• Keeper Notes,  The Orchard

    “Late” Summer Pruning

    I try not to prune anything in the autumn and since it is still summer took the time to quickly clean up some branches. I’ll have to remember to do a quick prune in May/June to help ensure no energy is wasted on shoots that restrict airflow or head back to the main trunk.

  • Keeper Notes

    Revenge of the Japanese Beetles

    Spent a week down in the Outer Banks… came home to find my Cherry Trees and Grape Vines decimated by the late emerging Japanese Beetles. Captured 300+ of the little scarabs in a quick 15 minute picking, then another 100+ an hour and a half later. Yes, traps exist but from what I’ve read and seen they attract more than they trap. We’re going to move ahead with several routine pickings throughout the day and see if it gets back under control. The only question is what can I do the next time we go out of town… … at least the chickens had a good snack.

  • Keeper Notes

    Keeper’s Log : 07-21-2019

    Haven’t been posting lately will need to back fill with all the pictures from last year and this spring… first we’ll need to wrap up a few tasks that are in progress. Clean-up Brush Pile Migrate Stone Pavers to the Garden (Heavy!!! 80lbs each) Build remaining 3 raised beds in Garden Clean-up and remove old pallet compost bin Expand Grape beds (min 12 inch footer to reduce weeds) Clear Coat Grape Arbor Weed plant beds around walkway Weed plant beds below bay window. Remove weeds from brick patios/paths Trim Trees (raise above head 6 & 1/2 feet minimum) The list goes on and on of course but lets not make…

  • Keeper Notes,  The Berry Patch

    Eternally Multiplying Strawberries

    Looks like I didn’t need to move the strawberry seedlings after all as the original plants are running. The migrated plants have twice as many runners as the original plants but I’m thinking we’ll go from 2 original rows (20) plants to 5 or 6 rows (~80) plants by the end of the year. I’ve been told strawberries grow like weeds but I’m just starting to grasp what that means. I’m seeing 100+ berries already on our just the original 20 plants so it boggles the mind how many we’ll end up with in a year or 2. U-Pick at the Ridge may just be in order. Currently we’ve got…

  • Keeper Notes,  Our Town,  The Garden

    Reminder: Water any seedlings or moved plants

    Spent this Mother’s Day over at Sycamore Hill Gardens. Beautiful grounds with a coy pond, stepping stones, fairy garden, hedge maze and so much more. They hold a Mother’s Day Garden Tour that Elaine and I enjoy as it is the place to relax outdoors and the kids have so much fun feeding the fish and running the maze. I recommend it to anyone who lives in the Central New York area. This leads me to my words of warning. Remember to water, water, water any seedlings or plants you move. 7 of the strawberries we moved last night were wilted when I watered the garden 22hrs later… I’ll have…

  • Keeper Notes

    Yard clean-up doesn’t end, simply changes

    Several of the pine trees in the back of the yard are starting to die off due to a combination of creeping ivy and blight, or so I ponder. Last year I noticed the pines weren’t in the best shape but only got around to cleaning the vines out in the fall. This year we’re getting a jump start and cleaning up the dead limbs and the lowest branches to hopefully rejuvenate growth as well as cut down on ticks. I’ll have to get the limbs quartered to 3 feet for pick-up but already see how this gains us a little more yard space. I wonder what I could possibly…

  • Hen House,  Keeper Notes

    Cleaning the Coop

    With the warm weather comes, cleaning the chicken coop. Luckily we have 3 pairs of little hands to help on this seasonal task. Having laminate flooring under the bedding made cleanup a breeze. With just the 2 chickens the bedding stayed overly dry with the lower layer completely dry so a quick sweep¬† did the trick without the need of mopping. Even with quadrupling the number of chickens (+6) next year I think the amount of bedding should be about the same. We also tossed a bunch of hay down on the fenced in portion of their coop as they pecked it to dirt. Surprisingly it equaled 2 wheelbarrow loads,…

  • Keeper Notes,  The Orchard

    Dear Deer:

    Please stay out of my yard. That’s not to hard to do is it? All week I’ve been seeing a few leaves plucked from a random apple tree, not worrying about it too much. Lo and Behold I’m walking around the house today and our cherry tree in front of the house has been completely stripped of leaves. We’ve tried deer repellent spray, and garlic oil… now we’ve upgraded to fencing.¬† Only time will tell but so far all the trees and bushes have bounced back from all deer attacks. Oddly they haven’t touched the blue berry bushes, hopefully writing this doesn’t jinx me. Pro Tip: don’t have any stakes.…

  • Keeper Notes

    Japanese Beetle Update

    Beetles definitely love warm and dry weather. Saturday it rained and yesterday was a little cooler with clouds. Both days had very little Beetle activity. Today they are everywhere, oddly they are mostly staying off the Apple/Cherry Trees and instead I’ve finding them on the pine tree, a few odd bushes and as a group of ~20 on the lawn. Beetles definitely attract each other so keeping up the hourly rounds to make sure they don’t become a plague. Side Note: I think tall grass attracts them as well… I’ve fallen a little behind in the mowing, oops.