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May 12, 2018

Independence Days Challenge, Our Sick Peach Tree, New Chicks Coming Soon!

Independence Days Challenge-
We have gone from warm 80's weather to 60's this week, pouring rain most of yesterday. It's been an awful pollen season here, everyone's miserable! Itchy eyes, sneezing, runny noses. My bedroom HEPA filter died, bummer, but I got a replacement so that's helping. Hopefully the rain will settle some of the pollen off the trees. It's so green though, loving it!!! Lots of birds out, flowers blooming, veggies up in the raised bed. The sun is shining this morning, but a little cloudy. So, here's a look at what we've been up to!

1. Plant Something- 
We planted 2 varieties of carrots and radishes about 2 weeks ago. And they're coming up really nicely. Right before that we planted pansies, bush peas and Italian kale, also doing well. It was really a good idea to put the bird netting over the kale I think since the birds always attack it. We're looking at planning warm weather vegetables here pretty soon. We thought about doing that this weekend but it was too wet and are babysitting. We were gifted with a large container of Yukon Gold potatoes for seed potatoes. I was wanting to plant potatoes this summer anyway, now we have lots of freebies to use. We're going to plant in a garbage can and see how that goes. More on that later!

Pansies in front 

Chives had nice purple flowers too 

Herb box doing great, all wintered over!!!

2. Harvest Something- 
Eggs and herbs. The peach tree is loaded! Hoping for a good pear, apple and Choke cherry harvest as well. 

3. Preserve/Store Something- 
I stocked up on some Italian sausage and artisans breads at our local grocery outlet. I froze some of the extra breads. Our freezer is about 1/3 full, which is good! We've been using up our frozen meats, peaches, apple sauce, tomatoes and rhubarb. We'll need the room for this years bounty. Running low on peach jam, apple butter and Choke cherry jelly.

4. Manage Reserves- Get a Good Deal/Barter/Stock Up/Prep
Dave bought spray paint thru his employer, BIG cans only $2.00. I looked everywhere for some queen size sheets since we were down to one set. I finally found a great deal on I love for percale since it's a little bit heavier and lasts longer. It was an odd color, but matches our summer quilt pretty well! The color is called papaya-

I had an eye exam and Dave got his new glasses at Costco, so I decided to go there. With my current eye coverage I saved over $125.00 from my other fancy optometrist. I will keep getting exams there, but not so much the glasses anymore. I had to buy a few new tops for work and found some great deals at Penney's. I bought a few thrifted art items-

I took this one to work for my desk

For the dining room

 I recently switched from Neutrogena day moisturizer, $12.99 for four ounces compared to Trade Joe's $6.99 for six ounces. It had great reviews,  research is always helpful BEFORE I buy. I had been using Trader Joe's cleanser for years, great stuff, just $5.99 and really cleans your face gently but well-

The moisturizer is nice and light, but leaves my skin feeling much softer. Living in high desert REALLY takes it toll on your skin. I decided to try their serum as well, $9.99, and you don't need much. It was also well reviewed. Put on before the moisturizer and my skin is super soft, but not oily-

Next I found a replacement HEPA air purifier for our bedroom on Amazon, better deal than locally-


I run it all day, then turn off at night. When I deep clean I can move it easily into other rooms. It has a removable, washable sponge filter as well, great for catching Anya's cat fur! I also ordered some hard-to-find boxes of tea, since they don't weight much-


I LOVE this tea, it's a black tea, but very smooth. Orange is the grade of tea, not the flavor. I drink hot tea most days, since I'm not a coffee fan. We keep a nice variety on hand, but this was getting hard to find.

5. Eat the Food- Try New Foods/Recipe- 
I found a copycat dressing recipe for my favorite Mexican restaurant On the Border that closed. It's a national chain but both local restaurants just closed up. I LOVE this dressing! Spicy and smoky. I made a double batch and keep in the fridge for later. I've started buying Jicama and really liked it! It has a lot of nutritional value, is slightly sweet, crunchy and in the radish family. I might try and grow some next year.

