Heather’s probably not going to post this, so I guess I will… Clover the sheep died on October 2. We don’t know why. She had no appetite for a couple months prior to death.

I transplanted six broccoli plants to take over as my pea plants die back. Heather transplanted a Vietnamese coriander plant.

I picked the first two gypsy peppers of the season.

I picked the first plum of the season. It will be a smaller crop this year, but that’s ok — we had way more than we needed last year!

We picked our first ounce of beans today. 😉 The beans that were barely alive are now looking quite healthy and should produce a good crop. The first cucumber and pepper should be ready this week. My peas are almost done for the season. They weren’t nearly as productive as last year but still provided some good table fare. The chard and kale continue to produce like gangbusters.

Our neighbors’ field was cut and bailed over the past week. They generously gave us some bales for our sheep.

Our other neighbors have us three probably-fertilized turkey eggs, and one of our chickens is broody, so we’re letting her sit on them. It’ll be a couple more weeks before we find out if they hatch.

We transplanted a bell pepper plant and basil today. The pepper plant is larger than the one we transplanted way back in early May. I think we really need to be more patient with planting. Things that are planted too early languish and get ravished by bugs. Now that the soil has warmed up, things are finally taking off: corn, bean, beet, tomato, cucumber, and squash plants are all looking fairly healthy.

On the other hand, I wonder, if we fix the pH problem, will plants do better earlier in the season?

Lastly, today we transplanted an oak tree we got from our friends.

Our garden continues to languish while we see lots of things growing around us.

We did a red cabbage pH test yesterday, and I think we found a major problem.

From right to left, the first four are the rows of our garden from south to north. All rows are too alkaline, especially #2 and #3. Next is soil from north of the barn, where we plan to plant blueberries, cranberries, and raspberries next year. It’s also too alkaline, especially for blueberries. Next is the only good news in this test: our well water is pH neutral! After that is tap water, which is alkaline. Then distilled water, our pH neutral control.

We also bought an electronic soil pH tester yesterday. I can’t get any reliable results out of it.

We immediately went to the at store, bought 50 pounds of granular elemental sulfur, and spread about 10 pounds on the garden rows (including a little on rows 5 and 6). We’ll spread the rest in the future berry patch area later this summer.

Fortuitously, it rained last night and absolutely poured today, so that will help get the sulfur into the soil… but it will still take months for bacteria to concert it to sulfuric acid and lower the pH of the soil. In the meantime, Heather is experimenting with a watered down vinegar solution to see if it helps in the short term.

My replanting of beans is sprouting.

Heather brought home another rabbit today, so we have one buck and two does. This one might be pregnant.

We planted the rest of the garden today:

  • Row 1: transplanted two tomato plants
  • Row 2: seeded bush beans
  • Row 3: transplanted 2 tomato plants
  • Row 4: seeded corn, transplanted delicata squash, two watermelon plants, and pickling cucumbers

Grant transplanted a bunch of chives along the north wall of the carport.

Trying to keep up on what Heather has been planting…

The carrots she planted on April 11 didn’t sprout. She replanted today.

Half of the beans that she planted on April 17 didn’t sprout. She replanted today.

She transplanted a gypsy pepper plant today.

Miniature slugs have been eating several of our garden plants the past couple weeks. We have been picking them off and they seem to be diminishing, but not before doing a fair bit of damage to my peas.

Heather’s next adventure: raising rabbits for meat. She picked up two New Zealand rabbits today. They’re about two months old. They can start breeding in June or July.

Today was a big day.

The Case tractor was down for a couple months to fix the clutch. The clutch fork partially broke and no longer worked. I scoured eBay and found a replacement. I also scoured eBay to fins replacement oil seals for the hydraulic pump. When we tried to put the tractor back together, we didn’t get the hydraulic shaft splines lines up and warped the clutch pressure plate. After two failed attempted to buy a replacement, I finally got one on the third try for $270. This time, we took the access cover off the side of the torque tube and put things back together very carefully, checking frequently as we went, and it worked. Today, we finished putting all the other pieces back on, and we started it up and drive it around. I considered replacing the clutch disc while we had the tractor split, but a replacement is almost as expensive as the pressure plate, so I didn’t.

Next, we need to replace one of the rear wheel rims, which has rusted out. Our neighbor Jon might be able to find one. We also need to fix leaks in the front hydraulic pump and left brake assembly.

Also today, the bees came. The boys worked hard the past few weeks to assemble the beehive, and today we got the nuc. The nuc cost $120, and we’ve spent another couple hundred on the hive and equipment. We probably won’t be able to harvest any honey the first year.

Heather pressure cooked 50 pounds of chicken and 7 pounds of beef this week. She also dehydrated about a quart of celery, carrots, mushrooms, and onions.

We are considering getting rabbits to breed for meat.

Darla the duck died. Heather propped up a gate panel against the chicken area this morning, and it fell and crushed the duck. Guess we won’t have ducklings soon.

The peas we seeded on March 25 are starting to sprout.

The kale and chard are a bit yellowish but surviving. I think nitrogen availability must be lower when the soil is cold, perhaps due to decreased microbial activity.

The basil got killed by the cold nights, but most of the other herbs are doing well, especially both types of parsley.

The plum tree is done blossoming, the pear tree is in full blossom, and the young fruit trees are starting to grow again.

I transplanted kale and chard, and I direct-seeded Oregon sugar pod peas, which were really productive last year. This time, I only seeded one row, leaving more room for planting beans later.

Heather transplanted rosemary, parsley (curly and flat), sweet oregano, and Italian basil (with cloches covering the oregano to promote growth and basil to protect from frost).

I noticed chives growing next to the well.