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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Homesteading Update, 28 May 2011

I'm so relieved; the peas are finally blooming!  I was sure I was going to have to yank them out before they had a chance to produce peas because they are where the summer squash (zukes and patty pans) are going for the summer.  Now I think I just may have been a little premature with the squash starts.  I guess we'll see.

I lost all my bell pepper starts.   All my Italian pepper starts, too. Slugs.  I've ordered more bell pepper seeds (Territorial Seed; they're closest, so I figured they'd be fastest) instead of using the saved seed I have.  I saved it from a grocery store bell pepper, which was probably a hybrid, so probably not the most ultimate bell pepper I could be growing.  I ordered the California Wonder 300, which is the only open pollinated bell pepper they have besides the mini bells, which are not worth the time and space.  I grew them last year.  I like full sized bell peppers much better.  The swell thing about bell peppers (aside from the great flavor they add to things) is that they don't require anything fancy for freezing.  You don't need to blanche them or anything.  Last year I just chopped them up, and threw them on a cookie sheet (okay, technically it was a jelly roll pan) and then when they were frozen, poured them into a freezer bag.  Easiest thing in the world.  I used the last of them last week on Steve's breakfast.

In other news, the girls are growing really, really fast. One is starting to sport her tail feathers, and they're not quite two weeks old.  I think they may be outgrowing their brooder already because I've noticed some pecking, but that might be spite.  So I'm thinking I'll have to stop work on the dining nook and get the coop going.  Which probably means that the dining nook will not be ready by the time it's my turn to host bunco night in June, which means I'll have to borrow chairs, in addition to the table I already needed to borrow.  This is all just as well, because it would take some pressure off me; there are days when the weather gets decent and I grieve because I should be outside working on the garden and not staying inside and working on the nook.  I can think of a certain boysenberry bed that desperately needs to be weeded, among other things.  And I have trees and a couple of fruiting plants that need to go in the ground.

And last but not least, the raccoons are back.  One has loped across the backyard two nights in a row and enters the neighbor's yard from a spot in the fence where he's pushed aside a fence board. Unfortunately, it's not our fence. I haven't seen him since the night I went after him with my spading fork (which I'm thinking about sharpening), but that doesn't mean that he's not waiting for the sun to go down so that he can traverse the yard under the cover of darkness.  Raccoons think like that.  They use words and phrases like 'traverse' and 'under the cover of darkness'.

Sneaky, covert bastards.


Rae said...

Territorial is pretty quick. I received my seeds 3 or 4 days after ordering, and I placed my order during the spring rush.

I agree... raccoons ARE sneaky covert bastards. Stupid raccoon feeding neighbor. While you may not be able to fix the hole in the fence, can you put a barrier in front of it?

Paula said...

I've thought about a barrier but until I get my coop made, I'm saving all my hardware cloth and wire goods.

I have given thought to burying a length of aluminum flashing along the fence line, which would also keep the neighbor's grass out of my flower bed, but honestly, I have so many other things to get accomplished that I don't want to think about that right now. Besides, this side of the yard is his egress.

What I should do is rig a nasty surprise on his ingress.

Tamar@StarvingofftheLand said...

Any smart raccoon (i.e. one who uses phrases like "under cover of darkness") is going to make it a point to spend most of his time in the yard of someone who hates raccoons less than you do.

For the dumb ones, though, I'd sharpen that spading fork.

Glad the chickens are thriving!

Paul and Melanie said...

Sorry to hear about the raccoon, not something we have to worry about here in the UK. Although we do get mice, rabbits, foxes and the odd deer on our plot... :)

Carolyn said...

Sounds like you have smart raccoons with ninja skills! Watch out!

Anonymous said...

hehe..yes. Raccoons are known for thier intelligence, hand dexterity and the long standing habit of using big words when planning raids. We lost almost all of our 29 tomato plants..too much rain!

Paula said...

Awww! What a heartbreak! I always cover mine until at least after the fourth of July, which is usually when summer starts around here.

Which reminds me that I wish the weather would let up so that things could dry out and I could get the rest of them in the ground.

But I shouldn't whine. I didn't lose twenty-nine plants!