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!!!