Down to Eleven and a Garden Update

Finding a Bluejay feather in the lawn is great. It means that the jays are hanging around my lawn, which helps keep the birds of prey away. I’ve heard a lot of them lately, but it’s hard to say if they’re hawks or something slightly smaller like Merlins or kestrels. It seems that the wildlife is emerging again now that the temperatures have finally dropped out of the 90’s.

Last night when Greg and I checked on the kits we found two that simply hadn’t been fed at all yet; one black and one white. Both kits had crawled away from the rest in search of milk. They were tiny, wrinkled and were half the size of the other kits, all of which had huge belies and were filling out rapidly. I decided to try to force-nurse them and see if it’d work. Holding Kibbles on her back while Greg stoically held the flashlight for me as we were devoured by mosquitos, I put the babies on her belly to nurse. The white kit was voracious and eagerly began suckling but despite my best efforts I couldn’t really get the black kit to drink.  In the end I had to let kibbles go and I cleaned both kits with a warm, damp paper towel. The white one had a full belly and made it through the night and I found it once again out of the nest this morning. It didn’t have as empty of a tummy as before but I’m not sure it ate this morning. The black one did not make it. It’s not a huge surprise but it was very disappointing to find a dead kit in the nest. Still, even if we lose the white runt as well, we will have 10 huge, healthy fast-growing kits. They have nearly doubled their size in just a couple of days now, so all is well. I was not honestly expecting her to be able to keep all 12 kits alive with this only being her second litter.

Meanwhile, our garden is creeping along. The strawberries continue to grow, spread, bloom, and get eaten by chipmunks. We’ve managed to munch on a few ourselves but only a few; the rest have been stolen by local wildlife. But these berries produce as long as the weather stays nice. The mint has begun really spreading as well. Neither of these are really in “beds” and I expect them to take over our lawn like weeds.
The root veggies are doing well. The onions are really putting forth effort to grow right now, and the carrots are developing as well. The beets have huge tops but haven’t really developed their roots at all yet. Not sure what’s going on there.
The tomatoes are finally getting big enough to grow something. My big “Mr. Stripey” heirloom has several blooms on it, and my tiny grape tomatoes (saved from my sister) are trying to fruit again. This is the third time this year, but every time those chipmunks get to the plant before I can! Hopefully we’ll get enough tomatoes to make some sauce or some salsa.
The cucumbers are finally starting to spread and I have them trying to grow up a simple trellis made of garden stakes and deer netting pulled off of the grow crates. They’re also flowering a lot and I have seen a lot of male blooms but not many female blooms. Same story with the zucchini.
It turns out that we do not like the arugula we were growing. Perhaps we’re used to a milder variety, but when we went to take a snack of it, it was so strong it burned our mouths and tasted meaty. Not pleasant, although it probably would have been better if it hadn’t bolted. We pulled it out and fed it to our chickens and rabbits with great disappointment. We won’t be growing that again any time soon!
The “Red Russian” Kale, however, has been a huge delight. It’s got such a lovely, mild, hearty flavor to it. Greg and I are both very happy to see it growing and we’re looking forward to eating more of it! I’ll be planting a fall crop of it soon and trying the long-standing spinach again as well.
The peas are dying out. We’re not sure why but maybe it’s the massive heat we had. I think they’ll flower again, just enough to maybe get some seeds out of them. And the peppers are pretty much non existent. Next year our garden will do better. Promise!


3 thoughts on “Down to Eleven and a Garden Update

  1. Maybe if you try the greens when they are much smaller and not in the hotter months? I don’t eat them after they bolt…and everything’s been stressed in this heat. It’s been so hot on the East Coast–even the basil tastes too strong! Good luck!!

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