While the Labor Day weekend is supposed to honor all the laborers, in this house I find it a perfect time to labor in the yard. The weather is still hot, mid 90s, but it's tolerable considering how may days we had over 100 in August.
Yesterday I trimmed the suckers off of 20 fruit trees and ran the mower through those fruit trees. Prior to working out there I pulled up all the drip irrigation hose that went to those trees. They don't have any misters or anything like that on the hoses, it's just the hose with two holes punched in along each tree. The problem with the hose is sometimes those holes enlarge, I suppose from the pressure of the water coming out, and some of the trees get huge amounts of water while others hardly get any. I need to redo the hose and put sprayers at each tree. Ideally I'd get some underground pipe put in but that takes way more effort than I wish to exhume. I'd either have to rent a trencher or kill myself trying to dig all the trenches. The soil around here is just too hard.
Today I got those trees watered so that's a task I won't have to do for another couple of weeks. If they had fruit on the trees they'd need to be watered weekly, but not now. Only the pomegranate, persimmon, grapefruit, and lemon trees need water once a week.
Boy cleaned out the chicken coop and put everything that he scooped up into one of the garden beds. It filled a space 4 feet by 8 feet. That will make some good garden soil in the spring. We also need to clean out the stall in the barn where the sheep hang out at night. There will probably be enough manure there to fill in another of the garden beds. In another year all 12 of the garden beds should be filled with excellent soil. The beds that we have filled have held moisture really well and the plants seem to be very healthy. The other beds plants just struggle since there's very little organic material in those beds. It took over five years of gardening before I ever saw my first earthworm. The soil was that dead!
I still have one ewe up in the front pasture. When we got the sheep out of that pasture and back into the back of the property that ewe couldn't get coaxed out. Now she is all by herself, except the ducks and chickens that are out front. Tomorrow we are going to convince her to go into the front pen to eat a handful of grain. If we can do that we can lock her into that pen (which means closing her off from the rest of the pasture) and then just open the gate from the pasture into the front yard. From there, we can just chase her into the back. She will go straight for the barn and from there, it will be easy to put her into the back pasture with the 10 other sheep. The hard part is getting her out of the front. There isn't any more grass up there so hopefully we can trick her with the grain.
Girl's broken finger is healing. She's got a cast almost to her elbow and all her friends have signed it. It's making her very popular since she's the first kid at school this year to break something! Unfortunately for her, she still has to do chores. She tried to convince me that she couldn't. I don't want her cleaning out the chicken coop or any dirty chores like that but there's plenty of laundry, dishes, sweeping, etc. that she can do.
The kids picked a huge bucket of pears and apples. Tomorrow, since I'm off, I'm going to can pears and apples. I normally just cut them into chunks, add a little sugar and some water, and put them into the boiling water bath. Much of it will be used for applesauce or pear sauce but I don't can it that way. I find it just as easy to open up the jar and then blend it with the stick blender. I can pour off some of the sweetened liquid prior to blending and use it in juice or pancakes or anything. By pouring off the liquid I'll get a thicker sauce. By not making it into apple sauce when I'm canning I can use the apple chunks for so many more recipes. I just find it more convenient that way. I suppose other people would probably make some sauce and others chunks. Just making it all into chunks makes the entire job go faster and since I won't want to spend lots of time canning when it's hot out whatever I can do to speed up the process works for me!