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Summer Daze

I don't know what happened this Spring but was time on hyperspeed??  Some job changes, a load of kids' school projects and activities ranging from creating 3-D DNA models to piano recitals to soccer matches, and maybe stress over my own expectations about what I 'should' be getting done seemed to take over the days.

It really didn't help that I left completing 30 pharmacy continuing ed credits (which you have 2 years to do) to the last month this May.
Adult procrastination fail!
(and yes, I did buckle down and finish on time so still legal =)

But I am SO glad that Summer has begun - ready for a fresh season start - to chill, watch my garden grow, and hopefully see things slow down a bit.  And glad to finally get to writing a post on all things growing: summer flowers, gardening, and chickens!

I was able to get our patio pots and flower beds planted with annuals in May, so pops of color right outside my doorstep are a good reminder that some progress, even if slow, was made. But I was REALLY late getting the garden in....like a full month late.  The good news, though, was that we got a major upgrade to the garden before planting. My husband gave me a Mother's Day gift of installing raised beds - no more rearranging dirt to create planting beds each year and no more (or at least less) complaining about weeds! More on that in a bit.

Speaking of Mother's Day, I want to plug an awesome local business once again for those in the area....every year hubby orders the CSA 'bouquet a week' from Maple Acres Farmright down the street.  Consider it for next year - beautiful natural arrangements each week to enjoy all summer!

And I'll put in another plug for Maple Acres Farm as it's strawberry picking time right now ...YUM!  Yes, that time of year where your kids practically eat their weight in strawberries before you take their quart containers to the cashier=)

They also have some fantastic asparagus right now too.  Kids absolutely hated it a year ago, but 2 of 4 have fully converted after being served it every couple of weeks the past year.  I'm thinking we're just a few tries away from getting all 4 on board - nothing better than simply roasted with a touch of olive oil, salt and pepper!  Mom for the veggie win.

Maybe we'll get a small patch of asparagus going in our garden??  Future idea.  For now, we are sticking with the basics.  Here's what's planted so far:  Spinach, lettuce, radishes, carrots, beets, hot peppers, bell peppers, broccoli, tomatoes, beans, peas, corn, cucumbers, and squash. This year, I'm trying seeds from Burpee (I've never settled on a particular seed source so if you have advice for success in our area, I'd be interested in any tips.)

Outside of the garden, we have a few other things going as well as we've mixed in some veggies into our flower beds.  Between this patch of Cleome flowers, there are potatoes and a few berry canes mixed in.  And I'm also trying to get 2 plants of the Japanese sweet potato plants (see earlier post) going in there as well.

In the garden, I've planted the typical Spring veggies more than a full month late so we'll see what happens. The radishes as well as the pepper and tomato starter plants I got at the store are the only things going so far but the lettuce, corn, peas, and beans seedlings are just peeking above ground now too. As the weather has been so wacky lately in our area, who knows how this will go??  I guess the advantage I have now with raised beds, is that I could cover some beds in Fall and maybe get a bit of extended season if needed.

So now I wait.  We still have a few things to do for maintenance.  You can't see in these pictures, but hubby got creative and ran small underground PVC pipes to each bed that we'll hook to a drip irrigation system so that still needs to be hooked up.  We have a handy faucet that he set up inside the garden by running PVC pipe from the house faucet out to the garden and that works really well so just need to take it the extra step to the beds. And we want to cover the walkways between beds with plastic and then mulch as it's been a constant battle to keep the weeds out in past years.  You can see on the right side of the beds in one of the pictures above, the out of control peppermint patch that would take over the whole garden if we let it.

So while we wait for our garden to get going, we are also waiting for our daily supply of eggs to return.  I don't think I've posted about this before, but we did have 2 Rhode Island Red chickens who were providing us reliably with 2 eggs a day.  I had their hutch inside the garden. Unfortunately, while we were away for Spring Break, a fox managed to exploit a tear in the chicken wire on the garden door and sadly.....winner, winner chicken dinner!  We were very bummed as we thought we had them in a safe spot.  So not only the garden needed an upgrade this year!

We have invested in a very nice chicken run from Omlet® that we've set up right behind the garden. Must say they are quite a bit spendier than if we built something homemade but we wanted something to last many years with no maintenance.  It was very easy to assemble and we were able to also put the rabbit hutch for my son's pet bunny (Latte) inside.  So now that gives him a safe space to run around in as well. It's very nice as it's tall enough to walk inside to check food and water and the outside has wire that extends about a foot along the ground to prevent predators digging in.  We're pleased with the whole set up and now have obtained 2 new additions to the family.....meet Speckles and Ginger!

Both are just teenagers at the moment so we will likely be waiting until Fall for regular eggs again. Our understanding is that Speckles is a Plymouth Rock and Ginger is a buff Orpington. We liked the Rhode Island Reds as they were a very hardy breed that could take the winters here.

Apparently these 2 breeds are hardy as well but it will be interesting to learn a little bit more about them as they grow. We miss our supply of fresh eggs!

So much anticipation for all things growing this Summer...I hope you have some good things awaiting you too!

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