Today was a gorgeous day -- not too hot, a cool breeze, and clouds in the sky to break the hot sun on your neck every now and again. I figured out how to start the gas trimmer, but went and got the old electric workhorse trimmer because that gas trimmer cuts for !@#%. I trimmed around the garden boxes, rhubarb, and blackberries, and what a difference a little grass trimming can make in appearance! My rhubarb is in sore need of fertilizer, so tomorrow I will haul some compost out to it and thickly spread it around the plants.
My lovely niece and her family came for a visit today. It was so good to see them! The kids are all growing so fast. She has three now: ages 5, 2, and 6 months, and they all have such different characters, too; it is a joy to watch them. They liked the chickens. I caught a little hen for them the pet. Then we went for a quick tour of the field and checked out the garden boxes before heading into the house for some lemonade. They are taking a break before heading off to work again next week. Boy, am I glad those days are over for me! You forget just how much energy you need to have when the kids are little.
Yesterday I worked in the high tunnel. I weeded everything again, then I raked up some of the grass Tom cut last week and spread it around the plants as mulch. And finally I gave everything a good drink. Most of the plants are so small! Like last year, they act as though they are not getting enough sunlight. The cold nights we had this spring didn't help much. I've only seen one bee so far this year. Here are some pics from the high tunnel:
While I was out there I took some pics of the hops section. You can see how small the plants are. I need to thin the beds and water everything. It sure would be nice to have a good rain! Still, just about everything is growing. I planted Golden Amaranth this year, and it is coming up strong. I hope there is enough time in the season for it to mature. It looks so beautiful in the pictures I've seen of it. Most of the herbs didn't make it, and the collards and cabbages failed, as well. I think I will plant either fall peas or maybe some bush beans where they were. The Senposai went immediately to seed, and the Wong Bok was devoured by flea beetles almost as soon as it sprouted. I like that Wong Bok though and will plant some more of it in the garden boxes by the house this Fall.
The real bad news, however, is that deer got into the orchard and completely chewed off every leaf on every fruit tree. I am just heart sick! I don't know if the trees will recover. I've never had this happen to me before. This was the first year I took down the individual tree cages because the tree branches needed more room. I thought that most of the trees were big enough not to be bothered by the deer. As soon as I can, I will put up larger cages around the trees, and if they don't make it, I'll still make the cages, but I'll dig out the trees and prepare the holes for replacements. If I have to replace the trees, I'll buy bigger trees that are closer to bearing age. Boy, I wish the apples I grafted this Spring had taken -- that would have made this loss more bearable. It frustrates me that the deer are still coming through the fence. There are just not enough hours in the day to get everything done!
Lara's birthday is the 13th and she is going to have a big surprise! I'll tell you about that another day. . . . Take care, Everybody!