Wild Plants: The burdock is full of pink flowers and the burs are fully developed. The Prairie is blooming with black-eyed susan and coneflower. I have seen my first giant ragweed flowers this week, but they are not yet laced with yellow pollen (I have been pulling plants absentmindedly at the Farmstead to help out our allergy friends). Black caps are done, but the red raspberries have been abundant for a over two weeks, and the blackberries have yet to begin. There is a gooseberry plant on the trail to the Farmstead and it has purple gooseberries. Yum! We also saw a purple fringed orchid on the trail to the farmstead. It started blooming last week. Beautiful and rare!
Cultivated Fruits: The currants are perfect right now. Sour, but very good. The blueberries have just finished their first crop ever and we have enjoyed every one of the 20 or so blueberries we got this year. The Autumn Bliss raspberries by the garden are going strong and are going to keep going until the frost. These are incredible and when you get one that is almost purple, it is sheer bliss. The apples are still green, as are the plums, but the plums are very close - next week?
Garden Phenology: The sweet corn is about to start, and we plan to have sweet corn every week until the frost. The cucumbers and zucchini are going nuts. This week we have already harvested 15 boxes of cucumbers. I cannot believe it. The tomatoes are looking very good so far. The peppers are not - there is possibly a blossom drop due to weather that was either too hot or too cold during blossom set. Bummer - we have big leafy plants with very few peppers. This is the weediest year we have had in a long time and we just keep seeing new flushes of weeds. It might be the conditions for germination, but also in the wet weather the weeds re-root. The Pumpkins completely vined out last week and we can no longer weed between them with the tractor, which is unfortunate. The cabbage moths are bad this year, leaving behind little green caterpillars - watch out for them!
Animals: The ticks are hardly problem now, but for the first time in years we have a mosquito problem. The wrens in the greenhouse have fledged and are no longer making noise all day. Our neighbors have raccoons eating the sweet corn in their field and it is time for us to strategize about what to do when they find ours. Jen and I have not seen any more bears lately, but she did hear a growl/grunt while on a walk and she turned around. The fox has eaten several chickens, but for the last week we have kept them on house arrest in the coop to deny him/her more free meals. We hope the fox goes away when there is no food. The chicks from Childrens House and E1 are now living in the coop with the rest of the chickens.