I'm sitting here this morning with all of the windows open, listening to the sounds chickens make when they are busy laying eggs. The trees have been losing their leaves for weeks, though our temps have been in the 70's at night and 90's during the day. It may have looked like fall around here, but it has not felt like it, at least not until this morning when we woke up to a lovely 51 degrees :) Fall makes me happy.
This is the path to the pond on our property. In the summer, it was so dark on this path that it looked like evening all the time. With the leaves falling, we are starting to see the sun again.
We've been keeping the chickens inside their run instead of letting them run around in the woods and yard. Trying to grow a garden with them running around was futile. Even with netting and fencing, they still managed to eat most of my seedlings, and what they did not eat, the dog would dig up, so this summer did not boast much of a harvest. After losing two plantings of my fall garden, I finally have something to show for my efforts.
The small plants in this photo are some kale I just planted. The larger plant in the foreground is ginger that I planted from a sprouted ginger root I had for cooking. It is about 3 inches tall right now. Its really fun to get free plants from the kitchen :)Here are a few of our broccoli plants. We have nine, which will not be enough to supply us with broccoli for even a few weeks (we go through tons of broccoli here), but still, it is worth the effort of planting some.
Here is our "spring mix" lettuce that is just coming up. I have lost count of how many times I replanted this as the chickens would eat this up as soon as it sprouted. We like to harvest a few leaves from each plant every day to make a salad. That way, they just keep growing all season. These usually are ready to start harvesting by about 3-4 weeks old. We've got about 2-3 weeks to go.
Here is our romaine. I think we have 12 plants. They are growing nicely and I am hoping we will be able to start using some of them as baby lettuce soon.
We have not had measurable rain in over 6 weeks. The garden is surviving because it is small enough for me to keep up with watering. The rest of the yard is not doing as well. Most of the grass is brown and the trees that still have leaves are looking pretty thirsty. We had about 15 minutes of rain yesterday, but it was definitely not enough to make any difference. Hoping for a little bit more soon.
I think that this week I will pull up the rest of the basil and either dry it or make one last pesto with the harvest. In its place, I think I will plant some of the sprouting potatoes that are in my house waiting for a place to grow. Potatoes grow pretty well here during fall and even winter, if they are kept in a warm-ish area and get enough light.
We have a very small area with cut hay that we have slowly been raking and bringing in. Right now, all that we have 'harvested" is in the chicken coop, but I am hoping to get a little put away for later when the pen needs to be refilled.
We also built the girls two more laying boxes and they are putting them all to good use. When they first started laying we were getting about 4 eggs per day, on average. They have slowly increased their numbers and are now averaging about 8 per day. Not only are they laying more, but their eggs are getting bigger.
The middle egg was laid last Wednesday and the other two were laid on Saturday ( you can see the date I wrote on the green/ blue one-I date the eggs as I bring them in so that I can be sure to use the oldest ones first-learned that from my friend Kathleen ). At first they all looked like that little bitty one, but now most of them are like the big ones and we only get one or two of the little ones per day.
At this point in my pregnancy, I am still feeling really great and have lots of energy, so I am hoping to get some more of our projects done in the next few weeks. We are hoping to build some beds to help with erosion where our yard does not get enough light and water for the grass to grow. I am also hoping to chop down some more small trees and cut them into firewood (not only is it great exercise for me but the boys love this chore and will happily help with it for hours at a time). We are also hoping to get some limestone put down in the driveway/ parking area so that when the rain starts up again, we are not walking through mud to get to the house.
Inside the house, I am hoping to get the school room back into shape - it has become the school room/ dumping ground for anything that does not have a home. I also hope to organize the pantry.
What is going on over at your place?