It is now officially winter, being June and all. We have had some cold, crazy, stormy weather and a couple of cold but cracker sunshine days. These days are beautiful and to be made the most of, for who knows if the next day will bring rain or dismal fog that lasts all day? There has been a lot going on and I can’t seem to fit all the things into one post.
The Vege Garden is doing well and is the most productive Vege Garden I’ve had at this time of year yet, because I got things into the ground earlier on. I’ve planted more cocktail onions and some leeks and I have a few more leeks left to plant. During a rainy patch we sowed some more carrots and some parsnips, as the last parsnip sowing didn’t cooperate. The late bush beans that I was trying out decided they could no longer live when the frost turned up. The bean pods didn’t get to drying point, unfortunately, but we can still use the green beans. The basil has just died of frostbite too and the last tomato standing, the Gardener’s Delight is clinging to life. It was a pretty mild autumn.
The feijoa harvest was, sadly, not a very good one this year. I assume it’s because of the super hot, dry summer. I didn’t think to water the tree as it usually produces way too much fruit for us to handle. I’ll have to think again. The fruit was smaller and there was noticeably less of it. I sold some, gave some away and we ate plenty but there weren’t really enough for me to delve into preserving. We’ve had a few raspberries to eat though, as one of the raspberry plants I planted in summer, a dual-bearer, was evidently happy enough to produce some goodness for us.
I ground up all the dried peppers and cayenne peppers so we have a plentiful supply of paprika and cayenne pepper for the next year. We still haven’t finished last year’s ones. I dehydrated a few Tollis Sweet Red peppers to compare their paprika to that produced by the Alma Paprika peppers. It didn’t taste as good and, being of firmer flesh, didn’t grind up as well, so I will not be growing just Tollis Sweet Red for everything next season. I will grow both for their respective purposes: Tollis for eating and Alma Paprika for paprika-making.
I’ve been making more pumpkin soup, roasting pumpkins to make pumpkin puree for baking and experimenting with a few spaghetti squash recipes.
It’s high time for a chick update. I decided to give the last of the three incubator-hatched chicks to mumma Frodo. If she would accept them then she might as well raise all the chicks, as it would take a load off me with so much else going on. She accepted them perfectly. I put ties on their feet first so I could keep track of them more easily. Frodo is doing an excellent job with all 14 chicks and they’re doing well and enjoying frisking and foraging outside. I could tell fairly early on that several of the Paris chicks will be boys because of their feathering, especially the one with the orange spot who is very confident. I feel like I might have more boys than girls. The older lot are almost 5 weeks old and the younger five are almost 4 weeks old. The Little Fulla has been helping out with the chicks very ‘enthusiasticly’.
Most of the hens are laying reasonably at the moment. Tabitha has not been so fortunate. Guess what happened to Tabitha?
If you can’t guess from the photo, Tabitha succumbed to Mareks. It started with a limp in one foot and the paralysis deteriorated to where she could hardly move. Poor thing. I am not happy that the Mareks got Tabitha. She was Frodo’s only older daughter, aside from a couple of the chicks, and she didn’t even get to lay eggs. Mareks seems to come when and to those whom I least expect it. I haven’t had any younger ones suffer from it for a while. I suppose Tabitha was never as vigorous as Thomas, her brother, but still. Murphy’s law dictates that the vigorous healthy one is a boy that I choose to get rid of and the girl that I want to keep ends up with Mareks. Dargh!
Since I had to butcher Tabitha I decided I better do the Betty boy too. He was a nice-natured chap but he had a bit of a wry tail, which means his tail bends to one side. It’s a genetic thing, which sounds complicated to breed out, so I was not about to let that trait be passed along. The crossbred Paris boy is still around, as I am intent on using him for the Dual Purpose Meat Bird Side Project. I have started calling him Sandy Whiskers, since he has red speckled feathers coming through in his neck. But am I asking for trouble if Jemima ends up running off with Sandy Whiskers?
There was a funny episode in which I found Paris running around with something weirdly large in her beak one day. On closer inspection, it turned out to be a mouse! I was so impressed and highly amused. I don’t know if she caught it, although if anyone did it would be Paris, but she was running around with it, making gloating noises, and getting chased by others who wanted a piece of it. At one point, her son, of all chickens, managed to get it off her, but she swiftly grabbed it back again. After pecking at it numerous times she wolfed the mouse down. There’s never a dull moment with Paris around.
Meanwhile, indoors, I rearranged the living room. Again. But I think it will stay this way for a while. I put some of my old gardening magazines in The Little Fulla’s room because I thought he could cut them up for crafts, but he has taken a shine to some of them and can be found perusing them. Tonight, for his bedtime story, he chose a gardening magazine for us to read. My life is now complete.