Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Summer Days

Summer must have forgotten to check the calendar and see when the 'proper' arrival time is as it has shown up early this year . . . as in, the past week or so our highs have all been in the 90's! A little on the warm side. :) Another taste of summer is the 'singing' of the cicadas. Though it can hardly be called singing as it is a very discordant sound and not at all pleasant to listen to. In the early morning, only a few cicadas can be heard making their noise, but by mid-afternoon, it has risen to a deafening pitch that at times, actually hurts your ears.

When combining the daytime heat and then the noise of the cicadas, early mornings and evenings have fast become the favorite part of our days for right now! Though, we can often be found ou
tdoors in the afternoons as well, as there is always so much to do this time of year. Our days have been full and enjoyable, and here is a little glimpse into some of what's been going on around our place lately (though, there aren't any 'people photos' as the ones that I did have are on the computer that I normally use . . . and that computer is out of commission right now. Ryan has been so nice to work on it for me, so hopefully it will be up and running again soon!) . . . .

Around our Place . . .

Flowers blooming in one of Mama's gardens

Dragonflies flitting around all over the place . . . and early in the morning they can be found resting on things such as this fence.

Morning sunshine filtering through the trees

Busy bees bringing in nectar and pollen . . . this photo was taken fairly late in the evening so there aren't too many bees out and about; but you should see the hive at about mid-morning to early afternoon! It's amazing all of the activity then!

Down in our woods where Daddy just recently cleared an area with the weed-eater . . . the hens certainly enjoyed browsing through there!

Hostas in my shade garden


The Animals

Baby rabbits . . .

The baby rabbits are out of the nextbox now and are just as cute as cute can be! Their eyes are open, and they are just beginning to learn how to eat hay and drink out of the water bottle. They are so fun to watch!

Getting ready to hop back into the nest box

Learning how to groom himself . . . the hardest part is figuring out how to stay balanced on only three legs!

The hens . . .

We have been free ranging the hens, and they are loving it! Especially all of the nice, cool, shady spots where they can rest during the hot part of the day. And of course, they love all of the cicadas as well. They hunt for them just about all day, and it would be quite curious to know how many they have gobbled up! The only downside so far with having them free ranging is when they venture into the vegetable garden and decide that scratching would be a good idea . . . and when they somehow end up over the fence and in the neighbors' pasture!

One of the Barred Rock hens

The Chicks . . .

The other day, Leah and I moved all of the chicks to their new 'home'. The hens still reside in the coop at night, but the chicks have taken over the hens' chainlink pen (which is where the hens were kept during the winter.) Underneath the hoop house, there are roosts where the chicks spend the night. And in this photo, you can kind of see where the rabbits are in the lean-to.

Having fun in their new pen

One of our two cockerels


The Gardens

The above photo was taken a little over a week ago . . . it looks a lot different now as things are growing so quickly! The beets are on the left side here, and three trellises for cucumbers are on the right. After how well the one that I made last year worked, I made two more for this year. One has slicing cucumbers, and the other two are pickling cucumbers.

A salad bar growing underneath the cucumber trellis. Each trellis has lettuce and/or spinach underneath of it, and then before long, the cucumbers will shade them so then hopefully the lettuce/spinach will last longer.

Green beans - we have three long rows of these right now, and will be planting more later, too. And they are in need of another weeding! Before planting a large section of the garden, we had hauled in numerous loads of composted horse manure and tilled it in. Already we can tell a difference in the plant growth . . . and also in the weeds! The manure must have been filled with weed seeds, and it is taking quite a bit of weeding and hoeing to get ahead of them. We're getting there, though! Slowly but surely. :)

Tomato plants with basil intermixed in the rows as well . . . and this area is in the process of being mulched (which is a slow process as we are using grass clippings over newspaper [which we've been saving since last gardening season], so each time we mow, we mulch a little more.)

Yellow squash . . . mmm . . . we are all looking forward to squash casseroles again!

The beet row . . . we planted two varieties for us (one of which is in the photo), and then we're attempting to grow mangel beets as well to be used as feed for our animals. They are supposed to be excellent livestock feed, so it will be curious how that all works!

On the right side of the garden, behind the trellises, is Daddy's 'invention.' Since we've had a hard time with tomatoes the past few years, he planted a bunch of them in this raised bed (which had been used for something else, and then he simply added the sides to it) and also in white buckets. It will be interesting to see how they do! So far they're doing great. :)

A close-up of the raised bed (and he has a few pepper plants in the front, too)

Daddy covered all of our fruit trees to help protect them from being damaged/killed by the cicadas. While the cicadas won't kill large trees (other than some branches), they can kill small trees, so we definitely wanted to protect our young fruit trees!

I've been harvesting the two herbs that are ready right now - oregano and thyme - and instead of using the dehydrator to dry them (which is what I have always done before), I am air-drying them on recycled screens. They've been on the screens for a couple days now and are drying very well which I am pleased about!

Our days have been full, and a little on the warm side with all of the outdoor work (especially weeding in the gardens for us ladies!), and it has been so pleasant to cool off with things such as strawberry smoothies . . .


