Friday, October 1, 2010

End of Summer Updates

It's been a little while since our last post and we have much to catch up on.

The new chickens are growing and now integrated with the big birds. They are about 12 weeks old and we figure we might see some eggs by mid-November. The big girls rule the roost (literally and figuratively). They run the smaller ones out whenever they want to eat. They have been allowing a couple more of the adventurous young ones sleep on the roost at night. For the most part they all seem to get along. With the lack of rain, we are going through tons of chicken feed for 17 birds. There are at-least three roosters and soon they will be going away to a meat market.

The vegetable garden was mildly successful this year, definitely better than last year. We harvested plenty of cucumbers, habaneros, sweet peppers, tomatoes and squash. The season started out rainy and ended in a drought. I was able to do some canning this year - five pints of salsa, five pints of tomatoes, and seven jars of pickles. The funny thing is - I really don't like pickles. But, what else was I going to do with all of those cucumbers? I also did some dehyrating for the first time that seemed to work very well - squash, zucchini, red pepers (1/3 jar) and habaneros (1/5 jar). I'm eager to see if the rehydrated squash will make a good casserole.

We fought bugs all summer. I don't like to use pesticides but the Japanese beetles seemed to think the natural bug repellent was merely a yummy candy coating for the pole and long beans. They completely covered the beans. Then something else all together ate every leaf of the broccoli. So we had to resort to some of the stronger stuff if we wanted any chance of eating from our own garden. One of these days I will be successful at growing something other than tomatoes and peppers. We have definitely decided to go back to raised beds next year. It is just too much to try and keep grasses and weeds out while at the same time attacking the bugs. I really don't mind the thought of doing it all over again next year. It's like wiping the slate clean.

Last but not least, meet Sandy our new dog. We picked her up on August 28th from a family in Nashville, Indiana. Their dog had 12 puppies and they thought they would keep one - soon realizing that they really didn't need two huge dogs. Sandy (formerly known as Nannerl - Mozart's sister's nickname) is a Great Pyranese/Flat Coated Retriever mix. She is 5 months old and already 51 lbs. Sandy (renamed for Sandy from Grease) is a super sweet dog. The problem is that she is all puppy in dog size. She does all the normal puppy things - chewing, stealing, jumping, etc. in a really really big size. How big will she get? Great Pyranese get anywhere from 85 - 100 lbs and Flat-coated retrievers anywhere from 55 to 75 lbs. So probably pretty big.

So far, Sandy's antics include:
- destroyed five rolls of toilet paper and one roll of paper towels
- stole and ate a bag of potato chips
- attempted to eat english muffins (don't think she likes them)
- stole and devoured various hotdog and hamburger buns (an entire bag of 8 hamburger buns disappeared two days ago)
- ate a brand new roll of bread opened yesterday
- stole a spatula out of the sink
- stole socks, t-shirts and underwear out of the clothes hamper
- ran away with my stuffed animals in her mouth
- destroyed a favorite hat
- chewed a hole in a pashmina shawl
- ate a packet of Swiss Miss hot chocolate
- stole two potatoes out of the potato bin
- ate a packet of instant chocolate pudding

You get the picture. our days and nights are filled with "No Sandy", "Give that back Sandy", "Drop that Sandy", "what is in your mouth Sandy", "Sandy, come back here", "No Sandy, that;s gross" "Sandy No", "Sandy No", "Sandy noooo". In the end, she is just so darn cute that we don't stay mad very long. She rolls over on her back, showing her tummy and wagging her tail with the "I'm soo cute" look. We just need to get better at puppy proofing everything.