Like the rest of the world, we are self-isolating but lucky to be living less cooped up than our friends who live in apartments. We both continue to teach, but from a distance. I’m finally getting into a routine and after a round of parent emails, students have been busy making up work today!
But tomorrow is Saturday. Tomorrow we start building the chicken coop. But first, a greenhouse update from Hubby:
Greenhouse is back up and running after a year with improvements that should extend its life and usability. Tried to go cheap last year and used standard 6 mil poly plastic. Found it worked great for about 120 days. Then it totally disintegrated due to UV. This year I used real greenhouse poly which is UV protected and suppose to last 5 years. I also added a solar powered vent opener and “wiggle wire” fasteners around the bottom to keep the poly tight. ‘Maters already growing.
Even though the plastic turned brittle and tore easily by summer, the cattle panel greenhouse ended up being more energy efficient than our old pre-fab greenhouse. The gravel floor seems to help retain heat. We didn’t have many plants to overwinter this year as we got them all in the ground, so we didn’t need the greenhouse until spring planting time. I was going to plant fewer tomatoes and peppers this year, but with the way things are going right now have decided that more is better. We’d already planned to add more raised beds and we had the cinder-blocks delivered last week. The delivery man from Taylor-Foster Hardware and Hubby found it odd to not shake hands, but we are all practicing safe distancing.
Hubby also added an automatic window to the greenhouse. We may add one to the front next time around, but this year it’s easy enough to open the door when it’s hot and close it in the evenings, especially as we go up to the RV to visit our chicks in their temporary home whenever we need a computer break.
Because we have so much going on, we’d decided to wait until next year to get chickens. Then schools closed for a week, then two weeks, then…… So, we now have 3 chicks in the RV and a friend has offered up 2 laying hens as soon as we have the coop built. Maggie is fascinated by the chicks and they are now used to having big brown doggie eyes staring at them. Just like the house site, we’ve changed our minds more times than we can count as to where to place the coop but have decided to place it close to the greenhouse with the two plastic compost bins between the two.
Meanwhile, a string of too warm days and 23 degree nights took its toll on our bees, but they are recovering. We hope we won’t have another hard freeze. Even if we do, the queens are laying like crazy and every hive is crowded now, so they’d survive. Very few bees are visiting syrup feeders this week, so they must be finding real nectar out there somewhere. We have the first blackberry and clover blossoms, but I haven’t seen bees on either yet.
We sincerely hope that all our readers remain healthy. These are worrying times, and I feel so blessed to have 20 acres of stress relief right outside our door. Stay safe. Stay healthy. Our thoughts are with you.