patterns and spindles

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Saturday, June 16, 2018

War with bugs and birds for the crops

Summer means fruit, it also means pests.
Aka bugs and bird, esp when birds turn and instead of eating bugs eat all your strawberry when they get under bird nets, all your currants and junberry.
Pests combined are not good. So the war was declared by using traps (oil for bugs, caught lots or black ants too which was sadly not intended... was going for earwigs and caught those too)
Berries were wrapped because red robins and grackles (aka flying rats) were getting in under the bird nets.
I'm seriously thinking of ultrasonic bird guards during currants ripening season.

I tested sluggo plus, not sure how effective it is still have lots of bugs and it was deployed several times as well, under the plates it seems to do better, and under cedar scrap wood.

Defenses:
oil trap with earwigs, old cups re-purposed. Ask for some chipped, cracked ets from your local folk, use them like so


 This is the extent I have to go for juneberry...

 these buggers dive bomb
 2 got in under that wrap, ate a lot and one did not end up well the other escaped with the tail missing, wrapped that plant double... seriously, they get through bird nets
that's how currant is warped now.
 They are trying to switch on grapes... now sure what am I going to do next


Some flowers.
 And gardener fuel. Jun and kombucha, good batch and plenty to share
 Juveniles with the broody, she is doing well after the hawck attack last year, that's why her tail is not straight and one wing is damaged, but she is managing these 3 young roosters and 2 more young hens (hoping... not all 5 are roosters, have seeing that)
 Lavender is doing well, but pink one I can not establish at all...
 Now about buying overfed-over-fertilized to make them look good goji berry from nursery - never do that, ever.
 That's the fertilizer withdrawal... Another young goji is just fine.


I lost some juveniles to predator and that's very sad. 2 days later I had her sit and RO considered not broody... makes me wonder if they know that their chicks were killed and have to do it again... I did not expect her to do that almost right after the attack.


My roses are doing ok, I was so hoping Julia Child is not all dead, and it is not, not sure how will I nurse that one back so...


that's all for now.
Later I'll post some from my iris collection.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Spring flowers

Some spring photos March-April

 March


 March before, April after
 

 

March before, April after

 March




 April

 March first tulips
 April beginning after snow


Mid April aka yesterday 

 plums bloomed too early
  
Apples
 strawberry coming up, honeysuckle is all green
 currants are getting green... maybe too early as well... it is warm during the day and freezes at night


Spring

Spring is a busy time. It's a bit of March - mid April work overview.

Some things are noted... First it was warm winter, by our measure, meaning there was no 2 weeks of solid snow. And there were some wired 75-80F days... As a result  some of the orchard trees are in bloom, regardless of the mulch blankets.
We had to throw water there in March and did water the trees. We did a it in February. It was bone dry everywhere, orchard did hold.  We also got water rights estimates and our water ditches were full, but we see 30-40% less water compared to the last year.

Having that we did put in some good measures in place, but we obviously do not know if it is enough.

Therefore some observations and such.

Summer food need preservation, wasting good food to rot is no good, therefore...

1) I did learn how can a lot more things compared to my old Russian land stewards heritage. 
It is mostly about protein, low acid foods. Why is it? Because when there is no solid cold in the air it's either freezer (limited space) or shelves in cold room... meaning nope do not have root cellar and really want to (dream of apple and fruit storage and roots and carrots and potatoes storage... that would be so nice and maybe a bit of a wine cellar too...). So... what does one do... Trying on small about $100 worth scale to store my winter squash and some pumpkins in my garage. Half open plastic tubs. I can see what is happening (because my old cedar chest went caput, one squash I did not notice and there was mold infestation I could not take out in food safe manner... and my pumpkins are well off the floor on industrial wire shelf). Also I set thermometer there and I'm above freezing there, most of the winter. Ans it was warm one. Second, my pantry is reorganized.
Staples are soups, kinchi, soup and stew bases, proteins, beans, corn and such... pickles granted already have being there, and it turns out my green tomato-carrot-vegetable canned base goes into canned soups very nicely (it was used only in stove top soups cook and freeze style because I do long cooking things on weekend only... pressure canning saved me lots of time actually).
 



