The kittens are doing well. Each is developing a slight difference in fur color, so it's getting easier to tell them apart. One remains solid white, while another is white with darker ears, and two are darker all over (one with a black spot on the edge of the nose and one without). They're sure to be absolutely adorable as they get bigger and darken up a little.
Last night I noticed the ear-patch kitten had a goopy eye. I cleaned her up and gave her back to Mocha. This morning she peeked at me when I picked her up. Our first peeker in the litter! Watch out world! Here she comes!
A couple of the bean plants from the raised garden are finally ready for picking! Today I got six Calima Bush beans and one Royal Burgundy bean. They're a challenge to find among all of the squash, cucumber, and melon foliage!
I also went through all of the tomato plants one at a time today to tie up a few that have grown a little out of control as well as to get a feel for which ones are producing. I have more tomatoes than I thought I did, but not as many as I had hoped for.
As of today (7/29/15 in case the date gets messed up again), I have the following plant statuses:
Great White - 3 plants, one with tomatoes and two with flowers.
Large Barred Boar - 4 plants, all with tomatoes.
Emmy - 1 plant, has flowers.
Nicholaevna Pink - 4 plants, one with flowers, three with fruit.
Black Zebra - 4 plants, two with very few flowers, and two with buds but no open flowers.
Rose Beauty - 3 plants, two with flowers and fruit, one with buds but no flowers.
Pink Sunshine - 1 plant, has fruit and flowers.
Fantome du Laos - 3 plants, one with tomatoes, two with flowers
Blondkopfchen - 1 plant, lots of buds and some tomatoes finally showing up
Maglia Rosa - 1 plant, has tomatoes and flowers.
Snow White - 2 plants, both with fruit and flowers
Homestead - 4 plants, one with just a few buds, and three with tomatoes and flowers.
Rozovyi Flamingo - 4 plants, one with tomatoes and flowers, two with flowers only, and one with buds only.
Giraffe - 3 plants, one with tomatoes and flowers, two with flowers only.
Silvery Fir Tree - 2 plants, both with large tomatoes and more flowers.
Chocolate Stripes - 3 plants, one with tomatoes and flowers, one with just buds, and one with nothing.
Lemon Drop - 2 plants, one with tomatoes and flowers, one with buds.
Uluru Ochre - 1 plant, has tomatoes forming and flowers.
While I was out there I also did some conservative trimming and took off several lower branches on the bigger tomato plants. I couldn't just toss out good healthy tomato cuttings, so I put 40-50 of them in little nursery cups full of wet soil and put them under the weaker grow light. In a week I will see which survived. I did not label any of them as I just went along and broke the branches off that were trailing in the dirt. I only kept the best looking ones. It will be interesting to see how many do well and how many shrivel up and die off. I figure I've lost nothing but some time either way.
We have a follow-up meeting with the Small Business folks tomorrow. I feel like we haven't made a lot of progress since out last meeting (totally our fault). We got our LLC, Federal EIN, and contacted both potential cities and the state regarding regulations. I'm hoping to have time tomorrow to get the state resale tax number before the meeting, and we plan to go to the bank and set up a business bank account after the meeting. It's just a matter now of figuring out how much money we're going to need, and which city we want to work with. I feel like everything is part of a giant circle and I'm struggling to find a way to get into that circle. I want to contact distributors to get an accurate picture of cost involved, but they won't walk to me without a location (I thought they'd talk to me with a tax number, but I was mistaken). I can't pick a location without an idea of how much I can afford to spend, and I can't start to fund-raise until I know how much everything is going to cost. I feel like our estimates are too low, and that if I fund-raise that much we won't have enough to stock the shelves properly. I refuse to open a store if I can't do it right. I won't half-ass this life-changing project. Tony worries that if I make my fund-raising goal too high then people will be less likely to donate to help. I honestly can't see anyone donating to help someone else open a business. It makes no sense to me, but he assures me if I put the project out there - people will be willing to back me up.
NOTE - I posted this on 7/27, but forgot to hit the publish button, so it's only posting it now, 2 days later. Sorry!
The little ones have made it to one week old. They're all plump and active, and I'm happy to say that Mocha is now taking care of them completely. I took her in to the vet to re-check her staples, and they said she'd be fine for now. They're supposed to come out ten days post-op anyway, so as long as she's healing up nicely, the staples shouldn't be a huge concern at this point.
