Tuesday, July 26, 2011

July 24th (observed)

Since Pioneer Day fell on a Sunday, it was "observed" today, and my Mister got the day off work.  He went for a bike ride in the morning while I ran hills on the treadmill (he got the better deal this time...).

Other things we did (I just realized that several of the pictures are from Saturday...):

These apricots are actually from yesterday.  He picked them saturday and we didn't get to them.  The mushy ones we pureed and then canned.  8 of each kind.

We did beans on Saturday, and also had some chicken broth from the home raised chickens we ate last week, chicken broth and green beans have the same processing requirements, so we put the broth in jars and canned it.  Two and a half pints.  

The boys decided to move their fort from the bush by the front door to this pine tree.  

My Mister spent a lot of Saturday organizing the garage.  He finished (for the most part) today and we can now park in it!  He also built a bike rack out of pvc pipe so we won't have bikes thrown down all over the place anymore.

His other major project was mowing.  He mowed all around the garden, while I played with Keiko dog, she liked sniffing in the weeds, so I think she was a little sad to see the whole thing mowed.

He mowed the field.  There is so much cut grass that we really need to go rake it up.  Who knows when that will happen though.  Taja dog enjoyed the clipped grass.  She made herself comfortable in a shady spot and watched Kyle clean out the garage.

We also got 3 eggs today.  They're still pretty tiny, but seem to be getting bigger.  

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Saturday Morning Chores

I went for a run while my Mister picked one apricot tree clean.  The trees are a bit sparse this year, so even though these aren't the prettiest (they're pock marked), we're canning them anyway.  

He also worked on getting the dead bees out of the wax from the crooked combs he had cut off before our vacation.  He was using a fork to scoop the bees out, when I got home and saw what he was doing, I suggest we get a solar wax melter.  Ours was pretty pricey.  Here's a close up:

Our solar wax melter seems to be working pretty well. 

Still just one hen laying, although others have been in the nesting box off and on, so I'm guessing the others should start soon.  

We let the chickens out to free range a bit, they like eating the weeds.

We have several more projects going on today, so I'll post about them later.  I also picked the black caps again.  My Mister finished up the last little bit of drywalling in the garage, and fixed the garage doors.  

Thursday, July 21, 2011

J starting out on his 1 mile fun run.

J Finishing his run

A in his 1/2 mile fun run. He's wearing a dark blue shirt and looks back at the camera after he's passed.

CP in his 1/4 mile. My Mister had a hard time finding him, so he doesn't show up until toward the end. He's wearing a bright green shirt. He managed to avoid all the crashes. I love CP's gait. 4-year-olds are adorable.

The good things about coming home from vacation

A neighbor picked the blackcaps for us while we were gone, but there were still more ready.

I knew the beans would be more than ready, since they started blossoming a couple of days before we left.  I got a 5 gallon bucket full this morning.  We'll eat some for dinner (is it okay to have a dinner be JUST green beans?) and can the rest.  The first picking is usually smaller than the rest, so I'm expecting a lot of beans from our patch. 

There is one tiny artichoke on the artichoke plant.  I'm watching to see if it gets bigger.  Hopefully it starts producing more so we can eat them for dinner soon.  One day I'm going to plant several down the middle of a raised bed.  They'll take up the whole thing, but I love them enough that it's worth it.

The squash plants are flowering and sending our runners.  Some of them are now touching each other, which is good for my plan to hopefully keep rats out of my corn.

The indoor volunteer cherry tomato has two red tomatoes on it.

The outdoor tomatoes are still green, but getting bigger.

Apricots need to be picked.  It's a small crop this year thanks to the weird spring and some late freezes, but we'll take what we can get.  

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Garden Update 7/12

We've gotten three tiny eggs in the last three days, so just one hen is laying still.  The top two eggs in this photo are ours, the larger egg is from the store.  We need to make sure our hens are getting more greens, the yolks should be much darker than the store bought egg.

The nesting boxes that my Mister built.  We worried they'd be too high, and that we should put in a ladder, but before we got that far, we found an egg in the center box.  It's amazing to me that the chickens knew where to lay the egg even though the nesting box had only appeared in the coop the day before we got our first egg.  

It had been awhile since my Mister checked on the bees, so he thought it would be a good thing to do before we went on our camping trip....

This one looks good.  The bees are capping the honey.

This one doesn't look so good.  We had the follower board blocking the last third of the hive or so.  The bees filled up all their available space and got into the back area, where they started to make some comb that crossed several top bars.  My Mister had to cut those combs off, then he moved the follower board, opening up the entire hive, so hopefully the bees rebuild straight.  They weren't too happy with what he was doing, and he got stung once on the leg.  He came in and got some long pants on (maybe a duh thing right there...) and was fine.  He left the comb he cut off in a bucket outside the hive so the bees could gather the honey in it and move it back inside.  

