I've noticed I've fallen behind on posting.... it's just been so busy here on the farm. Even though it's now late June, we still have a bit of planting to do (not good), there are still plots not covered by mulch, and our plans for a fourth plot have not materialized. I guess our good intentions were not quite enough, although we got a lot more done this year than last. Every year is an improvement when you're this new at farming!
The chickens are getting big! They've decided to try their luck at cock-a-doodle-dooing, and it's quite hilarious. They just don't have the hang of it yet. For one, it sounds more like "gook-guck-gak" than a proper rooster crowing. And then they don't have the timing quite right. One of the roosters decided to belt out some gutteral guffaws today around 3 pm. Definitely not sunrise!
We are laying hay down as our mulch, and it's a lot more work than it would seem! Since our grass is so wild, and not your typical lawn grass, we are able to use it as an excellent source of mulch. The only problem is we need so darn much, and the grass only grows so fast. So every time we are able to mow and sweep up the clippings, we cover a few more rows. We were using newspaper under the hay, but it is really a two-person job on those windy days, and a real pain to lay down sheet by sheet. I found some recycled brown paper in the paint section at Walmart, for protecting the floor while painting. It comes in rolls of 2 1/2 feet by 140 feet, for about $6.50. Not a bad deal, and recycled, too! So that is what we are putting under the hay. We roll it out down the aisle, and then pile the hay on top until you can't see the paper any more. And presto- weed control, moisture retention, and disease prevention all in one!
The bugs are atrocious lately. Thank goodness for guys like this little toad. I read that frogs and toads can eat 10,000 or more insects in their lifetime. All toads are welcome here! (There is a hitch, though- their skin produces some kind of mucous that is toxic to pets - and probably people, were we to eat them- and if a cat or dog tries to bite them, they will sorely regret it, with respiratory distress, and even convulsions, quickly ensuing. Fortunately they seem to learn quickly to keep away from toads!)
And we even welcome snakes, like this guy, who we think is a Black Rat snake. They help take care of the rodent problem for us. Living out in the country, you quickly learn that mice are an inevitable part of life here!
Well, it's been a long day of working out in the fields, and I think we've earned a quick rest in the hammock, with a strawberry banana smoothie to cool us off. It's off to the hammocks I go, to re-energize before the evening chores ahead of us still....