hoof but a lot of feathers on the feet!

Mama Cayuga duck is sitting on a nest of eggs . . . on the chicken house floor.  Oh, well.  It obviously struck her as a good place.  Do we need any more ducklings at this point?  No, nuh-uh, we sure don't.  On the other hand, we may learn something as to whether she's going to be a good breeder (and earn a spot as breeding stock) and if she'll be a good mother.

Our weather has been . . . maybe weird is a good word for it.  We've had hotter than usual temps, and they started in June.  Normally we get about a week of what is really high temps for us.  This comes at perhaps the end of July.  Or beginning of August.  We've also had lots (and lots) of rain.  Yesterday morning the rain gauge topped off at 2-1/10th inches.  (Just a little sprinkle overnight.)


The rain combined with the hot weather has caused a near explosion in the garden.  The appearance of it looks to be about a month ahead of normal.  The harvests aren't much different than usual though.


I'm still picking and processing strawberries by the dump truck full.  I got these three pounds of the everbearing Seascape variety yesterday.  Beautiful, huh?  How's the taste?  Still watery, flavorless and sour.  Ugh.  Is it our soil?  Too much rain?  If so, why are the three different varieties of June bearers wonderful?  Will I tough it out and let these everbearers go for one more year to see if there is any improvement in them?  Not decided yet.

Our summer project list is not looking good.  Well, the list itself looks great.  It's the progress on it that is frustrating.  Honestly, we're both working hard, not fluffing off too much.  But our summer season is so short and we're trying to do so much.  The two don't seem to mesh.


We haven't started on firewood.  We have enough two-year old wood high, dry and under cover for this upcoming heating season, but that would leave us no back-up for the year after that.  Not something that makes us feel comfortable.


I'd have to deem our poultry project (new chicks, ducks and geese) a rousing success.  They're all fat and sassy and very healthy enjoying the good life on our little homestead.  (When I went out this morning to photograph the assorted flock, the chickens and ducks were already nestled down in the shade of the little woods in their pasture.  These geese came over to say hello see if I had food.)


The honey bees are doing great at this point.  Will we be able to take any honey this year?  Dunno yet.  We're in the process of rebuilding our hives and inhabitants thereof.   If we can just over-winter this good group we've got going, that alone will qualify as a booming success for us.

Geesh, hope this post hasn't come off as being penned by a Debbie Downer.   We have SO many good things going and SO much to be thankful for and I am SO grateful and appreciative of where we live and what we're doing.  I think I've just hit a mid-summer slump and could use a week on a beach somewhere.  With my best friend and husband.  (No, not my best friend and my husband.  They are one and the same.)

25 comments:

Dawn McHugh said...

Bees are on my list today, having lst some last year to wasp attacks i was hoping for a swarm but they havent, I am going to investigate the hives today

Sue said...

I'm glad you're having a great growing summer. We've had so much heat and humidity (and BUGS!!) this year. The corn is growing by leaps and bounds . Last month, we couldn't BUY rain, this month--plentiful. The only consistent thing throughout all this is the bugs. Jiminey Cricket--they're everywhere. Still waiting for the duck package from you for bug patrol.................

:D

Vera said...

Web have hit an energy slump these last few days. Hopefully we shall get our energy back soon as we have lots to do, but sometimes there is a need to be indulgent and just rest. We also need to sort our wood out, but it can wait for a week or two!

Mama Pea said...

Dawn - So many of us are trying overcome all the maladies attacking honey bees these days. Wishing you best of luck with yours!

Mama Pea said...

Sue - I think you've gotten our share of the bugs! They've been worse here than I care for, but I really don't think they've been as bad as some years. We are just now seeing mosquitoes for the first time this summer. The black flies and no-see'ums have been inflicting their venom (pun intended) good enough though.

Watching one of our herd of 16 ducklings see and chase a bug across the grass is so funny. They'll run smack into a structure or tree or whatever they are so intent on their prey!

Mama Pea said...

Vera - Good advice about letting ourselves rest when the body says, "Rest period!" But there's always something to do, isn't there? Hang in there . . . and I will, too!

coffeeontheporchwithme said...

Busy, busy... Will you plan on selling ducks? Duck eggs? Or is the plan to raise ducks for your own freezer? -Jenn

Mama Pea said...

Hi, Jenn - We're trying to establish good breeding stock of a few ducks and geese. Then we'll raise offspring each year for food. (Eggs now and then would be a plus, too.)

Our good neighbor was raised on a farm and remembers smoked duck and geese his father made as some of the best meat he's ever tasted. We will raise the poultry, he will butcher for the freezer and/or smoke the meat and we'll split the profits. A win-win situation for us all!

Sue said...

Ha--I imagine that's so fun to watch...though I'm of course hoping they don't hurt themselves. OH, I wish we could settle down for good. I miss the Poultry Antics!
PS--I'm in the house BLANCHING BROCCOLI!!!!!!! Harvested 3 heads this morning. So so so happy right now.
Hope your day is going well also

Sandy said...

Mama Pea,

Summer seems to be moving real fast. You say your summer is short up there for planting. We generally have a longer time frame to plant seeds here in Oklahoma. This year however, we deliberately didn't plant as much as we normally do. This way we can start breaking down some of the garden beds early in preparation of our upcoming move come this spring.

