It was almost 50 today and the rain held off, so I had a chance to get outside and play for the first time this year. I started out by building the two rabbit hutches I got for Christmas. It was fun watching them adjust to the new cage and it took over an hour for them to figure out what the ramp is for, but they seem ever so happy with their new homes.
This is a view of one of the hutches. They are really cute, but built with smaller rabbits in mind. The board on the front door was supposed to block off a little nesting area in the top section, but the opening was way too small for my big boys. Instead I put it on the front to block the wind and turn the whole top into a cozy area for them.
The drop tray pulls out, but you can also lift the roof up for easy access. The extra board against the back wall with a heart latch on it is to close off the bottom area (would be useful if the bottom gets muddy during heavy rains). I like this pic because you can see Socks poking his head up to keep an eye on me. He’s quite the character.
Enjoying the new found freedom. :)
Garden-wise, I started 72 more plants on Wednesday: Celeriac, Cockscomb, Oregano, Marmande Tomato, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, and Jersey Giant Tomato and nearly all of them are sprouted already. Outdoors, I cleaned out the strawberry bed to find some sprouts out there as well.
And finally, these are the egyptian walking onions I got from a forum friend late in the season last year. I was very glad to see all three made it and have sprouts poking up. I covered them with a bit of mulch for now so the wild rabbits don’t eat them on me.
I started celery 3 weeks ago already and have little seedlings snug under my grow light. This week it was time to get German Chamomile and St. Johns Wort going. So far the plant babies are safe in the cheapo greenhouse I set up to protect them from nibbly cats.
The outdoor updates have me a bit bummed though. Our huge blizzard two weeks ago had some impressive drifting associated with it. I had 4 and 5 foot snow drifts though the yard. One side affect of that I hadn’t considered, is that rabbits now had a 6 foot reach. They chewed my grape vines in half, and ate my poor fruit trees right down to the protectors I had put around them. The vines can probably snap back, but there’s not much left of the trees.
Now that we are going through a thaw, it’s apparent the weight of all that snow also led to another casualty….one of my coldframes is no longer with us :(
Realized I forgot to post pictures of the last of the beans, these beauties are my scarlet runners. I only had a few plants and got one cup of beans from them. With this, my outdoor adventures are done for the year. We’ve already had 3 days of flurries and have been at or below freezing all week. It’s starting to seem like I spend half my time running out un-frozen water to the rabbits. And sadly, we are expecting 6 inches of snow tomorrow :(
I harvested two small cabbages this week, that’s about all that’s going on in the garden. I’m thinking of starting to get carrots and potatoes dug and dehydrating them. The rabbit hutches were moved into the sunroom for the winter. Although they would be fine outside (and are still in a room that’s not climate controlled), I would rather they be closer to the house. That way I’m not bundling up 6 times a day in the coldest parts of the winter go to out and replace frozen water.
They really seem to like the change and get very excited when I go out to see them. Mittens has been a bit rough on his hutch and has been yanking wire off the floor to form a growing hole. I think I’ll just need to replace the whole floor and will have to find time to work that in soon because I worry about him hurting himself on it.
Fall in Wisconsin ends quickly. Frosts started weeks ago and tonight it dropped below freezing. I have some broccoli, uncooperative cauliflower, stunted cabbage, kale, herbs, carrots, and potatoes left outside. I had taken Monday off to play catchup around the house, and finally got the beans harvested. Now that I’m caught up on housework and garden chores I’m starting to feel like a normal person again. I’m so glad that overtime is done for a while!
And last but not least, I realized I hadn’t introduced the last two plantings. Comfrey and Egyptian Walking Onions. They were added to the garden later in summer when I received them from a forum friend. We’ll see if they are well enough established to join us again next year.
It’s been in the 60′s for a couple weeks now. It’s a welcome relief after such a hot summer. Nights are dipping cool enough that I brought in the bananas. That means the cats now have a tropical box corner :)
I’m still getting zucchini and broccoli. There are some watermelon left but the vines are all done. There are plenty of carrots and potatoes to keep me full during fall. The cabbage and cauliflower are taking their sweet time. And someone needs to get their butt out there and start shelling beans.
Half of the garden is empty now, or covered in drying veggies to save for storage or seed. The broccoli has finally calmed down after it’s surprisingly long maraton of producing all summer long. The cauliflower and cabbage that was planted out early in spring didn’t appreciate the heat and are first starting to head now. I’m still getting zucchini from the couple plants that recovered from sickness. I pulled the rest including all of the crookneck, which I decided I didn’t like.
I’m starting to get used to my more hectic schedule. For a while there I was continually stressed, running behind, and picking up meals in the cafeteria. I’ve got things better under control now and am doing better with making lots of leftovers and packing them up for lunches. I’m still spotty on a few things but at least things don’t feel so out of control anymore.
It’s cool enough now that I’m sleeping with the windows open again and waking up refreshed. I just finished preparing rolled oats for breakfast and coffee is on the stove peculating. The day will be packed with bustling and is already overbooked with Bible study, chores, cleaning, cooking, and homework, but I am savoring the moments I do have.
Just a quick update this week as I have lots of homework due today and a writing assignment due Tuesday. Considering the semester started Thursday, things are off to a fast start!
The garden is quickly winding down. The last of the tomatoes came in today, and I already had to clear out the tomato plants, cucumbers, crookneck squash, and cantaloupe. I’ll be replanting those areas with radish, spinach, peas, bush beans, and lettuce tomorrow.
This week I cleared out most of the squash and cucumber bed to make way for a fall garden. I brought in 31 pounds from the spaghetti squash plants I had. I left 2 of the zucchini and 2 crookneck squash plants out there, as they’ve recovered from the awful case of powdery mildew that hit them earlier and are right back to producing.
School starts again on Thursday already. I’m also starting on a difficult project at work where they are giving us a small percentage of the time it’ll actually take to complete so I’m in for a lot of long hours at work this semester too. I’d had lots of plans for my 2 school free weeks…but I’m afraid catching up with necessary errands, banking (moved from 30 year mortgage to 15 year at 4%!!) and taking care of family obligations took up most of my time instead. They were important things, but I just feel like I’m running a million miles an hour these days and getting no where on my personal goals with the little homestead…and of course with work and school kicking into high gear there is no end in sight.