It's scary, but it feels like a touch of fall in the air. I can hardly believe I'm saying that, since last week we were sweltering in 90 degree heat. Today was more in the upper 70's, and tonight is supposed to go down into the lower 50's. I guess we better start thinking seriously about making some more permanent and warm shelters for our Buff Orpingtons, turkeys and goats.
We've really struggled with our Cornish Cross chickens, as they aren't bulking up at all but way behind schedule in their growth. After starting to lose a chicken a day, we came to the conclusion that they weren't getting enough protein in their diet and did some major changes to that. Hopefully they will pick up in weight and will shortly be in the freezer.
The gardens are producing a lot. This afternoon our friend Paulette came over and helped with some of our produce processing. We canned 24 more quarts of green beans, and filled out the last batch with 4 quarts of carrots.
Later in the afternoon I directed the boys to dig up some potatoes for supper. They came back with red potatoes covered with scab. We did some internet searching, and our conclusion is that we had the soil too rich with sheep manure. When we received the truckloads of manure we didn't have anything other than shovels to spread the stuff, so some areas of the gardens received a lot more than other areas. At the time we didn't realize that potatoes do better in more acidic soil. I hope I'm getting this right! Anyway, we will have to plant something like corn in the potato patch next year, and find a less enriched area of the garden to plant potatoes. Boy, everything we do has become a big lesson this summer, and we certainly have learned a lot the hard way about farming!
After supper we harvested more herbs: catnip, camomile (that stuff won't quit producing!), clary sage, another kind of sage, rue and a couple other ones that I can't remember at the moment. It's so nice to be outside until sundown and not be bothered by mosquitoes. I was bothered this afternoon, though, by finding a small cricket jumping around in the house -- my least favorite of all bugs. I was thrilled last year at not seeing a single one around here, but unfortunately the dry conditions have brought not only crickets but also grasshoppers. The boys were fascinated today by watching how far one variety could fly. Too bad the chickens can't free range around here, they would find plenty to eat.
Looks like we will be roughing in the main floor of our house this fall as well. I'm trying not to think too hard about it, as I remember how busy it was when we first moved up here and built the basement. Some of the lumber is ordered, and we are looking to the Lord for when and how to proceed. What a change it will be, to see more than the ground when looking out my kitchen window!