Critters of Idaho

29June2014_300_2026We were walking around the garden and saw this little guy.  I was able to approach within a few feet and took this picture.  We think it is a baby robin, but are not sure.  Micha saw one in one of the bushes buy out house and I took another picture of it.  Then, the cat saw it and decided it would make a tasty mid-morning snack, and it grabbed it. 

Micha, seeing this, screamed (which was entertaining in itself), distracting the cat and the bird was able to escape.  Pretty funny actually, and I am glad the bird was able to escape, because knowing the cat, it would have dropped it off at 30June2014_300_2043the front door as a present for Micha. Look at the image on the right carefully and you can see the bird that the cat almost caught.

One of the things that I was disappointed with last year was the lack of nice butterflies around the property.  This year however, I have seen a few flying around, but they have not landed long enough for me to take a picture.  Finally, yesterday a butterfly was drinking from the lavender bushes by the front door, and I was able to take a few pictures.

 

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One Month Garden Update

13June2014_300_1990Well, The chicken laid an egg in the coop this time instead of under a tree.  Of course, we had to catch it and lock it up in the coop for a couple of hours, but hopefully it will understand where it should lay eggs.

I put a golf ball in four of the 6 nesting boxed to “trick” the chicken(s) into thinking that they were actually eggs in the boxes, hopefully letting them believe that this is the place to deposit the eggs.  Tomorrow maybe a new egg in the proper place without all of the fuss of capturing and locking the critters up – maybe.

The garden is now one month old and things are really growing.  Below, I have placed an image taken on the 23rd of May and beside it another image taken on the 23rd of June.  We have already harvested raspberries and blackberries, strawberries, lettuce, kale, and one pumpkin from the garden.  In the next day or two we will also harvest some zucchini and pickling cucumbers.  Additionally, Micha is continuing to pick apricots, which we are dehydrating.

The pictures:

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The herb garden is also doing fairly well.  I am finding that some things that I thought would be easy to grow do not actually grow well in the garden (basil, oregano, sage, caraway, parsley, and a few other herbs), but some do exceptionally well (comfrey, lavender, rosemary, nasturtiums, petunias, different mints, and some others).

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Planning for next year:  Build 6000 sq. ft. field for wheat, barley and oats.  Build 6000 sq. ft. field for a sustainable chicken garden.   Also, plant three more cherry trees,  two additional apple trees, and three other fruit trees that I am deciding upon.  Goats or sheep next year also – just a couple or three.

Our First Egg

Yesterday, one of the chickens escaped the run and was sitting under one of the pine trees next to the run.  When we moved her, this is what we found:

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The white egg (the one on the left) is our first egg from our Idaho chickens.  A bit small, but who cares.  It laid another one a few minutes later, after it escaped again.

The Beginning, and The End

Simply, from this: 

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To this:

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It is Cherry Season

20June2014_DSCN0402As you can see in the picture of Micha picking cherries, it is cherry season in this area.

We were driving down our road last Thursday and saw a sign advertising U-Pick Cherries for 0.50 cents a pound.  After we returned home, Misty hopped on her bike and rode about 3 miles to the cherry orchard to see what was going on.  She came home with a pack full of cherries.  Misty and Micha liked them, so it was decided that we would go early Friday  morning and pick cherries.

We managed to wake up early, before the day became hot, went to the orchard, and 20June2014_DSCN0415proceeded to pick cherries.  About 3 hours later, the three of us managed to pick approximately 130 pounds of sweet cherries.  While it was hard work, it was also quite enjoyable, and it was difficult to convince Micha to leave.  I think she did not want to leave all the cherries she saw on the trees, but also did not realize how many cherries we had picked.

Micha and Misty have been cleaning and pitting the cherries, and we are also dehydrating 15 pounds of them for baking and later use.  Misty canned some for pies in a light syrup also.  As for me, they prepared 50 pounds of cherries that I am 20June2014_DSCN0468going to use in a 6 gallon batch of mead and a 6 gallon batch of wine.  Figuring to use a bit more than 4 pounds per gallon and shoot for an ABV or 20% for the mead, and 14% for the wine.  I would like the mead to be on the sweet side, and a dry wine with possible a bit of oak.

Our two apricot trees are producing apricots now also.  Micha has been picking them daily, and we now have tables, dehydrators and boxes full of drying apricot halves.  I do not know how many pounds she picked, but I would imagine that there are about 2 – 5 gallon buckets full.  Possibly 40 or 50 pounds maybe.

Fifty cent cherries and free apricots – hard to beat that!