We are well into spring now and life seems to be rushing past. I need to slow down and savor the miracles around us. New lives are abundant here. The daffodils bloomed today for the first time. The now one week old kittens are starting to open their eyes. I knew kittens were born with closed eyes, but I did not realize that their eyelids slowly unzipped. A tiny amount each day starting at about one week old. 2 of the 4 still have eyes that are completely sealed, but 2 now have tiny openings starting at the inside. It gives them an alien-like appearance. What must those little creatures think as their dark world becomes one of images? It is like a second birth.
The 26 new chicks in the barn are doing great and are already in their gawky preteen feathering out stage. The laying flock has been sick. Some kind of respiratory infection. It has affected about 1/2, but has been very mild. Some have had wheezing and many are coughing and/or sneezing. I was very alarmed at first because there are a number of things this could be and some are pretty devastating. I contacted Purdue Extension and was referred to where I could take dead birds for necropsy, but looks like we lucked out on this one–it has been mild and have not lost any of the flock. We did add electrolytes to their water just to boost them. It seems to be mostly over with just a few still coughing. The new chicks are in a separate stall and did not get sick. We did our best to try not to cross contaminate and it seems to have worked.
The hoophouses are working well and we are almost ready to start harvesting some salads from there. Seedlings are up in there and doing well with one major exception–onions. My onions from seed are weak little things and seem to be languishing. I will be buying some already started ones when Hamilton’s Greenhouse (our neighbors!) opens. What I did start from seed successfully for the first time is broccoli. I have never done well on it before and always end up buying transplants, but the hoophouse seems to be a big boost for it. I have a great micro greens blend that is going crazy in there too.
Paco and 2 of his employees worked a good portion of the day to move the 4 apple trees (which we had planted way to close together 2 years ago) and 8 grapes (4 new) into what is becoming our orchard. We now have 4 apples, 8 grapes, 3 kiwi, 2 peaches, and 1 pear all behind the garden. In the garden are 50 strawberries, 8 raspberries, 3 blueberries, and 3 blackberries. I got the raspberries and blackberries pruned in the nick of time. What a long way we have come! I have a dream that 5 years from now I can walk into the backyard (in all seasons) and get supper. Never satisfied, now that I have a hoophouse, I want a high tunnel or two that I can grow in year round. How wonderful it would be to go stand inside in the depths of winter and get some fresh greens. My idea of nirvana.
Pepper, eggplant, herb, raddichio, and tomato seedlings are all up and looking fantastic. I started at least 70 tomatoes and might need a 12 step program, but I imagine I will find good homes for the ones that I can’t plant.