Sunday, June 20, 2021

Summer Solstice

Summer Solstice, the first day of summer, the longest day of daylight hours in the year, June 20th. However you name it ... it's summer ... and finally we have hot sunshine with a beautiful ocean breeze!

Black Copper Marans in the playpen
It has been very busy around here with getting the garden planted, trying to keep it alive through our cold and unpredictable early Juneuary, watering, pulling weeds, integrating the 4 Olive Egger chicks into the flock and now a pair of adorable Black Copper Maran, 9 week old chicks. They are the final addition to my future colorful egg basket! 'Harriet' and 'Speck' are housed inside a 'playpen' with a big cat cage for a house, all set up inside the chicken enclosure. This allows a safe 'meet and greet' with the 3 older hens and the 4 Olive Eggers. It keeps the new, smaller young birds safe from the chasing and pecking from the existing flock. For the photo I have removed the greenhouse panel that covers the pen to keep everyone in their allotted areas. The new babies have been here a week and the past few days I have let them investigate inside the Ritz. Twice I have let them in the big enclosure under my supervision, to attempt to integrate them. Both times they were chased by a few of the Olive Eggers. The new babies run to and pace around the outside of their playpen trying to get back to safety, so they are not ready yet.

Kale Feast
This morning I finally thinned the volunteer kale and dill weed from the strawberry bed. The chickens were very happy recipients of the extra greens. I also pulled them a Napa Cabbage, for some reason the earwigs are totally destroying the outer leaves but some of the larger heads have a nice clean center that we can use... not so with the one I pulled today, so again the chickens got the greens and the bugs as a bonus!

Since cleaning up the strawberry bed today, there is better air circulation around the plants and nutrients will all now go to the berries. I always complain about the poor June crop of Seascape Strawberries, well, not this year!! I had the 3 older hens 'working' in the garden this Spring in their Chicken Emporium ... digging and eating bugs. They did a great job and left a bit of fertilizer behind!

Solstice Harvest 2021
My Solstice Harvest today ... tons of beautiful dill weed, an impressive bowl of strawberries for June, the first broccoli heads, first Partenon zucchini and 2 fresh eggs in the coop!

I will be busy watering this week with temperatures predicted in the high 20's to low 30C.

Until next time ... Happy Solstice, Happy Gardening ... and Bon App├ętit 

Photos by Sally Rae

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