The hawk perches are attracting more rat catchers. Now if I can just remember to not park the hen tractor under the perch and go away for a week. I think the hens have just about recovered from the trauma. When we got back from Germany at the end of September, they would hardly come out of the coop. They still won't go out and roam around while I clean the coop.
The wine cooler works really well. I learned that I have to pull the seed trays out as soon as the first seeds germinate. I lost most of the first tray of lettuce to damping off disease, which just loves cool, damp conditions. The second tray worked really well. I'll be putting the transplants in the hoop house today. The cooler also works really well for celery, which needs 70 degree temperatures during the day and 60 degrees at night. I had the best germination ever. Now if I can just figure out what nipped the tops off all the seedlings after I put the celery in the greenhouse. Meanwhile I've moved the seed tray back into the house so the last seedlings to germinate might actually survive.
I'm enjoying the combination of a newly cleaned up Powerbook and a break in the gardening to catch up on some posting. Keith cleaned the non-functioning virtual PC off the latptop last night and ran the disk tools. It's sooo much speedier now. Unfortunately, he put a pot of corn chowder on the burner before he sat down with the computer. Wrong! I have a clean computer but he had to start dinner over.
Here's the newest structure on the farm. It's working. We've been through two heavy frosts and the snow peas never slowed down. The frost won't kill the vines but it does destroy the blossoms and pea pods.
Keith built this using the instructions in Mother Earth News. There are a couple of things we'd recommend. First - test fit the PVC for the arches to make sure it fits into the pipe you are using for the sockets. Second - he built jigs and predrilled all the arches and purlins before we put them up.
Keith has a new job in the garden - designated flame weeder. For some reason the flame goes out three seconds after I take hold of the handle. It works fine for him. After several attempts and a lot of relighting, we just decided that he would flame the weeds from now on.
There is a lot of demand for local lettuce here. The problem is that it is too hot for the seed to germinate during much of the year. Lettuce seed needs light and 65 degrees to germinate well. I decided to gamble and see what would happen if I bought the smallest, cheapest wine cooler I could find and used it to germinate the seeds. The cooler has a wide, adjustable temperature range, a glass door and a switchable light. It works. The Buttercrunch lettuce germinated in less than 24 hours. I have doubts about the viability of the New Red Fire seed but I'll give it another day or two.
Now if I can just get myself to go out and finish prepping the rows in the heat, humidity and lovebugs. The bugs just swarm around the tractor. Seems they like gasoline fumes.
I forgot to mention that I seem to have solved the flea problem as well. I haven't treated Pumpkin for fleas since June. I haven't treated the kittens either but none of them are showing any signs of fleas nor are there any fleas showing up in the vacuum cleaner. I'm assuming that the nematodes nailed the fleas in the area around the house. Now if they would just do something about the tiny black ants!