We've had a busy couple of weeks at Farmer Mac's Berries. We've been busy making rows and transplanting juvenile blueberry plants into their permanent locations in both fields.
We were working on Saturday to move blueberry plants from their nursery locations into their permanent places in the back field before the promised rains came. We figured we'd save on the watering by letting it rain on them. We were just at the point of mulching them in with pine straw when the wind started whipping up pretty good. We turned around and looked behind us at the nearly completed rows and saw the pine straw swirling up off the tops of the rows and around the field. Farmer Mac got disgusted and left the untouched bales of pine straw right where they were and went into the house. :)
We left off working for the day and came back to it on Monday. It didn't turn out as bad as we suspected, and didn't take long to clean up, but we also didn't get the promised rain. We had storms and tornadoes pretty much all around us in North Carolina, but none here! Hardly enough rain to settle the dust. But no hail and no tornado so all in all, we'll take the watering job we thought we were going to get out of doing!
How did you fare during the storm? Feel free to share your stories and experiences with us.
Then I went to collect eggs from the egg house. Remember we can't really call it a henhouse or chicken coop because the chickens roost in the tree instead of the building, they only use it for laying eggs. Well, the chicken that had been setting on a nest (and yes, that's setting, not sitting, meaning she was trying to hatch out her eggs) was gone as were all the eggs in the entire egg house. When I say all the eggs, I mean the chicken eggs, the wooden eggs, and the marble eggs. Gone. All of them. Chickens too for that matter. Not a one is sight.
All the farm kids know to leave the nest eggs (the wooden and marble eggs) in the boxes when they collect eggs, so that isn't how they disappeared. Nobody else collected eggs this week. We put our heads together and decied it must be an egg thief. The question then was whether it was a fox or a snake? Since I can't imagine a fox taking the wooden and marble eggs, I have to assume that the egg snake has a very bad case of indigestion right about now!
I don't know much about egg eating snakes. I know there's one called a chicken snake but there are others who also like eggs. I hope this won't be a common occurrence because I have no desire to find a live trap for a snake! If you have a suggestion for getting rid of snakes without using a snakicide or a gun, I'd be glad to hear of it! Feel free to share.
Oh, and one last thing for today. I found out what our style of chicken living is called. We don't have free range chickens, we have open range. Free range means the chickens are penned up but can go outside in a small designated space. Open range means they are not in a pen at all and can pretty much go where they want. That's our chickens! They rule the farmyard. We hope to be getting new chicks in soon as we have, in fact, lost some of our chickens to the aforementioned fox. Shawn is talking about getting a live trap to move him off into Holly Shelter (and I'm ok with that). I'll update you as we progress with that.
Glad to be back in the ramp up mode for blueberry season. We hope this is the last of our small crop years for a long time to come. Starting next year, we should have consecutive years of increasing size harvest due to the increasing size of our juvenile plants that will be of fruit bearing size.