Yeah, clearly I suck at this whole blogging thing. I'm not sure what made me think this would be different than the dozens of times I've bought lovely journals, blank pages that first whispered the promise of quiet reflection. Within days, those clean pages became another chore to complete, and within weeks the journal of quiet reflection was buried in the avalanche of paper that is my life. Turns out I'm even busier now than I was the last time I bought a journal! No beating myself up this time, though. It is what it is, and I'll update when I can. Maybe I can even figure out how to add pictures someday ...
So, the new cat, Henry, is great. He's made friends (sort of) with the dog, and likes F (the most important part, since she's the one who wanted one the most).
The dog killed one of our original 2 chickens and mangled the other one. She eventually recovered and began laying eggs again. Before that, though, we bought 6 more chicks - 5 pullets and a rooster. They've gotten SO big, and they're so stinkin' cute. Of course, to B's chagrin, we've named them all: Rosa, Snowflake, Midnight, Majesty, Brunhylde, and Buster. We hope they'll start laying in a month or 2.
The gardens did okay. Well, mom & dad's BIG garden did GREAT. We harvested and preserved over 400 lbs. of peas! The squash, zucchini and cukes did really well, too. Grean beans, not so much, and the hogs destroyed all but 100 ears of the corn and all of the pumpkins & watermelons.
Our little garden did ... eh. We got some squash and zukes, and about 15 lbs. of potatoes. The deer ate all the sunflowers and the hogs tore up our corn and pumpkins. I got a few eggplants, and thought the plants had died, but lo and behold, they're back and blooming again, and there are a few baby eggplants on the bushes. I think hogs ate some of them, too. Are you seeing a theme here?
The most success we've had gardening this year has been the herb beds. One was planted with basil, 2 kinds of parsley, cilantro, dill, oregano, thyme, tarragon, mint and rosemary. Oh, and one poblano pepper plant! The basil is still going strong! I made pesto for the first time, and plan to make some for the freezer -- the stuff is so freaking delicious that I ate the whole batch with nary a bit of pasta, just on crackers and sandwiches. I cut the flower spikes off the basil plants a couple times a week and feed them to the chickens. The cilantro died in the heat, but I harvested a few tablespoons of coriander which was exciting. The dill did really well, until the Eastern Swallowtail caterpillars moved in and ate the crap out of it. :( The caterpillars are now working on my parsley, but I didn't use it that much so I'm not worrying about it. The little buggers are bitter (so I read) and the chickens won't eat them. Grrr. Oh, we've gotten probably a dozen poblanos ...yum!
The other herb bed was planted mostly with tomato plants that mom started from heirloom seeds. We have a couple of yellow cherries that are producing like mad, a couple of red cherries that are doing just okay, and a few romas that are doing pretty well. Mom is dehydrating almost all of the romas for us. Oh, and there are a few "regular" tomato plants that are giving us enough for slicing/eating out of hand. We haven't gotten enough from our garden to can, which I'm a little disappointed over, but it'll be okay.
We're still trying to figure out goats or a cow, the orchard, fencing, and always $$.
The lack of community is really bothering me lately. Not just heathen community .... ANY community! So, I decided to try getting involved in the local civic club and the local Spiral Scouts group. The civic club president and the SS troop leader neither have answered my e-mails (sent almost 2 weeks ago), but I'm trying not to be discouraged about it yet. Until then ... busy, busy, as always!
Today's to-do list:
* Return books & movies to the library.
* Begin making beef broth (for canning tomorrow).
* Pick up a box or 2 of tomatoes for canning.
* Make bread & muffins.
* Laundry, laundry & more laundry.
Makes me want to go back to bed!!