I checked the garden this morning (as I do every morning) and was a little upset to find that the large pumpkin that has been growing so nicely, has grown right into the stick that I used to mark off the squares for planting, and has punctured itself. I'm sure rot will set in soon and I will lose the pumpkin. How disappointing. I wonder if there's something I could put in the hole to prevent it from going bad.
We went to Itasca State Park today. It was fun but makes for a long day. Mocha is doing better with her kittens and the kittens are looking good. Her staples are starting to fall out though so I'll be calling the vet tomorrow.
So Mocha will lay down for the kittens to nurse, but she doesn't seem to care for them at all. The two larger kittens seek out a nipple and nurse, but the two smaller ones don't. We picked up a can of goat milk and I'm back to syringe feeding. I'm hoping Mocha will do the butt cleaning, but it's not looking promising. I think she's going to abandon the litter all together soon. I'll be out of town Wednesday so I'm going to lock Mocha and the kittens in the dog crate while I'm gone so she will be more likely to at least lay in the box to give them the opportunity to nurse. I'll plan to bottle feed and butt wipe from here on out.
Well, $300+ f or emergency vet care, a c-section, and a long drive later... We have four surviving kittens (one didn't make it). Mocha is still groggy and hasn't nursed yet, so we aren't out of the woods just yet. I am remaining hopefully optimistic.
I did opt to have her spayed at the same time. No more babies for Mocha. It was a fun experience, the vet let my Mom and I sit in on the surgery and help rub kittens as they were pulled out. I adore our vet, a huge thank you to Dr Niemi for taking such good care of us.
We are officially on kitten countdown. Mocha is due sometime between 7/20 and 7/22. She's round and uncomfortable. When I put both hands gently around her belly, it's solid movement. When Mabel was pregnant she had movement here and there, but Mocha's kittens are already movers and shakers! Tomorrow we will make our official guesses on how many kittens we think she will have.
Every day this garden amazes me. It is not containable any more. The tendrils are reaching out beyond the borders of the garden, grasping grass and threatening to over-take the sidewalk. The leaves are amazingly large. The larger corn stalks are staying upright now, so maybe we will get some after all. I put both of the blackberry plants outside, and both promptly got sunburn and don't seem very happy. I will keep them well watered. I need to find a place to plant them permanently.
The Fordhook Zucchini is enormous, and likely to get much larger. Now there are several growing, but this one remains that biggest. Online reviews said they could get 2-1/2 to 3 feet long. Shall we wait and see if it's true? Or will we get hungry and decide to eat it before then? Maybe we can sacrifice the smaller ones to the dinner table and let the big one grow.
I harvested two more Mammoth Melting Snow Peas today. They're a little over-ripe, as you can see the peas inside starting to stand out. One has five peas, the other only three. I know all of the websites say to dry the pods and then break the peas out. I wonder why the peas themselves can't be removed from the edible shell and dried on their own. So, a little science experiment... I pulled the five peas out of the larger pod and will set them aside to see if they dry alright outside of the pod.
We are still working on the storm damage from Sunday. My parents just got electricity back today. The entire area is pretty much on clean-up right now. There are trees down everywhere. According to the news, we got hit with winds equivalent to a Category 1 hurricane. I know there are sections that got it much worse than we did, and even worse than my parents got. At least one of our main resorts is shutting down for two weeks or more to try to get everything cleaned up. Brainerd International Raceway was destroyed, several buildings lost roofs, and there's insane numbers of homes and vehicles damaged by falling trees.
Switching focus, I need to get the second raised garden bed set up. I know, late in the season, but now is a good time to plant secondary things. If I can get it up by this weekend, I'm going to plant the smaller raised bed exclusively with peas and cucumbers, since the large bed seems to have gourds strangling out everything else.
I'm surprised the tomatoes are doing well. Every bad storm brings more blossoms. So far it looks like just the initial Silvery Fir Tree tomato is actually growing a tomato. More are starting to flower.
The storm was pretty intense but we were lucky. We didn't lose any trees, the tomatoes all survived, and while the raised bed was flattened, little was actually broken - so it should be alright. The corn laid flat so we're hoping it does alright, but I'm not sure. All of my friends and family lost trees, had trees fall on their houses, their vehicles, and their out buildings. All over town and out of town the trees are torn out of the ground, snapped off, or leaning precariously. My parents lost a lot of trees, so Wednesday they're planning to get a family friend out there and just do all kinds of chainsaw work.