Wow, love strawberries.....and they keep producing :-)

Sending hugs and love to you and yours.
Sandy

Rain said...

We all have our downer days, we're entitled! I think that having a little slump helps us to push along through challenges and/or problems, and then feel even more gratitude for what we have. I just got a thousand dollar Hydro bill "revision" - thieves....I was so upset, but really, what can you do? We don't abuse our electricity bill, we just live in a "leaky" rental. This just empowers me to do more research on solar power and how to set things up as off grid as possible. You have such a wonderful garden! Your feathered friends are very cute, I'm glad your project was a great success! A week at the beach sounds lovely, but I have my BF (best friend and boy friend) right here with me and we'd only hit the beach if nobody else was on it! Hermits...a summer afternoon sipping wine spritzers and reading books on the hammock cures all of our ills :)

Laurie said...

I just love seeing your garden and hearing about what you're picking. Those strawberries look so plump and sweet. But, sour, huh? I'm sure you'll figure the problem out. Maybe too much rain initially and not enough sun to sweeten them.

I think I've hit that mid-summer slump, too! I wish for you a week at the beach! But for me, I'm heading to the Rockies. We enjoy those milder days and cooler nights. We're taking the grandkids with us for the first 2 weeks. Should be so much fun. All this means that I only have a little over a week left to enjoy my garden. It looks like my cantaloupes won't be ready before we leave. I'm so sad about that, but my neighbor wil be happy to enjoy them for us.

Have a great week!

Laurie said...

OMG! I just saw your new profile picture. HaHa!!!! I'm rolling on the floor laughing my butt off!! Love it!!

Myrna said...

Sounds like you are getting to have quite a mixed poultry farm. Christmas goose dinner?

Michelle said...

Not a Debbie Downer at all; in some spots you were almost bragging! ;-) Summer is the busy season . . . and fall is a busy season . . . so is winter – oh, shoot, us industrious grow it/cut it/split it/raise it/make it ourselves types are ALWAYS busy. And vacations are overrated, IMO. Too much work on either side to take one, and I always miss my animals and my own environs when I'm gone.

Mama Pea said...

Sandy - Totally understandable why your gardening efforts are a little different this year. I'll bet you're getting eager for next spring time and your move! Exciting new plans!

Mama Pea said...

Rain - I had to laugh at your comment about going to the beach only if you could have it to yourselves. I feel the same way! Your description of your idyllic summer afternoon sounds WONDERFUL! Love how you're always so upbeat.

Arrrgh, so sorry to hear about the hydro bill. Ouch, ouch and double ouch!

Mama Pea said...

Laurie - It must be hard to think of leaving your garden (drat!) but at the same time I know you're eager for the trip to Colorado. So nice of you and Cliff to take the grandkids . . . and nice for their parents to have a little "vacation" alone!

That profile pic was taken a couple of years ago, but I thought it was the appropriate time of year to put it up again. (There are days when I come in from the garden and feel like that!)

Mama Pea said...

Myrna - And probably a Thanksgiving goose, too! We did that for many years back when we first raised geese.

Mama Pea said...

Michelle - I couldn't agree with you more about taking vacations or leaving home being too much of a hassle! You and I are lucky because I think that means we're happy being in our own home environment! We don't have to always go see and experience new or different things to provide us with interesting things to do!

Mama Pea said...

Sue - Ha! You should see MY three inch tall broccoli plants! I'm trying the "out fox the ol' cabbage butterfly" system again this year and have just in week or so ago set out my late started broccoli plants. Will it work again this year? Sure hope so!

Kristina said...

I think every homesteader should share the good and the bad, so newbies see that struggles do exist and how to deal with them. We too, have a huge list - trees need cut down, chicken barn re-roofed, root cellar dug and some other home repairs that if they are not done before winter, will cause more problems. Hubby works so many long hours and we are a two person team. I become the no-person team, when heavy equipment are involved. Or the wood splitter, or the chain saw, or the tiller. I've enlisted one kiddo to help mow. We wanted to go camping this weekend, as it will be in the high 60's, but Hubby would be sleeping all day and working all night. We just adjust, and live life to the best we can.

gld said...

I think we have all hit that slump! I sure have.

Glad to hear your best friend and husband are the same person; makes for a wonderful life!

I love seeing the fowl. We have never had your wonderful mix.

I think I would save that wood job for cooler fall weather.

Glad you are getting good rains. We are all complaining about the last two strange gardening years.

Mama Pea said...

Kristina - I think it's a balance we all try to strike between expressing our tiredness, frustrations, inability to get done all we want (and need!) to get done and sharing the real pleasures and satisfaction of the lives we've chosen. I don't like to "complain" 'cause that can become a habit and put one all the more so into the doldrums! But there certainly are periods when it somehow helps to get things off your chest by voicing them . . . and maybe that's what our blogs are for, too! And, as you say, let's newbies know it's not all sunshine and roses.

It's gotta be a double edged sword for you and your husband . . . his heavy work load brings in more $$, but time on ye ol' homestead suffers for it. Again, trying to find the happy medium . . .

Mama Pea said...

Glenda - This happens to me every summer when I realize it's half over! Also,I think we can all push and work hard for a certain length of time . . . before we need to recharge mentally and physically! But it's all good. I'm okay, you're okay. ;o}