Once a month, R and I have a coffee date and update the homestead to do list and sync calendars. We cross off the stuff we got done the last month and do triage on the things we need to do on the homestead and maybe even get ahead. Things like, “the turkey poults are coming, how many bags of starter feed should we order” and “what kind of tomato supports do you want to try this year?” are necessary, but not all that fun. So we started scheduling a fun activity or two each month as well. For May, we had planned to take the dogs on a picnic up on Boulder Mountain and introduce Wyatt to chilling with us in unfamiliar territory. It was all planned for last Wednesday, the day after R went up to SLC for some routine medical stuff. R hadn’t been gone 10 minutes when Carson raced through a gate and yipped. He somehow caught his skin on the edge of a livestock panel.
Husbandry and gardening: Because the universe conspires to make us laugh at ourselves, R and I had taken all three pets to the vet on Monday. Slate needed a follow-up on his abscessed front paw, which he wasn’t putting any weight on. Naturally, he was cured during the car ride over, but got some more antibiotics anyway. Wyatt got his puppy shots and Carson got to ride along and get his annual shots. Vetting done for the year, or so we thought.
The next day, while Carson got worked into the vet’s schedule, Wyatt and I had a delightful time wasting four hours in Richfield. Wyatt learned about the miracle of the drive-through fast food and discovered concrete sidewalks and street lights. I used the time to get an estimate on fixing the deer damage to the 4Runner, and then we had a delicious mole chicken on the patio of La Gringa. Wyatt likes chicken. Eleven stitches later, our assignment this week is to keep Carson from running, jumping and otherwise ripping out the stitches. Needless to say, the day trip has been delayed.
Instead, we dug the garden beds for the solanaceae: potatoes, tomatoes and peppers. Our garden rotation plan is a three year cycle for the solanaceae. R would always plant more tomatoes, but there are six beds and that’s it and it’s enough. We put three beds into tomatoes, two into potatoes and the last one gets peppers and some basil.
R got the irrigation system started up while I filled the water tube season-extenders. Last year we did the experiment of red vs green with the same kind of tomatoes, and the plants in the red ones got bigger faster, but we still have loads of the green ones that will stay in rotation. Some of our collection have got to be over 15 years old. If you use the wall-of-water type season extenders, do yourself a favor and buy this hose filler. It’s ridiculously expensive. It will last forever, and you won’t be dripping wet when it’s over. There have been years I swore I should have worn rain pants. We had one in Salt Lake and misplaced it in the move. It took me hours of scouring the Internet to find a replacement, at a rabbit husbandry site of all places. This hose attachment is the bomb. (No affiliate link, just an unsolicited endorsement.) Buy it and put it in your Christmas stocking for next year.
We put honey boxes on five hives. We would have done so for the other three hives but the boxes weren’t assembled yet. The new split hives look good but we didn’t take out individual frames and check on them. Either they will make their own queen or not, we aren’t interventionists as a rule with the bees and so why bother them?
Energy and conservation: R changed out the the track lighting bulbs to LEDs. We had to borrow a ladder that could reach to the highest part of the ceiling. Besides saving electricity, it’s going to be a lot cooler inside—400 watts of halogen bulbs get hot. The last time we changed them out, the LED bulbs were outrageously priced. This time they were nearly the same as the halogens.
We finally ordered some outdoor blinds for the porch, after five years of thinking we might extend it with a pergola to block the late afternoon sun. For about three hours each afternoon, our west-facing porch is in full sun until the shade of the cottonwood trees finally reaches it around 8:00 pm. The heat that builds up on the porch permeates into the rest of the house and since we don’t have air-conditioning, June and July can get uncomfortable unless I am diligent about closing doors and windows. It remains to be seen how they hold up in the wind.
Skills: Dutch-oven cooking and outdoor cooking in general has been high on my list of skills to practice. This weekend I waited and waited for the wind to die down; finally on Sunday the weather cooperated. Too bad the charcoal did not. Lessons learned: don’t buy off brand charcoal, just use the firewood and practice with simple recipes that can take a variable fire until I figure it out.
Community: Saturday was the opening event for the Entrada Institute, a jazz trio and a chance to clean up and see friends for a couple hours. I helped spring clean the venue. R is practicing with some mates to perform at Apple Days in July. Some friends from Salt Lake invited us for dinner at their campsite in Capitol Reef NP on Monday, more stopped by on Sunday during a break from their British motor car club activities. High season has begun in Torrey.
Upcoming: It’s also sleep-deprivation season. The animals wake with the sun. The cat wants out now at 4:30 am. Any minute now the weather will shift so that we want to do our physical work early in the day and creative or computer work in the heat of the day. I need to pay attention to the clock, not the sun or I won’t get dinner ready until 9:00. I love the longer days, but it’s all about pacing right now. We have 120 days of frost-free weather to maximize in the days ahead. Next week is more planting, our irrigation cycle, and maybe a picnic after Carson’s stitches come out on Friday.