I'm so tired, I apologize this blog is short. It's been a long day.
While checking out the raised bed today and trying (I think in vain) to try to entwine the wild jungle of gourd limbs into the nets that had originally been placed for the peas and beans... I found that we are starting to produce food! There are at least two small zucchinis growing, and something small and round and yellow that may be the start of a pumpkin. Unfortunately, the tangled mess that is the raised bed is going to make it quite difficult to discern which fruit/blossom is from which plant.
The black raspberries are also going into overload mode. They're all ripening almost faster than we can pick them. I haven't been weighing or measuring the black raspberries because we tend to eat them as we pick them. Today was different in that there were so many ready to be picked! In years passed, this is about the time the kids lose interest in picking every day and the berries end up going to waste. So I picked every one of them that was ripe and ready to fall off the branch. Yes, we ate some as we picked (#5 and #3 helped), but in the end we still got 8 ounces of berries in one picking! Wow! I will note that previously the berries were always fairly small and sparse for the most part. Last year we tore out all of the brush that had been allowed to grow in the berry patch for the last decade or so, but we did it mid-season. This spring, #2 took a rake and cleaned out the leaves and debris that had accumulated, and Tony and I cut out all of the dead canes. This years harvest is bigger than prior years, and the canes growing this year (that will produce next year) are absolutely huge! I wish we'd have been taking better care of this patch all along. I am impressed that even with a decade of neglect, brush, and a full blown tree growing in the middle and shading everything out... these few plants (I think there are six) have never ceased to produce every year, even if in smaller quantities and with smaller berries.
I see Weebly is continuing to have issues with the dates on the blog posts... this one is 7/11/15. I sent them a message. Hopefully they can get this corrected!
We were anticipating a severe storm this evening, and while it did split and go around us for the most part, we got some. The wind was crazy. We got lucky. One tree lost some branches, the tarps blew off the rabbit hutches, one tarp came off the bunny barn, the raised bed is looking rough, and the black raspberry bush has been blown over. I'll have to see what the full damages are in the morning when it's light out again. My friends have more damages, some with cars ruined, many lost trees.
Before the storm I noticed one new tomato (our first here). A Silvery Fir Tree tomato.
This post is 7/12/15.
Warm day today. I took Roland for a walk all the way to the park and back. He did much better this time. After much correction the first portion of the walk, he did end up walking beside me in a pseudo-heel. I still had to keep some tension on his leash at all times, but he didn't jump or charge off. He did try to pull twice, both times when we passed someone else (both with dogs). We even passed some hecklers who tried to call him over and I'm so proud to say that Roland didn't even turn to look at them! Today was a big turning point. It makes me really believe that he can be trained in to be my service dog. I've had my doubts in the last month.
It's been a while since I updated on Floki. She's doing fantastic. She's still very small for her age, but she's healthy and happy.
The bunnies are growing well. Today a few of the babies tried the dandelions I brought for Penelope. Every day more and more of them are out of the nest box area when I come to feed and water them.
And to be redundant, yet another daily photo of the raised bed. Today I noticed one of the strings that I used to mark out the squares had gone loose. I went to the other side, assuming the stick used to anchor it had been removed, but it was still there. Some searching under leaves revealed where it broke in the middle. The wind blowing the large pumpkin and zucchini leaves made the stem rub against the hemp line enough to actually break it!
Looks like Weebly rolled out a new date stamp that includes the time. That might explain the recent glitches! Today is 7/8/15, just in case it doesn't publish properly.
The raised bed as always is looking rather crowded. I gave it a good watering this evening, and I see some of the new radishes popping up in the edge holes.
The Mammoth Melting Snow Peas that were planted by the kitchen door on the trellis are looking nice, producing several flowers, and peas are starting to ripen! First two off the plants today (yum)!
Baby bunnies are fantastic. The kids are starting to handle them now (as Penelope allows). This one happened to be friendly, so I snapped a pic.
Mocha is looking large and uncomfortable. Just 12-14 days left before we anticipate kittens!
This morning I made a second attempt at planting some Tom Thumb (AKA "Half Pint") peas under the grow lights. Last time they got about 4-6 inches tall and then shriveled up and died.
Amanda's blog about everything, important and trivial.