Garden Progress

When you have a problem, sit and stare at it for awhile and let your mind come up with the answers.  We have three issues that the eastern flat-landers don’t have:  1. Very dry air and desiccating wind, 2. Hail, and 3. Intense sun.  Last year’s drought really  pissed me off.  We lost virtually everything. Being who I am, I was not about to let that become a recurring theme; at least not without a fight.  So as you have seen with previous posts, we ran a high pressure hydrant to the garden areas which has jump started the drip irrigation.  We also built the hail guards and sun shade cloth on all the beds.  As of today, the hail guards have been successfully tested with inch sized ice and the shade cloth is doing exactly what it should.  None of the gardens looks stressed.  In fact, they are looking very healthy (along with the evil Bindweed).  My green beans have not come up and I think it’s because I used older seeds; so more are on the way and I’ll replant those when they arrive.  Even the frost bit tomatoes have all rebounded.  We are back on track.



I even got Spinach to germinate this year!  It’s planted with the Cauliflower.


A Bajillion Peppers from Bell to Habanero.


Onions Galore


Our usual forest of Garlic.  Scapes soon for Pesto and the actual harvest around July 4th.  This bed will get replanted with Green Beans.


Much to my son’s displeasure, the Broccoli is luvin’ life!


All of the tomatoes have snapped back from the frost.  It looks like we will be making plenty of sauce this year. There are 60 plants plus the cherries.


The Black Beans are up.


Future Coleslaw:



Farmer Juan taking a break to rough-house with the boys.  They are the sweetest, most rambunctious guys ever.


Coop Deville


Ya baby!  It all fit and with inches to spare!  That oughta hold a bird or two.  Of course now Zina wants me to build one for the dogs.  Maybe in the fall.  This one is for our chickens, but we put 17 new turkey eggs in the incubator today.  We have to clip the flight feathers on the teenagers tomorrow.  They’ve found out how to escape the pen.  Free ranging is fine…… right up until the hawk flies away with you.



Fustercluck Nation

I’m trying to stay ahead of our baby chicks.  The Jersey Giants we ordered are 2 weeks old now.  After about 4 weeks they need to come out of the brooder as they will be fully feathered and about a third of their adult size.  We have a dozen or so Red Rangers in the broiler coop and they are pretty big birds.  Putting young’ns in with them would be an ugly thing to witness.  So in order to accommodate said providers of growing future dinners, I got busy making the little coop for them that will go into our chicken grow out coop.  We keep the turkeys on opposite sides of the farm from the chickens because turkeys can be susceptible to a disease called “Blackhead”.  Chickens carry it but don’t get it, but it can be fatal for turkeys.  So the chickens need their own world and the turkeys need theirs.

I thought the shelter turned out pretty cute.  We don’t have a source for old barn wood so I used cedar pickets for the cover which will weather gray over time.  I think it almost looks like a building you’d see in “Tombstone.”  I have some sheet metal left over from our barn construction that I’ll put on tomorrow for the roof.  I’m going to put on a flip up door in case we get wind (guaranteed) or nasty rain and hail (also guaranteed).  It doesn’t need any fancy ventilation or insulation as the big coops have it, and we don’t anticipate anyone occupying either turkey or chicken grow out pens in the winter.  I’ll post the completed project when it’s all finished.


This hut will go inside of the fencing below.  We also have shade cloth to bungee over the top so they won’t get roasted in our searing sun.








A Day On The Tractor

After all the rain we’ve had this spring (not complaining) the weeds of the prairie have exploded.  Today was the first day we’ve had that has been dry enough to mow. Zina got on the weed whacker around the house and I grunted and cussed over our “convenient” drive over tractor mounted mowing deck and got to cutting down 4 acres of grass and weeds all of which were at least a foot deep.  We close the house up completely when we do this because mowing gives off massive amounts of pollen, especially the sage, and Aaron is seriously allergic to grass and weeds.  Don’t think it helps, but at least today (probably because it wasn’t so dusty) he wasn’t lying in bed gasping for air.  A useful feature.

It takes many hours to complete and it feels a lot like riding a horse, but the place always looks nicely groomed when completed.  I try to keep the weeds down around the fences so the electric wires don’t ground out.  Below is a picture of the place from inside the fenced in pasture at the western most end of the farm.  I thought it turned out pretty nicely.


Of course, no sooner did we finish with the mowing,  trimming and watering the gardens, did the dark ominous-ness blow in.  Again wondering if the storm clouds would visit us, one never stops watching the skies here in the spring.  Fortunately, this round went just north of us. We got a nice rain for once… no ice.  It looks like it may have been rather hard on Kansas though.  We later saw that Denver (west of us about 50 minutes) had quarter- sized hail that accumulated up to 3 inches deep.  As usual, spring here is never predictable.  Last year at this time we were in a severe drought.  We had already turned on the AC and the plants were starting to crisp up.  This year…. the exact opposite.  Oh well, at least with each afternoon storm, the gardens get watered and it cuts me some slack in getting the irrigation all set up.

This coming week should see the emergence of the Beans and Carrots.  Then starts the straw mulching of the gardens using some seriously nutrient rich bedding from the goat pen.  That way their stall gets mucked out, the beds get covered to keep down the weeds, and the goat poop feeds the plants.  Nutrient cycle complete.