We set up the automatic watering system in the big garden.  No more watering by hand!

One of the zucchini plants in the raised bed garden is blossoming.  I bet we come home from our camping trip to some zucchini.

I found this weird mushroom.  The big parts were in a ring around a smaller center part, like a flower.  We didn't eat it.

Cherry tomato.

Paste tomatoes.

Bees were on the onion flowers.  I think I'm supposed to knock the stocks over so that the bulb gets bigger, but it's hard to when the bees are enjoying the flowers so much.  I wonder what onion honey tastes like...

It's hard to see from this picture, but there was a lady bug on the artichoke plant.  I noticed aphid-looking bugs the other day, and sprayed them off with the hose, so I was glad to see the lady bug.  Hopefully her friends are around and they're taking care of the aphids.  The good things that come when you don't use pesticides...  Which reminds me.  When I was a kid, my parents hired a neighbor boy to come do some yard work for them.  As a joke, he used round up to kill a big Y in the field (his family were all BYU fans, my family were UofU fans).  For the parade, we had most of that family sitting next to us, and they joked about using round up to put another Y in the field.  My comment was that if they could find an organic way to put the Y in the field, they could go for it.  I just didn't want to cause problems for the bees and ladybugs and all the other beneficial insects that help us maintain our garden.  

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Obligatory First Egg Photo

My Mister got the nesting boxes built for the chickens earlier this week, and installed them.  They're up kind of high, so we were thinking of adding a ladder so the ladies could get up there easily.  Well, this morning we thought we heard the "I just laid an egg" clucking, and I went and looked, and sure enough, there was a little egg inside the center nesting box.  It amazes me that they know what it's for even though we just barely stuck it in there.  Smart chickens.  

First eggs are always small- here it is next to a grocery store egg.  Hopefully the other ladies start laying soon.  I only have five eggs left in the fridge (plus the tiny one), and I'd love to not have to buy eggs anymore.  

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Garden Update

The apricots are starting to turn.  There aren't very many of them this year, so we're watching them closely to make sure we get them all.

The artichoke plant is getting big.  No signs of artichokes yet, but we're ready.

The tomato plants (most of them anyway) have finally started growing.  They sat and did nothing for quite awhile.  There are even little green tomatoes on most of them.

The peppers are just now starting to get bigger.  They're still pretty small.  We haven't had a really good pepper crop in a few years, so hopefully these do better.

The peas are starting to die back, and I need to pull them out so that these sad little cucumber plants can have the trellis (and get a little more sun).

My edamame experiment is going well.  No blossoms yet, but the plants look good.

I picked and ate ONE blackcap.  It was the only one ripe.  The rest are getting close (please let them ripen BEFORE we leave to go camping next week!).  We're going to eat them and put the rest in the freezer for smoothies and ice cream and stuff.  The blackcaps are the healthiest they've been in as long as I can remember.  I think it's partly due to the wet spring, me remembering to water them regularly, and the bees.  

This is the weeded half of the corn.  The half to the left of the photo isn't weeded and looks, well, less nice.  You can also see the squash/pumpkin plants.  I put these around the perimeter in hopes that the prickly vines would deter critters and varmints (apparently critters and varmints are not the same thing- the things you learn from netflix).  

The beans.  They just started to flower yesterday.  Bean canning will be in the near future.  We did so many last year (I picked and picked in hopes of going into labor on my own- so glad it's this year and not last year...) that we still have a couple of pints left.

The ladies are enjoying the peace and quiet now that the meat birds are gone.  We kept six hens.  They haven't started laying yet, but they should, any day.

Summer so far...

The boys have been busy with various day camps.  They took a sewing class one week, and made pillow cases and these backpacks, they loved it and want to do it again next year.

We all (except Baby E) ran the Centerville Fun Run.  Mister and I ran the 5k (he took 3rd in his age group, and I was 13th in mine- with a personal best- 8:36 minute miles), J ran the 1 mile, A ran the 1/2 mile (he fell at the beginning, but got right back up and finished with bloody knees), and CP ran the 1/4 mile (which was the cutest thing ever).

A couple of parade floats were passing out otter pops, which Baby E was really happy about.  

A and his friend S show that BYU and Utah could be friends if they really wanted to (although A says he doesn't like BYU anymore, phew...)  They're wet because they went down a big inflatable water slide at the carnival at the park.

Here's CP going down- he went down 3 times in a row.

J going down.

A couple of weeks ago J and my Mister did the Tsunami Tri over at the rec center.  J did the novice 150M swim, 3 mile bike, 1 mile run.  He took 2nd place in his age group!  My Mister took 3rd in his age group (he likes 3rd apparently).

After the Tri, we came home, I went for a run, we did some garden work, then we headed up to Park City for a Mtn Bike race.  J won his race.