We got both of the raspberry / blackberry raised beds assembled, landscape fabric on, and put at least near where I want them. I don't like how they look where I initially wanted them, so I have to figure out where they'll be. They're pretty much permanent, so I need to really love where they end up. I have not added compost and manure yet.
We finished the hinged screened in lid for the brooder in the barn. Yay! So out went the 16 chicks and two ducklings from the basement brooder, out to the barn today. They'll have the heat lamp at night to try to keep them at least at 70-degrees, but they're mostly feathered at this point and several of them have been flying out of the basement brooder, so I think they should be OK out there. The screen prevents them from getting out, and protects them from the bigger birds who may try to get in. It's still going to be a while before they're big enough to join the rest of the flock.
The hoard of ducklings and the last three chicks from the most recent hatching round are still in the basement. They're still just too tiny to be outside with night lows averaging in the 50's and 60's (last night it dipped into the 40's).
I finished putting landscape fabric and mulch around all of the planted orchard trees. I have to say so far I'm really disappointed. We sunk a lot of money into fruit trees this year to get a good start on permaculture... and only one tree out there has leaves and is growing well. The rest look like dead sticks in nice landscaped plots.
I still need to plant out the two aronia plants, the lilac bush, and the cherry tree stick. The three grape varieties, the blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, black elderberry, and gooseberry need to find their places too. So much more to do!!
I cut the tops off most of my winter sown containers today. I've been putting this off because I just know the birds will go through and massacre my plants now... They did the same to the nursery plants we brought home. I don't want them to bake in the 70's and 80's we're about to get (it's hotter in the little greenhouses). Now I have to figure out what to do with all my watermelon, melon, squash, okra, apple, pear, and rhubarb seedlings. Lots of transplanting into buckets in my future.
I had really hoped to get the in-ground garden done by now, but at this point we haven't even managed to get a lawn mower yet (we need the riding kind to keep up with the big fields here). I'm giving my husband this weekend to talk to his co-workers about getting someone with a trailer to help bring a lawn mower home. If he hasn't lined something up by Monday, I'll ask my Dad is he can bring his trailer out here so we can bring a new mower home. One way or another, we have to mow soon. Today #1 remarked "You know, if you just let it grow, we could go Pokemon hunting soon... 'Oh look, a tick Pokemon!'" Yeah, it's getting a little long out there. Definitely need to mow. The only parts of the yard that actually look decent right now are where the geese like to mow the weeds. The preferred grazing areas look like we've mowed. I'm about ready to go out with a pair of scissors to clean up around the raspberry patch.
We still need to assemble the last three potato towers. At least all the lumber is already on hand. Tony should be able to put them together maybe on Tuesday when he has another day off.
Today we went to check out the local farmer's market for the first time. We picked up a pie, a loaf of bread, a jar of jelly, and a whole chicken. We picked up our CSA bag too - rhubarb, asparagus, another loaf of bread (different kind), a dozen eggs, wild rice, granola, and a giant lettuce plant (complete with roots).
Tonight, #3 and #4 have decided to do a "24 hour challenge" to stay outside for a full 24 hours. They started officially at 6pm. Tony put up the hammocks for them so they have a comfy place up off the ground to sleep. They know they are welcome to come back in if they want to. #4 is a heavy sleeper. Once she's out, she'll stay asleep all night. #3 is a lighter sleeper, but is determined to stay outside. I reminded her that she also has the option of the garage or the barn in case it rains and she absolutely will not come in the house. They've given themselves ten minutes collectively to be in the house for potty breaks. That's ten minutes total for the 24 hour time frame. Fortunately for them, after they'd gone to sleep tonight, the weather channel updated from 80% chance of rain at 6am to 25%. I'm hoping they stay dry and can enjoy their little challenge and see it through. They have bug spray, snacks, water bottles, pillows, blankets, and flashlights, as well as a phone in case they need me to come out for something. The low tonight is 65-degrees, so I agreed to letting them stay out. They liken it to camping. I do hope the resident skunk doesn't find their snack stash while they're asleep... But if he does, it'll be another lesson learned. Always put your food up in a tree at night to prevent critters from getting at it.
I opened up the catnip winter sown container, and went to get the hanging basket we grew catnip in last year. Much to my delight, it had reseeded itself and was starting to grow new plants among the dried stems from last year. I pulled the dead plants out, and then grabbed a different hanging basket to transplant the new (bigger) catnip plants from the winter sown container. Now we have two hanging baskets with catnip. We also have one catnip stoned Luna kitty... We gave her one of the dried up plants from last year. I put the rest in a jar for later use.