Most of the ducks have figured out how to get in and out of the pool to swim now. I may have to build a step for the smallest duck, but I am hoping he gets it soon. I have named one of the ducks, the one I know is a girl, the gold phase Welsh Harlequin. Her name is Abby. I don’t know why. She just seems like an Abby.
We need to get the duck coop mucked out today. Usually we do it on Fridays, but we had a lot of other stuff going on that day. That will be 2 bins worth of straw for the compost. We also need to get the turkey coop mucked out today and I’ll need to scrape the pen floor as well. That is going to be quite a chore, since it is two weeks’ worth of stuff in the coop. We just throw fresh straw on top of the old and right now it is built up about 4 inches. So that will be at least 4 bins worth of yucky straw to take back to the compost pile.
I may have to pile some of it to the side until we have enough yucky rabbit hay and rabbit poop to mix in with it. The last 17 cages’ worth of rabbit poop went into building the center section of the hay bale garden. We got the soil, 10 cubic feet of it, in on Friday night and soaked it thoroughly. We started conditioning the bales on Friday night as well. Today we will plant part or possibly all of the soil section and continue to condition the bales for the next 8 days. Then the bales will need to cook at least another 10 days to 2 weeks before they can be planted. I still need to go grab some carrot seeds and some onion sets for the soil section. Those will only be for fresh eating mostly, not for storing, but I might dehydrate some onions to go with the potatoes I will dehydrate for hash browns.
The gutter garden is doing well. We mist it twice a day or the plants will wilt, even though they are partially shaded. I think I can start harvesting some of the lettuce leaves in another 2 days. They are cut and come again type. I won’t grow heading lettuce. The other is easier to deal with and has more nutrition. The straw bale garden is doing really well. I’ve got one tomato the size of a dime and there are bell peppers starting to form. The bees are happy on the tomato and green pepper blossoms. The sorrel isn’t terribly happy. I have to water it twice a day or it wilts. Everything else can handle once a day watering. I haven’t seen any sprouts yet on the green bean seeds I planted, but plant emergence is 7 to 10 days so that isn’t expected yet.
The blackberries have formed and are getting big and green. We are going to have them early again this year. The blueberries are going to be early as well. And the raspberries, though they are mostly still flowers or small green berries. The raspberries do a big crop, followed by a handful or two throughout the summer, followed by another big crop in the early fall. They are loaded, so I think we will definitely get our year supply of frozen raspberries. Blueberries will be close to a year. Blackberries never are, we don’t have enough, but we can pick wild blackberries in several locations so I always supplement what we have, which mostly goes for fresh eating, not frozen.
I don’t need to make jam this year, except for strawberry. It is our favorite and we go through it much faster than blackberry, blueberry, raspberry, apricot, grape, or dandelion. Though I have a feeling dandelion will be a close second. I am going to have to start pushing the applesauce, because our apple trees are loaded, so I will need to clear out our stock of applesauce so I can make more. These apples are only good for sauce or pie, they are not the best for straight eating.
The grapes may or may not produce this year. They have lots of blossoms, but the chickens tend to eat all the grapes when they form, and I don’t imagine the ducks will leave them alone, either. We might have a chance if we can get them tied up and blocked off, but I don’t know if that will happen. I’d like to do a pergola that goes over the rabbit shed door for the grapes to grow up on. It would offer shade to the shed. But pergolas are expensive to buy and pretty expensive to make if you have to buy the wood.
All right, time to stop procrastinating and get to work.