Gosh its hot. We’ve had a weird heat spell that has been in the high 90’s to over 100 degrees for the last week or so. Trying to keep everything watered and reasonably cool has been a serious challenge. We have a mister we’ve put into the quonset hut where the rabbits are. Rabbits can handle cold. The heat, not so much. So every day I put frozen water bottles in their cages and make sure the mister and fan is on. I did lose one young one to heat exhaustion, when the chickens or turkeys landed on the handle of the frost free hydrant and turned off the water. A nice 5+ lb 12 week old rabbit. It had only been dead a short time, so I did what I do in these situations, when I know the cause and the approximate time of death. I cleaned it, and we had rabbit and salsa verde tacos for dinner. Does that make me a bad person? Or just practical?
On Tuesday I looked out at the neighbor’s yard to check on the sheep. We have a temporary electric fence up over there, and they are enjoying HIS pasture for a few weeks, which is awesome. We had just put up a shade structure the night before, and I was checking to see if they were using it, and I see a young lamb. And I think, dang, that lamb sure looks small. Our youngest lamb was born in May, and is pretty good sized. And then I notice the umbilical cord still hanging down. Dang.
Maggie, who gave birth to a lamb on December 28th, had had another baby. Which means she was bred about February 14th (happy Valentines day!) when her little one was only about 6 weeks old. This is NOT how this is supposed to happen. They are supposed to wait until their babies are 4 months or so to rebreed. Guess no one gave Maggie the memo. So we have a new baby ewe lamb, who was kicking up her heals in the field when she was less than 48 hours old. Now that we’ve had a heads up, we suspect that at least one other ewe is pregnant, based on her size. We pulled the rams out in April. We’ll see what we get. Good grief.
So, a little death, a little life, another day on the farm.
Meanwhile, I’ve been having an epic battle with squash bugs out in the garden. Squash bug adults overwinter in the soil. I knew I had a bunch at the end of last year, but was hoping that our cold winter had killed the buggers. No such luck. I started to notice some of my squash plants wilting and dying, and then I noticed the bugs. No spray, conventional or organic, really works well on these buggers. The best you can do is to pick off the adults and throw them into a container of soapy water, and remove the eggs from the leaves with duct tape (which really does work, and is super gratifying). So, every other day, that’s what I’ve been doing. If you get the plants good and wet, the bugs climb up high to dry themselves and get out of the water and are pretty easy to find. The first day, I must have picked off over 100, many of them in compromised mating positions. They spray a noxious stink when scared. They were unhappy. I was unhappy. It was just disgusting all around. But each day I’ve found less, and today I only found 3. I’m hoping that I’ve managed to break the cycle, though I’ve lost some plants.
Despite the heat, flowers are blooming, tomatoes are ripening, bees are buzzing, and life continues on.
Miles Away Farm Blog © 2014, where the temperature is only supposed to get to 90 on Saturday, and we’re doing our best to stay hydrated and avoid heat stroke. Oh look, I’m like every other farmer, I’m complaining about the weather, laugh out loud.