Sunday, June 26, 2011
Kits, Chicks and Heat! Oh My!
Yesterday morning, while preparing breakfast, we noticed chicks scurring loose about the front yard. We ran out and collected them and discovered a hole where something had dug under the pen. 4 chicks disappeared with only a few feathers left behind. This is our first predator loss since getting Angel. But we pulled an enormous tick from Angel on Friday AND she always sleeps in the back yard. I think the reason we only lost 4 and not all 20 was because of Angel, but I think a lot must have gone on before it woke her up. Either because of distance, the fact that the chicks are still very quiet or she was feeling lethargic due to that tick that had been feeding off her for quite some time. At any rate, we moved the chicks to the back yard (where I was gradually working them toward anyway) where she could better protect.
The garden is doing miserably. By now okra and beans should be pumping. I have nothing but amaranth, watermelons and cherry tomatoes feeding us. I tried new varieties of okra and beans: eagle's pass for okra and Chinese red noodle bean. With both they get just so big, produce maybe 1 fruit and then curl up and die. Since ripping out my cucurbits (except watermelon), I've had room to add my standbys (Burmese okra, rattlesnake beans and red-seeded asparagus beans) so I'm hopeful to still get a decent harvest. But I'm also concerned killer compost has found its way to Florida. Monsanto has been selling this herbacide for hay fields. Only it doesn't break down after the animal eats it. Instead, it gets pooped out, composted and tossed in the garden where it continues to kill everything. Since learning the problem, have they taken this junk off the market? Goodness no! They wouldn't make any MONEY if they did that!!! Given that some beds are fine and others are not, I think it could be other issues. But, for example, my eggplant should also be big a producing by now... I've had to reseed 4 times! They either wouldn't germinate, stunt out before transplanting or stunt and die shortly after transplanting. I just got all new seed, got my first good germination and transplanted healthy looking plants. Hoping for something good.
The heat has been rough this past week. I transplanted some new collard green starts (from my own seed!) and they just couldn't handle the heat. I watered every 2 hours the first day and they still just laid down flat. All but 2 transplants are now dead 3 days later. I've got an idea for shade frames for transplanting in the summer heat... just add building them to the to-do list.
Another interesting event earlier this week was Zuma came down with laryngitis. She spent most of her 5 years in a concrete pen being fed from a hay rack and drinking from a pig waterer. Her previous owners warned us that she probably wouldn't drink for a while since her only option was to drink from a bucket. And we also discovered she didn't know how to graze. I'd tether her out and she'd do precious little eating and absolutely no drinking. One day this week, I did the same... only it had been very hot and a bit smokey the days prior. That night and strange noise was coming from the barn. Husbandman told me about it and said he thought it was Zuma. Angel was going nuts. I ran in and found her looking just fine... just sounding like a pubescent boy whispering. We grabbed a bucket of grain which she ate happily. I did research about sheep laryngitis and the results were miserable... like immenant death! But she was eating fine, standing fine so I figured she just pulled on her tether a bit too hard, got dehydrated by refusing to drink from that bucket all day, and the smoke further irritated it. I left her in the pasture for a couple days and she was back to her normal loud, deep demands at first light from the house.