Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Homestead Happiness, June Week 4

Lots of developments on fruits, vegetables, and wildflowers this week made us happy.

The creeping bellflower, which is kindly filling in our less-maintained areas with purple June/July flowers, is in full bloom.

It's an invasive species, but other than being an aggressive spreader and difficult to eradicate, it's not as bad as some invasives.  For example, this patch s a hotspot for bee activity.

The squirrels won round two also, picking 90% of our strawberries while they were still green, even with the quick and dirty strawberry cage in place.  So either the woven wire fencing has too large of holes, or we're battling mice instead of squirrels.  (Or we're battling jedi squirrels that can pick the strawberries using The Force...we know they exist.)  We made our quick and dirty strawberry cage slightly less quick but even more dirty by covering it with 1/2" hardware cloth.

We've got an especially delicious-looking strawberry that no squirrel could possibly resist as a test probe.  If it gets picked, our problem is definitely mice.

It looks like we might actually get some raspberries in year two.  Only a handful, but hey!  You gotta start somewhere.

We were thinking we would get skunked on apples, plums, and sour cherries this year since there were only a few flowers on the plums (none on the apples and cherries) and we couldn't find fruit on anything.  But behold!  There are a few plums we had missed.  We're going to have four of them come September.  Quadruplets would normally be very exciting, but it's a good thing we made so much jam last year!

Similarly, the Nanking cherries seem to have survived the winter ok and will be ripening soon.  Our likely-bird-planted versions compete with other shrubs and weeds in the shady areas of our yard, so we don't usually get enough of these to do anything with but make a light snack.  But they're really good, so maybe we should do some plant propagation experiments to give them a chance to reach their full permaculture potential.

Finally, the corn is definitely going to be "knee high by the fourth of July" since it's already thigh-high now!  We're currently devising squirrel-deterring plans for when the ears start to ripen.

What made your homestead happy this week?

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