Tag Archive | gardening

Sunflowers

My sunflowers are like the bug super highway. There are whole ecosystems on the undersides of the leaves. The bees are at the flowers pretty much non-stop and the ants are all over them as well. I make sure to use cation when touching the flowers. It has been a joy watching them grow. One of them (I only planted a few) is taller than I am!  I love taking pictures of them.

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Happenings around the homestead.

One of the strangest things I discovered when we moved to Mississippi was crayfish wandering around the yard. It wasn’t something I had ever seen before. Hubby and I thought it was hilarious. We still do. Except for the giant holes and chimneys they leave around the yard.

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Crayfish chimney. This is a really short one.

Last night Hubby was walking around the yard hunting for them. He likes to play with them. You know, poke them with sticks and make them fight with him. 😉 This one was one of the bigger ones, probably about four or five inches long.

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Crayfish

 Lily likes to try and dig the crayfish up. She actually got one the other day. She thought it was a tasty snack.

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Lily searching for crayfish

 We also have mushrooms galore after all the rain too. These white ones have been popping up and growing to massive sizes

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Big white mushrooms

 Then there are these little brown ones. They are growing up in the middle of the lespedeza.

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Little brown mushrooms

My calendula are continuing to bloom and attract pollinators to the garden.

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Calendula with a bee and ?

  

And so are my sunflowers.

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Pretty sunflower with a giant bee

I have a new sunflower opening up this morning.

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New sunflower opening this morning

The girlies are happy to have the sun out.

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Willow and Hazel hanging out, happy for no more rain.

Eggs from the Reds this morning and the loaf of bread I baked last night.

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Yay for fresh bread and eggs!

Still waiting on Buffy and Rocky to start laying. If they haven’t all ready started. . . .I keep checking around, but haven’t seen any.

The chickens have started sleeping in the shed with goats. I can’t get the back doors on their coop closed. The wood has swelled considerably from all the rain.

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Free-range chickens

 We had a fun filled puddle jumping day on Saturday. We have an issue with flooding in our yard. We are trying to figure out the best course of action to fix this, but until then, we will continue to have fun running through the giant puddles. It is Munchkin and Peanut’s favorite activity. 🙂

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Love the expression on Munchkin’s face

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Peanut is concentrating really hard on not falling

A garden update

Between the chickens, squash bugs, and some black fungus that I can’t pronounce the name of, I haven’t been able to enjoy a single yellow squash from my garden yet. . . .

Two whole plants are gone.  They were at one end of the garden. My other two are looking lovely, at the moment, thanks to the rain we are finally getting. I had to pick off a bunch of squash bug eggs and some adults I found wandering around on them. Then I had to cut off a couple of new squashes because they had that black fungus. I had to cut off another one that the chickens had started helping themselves to.

Yellow squash

Yellow squash plant

My big zucchini plant is nearing the end of its production. It’s okay though because I have another one that is just about ready to start producing.

New Zucchini plant

My tomato plants are looking great and I am anxiously awaiting the ripening of the fruit! My new plants that I started from seed are starting to get a little bigger now.

Tomatoes still wet from the rain

My pepper plants are looking quite well. I am hoping to see some peppers growing soon.

Pepper plant. Munchkin was helping.

I think I am going to plant some more cucumber plants over the next few days now that the weather is more favorable.

Oh, and my watermelon plants are looking very luscious and green, with lots of new flowers. Hoping to get some little watermelons growing. Hoping the chickens will leave them alone.

Watermelon plant

My calendula are blooming like crazy. I harvested one dead flower head so that I will have seeds for next year. Calendula seeds look bugs.

Calendula flower

One of my sunflowers opened up too! Looks lovely. 🙂

Sunflower

 

The Garden vs The Chickens

As most of you know, this is my first year for gardening. I’ve done some reading, asked some questions, but mostly I am learning as I go along.

My garden isn’t very big. I have a couple of tomato plants, one big zucchini plant, a couple of yellow squash plants, a couple of cucumber plants, a couple of watermelon plants, a few pepper plants, some basil, some mint, some oregano, some marigolds and some Calendula. All of my plants, aside from one tomato plant and the zucchini plant, have stayed fairly small. I am not sure if it is due to the soil or the really hot weather and/or lack of rain.

My Garden

The plants are all very happy looking though. I laid a down a decent layer of hay in the garden to help preserve moisture and it really seems to have made a difference. We also just tilled another patch of earth. I covered it up with a nice layer of hay, grass clippings, and goat manure. I have high expectations for when I can finally plant in that spot. It is too hot right now though.

My tomato plants are finally starting to produce fruit. The buds kept getting chopped off. Then the chickens discovered the garden. For the tomato plants, this has been great. For the rest of the garden, not so much. The chickens keep helping themselves to the squash. I haven’t been able to enjoy any from my own garden. They have been plucking off the tiny watermelons when they pop up. If I am not fast enough, they start in on my zucchini. They even pecked at my green peppers enough to make holes in them and then walked away. . . .

We are working on getting the fence up around the garden, but it has been slow going. Hopefully we will get it finished soon. Until then we try to keep a close eye on things and shoo them away when we catch them in there.

I also have a little flower bed at the corner of the house across from the garden. Nothing is actually blooming yet. I have sunflowers, more Calendula, more marigolds, and some other stuff that I don’t remember. It is supposed to be a bird and pollinator mix. I had replanted some sunflowers that I started in pots, but the chickens took the freshly dug dirt as an invitation to dig around and ended up digging them up. . . .

I know we will find the balance with gardening and free-range chickens. Until then, we will have to deal with a few frustrations.

Happy chickens