Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Bees, Pumpkins, Melons, and everything else


Now that all the Cucumbers, Squash and most of the Melons have been done in by the Squash Bug horde I been focusing mostly on the bees once again and ignoring the garden. We've made gallons of salsa, put away a bunch of sauce and chopped Tomatoes for cooking with over Winter.

The first batch of Water Melon jelly never did set up properly but the second batch sure did. I am going to take credit for the second batch because the wife insisted she did not know why it didn't set until I found an old reference on the internet and told her the secret was to cook it LONGER. She finally listened.

That's something that happens rather infrequently around here. Her listening that is.

We made enough that it should be more than sufficient to last until next year. By the looks of the one producing Apple tree however I would say we may get some Apple butter this year too though.

I am not sure what happened to the Squash bug horde. They have almost disappeared completely leaving only the Lemon Cucumbers and this strange Melon variety pretty much untouched. The Melon (pictured above) is a Banana Melon I planted this year and I have several of them ripening now that I plan on picking tomorrow.

I see more Jelly in our future :)

To date I have sold close to 4 bushels of Tomatoes as well. A person certainly won't get rich as an organic gardener but I more than paid for materials and then some a few times over this year. Truthfully it hasn't been an especially good year for Tomatoes anyway. The cool temps, pests (especially grasshoppers now) and high winds have played hell on them but with 72+ plants we always get more than we can possibly use anyway. It is time to harvest some of the dry beans as well now.

The good news is the Pumpkin patch isn't out of the running yet either like I thought. I was down there today and actually saw Pumpkins. Not very many and most of the plants look like they haven't grown much in a month but maybe I will get something out of them. The down side is the dry spell we had seems to have stunted most of the Pumpkin plants and allowed the weeds to over grow em as well. Finding the Pumpkins that do ripen maybe an adventure. Currently I only counted about a dozen little Pumpkins anyway and it's a long way yet until they ripen. Next year I am goign to plant em earlier.

The other good news is the bees are positively booming this year. I was wrong about my late swarm prediction apparently but almost all of my 1 year old hives are producing now. If things stay as they are now and we get a bit more rain it should be a pretty good Fall harvest this year.

Tomorrow I am going to try extending the cutting crews grazing area out a bit and let them chomp on some grass and weeds I have growing behind the barn. I am a  bit worried because this will allow the rams some access to the ewes with only a cattle panel separating them. I am really just a bit afraid the ewes may go into season early and get one or both rams excited enough to go through the fence. If the young ram, who is the most excitable of the two, gets through no big deal I will just have some early lambs but the older ram is the daddy or grand daddy of every ewe I have in the crew so far.

I am not really into line breeding thank you very much.

I figured out that an excited ram can pretty much go through whatever he wants after the younger of the two took out one of the stall doors this Spring. That door is well over 100 pounds and made from oak so old you cannot even drive a nail into it but sure did knock it down. Frazier the youngest ram does not like change very much. He's actually pretty gentle when safe in his paddock but gets crazy when his world is messed with.

Anyway Keep Prepping Everyone!!!




12 comments:

  1. We had a ram that jumped a 6 foot fence to get to the ewes. Just sayin

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    1. Tewshooz - Crazy ram might try that but I don't know he isn't as excitable when left in peace. I doubt the old ram would go over his fence though he is so laid back. Last year he had an ingrown wool spot we had to lance and all I had to do was hold him by the neck while the Vet stuck and squeezed and that ram barely moved. In fact crazy ram has gotten out although on the otherside but the old man has never once gotten out in years.

      I am still kinda torn on the issue though.

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  2. Give yourself a star for getting the wife to listen, LOL. We have had few squash bugs this year and the summer squash have mostly finished so I am leaving some for seeds. The butternut, blue hubbard and cushaw are all still growing. Tomatoes are another story, the plants finally started growing and are about a month behind. I have never had grasshoppers mess with tomatoes, they must be some tough ones. Good luck with the rams, we sold the one at work as he was getting too hard to handle, it was taking two of our girls to tackle him instead of one, we have some motivated girls working there!

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    1. Sf - Well everyone here is a bit leery of crazy ram. They just haven't figured out that he really isn't so bad as long as he is in his comfort zone. When he gets out or we are moving him he gets really upset and you have to be gentle with him. I figured his issue out a couple years ago when he got out. Now all I do is go find him and then walk back to his gate, leave it open and then go inside and fix the gap. He will come right back in on his own usually without fuss and then walk up to have his neck scratched. If you try and chase him well that's when things get interesting.

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  3. It's not that your wife doesn't listen, it's called selective hearing! From my experience men can suffer with the same issue on occasion too!

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  4. Looks like you are staying busy around the Small Hold. Even the bees have been beezy. How much honey do you think you will harvest??

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    1. Rob - Well I been harvesting some about every month so far this year. My backlog was huge coming into Summer just from locals that needed it for allergies but I am about all caught up now. If the Fall flow of Goldenrod is good the girls should fill up their hives nicely and the skies the limit.

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  5. PP,

    Darn aphids and strange beetles, they've hit my pumpkins grrrr.......

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    Replies
    1. Sandy - What kind of strange beetles? So far my pumpkin patch appears to be Squash Bug free which makes me think my rotation plan might work next year.

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