First off – I have exciting news! You may remember we have been searching for a Corgi puppy…well, we found one!
He’s just about 5 1/2 weeks in this photo, so we have about 3 weeks to wait until he’ll be old enough to come home with us, but he’s officially ours! The breeder said he’s her favorite from the litter, the sweetest and most affectionate, and not so bossy as his brother. He also likes cats; in one video we saw, he made a beeline to go play (very nicely) with the cat! It’s good that he’s already getting used to animals other than dogs. When he gets here, we’ll have to introduce him to the two-legged cats…i.e. the chickens. (Hey, the chickens sit on my lap, purr, chase squirrels, and would eat mice if we had any…)
Also exciting is my crop of millet. I harvested it the other day, and it’s gorgeous.
It definitely won the contest between millet and quinoa as a seed crop. I would have gotten a small amount of quinoa, but we’ll never know if the quail would have loved it or not. The chickens managed to bust into the quinoa bed, knock it down, and eat it before it was ripe. They seemed to enjoy it, at least. :( See – they are also as sneaky as cats!
Because the chickens clearly cannot be trusted, I spent the last two weekends fencing off a part of the east yard and adding garden beds. I swear the chickens know what it means when I haul out t-posts and wire. They start whining and complaining right away. Not more fences! Nooooo…..
In the beds to the right, are strawberry starts. To the left, in the front, is one gooseberry. I plan to add one more, plus an espalier of some sort against the fence. Still undecided as to what that will be. I’ll put more strawberries around their feet.
To the left, in the back against the chicken coop wall, is one of the vegetable beds that I will rotate the quail through. I still have to build the coop/tractor that sits on top. Right now, there is a moveable cold frame that I also built.
To the side of the new fenced in area, we put up a wire hog panel arch. I’m training a thornless blackberry up it. In behind the arch, you can see the two columnar apple trees I planted this Spring. They are doing very well, despite the best efforts by the chickens to get into their pots and dig all the dirt out.
The Sweet Dumpling squash leaves are looking terrible this time of year, but the squashes themselves are wonderful. I can’t wait to taste them as mature winter squash. I ate a couple immature, as summer squash, and they were very tasty! This variety will be grown again next summer for sure.
I’m still canning like crazy and loving it. We bought a couple boxes of peaches, and I canned some straight-up in a light syrup. For others, I saved the leftover syrup I used to can Black Plums in, and used that. It has a gorgeous red color that makes the peaches look really pretty!
I met a new friend through my local Freecycle, who was also interested in keeping quail. When Anna came over to my place to pick up her freebie, I gave her the tour and she was especially intrigued by one of my quail coops. This one. After Anna found some quail up on Freecycle, she came back to visit my coop again, and ended up making a similar one for herself in one day! I asked if I could share pictures, because I really like some of the modifications she made.
She added a door to the center front, which must be handy for cleaning and catching stubborn quail, as well as cute handles on the two lift-up doors. She also has a green roof on the middle section with sedum planted. She says her seven little quail hens are very happy in their new coop, and I believe it!
I cannot even tell you how happy my garden has made me this year. The wild critters seem to love it as well. The chickens, rabbits, and quail have had so much fresh food to eat, and since I use no chemicals, the wildlife is really flourishing as well. I know they are helping to keep all the unpleasant bugs at bay, because other than my brief issue with root maggots this year (solved by the application of beneficial nematodes) I have had almost no damage to anything. Several birds have nested in my garden this year, and look at this little sweetie I found in my bean plants! He didn’t budge the whole time I was harvesting beans around him.
And finally, a brief travel update: another friend was kind enough to give me a bunch of Egyptian money leftover from her trip! So much fun – being able to hold actual money in my hands in making my trip seem so much more real. Thanks, Arte! This time next year I’ll be across the Atlantic Ocean!