Sunday, June 13, 2010

Recent failure

My Japanese beetle trap was a bust. It does not work and I should have actually used a real trap before I tried to make my own. Milky spore and beneficial nematodes are in my future.

On a up note I did build something that works quite well.

It is a mini chicken tractor for between the rows in the garden.

These are some pullets that are too little to run free and too big to stay in the brooder. We have been feeding them the Japanese beetles that our traps aren't catching. We are catching them by hand again this year--a loosing battle. You can't see it here but they are decimating our pole beans.

Another success is our new garden fence.

It is chicken proof and mostly children proof.

I also drifted closer to my rain water catchment goal.

Here the cow stable steel roof sheds to her stock tank.

This pvc guttering is cheap. That is if you don't use their fittings or mounting hardware. A piece of gutter is around five dollars. While if you were to install it per recommendations you'd spend thirty or forty.

Another experiment is our sweet potato patch. We are using hillbilly mulch (aka old carpet) and cut holes in it for the slips.

I hope it works.

We also took delivery of some of our winters hay. Ten beautiful bales of wheat hay that Mike just put up with his new bailer.

Round bales are not our favorite but these were too beautiful to pass up.

The biggest success of the year is the black raspberry patch. Even having to share roughly half of our bounty with the Japanese beetles we are in berry heaven.

Kassi invented a desert. fresh raspberries still warm from the sun and vanilla ice cream.

Heaven on earth...

Every toy that Toly has been playing with of late has to have a trailer of one sort or another.

Kassi found a clam shell at the creek.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Early June photos

The black raspberries. Yes they are still red--mostly. I admit to have eaten a few.

Our Peach tree needed crutches.

Our strawberry season is over.

We ran a third hot-wire to maintain the dog boundary in the field where the broiler chickens are lurching around.

They are incredibly healthy seven weeks old.

I'd move them more than twice per day if it weren't so bloody hot.

They mostly lounge around except just after a lurch forward move. That is when they scurry about looking for that illusive insect.

This is a view from where the chickens are toward the house.

Each of the kids have their own raised bed. They love it and are very proud to show them off to any visitors.

They each chose what they want planted there.

The greenhouse is mostly empty of seedlings now.

I like the soil block maker, I admit it.

The tomatillos have battled and seem to be winning.

There be salsa verde in my mouth very soon.

The new soaker hoses get my full endorsement.

They are better than the old ones in every way. We have the 75 foot version.

Here we are trying winter wheat in between our tomatoes.

This is the season where our garden looks the best--right before everything starts dying.

Toly has become fixated on the hose connectors. We use the quick connect style.

Jack is a great dog. We have such high hope for both him

and Ianto

These pigs are our favorites of any we have raised.

Ginger is so cute.


Astrid is a show dog.

She'll never compare to Henry but in some ways she is better. She definitely is more protective of Tabitha and the kids already. She is about half grown now.

Yes, she will be a big dog.

This will be garden soil next year.

Jocelyn is looking great these days. She gets a few mower bags full of grass clippings each weather permitting day.

She loves it more than anything. It is like pre-chewed-food.

This is my barn ladder-stairs. They pull up out of the way on a hinge mechanism.

The Japanese beetles have arrived

In only two days since we saw the first one. The devastation is profound. I set my trap and nothing happened. No beetles ventured toward my trap. This stuff is supposed to be crazy drawing beetles from far and wide. My bait was a last year purchase so we decided that we should but new bait. I believe my logic to be sound. My trap should work!

The new bait said it has the sex pheromone and the floral scent. It also said that most other baits only include the floral scent. Humm... I'll see in a few minutes if my new bait worked.

Yesterday we planted sweet potatoes. The cow promptly broke into that new area and destroyed most of them. All those starts that Tabitha has been nurturing, just a hand full left. Arrgh... We replanted them and are hopeful.

The garden drama has officially started.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

A visit to the creek

Summer is in full swing. Sweltering temperatures always steer us to the cooler temperatures of the creek. It is the favorite spot for the season.

Rome has never been to the creek. He is fearless and surefooted.

That is good and bad since our local creek is a slippery place to walk. But, he is not scared to rush in deeper than is safe. I guess he is sure that Daddy will rescue him if any real trouble presents itself.

That is a scary expectation to live up to as a parent.

Toly is convinced that he drowned last year at the creek. I admit he did slip under for half a second and swallow some water. This year a life jacket is the only way he'll even get his toes wet. Revisionist history anyone? I try to explain that he did in fact not drown. If he were to have drowned he would not be here to enjoy the creek another day.

He loves the creek and talks about it constantly when separated from it.

He was very disappointed that we didn't go again today. We might go tomorrow.

Kassi has perfected the "creek crawl." It is the only safe method to quickly travel from one water slide to the next.

Kassi also caught some local fauna. Tabitha helped her get everything into containers so our new friends could be decanted into our stock tank for further study.

Tristan is an old-pro at creek activities.

This might be the year that learns to really swim. I always take each child into the deeper water and swim around with them riding my back. Rome liked doing that especially well. So much so, that he wouldn't stop until his teeth had been chattering for several minutes. Toly clung to me very tightly but enjoyed it none the less. Tristan and Kassi would never let go of my shoulders if I didn't force them to stop.

The creek is a wonderful way to cool down on these extremely hot days.
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