The baby ducklings have grown up fast! They are now bigger than the full grown chickens. The chicks have grown a lot too, but they still have a long way to go before they are full grown. The dogs and cats aren’t really very interested in them any more and so we are gradually allowing them to free range though they stick close to the bird house. We aren’t getting any eggs yet and I am not completely sure we have all hens or not, I’m suspecting we don’t. But I cannot tell. The chickens are definitely hens.
The swale berms are getting overgrown now with lots of weeds and some of the things that we seeded like lemon balm, sage and yarrow. The bee balm and echinacea hasn’t done as well. There’s no question now that we lost most of the pecan trees. It stands to reason though because those were the last ones we planted and they stayed longer in the barn than the others. The pecan trees were harder to plant because we had to dig most of their holes and the dibbler didn’t work well with them. As best as I can tell we might have four to six that made it. Some of the persimmons or paw paws, it’s hard to tell them apart, are just now leafing out. So there is some hope for some more pecans but it’s really just wait and see for now. The false indigo, choke berry, and elderberry are doing the best so far.
The swales are nearly always holding some water but we have had rain weekly and it’s been quite a lot at times. We are nearing thirty inches for the year already. In the meantime we have planted potato, sweet potato, comfrey, gooseberry, tomatoes, sunflowers and corn out into the berms. Oddly enough each berm is really very different from each other because of the variation in the amount of clay each one of them has. So different berms have completely different weeds or grasses coming up in them, entirely different. The majority weed is ragweed. It’s in every berm but in some berms it’s just taking over. I am going to try and keep them from going to seed which i’ve been able to do so far. There is definitely going to be a process of succession.
It isn’t completely under our control what comes up in the berms and we will just have to take it as it comes. Just getting the trees through this season will make them better able to out complete the native weeds which are at the moment just as tall as the trees. Next season the trees should be taller than most of the weeds and I will not need to pamper them too much. Right now I am keeping the weeds cleared from around the trees as best I can. The tall fescue is as tall or taller than most trees at this point. I’m bush hogging the interstate area every week and a half or so. This way we can walk that field without too much effort, otherwise the grass would be chest high. Ticks are still a problem though. Where they come from I don’t know. They are a menace.
We recently had flooding here in the Ozarks that exceeded everything in the historical record, epic by definition, 500yr flood?
Many helicopters flew just above the tree tops right over the property heading for Springfield I imagine. I recorded over 8” here in the rain gauge. But they got even more than that further south, someone I know said that he had 16” over a ten day span. There was a lot of property damage. I’m sure there was a lot said about it on the news but I don’t pay any attention to the media so I don’t know what the final outcome was. The Governor declared a state of emergency but when the sun came back out everyone seemed to go on about their business. I’m sure lots of insurance claims are being processed.
It wasn’t much more than a minor annoyance for us. Our property is fairly high up and drains well. We do have an issue in one place that hopefully we will be able to take care of with the use of a sump pump. It is here already but it isn’t installed yet.
We went and picked up our bees locally in April although the bees themselves were in packages and most likely came from Georgia. I had ordered two hives back in Feb. We got those situated and set up and we put the bees in each hive. One hive is doing quite well. The other hive is queenless and they are making a new emergency queen at the moment. It is interesting to see how they do this and though I wish they had a queen it is still a great learning experience.
We enclosed an area in front of the large poultry house which I imagine was actually a house years ago, it’s very big. So that area has a wooden gate that we can lock. We moved Baby and Cleo’s house out there as well. They still sleep in there at night but the little one go into the big house. That house has it’s own door as well. We need to incorporate them all together eventually. We have some electric netting set up in a circle around the outside of the poultry house where the pond is at. This gives them an area to forage in and we can move the netting easily when we want to.