6. Build Community Food Systems- 
Nothing at this time.

7. Recycle/Re-Use- 
We needed to repaint our 10 year-old garden work bench. We bought it locally and it fit perfect in the space we had on our small deck. I had done a light repainting a few years ago, but it really needed a heavier paint job. Dave bought some industrial spray paint thru his employer in a nice green (huge can $2.00!) that was close to the original paint. We moved it to the grass on a tarp. I brushed it down really well  then I sanded the top to get a real smooth surface. We did two coats on the entire bench, and a third coat on the top. It looks great and this will really protect a long time-

Before shot- faded, messy, emptied out
Nailed a few loose boards down

chick supplies

Misc garden supplies

Dave nailing boards

You can see the weather damage, even with covering the top with plastic every winter

I sanded with a palm sander and got nice and smooth-

Dave had added the upper shelf originally for me, also got painted

All done!

We added the hanging screws when we purchased it

Dave removed the old brick edging from the front yard. The county will push into our yard a bit. We had also collected free river stone last fall, so Dave installed it. Looks great!!! We've saved the used brick for other part of the yards. 

8. Skill Up- 
I learned from the Master Gardener program at the University of Idaho extension office that are peach tree that only has Peach Leaf curl but also has aphids and baby ladybugs. I didn't know one tree could have quite so much going on at once. I learned about the copper spray and when to apply it-

Curled leaves and aphids

9. Regenerate What is Lost/Salvage Something- 
We painted the workbench. We'll clean and bring our chick feeder and waterer inside-

We sorted thru the contents of the workbench. Tossed some things, will put plastic totes to store the rest in the bench-

Also glued our old washboard that's been out in the garden for several years- 

Our Sick Peach Tree-
I looked out the window a week or two ago and realized our Red Haven peach tree looked sick. I emailed some photos to the Master Gardener program at the University of Idaho Extension office but they couldn't really tell a lot from those. Since I had Monday off I cut several samples off the tree and drove them over to the office. Luckily it's not too far from here. It's the same office that I trained in to become a Master Gardener. I talked to someone there and she gave me a few ideas, but later they gave the samples to an Arborist. It turned out it has a fungus which is fairly common, but we won't be able to treat until the tree loses all its leaves in the fall. It's loaded with peaches, which will be fine, and will generate new leaves as the sick ones fall off. I was advised to go ahead and fertilize the tree since it takes extra energy for the tree to repopulate its leaves at this time. I had noticed lots of little tiny white tubes on the branches which turned out to be aphids. I'd also noticed some black bugs on the tree, which turned out to be baby ladybugs! Great news since ladybugs eat aphids. So the good news is the tree will survive. We will spray it with a copper spray in the fall, then again next spring which should kill most of the fungus. The aphids should die off as the weather gets hotter. And the baby ladybugs are bonus! The peaches will still be edible and the tree life will go on.

New Chicks Coming Soon!
We had decided this winter to go ahead and get some new chicks this spring. Our hen Gwynne died recently and so that left us with two hens. We typically get about two eggs every 2 or 3 days, but with the two hens getting a little bit older we decided to add some new chicks to the flock. We'll drive out to Dunlap Hatchery in Caldwell, not too far outside of Boise. They have a great selection of breeds, their prices are good and the chicks are always healthy. I had a bad experience buying chicks from two different feed stores locally. One died the next day, the other was the wrong breed. So we drive out to Dunlap's and get some great chicks there. When I get three chicks I always like to get three different breeds to tell them apart easily. I seem to have better luck with the non-hybrid chickens for some reason. So this year we're probably going to be getting a New Hampshire Red, which we had before-

I'll probably buy a White Plymouth Rock, and possibly a Black Australorp. I may see what else they have in stock when we get there. Since pullets don't lay eggs for about 5 or 6 months basically we would start getting some eggs next winter. Given the state of the world better too many eggs than not. Chicks are always fun to get and really exciting but they take a consistent level of care. I called the hatchery today and Dave and I decided to get the new chicks the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, since we will be home. I'm also off the following Tuesday so I will have a four-day weekend to get acquainted.


Leigh said...

I'm glad to see you're still doing the independence days challenge. Such a great motivational tool. Also glad you got a diagnosis and treatment for your peach tree. And congrats on the new chicks!

Nancy @ Little Homestead In Boise said...

thanks Leigh! I like to do the list but sometimes I forget:) It is good to do the list since I sometimes forget lots of little things but it all adds up! and looking forward to new babies so much fun!

Kristina said...

Congrats on the new chicks! I will most likely be getting some next spring. I've lost a few too. This year I have to watch out for the fox again.

Nancy @ Little Homestead In Boise said...

As it's tough living in rural areas when it comes to those.

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