Friday, September 7, 2018

Late summer garden and chicken update

According to Hubby, summer is over, because to him, Labor Day marks the end of summer.  According to my calendar, summer will be over September 22.  According to my kids, summer will be over Monday, when they head back to school.  According to my garden, the end of summer is eminent. 

Yes, the garden is straggling along.  We've got a few more tomatoes left in the garden.  I did get one batch of salsa made with tomatoes and jalapenos from our garden, and the rest of the tomatoes I've been harvesting as they ripen, then blanching, peeling, coring, quartering, and freezing them.  I was hoping to get enough tomatoes (25 pounds) to make spaghetti sauce to can.  Now I'm thinking I'll probably just dice and can them.

We probably have enough jalapenos still on the plants to can a load.  Maybe I'll get to that next week.  The jalapenos on one of the plants turned purple almost right away, and long before they were ripe, which makes me think that one plant is a different variety than the others. 

The cantaloupe did really well.  I harvested one that was over 7 pounds, and there are three more melons on the plant.

The Brussels sprouts did not as well.  There are sprouts on the plants, but they're not very big, and I don't know if it's worthwhile harvesting and eating them.  Brussels sprouts like the cold, though, so I'll just leave them out there and see what happens.

I decided that we needed to dig up at least one of the potato plants before AKD headed off to school, since it was his idea to plant potatoes.  We did, indeed, get some potatoes, but they were pathetically small.  The volume of potatoes that we harvested didn't even equal the volume of the potato we planted.  We do still have four more potato mounds, so maybe those did better.  We're waiting until the plants die away before digging those up.

I do not have high hopes for the garlic and carrots.  They're root veggies, so obviously we can't tell what's going on with them, but looking at the leaves, it's not looking good.

Our basil plant was doing really well, and I should have pruned it and dried basil before we left to take AKD to school, but I didn't have time so I left it, and by the time we got home, the plant was shriveled and black.  It rained a lot while we were gone, so it wasn't lack of water that did the basil in.  The lavender plant is blooming again.  It seems well established, so hopefully it'll come back in the spring.

In chicken news, the Bigs' egg production has dropped big time.  I don't think we've gotten an egg from Esther in 5 or 6 days.  Got one from Rocky and one from Toasty yesterday, but before that it had been a while for both of them.  The weird thing is they're still sitting in the nest box.  They're expecting eggs--they're just not coming.  Surely, it can't be lack of sunlight already that's causing them to lay less.  Or maybe it can?  This development has me seriously rethinking my no-light-in-the-coop-to-give-the-girls-a-rest policy.  The other possibility is that they're entering molt, wherein they lose their feathers and then grow them back again.  It seems really odd to me that a chicken would lose her feathers just as it's getting cold, but nevertheless, that's what they do.

Luckily, the Littles' egg production has been ramping up, so we're still getting about three eggs a day.  They're little eggs, but at least they're eggs.  I was thinking I wouldn't have to buy eggs anymore once AKD left us, but I'm not sure if that's actually going to be the case.  MC is still eating three eggs a day, and I'm still eating one.  Bubby seems to have passed through his waffles-for-every-meal stage, so at least we're not needing eggs for that.

Speaking of little eggs, we've been getting so many double yolk eggs since the Littles started laying.  Apparently it's really common for new layers, and old (near the end of their laying years) layers to lay double yolks, but we never got any from our first set of hens.  It's mostly Indigo laying the doubles, and they are huge.  Poor Indigo.  But lucky us.

I haven't made much progress toward turning Koko into a lap chicken, although she did let me pet her without running away yesterday.  I guess I'll keep working on it.

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