The weather has turned quite a bit colder now, as if you hadn’t noticed, but everything is still doing ok. The cold, especially the overnight temperatures below 10 C, have not been good for a number of vegetables; tomatoes especially will suffer and the flavours are not there like they were during the heat of the summertime. All the heat loving and sun flourishing things such as Tomato and also Pepper, Eggplant, and Beans will not be growing nearly so well or at all as days grow cooler and shorter.
The next few days will be real nice though not real warm, only 20+ daytime but much cooler with even a light frost hinted at for Thursday, in the evenings. We will very likely get a lot more warm sunny weather before the winter finally settles in. The pastures were used up during the dry spell a while back and have not yet recovered so we are supplementing the horses, cows and sheep with hay. We will pull everyone off the pastures and keep them in the same outside spots for a few weeks to give the pastures a chance to regrow some.
We had seen but a very few Monarch butterflies throughout the summer and were quite surprised by this though there had been much publicity surrounding the decline of these butterflies throughout their range. We have been surprised then over the past few days by the numbers of Monarchs that we have seen fluttering over flowers in the pastures and over the gardens. These probably are gathering migrants gradually moving southward as the weather cools. But still the numbers seen are far fewer than we would normally expect. We also saw very few larva of this butterfly on the milkweeds and the milkweeds themselves were this year were somewhat fewer in number than in the past though this is likely only a co-incidental observation. On Wednesday morning I tried to get some photos of the Monarch for this blog but they were not stopping. In the hour and a half that I was out in the garden, camera within easy reach, six flew fluttering across the garden at heights from 10 to 30 feet and always from north-east to the south-west and they were travelling so quickly and in their characteristic erratic manner that I was unable to get even one photo. At that rate of passage over one not so special small area the total numbers on the move must then still be quite impressive. On reflection I realize that all the Monarchs observed over the past week or so have been moving in a general south-easterly direction. About 210 degrees or thereabouts.
We moved the new ducks this Wednesday morning. They had some time ago outgrown their spot with the young chickens. We have put them in with the younger laying hens near to the CSA pickup area so this will be interesting. They should settle down after a few days. Hopefully the laying hens will accept their new roommates. They will, but that is not all, as the younger chickens will also be moved to that same area and crowd the poor laying hens even more. Upsetting times for all but they will all get along reasonably well after a bit of time and we will soon open up a new area for them to graze over so that will make everybody happy, even me.
The new young chickens and the ducks, the ones which we are moving, will start to lay eggs in about three to four weeks so we will have some very interesting coloured eggs by mid-October.