This bed was all gravel, with a few years of composted leaves over the top. Digging up the rooted bits was hard, but it made it pretty easy to pull the grass and weeds up as there wasn't much soil. With most of the weeds and grass removed, I added three buckets full of rabbit manure. Some was fresh and some was nearly completely composted to soil. Once it was all set up, I added the plants!
One Anne Raspberry plant arrived in the mail today from Gardens Alive. It was $7.99 and I ordered it back when it was still too cold to plant it. I love companies that will ship when the weather is ready so I don't have to worry about what to do with plants that can't be planted yet. I bought this one to compare against the Fall Gold raspberries I bought somewhere else. They're both yellow raspberries, but I noticed that companies who carry one variety do not usually carry the other, and I wondered what the difference was.
Two Columbine plants to attract hummingbirds. I grew up calling these honeysuckle, and I remember the rare treat they were to find in the woods and the sweet nectar they offered. These were a little more expensive than I had hoped. They were $5.99 each at a local home improvement store. I got a third one for $2.99 but it's a bit more wispy and I saved it for another location. These are two different colors. I put the brighter colored one on the darker half of the garden. I'm hoping to feed the hummingbirds with these.
Four pink Impatient flowers that came from the clearance rack at Menard's. A sad six pack of flowers looked like they'd been a little neglected. There was a 50-cents label on them. I figured, flowers that like shade? For 50-cents, I can give them a shot. I brought them home and watered them and they sprang right back to life and started to bloom. I used four of the six in this garden.
I've seen Dusty Miller at stores before and I always thought it was pretty, but where would I put an annual that doesn't produce food? Now that we have a lot more space, I decided to go for it. These were an impulse buy last time we went to Menard's, and I'm glad I picked them up. They should give a nice contrast color to an otherwise over-looked garden space.
From left to right:
Helvegan is an Indian Runner / Khaki Campbell drake (gorgeous dark head and silvery chocolate body)
Matt is an Indian Runner / Rouen cross hen (she has a white bow tie mark so we thought she would be a boy - she is named after Matt Smith, who played in Doctor Who and wore a bow tie)
Dashi is a purebred Rouen hen (she looks like a mallard hen and walks with a severe limp for no apparent reason)
Quiche is a purebred Indian Runner hen (she's the dark brown and white standing next to Josh the gander)
Omelet is a purebred Indian Runner drake (he's fawn and white and came with Quiche - he is very protective of her, and the two of them often wander away from Josh together)
Josh the goose is an African gander and the leader of the waterfowl flock. He keeps the ducks safe, breaks up squabbles, and brings them to good forage spots around the yard.
A few hours later when I went out to do something else, I noticed Fern had managed to knock her hutch door open (or maybe she also had help from the cats) and was running loose in the barn. A note here, that as nice as Fern is in her cage, she's a complete wild mess outside of her cage. It took forever to catch her. I'm so glad she's not a biter! She was successfully reunited with her four kits... Or at least I really hope there are still four after the hutch door was hanging open for who knows how long... I didn't even take the time to do a head count. I saw wiggling under the fur pile and figured that was enough confirmation.
Overall, it's been a long and somewhat challenging day. I've felt overwhelmed to the point of tears when the kids flat out refused to help with basic chores, and it wasn't until Tony remotely blocked their cell phones and all electronics in the house that some of them started to help out a little. I think there's going to be some major changes when school gets out regarding electronic use and getting chores done. Kids will have to get used to earning phone, computer, tablet, or tv time. Or those things will simply go away (or get locked up). I refuse to have to bribe or beg my children to do basic chores. I don't think it's too much to ask for them to help wash the dishes, pick up the living room, clear the table for dinner, or scoop the litter box. And honestly, I typically only ask them for one chore per day, and still they complain. Some days they're great and helpful and considerate, and other days, like today, I'm reduced to tears and left wondering if I've somehow failed as a parent to instill a good work ethic in my children.
I cleaned out the hatching incubator today. Wow that got gross fast! Right now it's just the tiny chick from the fairy egg in there (he went to the brooder with the other chicks but then fell in the water and got sopping wet). There are still six eggs that didn't hatch. When I candled them I saw no movement, I hear no peeps, and I suspect they've died and will not hatch. That said, I put them back in the brooder, just in case. I added the two Indian Runner eggs to the hatching incubator today. They're set to hatch Friday.