26 January 2017

Big honkin' update

OK, so the honking is courtesy of the neighbor's ill-humored goose ... actually, is there any other kind?  Big update - pretty much a month's worth because I've either been busy, or been sulking because I'd rather be busy instead of my back hurting.

Chocolate is getting fat.  She is starting to look like she swallowed a whole watermelon and it got stuck sideways in her midsection.  She's the first I expect to kid, around Valentine's Day.  Prim is about two weeks' (at most?) behind her there, with Tangie supposed to be after that, then Molly.  Flora is still not pregnant, but then again she still looks to be growing.  She's now almost as tall as her mother, Molly.

Pigs are still doing fine.  It looks like they may be done growing up for the most part, so that means Boston Butt's days are numbered for sure.  He's still the smallest in the pen, and Cerridwen is still the biggest.

Still no baby bunnies yet ... I have not figured out where I am going wrong on this project.  At least they all let me pet them at feeding time now.

The two hatches of Wyandotte chicks are growing, growing, and growing!  I'm planning for a third hatch soon.  Checking the calendar, it says February 5th & 6th are good days to set eggs.  I've decided not to replace any of the Silkies from here out.  They just don't seem hardy enough to thrive here with my management style.  Either that, or I got very high-maintenance Silkies.  That ought to give me more room to grow out more Wyandottes.

Now, for the planting idea.  When I talked to Sis for my birthday, she said an indoor herb garden is her big 2017 project.  I mentioned that I've been researching to grow a big ol' mess of herbs here as well, and she says I need to post up everything I find out.  Those will be separate posts, but to start with: put ALL seeds in the refrigerator.  Store them there, until you are ready to plant them.  Off the top of my head, parsley and sage both need one and two weeks fridge time, respectively.  I don't recall what others you mentioned having, so either comment here or send an email to give me the list to look up.

I think I can now say I have graduated from a black thumb to a brown thumb.  No, I am not suddenly overrun with mint (though I would welcome that) but I am having a lot better success with starting seeds.  In the case of the Roma (VF) tomato seeds, a little too much success for me to handle on my own.  So, here's the story:  I ordered seeds directly from Burpee, including a true-breeding strain of Roma (VF) tomatoes.  They mailed it out on December 5th, and tracking had no other updates so I emailed their customer service on the 15th.  They canceled that order, made a new one, and mailed that out on the 18th.  That package arrived between Christmas and New Year's, so I was happy and forgot about it.  A little before my birthday, I open up what i thought was a scrip refill from VA, but it was seeds from Burpee ... the lost shipment.  I plant those seeds first, because I figure at best I'll get half to sprout.  Oh yeah, and I planted the entire package - which said 250 seeds, but there was more like 270.

I have 264 Roma tomato starts!  And this is after my neighbor Marty bought a couple last night.  I've also put 50 Little Gem lettuce starts in a bed, and probably the same amount of "Toy Choi" pak choi in another bed, with some of both left over for Marty again.  (She also got the Old German sucker that I knocked off the parent plant while transplanting.)  Pretty much all those seeds from the lost package are sprouting quick, fast, and in large numbers.  Now add to that a second flat of seeds, with 51 Boxcar Willie tomatoes, and 81 Pruden's Purple (actually a dark pink) tomato starts.  It's probably a good thing the Black Krim, Aunt Ruby's German Green, and Big Rainbow seeds were all too old to sprout.

I also have Red Russian kale, three varieties of broccoli, a colorful mix of cauliflower, Bloomsdale spinach, four kinds of sweet pepper, and six kinds of greens sprouted.  No joke.  Lynn (my friend who owns/runs a plant nursery) says it's because I am using better quality seed, actual seed starting mix, and am doing things at the right time.  Along with all that, I've also been reading and learning how to plant, along with when to plant for Zone 9b and by the astrological calendar.  Laugh if y'all want, but it is all coming together a lot better this year than the past five years.

This should give y'all an idea of what I've got going.  Meanwhile, I'd like to get another bed planted before it rains this afternoon.

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