Monday, July 8, 2013

An Enjoyable Day Off

    I enjoyed my day off, although I did have to do some bee store business today. I had to mail out two queen bees to Sequim, Washington and sold some stuff to a customer who caught me in the store preparing to ship the queens. I also did a journeyman exam for a friend who co-teaches beekeeping classes with me.  I spent most of the day at home, working in the garden and catching up on some projects.

    As I was finishing up with the animals this morning I was surprised to find my sweetie out picking blueberries. Linda usually isn't much of an early riser.  In addition to blueberries and some sugar snap peas, I harvested our first summer squash of the season. I planted both zucchini and a yellow pattypan summer squash, for a total of ten plants.  I don't know what I was thinking as that is way too many squash plants.  Last year I planted just two zucchini plants and two yellow crookneck summer squash. Something happened to one of the zucchini plants so I was left with just three summer squash plants. Linda like the zucchini much better than the yellow summer squashes so she actually complained about the Zucchini shortage.  I wanted to make sure it didn't happen again this year. As a consequence, before the end of the summer the neighbors will be avoiding us lest we give them more zucchini.
Yes, I know the squash are rather small, but I left many others on the vine to grow larger.

    The major project I did today was the transfer of 29 young chickens from the brooder to the battery cages and moving the cages from the garage to the orchard.  We're going to let the chickens live "Al fresco" in the orchard now that they no longer require brooding and the weather is nice and dry.  The biggest part of that project was cleaning the brooder, a really nasty job. Linda was pretty patient having the chickens in the garage at first. However, she loves fresh air and likes to leave the bedroom windows open when the weather is nice. Lately, the chickens had been smelling pretty "fowl". All of a sudden the "fresh air" wafting up from the garage didn't smell very fresh.  I'm going to cover the cages with a tarp at night to offer them a little protection from the chill night air. It will only be for a few weeks. I only need to keep six pullets to replace my laying hens. The rest of the pullets will be moving to Oregon.  The cockerels might be moving to Oregon as well.

     On the subject of pullets vs cockerels, the jury is still out on about half of the chickens. Some of them I can easily tell are little roosters.  Others I can easily tell are hens.  However, about half of them are in the "sex not yet easily discerned" category.  Hopefully that issue will be easily resolved after a few more weeks of growth.

Our chickens dining "Al fresco" in their new housing

Most of these chickens are moving to Oregon in a few weeks 
    I have a small bamboo grove out next to my chicken pen. I planted it 5 or 6 years ago and went to the trouble of installing a serious bamboo barrier to help keep it contained. I got the starts from a fellow in Snohomish who was moving.  While it has expanded every year, the rate of expansion has been much less than I had expected. While the culms (the individual stalks are called culms) have increased relatively slowly in number they have also been increasing in height each year. This season has been somewhat of a milestone as I had two new culms reach 20 feet.  The particular species of bamboo I have is Phylostacchus Aureosculcata (Spectabilis).  I chose it not just because the starts were free, but also because it has edible shoots.  Eventually the bamboo grove will reach the point that I can harvest bamboo shoots in the Spring.  I guess I won't really consider it a bamboo grove until it gets thick enough that I can't see through it. Maybe now that I'm getting full sized culms I'll start getting more of them next year.

    I harvested one of the older culms for a particular project for cousin camp. After trimming the thinner part of the culm, it was still 11 feet six inches.  I used it to estimate the height of the other culms. I started with my height (5 feet seven inches), held up the harvested culm (for a total of 17 feet) and found that I easily had at least three more feet beyond that with some of the new culms. Another reason I had picked this particular variety of bamboo is that it is useful as a building material. At the time I planted them I was still serving as an assistant scoutmaster so I was thinking light weight lashing projects. Now I'm thinking more along the line of garden projects or classy Japanese fences.

My little bamboo grove

A few bamboo culms have reached over 20 feet this year

1 comment:

  1. Oh, those bamboo grow up so fast.

    I'll bet mom is super happy to have the chickens relocated. Now her super-sniffer can rest in peace.