It's a beautiful day out today. The perfect day to clean. I started with the rabbits, of course. Cleaned out all the cages and brought the bottles in to soak. I can wait to take them back out and start using them instead of bowls! I took the bucks and my two babies out to the pens for some fresh air and exercise. This is the first time the babies were outside.
While I was working on that my husband was cutting alders. He cut out from around the chicken run and inside of it. He also started to cut out around an old apple tree we have. I'd like to get in there and trim the poor thing up. On to the chicken coop. I scraped it all out, changed out the hay, filled up the feeder and switched the bowl out for the waterer. Somewhere along the line they got out. And enjoyed every minute of it.
The hens went in on their own, but the rooster needed a little coaxing. Then he tried to attack me.
I pickes him up and carried him around for a while. I'm hoping we're friends now.
I wanted to BBQ steak this afternoon, but after closer inspection, the barbecue we bought last year is completely broken. I decided to start a fire and clean up some of the broken tree limbs laying all over the ground from the winter. We go through the same thing every year. The Scots Pine that line the driveway fall apart. I've decided that they create way more work than they are worth. I just can't see spending hours a day cleaning up after them every year. We have 3 acres of land here and everything needs tending. Why make it more difficult. There are four on the driveway and I'd like to cut down the two centre ones and plant a Maple tree instead.
Meanwhile my husband was raking up all the rocks off the lawn that belong in the driveway. A product of snow removal, I guess. And he weeded one side of our 40 foot walkway. Which he hates. And wants to rip up.
Went to check on my flower gardens. My Stargazers have not started to come up yet, but it looks like I'll soon have pansies. And, my Hollyhocks are also growing. This is the second year for them, so they should have flowers this year!
After I got most of the limbs cleaned up, I went to the garden. I bought a hand tiller from Home Hardware (because my gardens are raised) and started to mix in all the rabbit manure that had been on top of it for most of the winter. I only got one done before deciding I was too tired to continue.
Now I'm in the house relaxing with my cat and dog, contemplating going back out to work on the flower garden or wash my car. Ah, maybe tomorrow. I'll be back, got to put the laundry away.
Some of my plants are growing beautifully. Some of them have died. Some never grew at all. I've got a few nice black tomatoe plants. Dahlias are doing well. Some nice coleus. And the cucumbers. Oh, my! I've got one cherry tomato plant left. The peppers are doing fine. I had one echinacea come up, and then it died. One poppy started to come up, then that also does. Ganzias didn't come up at all. Pretty disappointed. Some of those seeds were expensive. My friends aren't having any better luck with theirs. But here's what I got so far!
Transplanted a few more of my seeds. Remember the cucumbers that I planted? Bad idea.
They went crazy! So, I took those out, and the peppers and tomatoes. Also the coleus. Half of my dahlias died, so I just reused those cups and dirt.
So I had to repot my dahlias. In the greenhouse dome they actually got too moist and started to rot. I also decided it was time to repot the black tomatoes. I just ripped the mesh off of the pellets and put some soil in a few plastic cups. I remembered to write in the cups this year what are in them.
So, after a long day, I finally got to start a few seeds. I picked 4 that I felt needed to be started now. I will start more in a week or so.
I started with some pellets. Added the water and waited for them to expand. I also took notes. I wrote which ones I started and what day. I'm also keeping the seed packets and writing the dates on them. Then I will know when it is okay to plant them out.
Feb. 28: So here we are on week one. And we have seedlings! The dahlias and the black tomatoes are up, and it seems like the peppers should be up any day now. So today I planted a few more seeds. Just flowers. Next week will be cherry tomatoes and cucumbers.
I don't have a cold room. I'd love to have one. Some place to store all the things I want to plant. Carrots, potatoes, canned tomatoes, jams and jellies, pumpkins....
But I don't. So I just planted carrots. I bought 'Ideal' carrot seeds from Halifax Seed. They are a short carrot, which is great for my crappy, rocky soil. (Rondo is also a good choice for this)
I pulled a few back before Christmas to go with dinner, but we ended up eating at my grandparents' instead. I still have a few in the fridge. Just as good as the day they were picked. The rest were still in the garden until this morning (Feb 4)
I brought them in the house, cut the greens off (and set them aside for the rabbits), and rinsed them off. They are now drying, waiting to be put in a bag with holes in it.
After the first frost, carrots stop growing. You can just leave them in the ground after that, then pull them when you want them. You can add a bit of mulch for added insulation, if you like.
We've had a lot of snow lately. Still calling for more. It's very cold, the chickens are hardly laying and all the poop is frozen. The first day that it hits above 0 degrees, I have to get out there and start scraping. I normally put everything in the green bin and haul it out to the road. I can't get the green bin anywhere near the buildings out back. I'm thinking about getting an old wheelbarrow tray and filling it up and just dragging it on top of the snow and dumping it into my gardens. Chicken manure is great. I wish that I could get the chickens in the garden to till it all in for me, but, too much snow. Rabbit manure is also excellent for gardens. It's what they call a "cold" manure". It doesn't need to dry out like cow manure.
Next step, getting the tray. I know there's one at work, now hopefully I can get it cheap. Now if only I could learn the dog to pull the full tray, that would be great.
Update: I tried the wheelbarrow tray thing and it was a pain in the ass. I finally bought a Muck Bucket. I just fill it up and carry it out the the green bin. I love it. Got it at Home Hardware
Last year I bought a lot of my seeds from Home Hardware. They carry their own brand (Home Gardner) and also have a Halifax Seed display. I bought several types of seeds. Some for my planters by the doorstep. Some for the flower garden around the lobster traps, some for the flower garden by the apple tree, some for the raised beds I made last year for my veggies, Then I decided that I would check out the Halifax Seed website to see what else they had to offer. So I ordered more seeds.
So this year they sent me a seed catalogue. I was pretty excited. Small things, I know.
I've gone through the whole catalogue already and marked everything I wanted. Problem is, last year I should have kept notes. So, if you're reading this and plan on planting anything worth while, please keep note. I know I will this year.
Write down all the seeds you buy. Write where you planted them, and when you planted them. Write down when they came up, what kind of fertilizer you used, what didn't grow at all, what didn't grow well, what grew well. That way, next year you will know if you want to try something again that may have failed the previous year. (If it's something I really want, I'll try 3 times before I give up) You'll know what not to buy. You'll know when to plant. You'll know where you put it.
In my planters I planted flowers. Shorter ones in the front, taller in the back, but nothing too tall. Something happened and most of what I planted did not grow at all. But I can't remember what I planted. I did get some Bachelor's Buttons that reseeded themselves from the previous year. And something that grew very late and the frost got in before it opened.
The flower garden around the lobster crates grew nothing. I always plant Cut Flowers and Wildflowers, but nothing happened this year.
In my flower garden by the apple tree, I planted several types of flowers, some lavender and some chamomile. Lavender is great for inducing labour in rabbits, and chamomile is a great calming herb, and weepy eye wash. Also great for upset stomachs. I was very pleased with my flower garden this year.
I made two raised garden beds. One for pumpkins and cucumbers, the other for tomatoes, carrots, peppers, lettuce, borage, and some things that didn't grow. My cherry tomatoes were wonderful. I tried black tomatoes, which I think I will try again. I grew one blue pumpkin and a few jack-o-lanterns. I didn't get the peppers before the frost did. I planted the tomatoes and peppers inside, and I will again this year.
So, if you're learned anything from me today, let it be that you should write things down!