Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Garden Update and New Arrivals

I guess because there just wasn't enough going wrong in the garden this year, sweet Mother Earth decided I needed to be plagued by potato bugs as well.  I dusted the plants twice with diatomaceous earth.  It may have killed some of the little buggers, but not nearly enough, and not quickly enough.  Serves me right, I guess, for bragging that the potatoes were doing well.

I resorted to pulling the bugs off the plants and feeding them to the birds.  The chickens do not mind at all!  After a couple of weeks the plants are recuperating well.  I'm still picking a dozen or so potato bugs off every day, but a big improvement over the hundreds I was picking off in the beginning.

My stunted little beets.

 I'm not sure what is going on with them, they just don't seem to have grown at all in the last month.  We've had a good mix of rain and sun lately, they're planted about where the beans started last year, and I've been keeping up well with the weeds.  They started off well, and then just seemed to quit.  I hope they get a second wind, with only 1 month to go.

The few surviving bean plants are just about to flower.  We might get a meal or two yet.

We went to the auction yesterday, where some people were standing in the parking lot with a couple of cages of kittens to give away.  Their barn cat population had gotten out of control.  I told them I wanted a barn cat, a female, and they handed me this adorable little calico kitten, probably not more than 7 or 8 weeks old.

It tried to kill me.

I know that sounds hilarious, but I'm really not kidding.  It hit me with the claws on contact, started hissing. I brought it to my chest trying to sooth it,  it spun around, still clawing and went for my jugular.  Luckily??!!  I brought my chin down in time to save my throat, so I only had to pull the cat off my face, with one hand firmly around her neck.  She was still clawing and hissing as I stuffed her back in the cage.

On the one hand, I'd have really liked to bring her home.  I'm sure that kitty would have taken care of all the mice, voles, squirrels and chipmunks around here, and given the weasels and minks a good fight.  On the other hand, the Littles would have wanted to play with the kitty, and I'm not sure they would fare so well.

The second kitten he handed me, a total sweetheart, fluffball.  She cuddled up and started purring instantaneously.  One extreme to the other.  I figured he'd have no problem finding her a cushy indoor home.

In the end, we chose an older kitten.  She's about four months old, and quite sweet.  Hopefully still young enough to not be pregnant!  #1 named her Mouser.  Hopefully she'll grow into her name.

For now she's in a cage in the chicken coop, until she gets familiar with us and her new surroundings.  #3 dropped her last night, outside, and it took over an hour to find her and catch her again.  #1 gave her a squirt of fresh milk before bed.  Mildred was not amused, lol.  We'll give her a squirt every morning for the next few days, hopefully teaching her to come and say hello at milking time.

My other new arrival- Minuet.

She's an Emden Goose.  Well, we're calling her a she, though honestly, we have no idea.  She's sleeping in the brooder with the new chicks for now, but she'll be spending her days in the turkey pen with Goose and Gackle.  Or at least, that's the plan.  They haven't met yet.

I took 10 of my meat chickens to the auction with me to sell, but ended up bringing them all back home.  The highest bid was $3.  Unbelievable!  It cost me $9 just to run them through the auction and bring them back home.  A learning experience, I guess.  If I try it again, I think I'll put fewer birds in cardboard boxes.  They seem to sell better that way. 


  1. LOL...I can see the cat attached to your face, not so funny, just funny description. I would have taken the wild one. Your little are big enough to learn after one encounter. Now, how do you expect that cat to be a mouser if you feed her? I always figured a desperately hungry cat with a propensity for killing should not be fed. But, what do I know? I guess I would just accidentally starve the cat.

    I paid $12 for a hen! I don't blame you for not selling them at that price. You can eat them.

    What is this about putting fewer birds in boxes?

    How did you come by the goose?

    1. A cat does not need to be hungry to hunt. My house cat, Lucky, is always overfed, but still takes care of any little critters that enter her domain. It's fun for her. She does eat some of the stuff she catches, and sometimes leaves me 'gifts' as well, but her food dish is never empty for long.

      Mouser will have a dish of food filled a couple of times a day, as well as, hopefully, a squirt of milk straight from the teat, and some loving every morning. I don't expect to see much of her through the day, as there's so much territory to explore, and so many places to hide.

      Forcing a cat to hunt for it's food puts the chickens in danger. The cat is not going to starve, and chicks are easy prey. I want her to hunt, not just kill.

      Some people brought cardboard boxes with one or two roosters in each to the auction, and they sold much better- $5-$10 each, for assorted sizes and types of roosters, none of them meat breeds. The buyer gets to take the box with their birds. I took my birds in a cage all together, so the buyer would need his own cage to take them home, and had to buy all 10.

      I bought the goose at the auction.

    2. I didn't think about easy prey in chicks. Someone gave me two barn cats, mousers, for the mouse problems here one summer. Those cats stayed away from me, but I put out a food each day, then decided the neighbors' cats were eating it.

      Yes, I now understand about the boxes. I certainly would not have a box with me if I went to buy chickens.

    3. Exactly- there are so many 'city farmers' going to the auctions these days, that just want a couple of birds rather than a bunch of them.

  2. My garden is still in its infancy (the first year using the soil in some places and the 2nd in others), and I do not have a green thumb! It's comforting in a way to see that experienced gardeners have their trials too. Thanks for sharing your not so good experiences with the happy ones.

    1. I started this blog so I could keep accurate notes of what we were doing. My memory is really bad, so it helps me to look back and see what I did last time, lol. The flops are sometimes more important than the successes.

    2. Wendy,
      I doubt your memory is that bad. You, like I, have many things to keep track through the days and over the years. However, wait until you are my age and your memory gets really faulty, over-worked, over-stuffed with years of memories.