Monday, July 19, 2010

While We Were Away

This past weekend, we spent three {great} days with family.  The purpose of our trip was twofold: to pick blueberries and to meet the newest addition to our family- my brother and sister-in-law's baby James (who is darling and perfect).  James did not disappoint.  The blueberries did. 

Instead of coming home with 40 quarts like last year, we came home with 9.  The dry spell last month left many berries very small.  Recent rains have helped some, but many berries just weren't ready yet.  Our timing was in line with when we had great success last year, but this year it was off.  I'm trying not to panic when it comes to fruit this year.  Our strawberries were lacking, now the blueberries.  I'm holding out for a great red raspberry crop, peaches and nectarines from a local orchard and apples come fall. 

We came home to a bit of a mess.  There was a storm over the weekend which was strong enough to bring down two large branches from our huge black maple tree.  One must have crashed onto the roof of the chicken coop (what a shocker that must have been for them) and then rolled off onto the ground between the coop and Jamey's shop.

The other fell squarely on top of the kids' play set, snapping it in two.

Not only were there high winds, there, evidently, was hail.  Our garden looks mighty disheveled this morning because of it.  The bell pepper leaves are tattered and everything looks a bit beaten.  It appears things will be okay, although the tomatoes are looking a bit strange.  I'm hoping it's not the blight that lots of folks have been dealing with around here the past couple years which we have been (so far) escaping.

I intended to take more pictures of the garden, but got distracted because there was a rooster and two hens in there having a hay day.  This is what they do.

It is not allowed.

Our meat birds seemed to weather the storm okay.  Did I tell you we got meat birds?  Last year, we bought heritage meat birds, but this year, it was a last minute (maybe last second) decision to get some, so we bought some local, already 7 weeks old.  In couple weeks, they'll be ready to be harvested.  They are in the chicken tractor (along with a gimpy laying hen) because if placed in the chicken yard, they'd get chased out of the fence by the territorial laying hens.  And, while chasing chickens is fun the first few times, it's really not how I prefer to spend the bulk of my days.

So, on the down side, there is a lot of clean up to do around here on top of all the laundry, the corn that's going to get picked tonight, the onions that need braiding and hanging (more on that soon), etc. 


On the bright side, no limbs fell on the house or damaged any of our out buildings.  The red raspberries are loaded and starting to ripen their second harvest. 

The garden appears to be okay (but only time will tell) and some of our flowers started blooming.  Black eyed susans...

and the sunflowers are coming!

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  1. So sorry to see that damage, especially the kids' playset. :-( We weren't home either this weekend, didn't even realize there was such a big storm.

  2. So sorry for the damage! Glad the chickens are okay. My youngest, who was reading over my shoulder, is heartbroken for your kids...the swingset is his favorite thing on earth, and to see yours damaged made him unhappy and sad for your kids.

    Hope your raspberry crop makes up for the blueberries!

  3. Wow that was a quite a storm that moved through. How are the kids handling their broken swing set? So happy the coop wasn't damaged!

  4. Omigosh. What a scene to return home to. So sorry for the damage caused. Dealing with that just kinda adds stress to an already busy time of year. But as you say, the house and out buildings made it through okay. Hasn't there been so much "unusual" weather all across the United States this summer season?

  5. Happy you had a good time and got to meet the new baby too, so sorry about the damage you came home to, that is not a good welcome home for sure, praying all will be good, and your crops will do fine, hugs and blessings, Barbara

  6. Yay for Baby James! Boo hiss to storms, ruined play sets and deviant chickens. I'm glad you had an enjoyable three days with your family!

  7. Just wondering how many meat birds you plan for the year? I want to put in an order at a local farm and I'm so new to this, I have no idea how many chickens to plan for. Any advice?

  8. PJ, We bought 9 for the year, but we still have two in our freezer and two other chickens we will harvest (for a total of 13). We rarely eat meat (mostly chicken)- only a few times a month. When we do, it's pieces in a dish, not a leg and a thigh kind of meal. It all depends on how often you plan to eat chicken and how big the birds get. You might find that this year will be a trial run- by next year you'll have a better idea of how much your family will need:-).

  9. Sorry to see the damage from the storm. We were gone last week too and came home to a large branch down from one of our maples too. Thankfully not on our house. But the person caring for our chickens forgot to close the gate to their run and when we got home Sunday night the chickens had enjoyed a feast on our potatoes which had yet to blossom :(. But on a happy note we got our first tomato! :)


Just a friendly reminder, if you know me personally please try to refrain from using my name. There are those who may try to locate me, break into my pantry and steal my pickled beets. Thanks:-).

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