July 04, 2012

July, July!

We've had quite a heat wave here in the eastern U.S., but in our little corner of southeastern PA, the humidity levels have been low and we average about 5-10 degrees cooler than the Baltimore Metro area on any given day.  My raised beds are doing well with only one cucumber plant casualty. I'll have to keep an eye out for those pesky squash bugs since I suspect they might be the culprit.  My ten new Redstar hens and my three older Buff Orpington girls, and my Brahma and Buff roosters (best buddies, by the way) do a decent job of culling bugs from the gardens.  They are a bit distracted right now by the Green June Beetles who are very large and make sweeping flyovers close to the lawn.  The chickens think it is great sport tracking them down and make a very satisfied cackle when they catch one and gulp it down.  They have also discovered my porch and back patio are great places to chill when they need a rest.  

I went out yesterday and weeded the beds. Raised beds make this so easy since the dirt never gets packed down and the weeds usually pull out very easily.  I noticed crabgrass making an appearance already this year which can be a bit tougher to pull out.  Everything is earlier by 2-3 weeks.  I dug out the rest of the potatoes which are done almost a month ahead of time and pulled about half the onions.  Tomatoes are still green but we should have red and yellow ripe ones in a few days.  I watered the beds with rainwater collected in the rain barrel that my husband gave me as a Christmas present this year.  It has come in handy because, despite the frequent thunderings, we have had little rain. I'll finish up with a picture of the day's haul.  I love going out with my basket and collecting whatever is ripe that day and planning meals around it.  Yesterday, we had zucchini, white potatoes, onions, and hot peppers stir fried in lard.  Ahhh, summer.

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