Tonight Hubby and I finished and planted one more garden box, which brings our total to 8 now (the other 3 are out of view to the right and run perpendicular to these). I hope we can get the last one in this set of (soon-to-be) 6 built this summer and if we have to wait on the last 3 until next year, so be it. My goal with these boxes in the photo, once the last one is in place, is to build a large hoop frame over them to create a temporary greenhouse that we can use to extend our growing season as Elliott Coleman writes about in The Four-Season Harvest. This will probably not happen this year, but it’s on the ever growing to-do list. Maybe by next year…
Tonight I finally got my 15 pepper plants in the ground. They’ve been in pots almost 2 months…wait, can that be right? Actually, I think so. Wow. Time has flown by so quickly. I also planted some okra seeds tonight. People say you can’t grow okra in this part of the world because it doesn’t get hot enough. Rather, I should say it doesn’t stay hot enough (at night) for long enough. It’s still getting down into the low-mid 40’s here at night, which is just too cold for okra. But for now I’m going to see what will happen without doing anything to help keep the soil warm (I’m a somewhat lazy gardener). If they just don’t do well then I’ll adjust next season either by starting them in pots and transplanting them to the garden when it’s warm enough or doing something to help keep the soil warmer. I grew okra the easy way (i.e., lazy) when I lived in Idaho, so I’m not convinced this little experiment is going to fail me. At least not yet. A gardener is an eternal optimist.
In the middle of the night last night (2:30 am to be exact) we were awakened by one hell of a hailstorm. It came on so suddenly and the sound of the hail was so intense that I was sure my garden was toast. This happened last summer and my popcorn took a severe beating from which it never recovered. So I was delighted this morning to find that nothing had been destroyed. I don’t know how, but I don’t care. A couple of my tomatoes look a little beat up, but I don’t think it’s anything to be worried about. Hubby and I were wondering today what the baby chicks thought of the hail–part of what woke me up was the ruckus of the hail hitting their metal roof. I’m sure they were a little bit freaked out by it. I don’t blame them. Poor Stinker was freaked out by the storm. She hates thunder and lightning, as I guess most dogs (and cats) do, so she came and sat by my side of the bed and I had to pet her for about 10 minutes to calm her down. Then I spent the next 20 minutes or so with my hand on her back just to keep her calm and let her know that she was safe by momma. It never thundered all that loud, so I think it was mostly the hail and lightning that scared her. At least she doesn’t whine or bark during storms, she just wants to be close to me and she has this wide-eyed look of panic about her. I wish I could convince her that everything is ok. But I think all those nasty thunderstorms we experienced while living in the South, and the one trip out to the tornado shelter while it was pouring rain and lightning all around us, traumatized her for life. Fortunately we don’t get a lot of intense thunderstorms here.
Hubby is about ready to strangle one of the baby chicks–the Ancona. While the other 3 babies have figured out what to do when it’s time to go to bed at dusk (go into the coop like a good little chicken), the Ancona paces back and forth beneath the coop chirping loudly like she is completely lost. She watches the other birds go into the coop, but for whatever reason she is not figuring this out very quickly. The other girls will even come back out of the coop and go down to Miss Ancona, I think to try and convince her to follow them into the coop. No go. So they eventually leave her and go back into the coop and settle in for the night. Which means we have to catch her and put her in the coop. Once I catch her, which is no easy task, I can just put her on the ramp that leads into the coop and she will go right in. But there seems to be no connection that she herself can climb onto the ramp and go into the coop with the other chickens. I am hopeful she will figure this out over the weekend so Hubby doesn’t have to deal with her while I’m out of town next week. I suppose that is the eternal optimist in me. I just hope Hubby doesn’t call me next week to tell me he’s had chicken casserole for dinner because I will know exactly who is the star of that dish.