Monthly Archives: July 2014

Quail and Garden Update

I was so excited the other day when I discovered my millet is making seed heads!

So far this seems to be a really great crop for my area of the PNW.  It is fairly shallow-rooted, though, so in a recent wind-and-rain storm we had, I came outside to discover most of the stalks were flat on the ground.  I tied them up again and they don’t seem to be fazed by their near-death experience.  Next year, when I grow a much larger crop, I’ll be sure to put them up inside some kind of support from the beginning.

The test crop of quinoa is also doing well.  I have the beginning of flower heads on those.

It will be a lot of fun to feed these these crops to the quail, when they are ready.

The rest of garden is still going gang-busters.  It’s become a jungle out in the front yard vegetable garden!

I’ve harvested the last of the bush beans, almost all the turnips, and the early plantings of lettuce are bolting.  Some of the swiss chard is also bolting.  That’s okay.  Some of it I will let do its thing, so I can collect seed for next year.  Some of it, I’ve been feeding to the chickens and quail.

This weekend, I’ll start planting some fall crops in the newly available garden space.

Speaking of the quail, I’ve found each bird definitely has their personal preference when it comes to taste.  With the two newest girls (the golden italians) one is a millet/bird seed gal.  She comes running to me when I open the coop, begging for me to hold out some seed in my palm for her to eat.  Even if there’s some already scattered on the ground, she prefers “fresh” seed right out of my hand.  The other girl really couldn’t care whether I have seed or not.  She’s all about the greens.  While the first one is eating her seed, the second girl is dancing around my knees, pleading with anxious eyes.  When I pluck a leaf and hold it out to her, she rips into it like a Bengal tiger.

And the standard quail?  It’s worms, worms, worms, for them.  I can’t use the trowel or turn over any stones/bricks within view of their coop without them going crazy.  I think I’m going to have start raising mealworms.

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Beans, and Travel Plans

The garden is going insane…with beans!  It is wonderful.  I went out yesterday, and picked a large batch to freeze.

All together, I ended up with 11 quart-sized bags in the freezer.

And then, I remembered that I’d completely forgotten to even look at the Runner Beans.  As I suspected, there were some monsters on there.  Runner beans get HUGE.

Some were larger than this, and these are really too large to eat as green beans.

I’m composting all the ones that grew too big – I don’t want to leave them on the vine yet, because I want it to produce as many blooms as possible for the hummingbirds, who adore them.  Later in the season, I may let them go to make dry beans.  I’ve heard they make good dry beans, but I actually have never tried them before.

They are also so ornamental.

They come in red, white, and a lovely pink.

This is more the size of bean I pick to eat.  They are tender and not stringy at this age.

Today, I ended up cooking the Runner beans along with a few more bush and pole beans for lunch.  I like just simmering them in a pan with water, salt, and bit of bacon until they are tender.  So good!

I picked my first squash today.  This is a Gelber Englischer Custard squash.

Also, I have a bitty little watermelon.  I have high hopes for this baby.  It’s a Blacktail Mountain, which is supposed to do marvelously in the PNW.

AND, the State Dept. took their travel warning off Egypt, so as long as nothing changes in the next year, I’ll be back to Plan A.  England and Egypt, my two favorite countries in all the world.

I’ve started putting patches on my Little Backpack of Geek in preparation.  Besides the fact that I might as well travel with a cute/funny bag, it will be a bonus if all the thieves assume it’s a kid’s pack and don’t bother to try to steal it.  🙂  By next year, I’ll have a patch on this for all my major fandoms and geekery.

Meet Cori

Some of you may remember that I was looking for a Welsh Corgi puppy to adopt.

Well, finally, we found one…only he’s not born yet.

This is Cori, his mother.  She’s due to give birth in about 20 days, and as long as one of the pups is a little boy, he’s going to be ours.

Picture 138

Two weeks after the pups are born, we’ll be able to select ours.  We’ve named him Dexter.  Look at that fat little pregnant belly on Cori!  The owner said she believes she’s going to have a really large litter.  Hopefully that means a good selection of boys!

Garden Update

Wow.  What a difference a month makes.  I can’t keep up with harvesting the lettuce, kale, beans, and beets!  The rabbits are getting a lot of greens, and have learned that when I come back in through the front gate, they should come running to meet me, because I’ll likely have a few leaves for them.  What they don’t eat, we are drying for winter; bunnies enjoy dried turnip and kale leaves.

On July Fourth, I recorded a video tour of the front yard vegetable garden for you.  I didn’t get around to posting it, and now the garden is grown up even more lush.

The bush beans are producing like crazy now – I’ve eaten three meals of them, and still have a big bag of beans.  I think I’ll have a few more tonight, and then freeze the rest of the bag. These are Dragon’s Tongue beans.  I’m a big fan of colored beans, because they are so much easier to see and pick on the plants.

AND the pole beans are also beginning; I’ve picked a few handful of both the purple and yellow ones.

And we finally have tomatoes too.  These teeny little red ones (Red Currant Tomatoes) are so adorable in salads.  I love how they are all different sized when ripe.

The Indigo Blue Berries Tomato is ripe as well.  I don’t think I’ll grow these in the future, though.  They are gorgeous, but the flavor is not nearly so good as Sungold or Black Cherry.

The full-sized tomatoes, Japanese Trifele, are flushing orange, so it won’t be too much longer for those.  This is a great year here for tomatoes.  We’re in a bit of a heat wave, and the tomatoes are loving it.

The squash are happy too. I have tons of flowers and baby squash.  The ones in the cold frames are still hugely out-performing the ones in the ground.  I’m so glad I thought of doing this!  This is a photo from a week ago – they are even larger now.

And look!  Not only are the two figs on my bitty tree still ripening, but four more little figs have suddenly appeared.  It is seriously like magic, the appearance of those four figs.  Don’t figs have to flower?  I was watering the tree constantly, and didn’t notice a thing until suddenly…this.

How did that happen?

In chicken news, now that all the baby chicks are long gone from the local feed store, my mama chicken Josie has finally decided to go broody.  I told her she missed the boat for this year, and put her in ‘chicken prison’ – an outdoor wire dog crate I use to keep her outside and away from the nest boxes.  Hopefully in a few days, she’ll give up and go back to laying.  Maybe next year I’ll get her some chicks to raise…if she picks a reasonable time to go broody.  Silly girl.