November started off too warm and dry. Then a few days ago, it switched to still warm and wet. The difference between the daytime and nighttime temperatures has only varied by less than 20 degrees, staying in the 50’s at night. That is going to change tonight. Today won’t reach 60 during the day and for the next 10 days the highs will be 40’s and 50’s and lows as low as 24. The fig I nursed with a ring of wire wrapped in translucent plastic and covered with mylar when necessary never ripened the dozen figs on it. It is a young bush, this was only it’s second year and I thought I lost it last winter. The leaves have mostly dropped along with the unripe figs, so this morning, I prepared it for winter hibernation. The branches were pulled together and loosely tied, a deep mulch of hay placed around the base, 3 long garden poles placed as a tripod and tied together with a long run of paracord then the sheet of plastic was wrapped around several times, wrapped with the paracord and tied. Spots that looked like they might pull up were anchored with rocks or garden stakes. With any luck, it will be better protected than last winter and maybe the upcoming summer will produce a crop of figs. I learned this year that it should have been planted on the south side of the house close enough to benefit from the protection and solar warmth. Maybe a second fig will join the orchard trees next year and be planted in a better location. This one is small enough still that it is possible to transplant it toward the end of the season next year if I prep it correctly, but I don’t want to stunt it’s growth and production.
Last evening during dinner prep, I went to the garden to see if any of the pea pods had filled out enough to provide us with some fresh peas for our meal. When I planted the garlic which in in the box uphill from the peas, I covered the straw mulch with plastic erosion fence and laid metal garden stakes on top to hold it all in place. The erosion fence was a few inches too short on one side and I discovered that the hens had found that and with an entire garden to scratch and dig, they had dug an 8″ deep trench along the inside edge of the box, uprooting several cloves of garlic. The trench was refilled and more garden stakes laid over the top until this morning. I found another piece of erosion fence that was idle and added it to the bare edge and anchored it with a couple of poles. A few minutes with a hoe cleaned up the asparagus bed and around it and it was fenced in with more fencing and a thick layer of hay dumped inside to mulch the asparagus for the cold. To try to distract the hens from their intense focus on how to get to the hay, I tossed a foot thick layer near their water in the run for them to dig through.
The near box with the garlic is the one that will be moved after the garlic harvest and that corner will again become a compost area. I think a real compost bin is going to be built there. The asparagus will mark the end of the growing bed there.
The molt seems to be mostly over, there are fewer feathers flying and only a couple of the hens look motley. For several weeks, two of the Oliver eggers, the two that lay green eggs have been providing. Last night there were two eggs and one was brown, so production seems to be on the upswing.
Tomorrow is two weeks since Halloween and all of the unmasked Trunk/Trick or Treaters in the county. Today there are 13 new cases of COVID since day before yesterday and 2 more hospitalizations. It’s getting ugly out there, but people here still won’t wear a mask.