  It's elfa shelving that was in that cold closet room. Had to look for sales and extend, because elfa is very very expensive and after scanning blogs and what else... it turns out on elfa rails only elfa brackets can be used, however wooden shelves can be... but brackets for them still expensive. Long story short on sale and on craigslist I got my pantry extended. I shot sales and bargains on craigslist a lot. If is see what I need on sale I try hard to plan and shop sales.
As a result I learned how to save my food without preservatives and commercial additives and can that in raw pack form my soups (proven safe recipes and formulas exist) and it turns out nice and has nothing to do in the taste and the quality of the store bought stuff. That alone freed a lot of my freezer space. Also I have dehydrator which extends my winter dishes prep into that area. I can can soup ans stock and have decent equipment to do so in large batches and do a lot and be done which does work with my work schedule. Do bulk, stash and ho about my other things.

And my apple cider vinegar is going now nice and stable.

2) Water conservation is still the priority and will be in high mountain desert
We will get less water it was dry winter in the mountains, it was dry here as well. It means we mulch, for raised beds we use logs because I get them free. I watch my logs because I do not want the bad bugs it takes work and here is my bug crew if I see any bug larvae, when they are hungry they go

Warm winter for us means more mice, resident bug horned owls help, but I keep no feed in coop at night now.
Logs that I suspect have bugs inside do this

 Makes nice cooking fire for all kinds of stuff :) fun camping on the property (and warm days allow to throw water hose and such, safety first granted)

3) Orchard and wind block got spring additions
Orchard got mulched  last winter-spring  and is not mulched this year, I seded there good bit of wild flowers and hoping more will come this year. 
Wind block got new wood chips rings
 


this way I'll have more bio diversity, and will control weeds around my new wind block. I found that most of black forest pines I lost, red cedar is a usual picture boy and got much much larger. Supporting tree is caragana. I do not have deciduous tree line on my wind block... I do not think I can get enough water and not fan of cottonwoods (canker). I still I can get another species there but... it's thinking time now and looking at not so near neighbor property red cedar works...

4) Bugs, pests. Rolly-polly.
I'm testing bates in single pot indoors on my tear up seedlings... so far rolly-polly demolish anything from tomato seedlings to whatever. Nasty bugs...
Important observations made: warm winters can cause lice and mites outbreaks. I've never seeing black mites before, they look like black compost dirt and one can see those moving only at night. so watch your poultry during warm winters. I got hen I examined and on sellers site I did not see anything, had mites all over it in a week. Entire flock is treated with elector psp (spinosad) and all taken care off, I do spinosad preventative now in coops and in runs if I suspect any dirty bottom. Turns out mites cause diarrhea and that is seeing before hen becomes lethargic. Now I watch things a lot more.
Side observation indoors on seedlings... spinosad applied on soil and directly on rolly-polly does nothing to them. Kills earwigs so...
I'm trying to test rolly-polly spinosad bate. Commercially available, but very expensive.

For my amounts chickens ... perimeter garden clean up is the best, only they go for worms first. So I have them on perimeter duty. And I see less of rolly-polly where chickens work. I garden when radish and some other things are seeded chickens do more damage then bugs. I sooooo need more rolly-polly hunting spiders.
So far collecting these on bate scrap squash worked most effective... will try potatoes as well , cheap sale potatoes...

5) Warm winter means early chicks and early broody...
In not heated coop that's a no-go, she set on next 2 feet of the coop floor, gave her the box and moved with the box... she is 'want THE EGGS' kind of a broody and not 'what THIS SPOT" kind of a broody, those do not move...

These are all russian orlofs and 3 half orloff half olive eggers (mix of show maran and show americana and show legbars), therefore mix is lighter and has feathered legs (and painted purple with bluecotte legs so I know these darn sure...)
 This is ohio-brooder  being tested
set up next to the broody (she started purr-ing as soon as she hears chicks, so that's a good sign)
 
 chicks inside
 reptile lamp, 2x2 brooder, maybe will make 2x3 next time... so they have longer protected space. keeps 95 just fine in 45-50 degrees room (not barn, but I can not have broody-chicks in house or garage, that just does not work for us, some folk do it, but we just have no dedicated area that's why these are in another not heated but well protected building and mid April is ok with space heating like that, I'm one-two month ahead of summer brooding... and will make a chicken tractor-broody house).

So thay's it for now, and next post will have some nice spring flowers, because I like flowers.