So, I know that I had scheduled the project update post for Friday, but Monday seemed like such a better day to do an update – plus we had that interesting pasty butt issue going on with the Littles.  So, here we are on Monday and it’s time to do an update!

IMG_0370Chickshaw Re-do: As you may recall, the wonderful Chickshaw had been battered about by one of the severe wind storms we had earlier this year.  So much work went into making it, that we didn’t want to just scrap it and forget it.  So Sue has been diligently recreating the concept and making it sturdier, heavier (good thing), and rethinking it’s usage.  It is almost re-completed, only needs one leg (on the far front side) and then some hardware to keep the front hinged portion closed in a stiff wind. Dustin had the idea to place rocks on the wheel frame and a few inside and that has kept it quite steady and in place through some very harsh winds in the last few weeks.  Sue is thinking of using it in more of a semi permanent capacity for the new Littles, once they’re ready to venture outside.She’s done a great job fixing it up and I’m so happy that we’ll be able to use it again!IMG_0405How Does Our Garden Grow? Well, slowly. But we’ve managed to get quite a few things into the ground this weekend. It always takes me longer than I think it’s going to.  We did plant all the squash types around the trees in the (now filled) trench. I wanted to be able to plant them far enough apart that they wouldn’t cross pollinate, yet close enough to the house that we could go out a check and/or pick them everyday. So, in the trench are: Patti Pans, Piccolos, Honey Bear (hybrid), Summer Squash, and Spaghetti Squash.  Around some of the other trees by the house are: Pie Pumpkins, Hubbard Squash, and Decorative Gourds.  In the “winter garden” area (pictured above) I laid in some Sugar Snap Peas. It’s already quite warm here and they will need morning sun and late afternoon sun, this area gives them shade in the heat of the day… they are quick to germinate and should do fine right now.  It’s hard to see the pea fence, it blends in… but it goes between the Spinach on the left and the Kale on the right. Many of the seeds we’re using are 1 -2 (sometime 3) years old so I’ve over planted and we’ll see how well we do.  I think something is BOUND to come up.
IMG_0403Then in the area we’ve been conditioning for the Large Garden, over by where the new apple trees are planted, we have Super Sweet Corn, Chard,  Black Eyed Peas, Cucumbers, and today Sue and I placed the Yucca Poles for Pole Beans and we then planted them as well.  Most of the gardening we’re doing is mulch gardening.  You plant the seeds in the very top of the soil, I barely covered them, and then you place a few inches of mulch over top.  I also added some of the composted manure that we’ve been working on most of the winter.  The idea is to build up the ground at the same time you’re utilizing it, and the mulch also helps to keep the soil moist, so you don’t end up watering quite as much.  The Large Garden has been located in the area we refer to as “the depression” because during the monsoon season, water collects there and the water table, in general seems quite high.  The soil is pretty good, but very compacted- adding mulch, over time, will help loosen up the soil and make it much better for planting.  That’s something I mentioned that we’ll be trying to do all over the land.

Tractoring: Sue has also started the 2nd bio-swale up in the top pasture.  She hopes to have it done by Friday, so we’ll get the photo up then. Our wonderful neighbor, Tom, who owns a landscaping company, has been dropping off great cuttings lately and Dustin has been using the chipper to mulch a lot of it.  All this is going up by the bio-swales to help maintain the earthen mounds, and to help keep the moisture from evaporating.  When Sue has the second ditch done, we’ll begin planting the Olive Grove and other “forest” trees up there. I have been saving pumpkin, and squash seeds that we’ll broadcast between the swales and see what comes up!  Anything to help keep the dirt where it should be during Monsoon Season is welcome.

Chicken Butts: We’re still dealing with a little bit of pasty butt.  It wasn’t so bad yesterday, but today many more were messy. Still trying to figure it all out. They may have been too chilly last night and that is sometimes a factor. As we’ve warmed up quite a bit, we’ve been trying to keep the Littles warm enough, and at the same time keep from sweating out the Biggies.  We’ll find the sweet zone yet!

Time Change: Ha! We don’t have to do that.  So, California Peeps, welcome to our time 🙂
As always,
Thanks for reading!

Today’s Weather: It was another gorgeous day here in the land of Extraordinary Skies. 86° this afternoon!  The nights have been so nice and warm, only getting a bit chilly in the predawn hours.  Tomorrow will be more of the same!

Egg Report: If you follow us on Facebook, you know that we had a banner day on Saturday.  All 12 of the hens laid!  I thought that they might take the day off on Sunday, you know, Sabbath after all, but 7 of them laid again.  Today we had another 7 eggs! They will not all lay every day, but 7 eggs a day is nothing to sneeze at. We’ve begun setting aside 10% to give to the church for their outreach food program. It’s great to feel productive in this manner.