Thursday, August 19, 2010

back to school (and watermelon class)

School started for the kids on August 9. Time to buckle down at Caley's Culinaries!

Since then I have mowed down the squash.  Tilled it under and replanted it. 

Mowed down the dead sunflowers.  Tilled them under and replanted them. 

Pulled up the ugly tomatoes.  I'm trying that old Yankee trick of hanging them upside down to let the fruit finish.  Looks like it worked.  I will definitely expand that experiment.  I tilled there and it looks like the rotten tomatoes have come back as volunteers.

Some cantaloupe and corn that were in the compost are also volunteering in the field now.

The neighbors mowed down their very tall grass and I raked some up for chicken bedding.

The chickens are GREAT!  "They are almost all feathers now," my son noticed.  He also noticed they are starting to grow combs.  They are about a month old.  Since they can fly now, I let them out.  The cat chases them sometimes, but it's good practice for escaping more dangerous predators.  Another thing my son noticed: their feet have turned colors.  Blue and green.  I am wondering if that will predict the color of their eggs.  They really needed to get out.  The second section of coop isn't finished due to a huge wasp nest.  So, they were getting a little cramped.

I found two yellow jacket nests in the ground.  Yes, it did hurt badly.  Rylan and the cat also got stung.  Six for me.  One for each of them.

I planted four more rows of corn.  By my calculations, there should be just enough time before frost to get another crop of all these things. 

The most wonderful volunteers in the world have made much of  this possible!!!  They pick and pickle!  Once in a while they plant.  Last weekend Carla convinced me to sacrifice four watermelons to the cause of determining ripeness.  What an ingenious experiment!  Turns out size does matter.  That tendril thing and the split stem theory didn't pan out.  The one ripe one did sound more hollow, but it was also much larger.  Like a bass drum, of coarse it would sound deeper.

There should be enough time for another crop of beans, and I planted two rows of arugula yesterday.  I have much more to learn before these two crops can be abundant.  They are SO tasty, almost anything will eat them.  I might try some neem oil and diatomaceous earth as a deterrent.  Then follow up with some bacillus thuringiensis.

As you can see by the length of this post, there is always more work to do on a farm!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Chicken Days of Summer

     The chicks got here two weeks ago and they already have feathers.  They can fly a little and they want out to explore.  The cat also wants them out, so they are still cooped up.
     Besides that, it is freakin' HOT!

     Today I realized that squash bugs love the mulch and use it as protection from my spray.  So why did I spend all that time weeding and mulching?

     The squash bugs have laid eggs on my new pumpkin vines, killed a lot of my squash, and are even attacking my watermelons and okra.  They will soon meet the wrath of the pyrethrum dust.

     Check YouTube soon for a video tutorial on recognising squash bugs, their eggs (very important) and how to control them!

     I'll insert it here too.

     In the mean time, Like Caley's Culinaries on Facebook and follow Caley's Culinary on Twitter!