Counting Chickens

We transplanted our summer squash seedlings this weekend – nature it seemed, had provided the perfect combination of warmer weather plus forcasted rain. As I sat on our back patio the next day enjoying a brief moment of full sun in the backyard,  my thoughts turned to dreams of squash recipes.  In that moment, I quickly realized I was counting my proverbial “chickens” before they hatched.

In all liklihood, many of those seedlings will die. The ones that do live will become prey for the vicious hordes of squash bug gangs that patrol our raised beds every year. It’s literally a turf war – Team Elliott vs. Squash Bugs and the body count for squash bugs has sadly been very low thus far. If I didn’t hate chemicals more than I hate squash bugs – it might be a different story.

Such is life when it comes to growing your own food. However, I have a strong feeling that despite all the wrong turns, the first time we pull a full size squash off the vine and bring it inside to cook for dinner will result in a small celebration. And by celebration, I mean me, likely dancing around in my kitchen alone and marveling at my squash growing skills.

Squash transplants
Our summer squash seedlings were the easiest of all to sprout from seed – let’s hope at least a few of these babies make it to full size.

As you can see in the picture above, my husband added drip irrigation this year to all our raised beds – we’re hoping some supplemental watering will improve the harvest.

We planted our onion sets back in early February – they’ve survived a few nights of slightly cooler weather and are doing well.

Onion Sets
Onion Sets! I’m not sure what variety these are – we bought them at the feed store and noted they were only described as “white”. Hopefully they are also “tasty”.

We also started our potato tower again in February – last year we grew Yukon Golds and they did well. This year – we’re going with Red Pontiac potatoes. Our tower is made up of a straw exterior, but we planted the seed potatoes in a growing medium of 50% potting soil, and 50% compost.

Potato Tower 17
Red Pontiac potato tower – can’t wait to harvest these babies!

Speaking of counting chickens, I have some sad news to report regarding our chicken count.We lost our sweet red hen Lucy last week due to an unknown illness. She was still active and lively up until her last day, but she had stopped laying for a period of 4-6 weeks prior to her death. At first I thought she might be egg-bound. I tried two warm baths, which resulted in no eggs, and a bathroom covered in chicken feathers. So, I’m not sure what happened to her – but we are very sad about her passing.

On a lighter note – Phoebe would like to say hello. She’s in a cone as she had to be spayed again. That’s right – I said again. Did you know that was a thing? I didn’t either, but apparently sometimes all tissue is not removed correctly during a spay surgery, and the result is that your puppy will go into heat at about 9 months of age. This is quite disturbing when you believe your pup to be spayed. Anyway – the vet claims that this second surgery was successful. Here’s my sweet pup:

Phoebe cone
Sweet girl is sad about her cone – she wants to run around, and we are not allowing any strenuous activity for a few more days.

We’re working on getting the rest of our spring garden planted – more updates coming soon.

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