Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Garden-Late July

The vegetable garden is coming into its prime now. We've harvested the early Blue Adirondack potatoes, the onions are big enough to start using, we've been eating chard and kale regularly for a while now, and the first Sungold tomatoes are ripe.

The sweet potatoes took a beating from a ground hog, but Alan took care of him so they are recovering nicely.

Today I harvested some of the larger carrots, a few red onions, the volunteer potatoes and a few of the white potatoes to see how they are coming along, pickling and regular cucumbers, three zucchini, and some red beets that came out accidentally while weeding. Oh, and a few tomatoes too.

I did an early and a mid spring planting of golden beets and the mid spring planting beets are much bigger than the earlier planting. Not sure what made such a big difference.
The corn is beginning to tassel and is well over my head.
And so are the Jerusalem Artichokes.
Tons of weeding to do and cover crops to plant. And fall vegetables to get going also. I have many broccoli plants started and a half dozen cauliflower as well.

Rain Barrels

The rain barrels are connected to the gutters on the barn and are working great, maybe a little too great. About one inch of rain fills all four barrels. We are looking into getting a larger barrel, about 250 gallons to act as a reservoir.
The hose is the overflow line. The barrel in the foreground is a little lower than the others and has another hose down low which goes into the garden so I can use the rain water on the veggies. All in all I'm pretty happy with the set up.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Chicken Jewelry

Our chickens are sporting a new look, bracelets. To keep track of which year the chickens were hatched I bought chicken bands. Last year's birds now have red bracelets. I really like the black sex link birds I have now and have three more coming along. As the birds get to be full size it will be very difficult to tell them apart, hence the bands.
I crept into their coop at night and slipped the bands on while they were roosting. They got a little stirred up but nothing like I thought they would. I think they like tolerate them.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


We took our first trip to Cincinnati since our son moved there over three years ago. We got to see his apartment and where he works. And a bit of the city.
We went to the American Sign Museum, which has a nice collection of mid 20th century neon signs among others.
We had lunch at the Findlay Market and some really yummy gelato.

Then to the Cincinnati Art Museum, where they have a very eclectic collection. They did have some 17th and 18th century paintings I really enjoyed. And this great statue of Pinocchio.

We left very early Sunday morning to come home, like 3:45 AM early. And as we were getting onto the interstate I realized I had not taken any photos of the Ohio River. I don't have the best camera for this, but here goes.
It was great to see Ian and his world, but it was great to get home too.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Ewww, Japanese Beetles

The hollyhocks, fall gold raspberry bushes and ostrich ferns are getting eaten by Japanese Beetles. They aren't doing any real damage, yet. Today I went out and picked what I could and drowned them in warm soapy water. I got quite a catch.
I am not sure why they are always hanging out together, but they are usually in pairs or trios. Rarely do I see a single beetle.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Its a Turkey Tractor

Each year we raise a few turkeys for holiday dinners. Last year I tried raising my own Narragansett Turkeys from my tom and hens, but I discovered its too much work to keep the breeders over the winter. And there are many other reasons why I don't want to go back to breeding my own turkeys. So this year we got three turkey pullets from the feed store. They are now two months old and getting quite large. Time for the turkey tractor.
I have the best husband. I found this sitting in the driveway when I came home from work Monday night. He made it from two hog panels we bought from Tractor Supply. The 16 foot panels were cut in half and then one of the halves was cut in half again. Hog panels are 34inches tall which makes the turkey tractor 34 inches wide and tall by 8 feet long. For the three turkeys we will raise that should be enough room.  Right now they are sharing the space with one duck and 3 two month old chicks.

The door was even made from hog panel. The hinges are just bent from the panel itself.

I wrapped the whole pen in 2x3inch wire I had around to help keep predators out and the chicks in. We also had a three foot by 10 foot canvas tarp to give protection from sun and rain.
I can easily drag the tractor to its new location. And it only took everyone about 3 minutes to figure out there was grass to eat.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


We have figs! The fig trees I bought earlier this spring from Rodale are doing well and seemed to be very happy with their repotting. I noticed we have quite a few baby figs and they are getting bigger every day.
Mmmmm, our own figs.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


If you study old buildings you have seen a variety of gutters, none of which is the ubiquitous K gutter used today.  I have seen beautiful wood gutters (some lined in lead), copper gutters and, of course, the half round gutter so common on old Pennysylvania farm houses and barns. So I was thrilled to find half round gutter locally in Kutztown.
Alan started putting the gutter up last weekend and it looks great, I think.
Each run is 32 feet so the high point is in the middle and each half is pitched to the outside corner. Each corner will have a rain barrel.
I am hoping to use the rain water to water the garden, which is downhill from the barn.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


I have always loved foxgloves but they never did well at my old house.  I bought some plants a few weeks ago and they are doing very well.
I particularly like this white one; the purple markings on the white are so pretty.