I guess we’re going to have to start with this photo aren’t we?
The chickens have mites. This is my treat the chicken coop for mites outfit. This kind of event is the sort of thing nightmares are scared of. One of the many interesting things about chickens is their ability to be scarier than a pandemic.
Mites are tiny little bugs, just large enough to be visible if you’re actually looking for them. If you aren’t looking for them, they announce their presence by breeding until they’ve reached a population of about 100 million zillion. This takes approximately 4 hours.
Treating mites is like treating any pests. You can go the natural route and hope for the best (sometimes the natural route actually works) and sometimes you just say, yeah, I’ve always thought a fountain would look nice where the coop is, and then you burn it down to the ground.
Of course the other option is to use a pesticide that’s strong enough to eradicate the entire human population of a small town, then double the dose to kill the microscopic bugs.
I went the natural route to start. Neem oil. Using Neem oil as an insecticide is an “off label” and unauthorized use in Canada. But people swear that it’s an effective killer of rampant orgying mites.
I’ve treated the coop twice this week and I still have mites. I definitely don’t have as many but they’re still there. If, in one week, after round 3 of the treatment I still have mites, I will be digging out the container of death dust I bought at the feed store years ago and use that.
The Flowers are Blooming!
It took WAY longer than it normally does but the dahlias have finally started blooming. The first one was the Colleen Mooney dahlia you can see up there to the left. Interesting fact: this dahlia won an American Dahlia Society award a couple of years ago but was bred about 10 minutes from my house by a member of my local dahlia society. It’s named after his daughter, Colleen.
If you follow Floret on Instagram or read Erin’s books you might recognize my recreation of her truck in miniature form. Filling it up with small vases of small flowers has become an obsession of mine.
But not as big an obsession as these dahlias.
From left to right: Weird girl with blue dress, Totally Tangerine, Cornel Bronze, Alfred C, Dandy boy reading a book about how to apply rouge and get optimal hair puff.
The garden flowers are going insane as well. Zinnias, Cosmos, Amaranth and tucked into the right side of the basket in the second photo you can see the Lisianthus which took an astonishing 6 months to grow.
This is a lemon yellow/green celosia that randomly popped up in the garden and I’m currently deciding whether to cut it to dry or preserve OR let it grow on so I can save the seeds. For drying and preserving flowers it’s best to cut them before they start to set seed.
All of this Celosia popped up too. ALL of it is self seeded from last year. Ditto for almost all the amaranth in my garden. These things will seed themselves until they take over … well let’s just say they’re the mites of the flower world.
It’s hard to even get the words out, but harvesting is coming to an end. I’ve harvested all the potatoes, corn (except for 2 cobs of Glass Gem corn), onions, carrots, cabbage and most of the tomatoes.
The Dakota Black (popcorn) you see here is still drying and should probably be ready to blast into popcorn in the next month. I’m also in the middle of an experiment that should make judging whether your home grown popcorn is ready to pop much easier. So stay tuned for that.
This doesn’t mean my love affair with the garden is over for the year, I still have sweet potatoes, luffa sponges, beets, more tomatoes, flowers, squash and peppers to harvest. Plus, all the beds need to be neatened up. If I finish everything and the weather is still not blizzarding I’ll probably just go sit in the garden to contemplate life and avoid cleaning my range hood.
I Found This While Going Through Photo Albums.
I’m just going to leave that one with you.
The Rye Experiment Update!
Remember when my local historic Dundurn Castle called me in the middle of the summer to see if I’d be interested in coming to their historic garden to harvest some rye??
Well I brought the rye home, threshed the grain out, winnowed it to remove the chaff and a few weeks ago ground the rye into flour and made a caraway rye bread that was INSANEly good.
This is going to be my go-to bread this winter. Speaking of bread and wheat and all things good, I sowed my winter wheat a week ago and it’s already sprouted and looking great.
I was a guest on Niki Jabbour’s gardening radio show The Weekend Gardener a couple of Sunday’s ago and we talked a lot about growing wheat on a small scale. If you’re anywhere around a zone 6, NOW is the time to plant your winter wheat so get on that. You don’t need a huge area of land to grow enough wheat to make bread out of. Plus it’s just fun to grow wheat.
A new Indigenous aquisition.
I’ve been a collector of Indigenous jewellery and wearables since I was about … I think I was 16 when I got my first piece in Oshweken, a reserve near my house.
Last year I finally bought something I’ve wanted for a long time – a vintage Hopi squash blossom necklace.
Last Sunday I bought the longer necklace from the same vendor that I bought the squash blossom necklace from. This style of necklace with the animal charms (fetishes) around it is known as a Fetish necklace and were made by the Zuni and Navaho tribes traditionally. Each animal has a specific meaning and protection. Each one is hand carved and the Heishi beads in between are as well.
It’s apparently from around 1910 and I can vouch that even though it looks brand new at first glance, under a jewellers loupe there’s dirt in all the crevices and in the silver clasp. I’ve ordered a book about Fetish necklaces and am going to do my best to confirm it’s origin and authenticity.
That’s the thing about Indigenous jewellery. Everyone copies it. This does two things. It devalues the original pieces and it takes money out of the hands of the people who made it.
Also it makes it hard to know if what you have your around your neck is real.
I don’t live in New Mexico or the surrounding area so I can’t buy this jewellery directly from the people who made or are taking care of it. But I really try hard to make sure what I’m buying is authentic.
My scruples aren’t nearly as strict when it comes to potato chips. I will eat any and every brand, I don’t care who it was that originally invented them.
Have a good weekend, eat some food, see some family or friends (if it’s safe), and get ready to hunker down because the numbers are going up.