A perfect summer treat and a great close to a day!

16 comments:

  1. Beautiful pictures! :o) The little bunnies sure do take the cake don't they?! :o) They are so sweet!! Your garden is looking so wonderful! :o)

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  2. Those baby bunnies are so adorable! Wish I could hold one:).

    We have a large lawn and it's too bad we couldn't share our lawn clippings with you:), we always have quite a lot! Your garden looks very nice. :)

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  3. What a beauitful place you live in, Sarah. The shady trees look so inviting.
    Your Hostas have done so well in their shady area. Mine have been under attack by slugs.
    It's lovely at this time of year to see the growth that everything makes, and to plan for all the keeping for the Winter.

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  4. your family is certainly busy Sarah.

    I agree, what happened with summer???

    As my little Sadie sits here she would like to know if she can have a rabbit:)

    They are so darn cute.

    Try to stay cool in these hot summer days my friend:)

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  5. Yes summer has got a bit mixed up here too Sarah only we are having winter weather & temps to match!!! Your bunnies look cute & it looks really lovely where you live. Enjoy x

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  6. Sarah...I've been having some trouble loading your blog recently. It loads fine on our laptop, but on the main computer, the green background seems to take over everything, and I can't read the post very well, nor the comments at all. Other blogspots blogs load fine, so I was wondering if anyone else had mentioned this about your blog?

    Your days and temperatures sound very similar to ours. Today has reached 97 degrees! We're due to cool down and have more rain tomorrow, so we'll see if that happens.

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  7. Dear Sarah,

    Your garden is off to a great start! Our chickens ate all of our cabbages in our garden, and I've caught them eating tomato foliage, as well (naughty things!). Chicken wire to the rescue! They sure do love to free range, though, don't they?

    We've been having lots and lots of smoothies, too, adding lots of greens to them. We make popsicles out of them, too, for extra cooling!

    Love,

    Marqueta

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  8. Thank you, Nabila! Yes, the bunnies sure do. :) They are so cute and sweet! They and Mama are also all very tame and love to be petted, too. It's certainly a lot of of fun having them!

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  9. Aren't they, though, Emily?! If only you lived closer, you could stop be and see and hold them! And again if we lived closer, we'd be happy to come take the lawn clippings off of your hands. :) But alas, Canada is just a bit far away!

    Thank you for your comment about the garden!

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  10. Thank you, Elizabeth! We are so thankful to be able to live where we do . . . and all the work of clearing, etc. is beginning to pay off. I am sorry that your hostas have been attacked by slugs. Hopefully they will leave them alone soon!

    Yes, it is a lovely time of year to see the growth in all of the plants . . . and as you shared, planning for preserving everything for the Winter. I am looking forward to when it comes time for doing that!

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  11. Thank you for your comment, Amanda! Too bad you all don't live closer and then Sadie could come over and hold the baby rabbits. :) They make wonderful pets, and they sure are cute.

    Hope you all are staying cool as well. At least for here, there is a cool down in the forecast that we are looking forward to, and hopefully you'll have one, too!

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  12. Thank you, Marie! I am sorry to hear that you are having winter weather where you live. Hopefully spring will come soon for you, and you'll be able to enjoy warmer temperatures and nicer weather!

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  13. Hmm, I am not sure why you would be having that problem, Betsy, and no, no one else has mentioned it to me. From the sounds of things, it is likely your computer for some reason isn't downloading my blog right, though I would have no idea why. Hopefully it will start working normally for you soon.

    My! It's been warm up there! Even a tad warmer than what it has been here. Like you all, we are expecting a cool down and rain soon which we are all looking forward to!

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  14. Thank you, Marqueta! I am sorry to hear that your chickens ate all of your cabbages! That's one negative about chickens, they aren't terribly particular about where they scratch nor what they eat, garden or no garden. Our chickens have begun invading our garden more and tore out a couple of cucumber plants last night, so like you, chicken wire to the rescue! We're planning on starting to fence it in today so that will keep the hens out and then the rabbits as well. And yes, they do love to free range! It's so fun watching them out and about. :)

    Mmm, what a good idea to make popsicles out of the smoothies. That sounds delicious!

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  15. The little bunnies are so cute!! Have they grown a lot since you posted?!

    I also enjoyed seeing all your photos. It looks as though your garden is growing well... right now we are having lots of rain, which ought to be good for our garden – the weeds will probably thrive too!

    Blessings,
    Anna

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  16. Aren’t they, though, Anna?! Yes, they have grown a lot since I last posted. They keep getting cuter and cuter (if that can be possible :), and they are sweet, too.

    I am glad that you enjoyed the photos! The garden is growing well so far . . . at least most of it is! We have had a problem with Cucumber beetles and have lost some cucumber plants to them, and we’ve also had fungus in the onions, but other than those two things, everything else seems to be doing well. I am sure your garden is appreciative of the rain! I hope that everything grows very well (except the weeds :), and that you get an abundant harvest!

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Thanks so much for your comment! Each one is read and enjoyed. :)