Monday, May 20, 2013

compost is cookin' & heaty hotty texas temps are kickin' in

hey ya'll welcome back!  it's been a while since i've checked in and caught folks up with the goings on about the place.  a whole lot has changed, improved, shifted and plans are being made daily for the next thing and the next, next thing.

me, i'm just happy to have hit the summer break.  no teaching for me this round.  it means less cash flowing but it also means more quality time to spend at the homestead a.k.a. the wee keep and that's just fine with me.  in fact i think the gods had a great good deal to do with it and i thank them.

so let's get to it - what's happened? happening? going to happen?

well the first big happened is the NEW FREAKING FENCE!  the fence, the fence, the fence is finally fixed.  yeah, the fence i ranted about for five long years and now a brand spanking new fence and she sure looks perty.  here's a peek as her goodness.   natural wood, simple pickets, she's lovely, she's simple and she's not falling down every time the wind blows. 

this is an install photo - you can see that the posts had not yet been trimmed to height but she looks nice, ah yes.  the fellows who installed her did a great job.  a big shout out to longevity fence of bastrop texas. they were on time, on budget, friendly and communicative.  all the qualities i look for from folk working on the place.

out side of the new fence, we've been moving compost piles about the place.  you can see our most recent compost pile in the tippy top photo.  the plantings to the left of the pile are new plantings planted over the super fertile former compost pile location; a desert willow, a red hydrangea bred for hotter climates, tic seed coreopsis and broom flower;  a collection that should do well in heat and semi-arid weather.  let's hope anyway.  the really are nice along the fence line and will prove a good variable season flowering cluster.

on another note, just today, our friendly farming puppy miss kaylee spent a bit of time at the beautification parlor getting her summer hairs done.  we give her a good ole' shaving down each year as the weather heats up and boy oh boy is the weather heating up.  granted, no complaints since we've enjoyed a great gift of a coolish longer lasting spring, the best in at least 5 years as of late.  just the same when the heat hits her long wired haired self gets too hot quite quickly leaving little time for playing and romping about as she so loves to do.  so the snip, snip is a good thing. she's happier and less nappy when she's got the shorty short hairs going on and happy is what we strive for round here.

we are still raising chickens, a whole good lot of them; 5o+ eggy layers.  in addition to a healthy number of the historic bastrop feral chickens have taken permanent residence here on the keep.  for those of you who have poked around the blog in the past, you'll recall the first coming of tarzan, our initial feral fellow.  well the numbers have grown and families have been hatched.  i'd say we have at least 5 roosters hanging about, probably 5 or 6 hens and 8-10 wee babies that have hatched this spring season. 

in addition to that we recently rescued an east austin chicken who was setting on a clutch of eggs in a friend's yard.  they did not know what to do with her or have any idea where she might have come from so they called us. smart thinking!

they were worried dogs and/or raccoons might have a go at her as many do.

we too have raccoons about our place as you can see here evidenced in the footy paw prints.  not as many as we have had in the past, knock wood.  still one is enough to do damage to the chickey population if given the opportunity. 

that said, a number of our feral mama's have grown smart and learned to set and hatch their babes in our garage.  they hide away for setting, keep the peepers safe in the garage when super young then and as the peepers grow, they usher them into the garage each night before we lock up ensuring increasing survival rates.  who says chickens are stupid.  not me!
back to the rescue girlymama; soft as we are, we went and collected the east austin chicken-mama with her six eggs. she stayed safe in her own rabbit hutch through the hatch of her egg babies. she's a beautiful black sumantra hen and a natural mama to all of her five babes.  all of the peepers are doing great.  they are sooooooo tiny but lively and active, just as one would hope.

today i moved our rescued sumatra mama and her peepers into the out back coop, a.k.a. the metal shed and run.  they've got plenty of room in there and it's safe and secure.  it will be a great place for her to raise the babes until they are big enough to join the flock.  i'll post pictures of the sumatra babies soon.  i'd first like to give them a few days to better acquaint themselves with the new housing plan.

growing in the garden now, let's see if I can remember the whole lot of yet to sprout/newly sprouted babies.

maters varied, peppers sweet and mild, eggy plants, amaranth, taters varied, chards, kale, calendula, sweet tater, beans pole and bush, Amish melon, cucumber, garlic, leek, onion, basil, oregano, lemon grass, Mexican tarragon, sorrel, kohlrabi, thyme, blackberries, squashes winter and crookneck summer, corn blue and sweet, okra green and red, mint, parsley, artichoke, Malabar spinach, sunflowers, sunchokes and borage.

pretty good, I'd say. now for patience and waiting. all good things...

more to come - i'm just getting started.