Its that time of year again. Fall. Don’t get me wrong, I love fall, but those beautiful colors don’t last long. And then it’s winter. And I hate winter.
The top of the coop needs to be closed, and the bird netting on top of the run needs to come off. I made the mistake of leaving it on last year and the snow almost pulled my whole run down. Before I do this, I’ve got to take the roof shingles off the nest box. The younger birds are standing on it and I’m concerned they’re just going to fly over the top. I’ll replace it with rubber, hopefully that will make it lighter to lift as well.
There’s garbage in the yard that needs to be burned. The blueberries, blackberries and quince all need to be cut. And trees need trimming. Unfortunately the bush saw is broken. Now what do I do?
The blueberries haven’t been cut or burned off in years, and we’re not getting much yield from them any more. Cutting them down, we won’t get many next year either, but the following year should be better. So much to do, and with daylight lessening in the evenings, not much time to do it.
I’ll leave the rabbit and chicken waterers out until it gets colder, then the rabbits water bottles will need to be replaced with dishes and the chickens nipple waterer will need to be replaced with a regular one.
On my he bright side, I’m getting new cages for some of the rabbits. I’m finding the large 24x30 cage trays are difficult to handle when full of water (from a leaky bottle) and especially when frozen, so I’ve got 24x24’s coming to make it a little easier.
Here we are nearing the end of May. I've got newly hatched chicks, hens sitting on eggs, hens are laying about 12 eggs a day, baby rabbits being born...and a garden to plant. I've been letting the chickens out trying to coerce them into tilling up my raised garden beds for me. But they also tilled up my planters and the driveway and whatever else they can dig up. I wanted to get my planters by the doorstep done so I seeded them and covered them with bird netting. Hopefully I can remove it without any interference once the plants get bigger.
The chickens did do a decent job of tilling the garden beds for me. But I quickly realized that before I could plant, I'd need to put up a fence. Not only would they be in it, so was the cat and the dog. I bought some 1x3 8' strapping and had the guys cut them in half for me. When I got them home my husband cut points on one end of each board (except for two), so I could drive them in the ground. I decided to fence them both in together so I'd only have one gate to build and use less fencing. After I had them all in the ground I just took a roll of chicken wire and wrapped it the whole way around, stapling it as I went. I bought four corner braces and screwed together a couple boards to make the frame for my gate, attached to the last post with small hinges. And I used a hook and eye for a latch. Done. And it didn't take me veryingn at all and was relatively inexpensive. (Less than $40)
This year I rotated my crops. Planting the pumpkins where I usually do the tomatoes, and vice versa. I cut back a little bit, hoping I'd have more luck with crops if I had less to focus on. Last year I grew about 3 cucumbers. Which was probably plenty for me, but not worth the space they took up. Also, I decided on just two varieties of pumpkins this year instead of trying 4. I chose to forgo the jack-o-lantern pumpkins and the Dill's Atlantic Giant. I've only planted white and blue this year. My friend is planting regular pumpkins and we've decided on a trade when the time comes for harvesting. I also chose not to do peppers or corn this year. Never had much luck with either, so why waste my time? I did however plant both black and cherry tomatoes this year, along with spinach, borage, carrots, and I bought some green onion and garlic bulbs to try my hand at.
I also scaled back on flower seeds. No need to waste my time and money on things I can't get to grow. I actually bought an echinacea plant yesterday, because I've tried for years to get them to grow.
I must mention that I did not start any of these plants in the house. I direct seeded everything this year. With all the extra animals and working on different projects I just don't have the time or space to plant inside and then try to acclimatize them outside before planting. I think a small greenhouse is in my future plans.
Oh, and you should see the blossoms on my apple tree this year! Hoping to actually get some apples!