So much has been going on here lately, despite the sickness. Spring is always a time of new things. There are many new vegetable seedlings growing in trays and pots, a little too many of some things. I didn’t get the mini greenhouse made over winter so the seedlings are taking over the house at the moment. During the day most of them go on the windowsill or harden up outside and at night they gather upon the table.
Some of the tomato seedlings flopped while I was really sick but others are doing a lot better. The capsicums and chillies are doing really well, the mesclun mix is almost ready to plant and the lettuces, well, lettuce say that lettuces are everywhere. I didn’t mean to end up with 15 six-cell punnets of one variety… But, I can sell the excess at the market. That’s right, we have entered the market scene!
This past Saturday marked my first ever market. I now have a spot selling plants at the Morrinsville Country Market once a month. It was all exciting and stressful preparing for the first market. I hadn’t had enough time to grow as many plants as I wanted, but you have to start somewhere. The gazebo arrived in time and we basically had everything we needed. The Husband came along to help and it was a good experience seeing how everything works and talking to people. And of course, now I have a million ideas about what I want to do in the future. Settle down, Twiglet, settle down.
The other day I was somewhat surprised to find The Husband looking at greenhouse plans. Apparently he suddenly realised my need for a greenhouse and wants to MAKE ME ONE. Alright, who kidnapped my husband and replaced him with a knight in shining armour? Now, The Husband’s projects are slightly (ever so slightly) less likely to be completed than mine, so I’m not getting too excited just yet. Can you believe I told The Husband “that one’s too big?” We do have to think about what we can fit on the property.
Now for a project that has been completed: the front door has finally became a reality. The whole process was far more fiddly than I thought it would be and we took our sweet time: removing old hardware, stripping, removing old window putty and replacing it, hole-filling, sanding, painting, acquiring and installing new hardware, chiseling out hinge recesses, making minor size adjustments then repainting, then hanging it. The Husband did a great job fiddling around with the hinges to get it installed. Was it worth it? Oh yes! I love this door. It’s so much more charming to look at than the old door, more well insulated and more secure for small children. It’s just lovely.
The chickens are well overdue for some limelight. We are getting plenty of eggs now. The current excitement is the eggs in the incubator that are due to hatch this weekend. I had to have some Australorp eggs in the incubator’s first test run, so when I had the opportunity to get some of different genetics, I did. Their fertility was said to be a bit uncertain due to some unauthorised escaping, but I thought I’d give a few a shot anyway. I got 7, and, because of the uncertainty, I also got 3 Dorking eggs. I have wanted to try out some Dorkings for a while, so this is good. Upon the first candling on Day 8, four of the Australorp eggs were infertile. I could tell, but I was still nervous to crack them. Nothing but egg. The other darker ones were a bit hard to ascertain, so I left them until later. I was disappointed, but it was the risk I took. I was preparing myself for just three Dorkings, but, lo and behold, the darker Australorp eggs came up trumps and all are fertile and growing! Hooray! Yesterday was Day 18, so the eggs have stopped turning and now, we wait. And hope. And finishing cutting a big hole in the brooder box lid and covering it with wire for aeration. It is a lot easier when broody hens do everything for you.
Meanwhile, the young Darrington is coming of age and has most of the hens under his authority. He started with a fondness for Betty. Fertility isn’t quite there for all the hens yet, but I know that at least Juliette’s eggs are fertile. The two pullets are doing well. Pickle is looking quite lovely and Blaze is, all of a sudden, looking like Josephine. There was a small chance that a maximum of one of the remaining chicks was a child of the late Josephine, so it wasn’t likely. But Blaze has a body shape (type) very similar to Josephine, which isn’t necessarily the best, and even her face looks like Josephine. I noticed this while I was spending time with the chickens the other day. I thought ‘Josephine’ in my head and had to remind myself that it was Blaze. Pickle is now looking more like her mum, Juliette, but better.
I did some reconfiguring of the nestboxes in the main coop since the hens were making too much fuss about not being able to all go in the bottom nestbox at once. Now there are four nestboxes, stacked two high, so there are two bottom ones and the second level ones are easier to get into. The hens approve. Although, it doesn’t stop two squishing into one nestbox when they’re really desperate for the same one. I will add another level when I need to and am still working on the ramp system.
In the garden, one bed of potatoes has been planted, the Agrias. The Summer Delight potatoes are still awaiting planting. Cocktail onions have been planted, white and purple. Three cloves of elephant garlic I found in my shed that had been ‘saved for planting’ have just been planted, only four months after the rest of them. Oops! That’s what happens when you put things in safe places sometimes. The Yen Ben lemon tree that was in a big planter on the deck has also been planted in the ground, between The Little Fulla’s vege garden and the Belle de Boskoop apple tree. Since we already have a mature lemon tree, planting this one was further down the list.
I am currently germinating all my cucurbit seeds in the hot water cupboard: pumpkin, squash, cucumber and even a melon. This year I’m growing a long cucumber and a gherkin (pickling) cucumber again, a green honeydew melon, the first melon ever, and six varieties of pumpkin or squash. However, I’m also growing more than one line of certain varieties for certain purposes. This is the first time I’ve selectively grown vegetable seeds for some sort of characteristic, so I’m excited to see how it goes. As for where on earth all these plants are going to go, I have no idea…