We put our pumpkin patches to rest this past weekend by burning the fields. There are a few reasons to burn a field after a crop. One of the most important reasons for us is to kill the squash bugs that like to overwinter down in the soil. We choose to use as few chemicals on our fields as possible (pesticides, herbicides, etc), but when it comes to squash bugs, there is no great organic solution that has been offered to us to control the nasty bugs over acres of pumpkin fields. We use field rotation in an attempt to “outrun” the insects, guinea hens to eat the live bugs, and field burning to kill the overwintering insects. Despite these efforts, there are times when we need to spray, but these measures do help. If anyone has any suggestions on efficient and effective squash bug control PLEASE let us know!
Tag Archives: guinea hens
I thought that I would share a few pictures. We held the kitties for the first time yesterday. The cousins loved cuddling the five furballs.
We are still trying to get the new guinea hens to trust us. The kids do a great job of being very calm around them, but the birds are so flighty.
Dominic is holding one of our 3 chickens that survived the “Massacre of 2012.” We also have a new rooster. I’m keeping my eye on him!Grammy’s Pumpkin Patch 2012
So I am back from roguing corn in Iowa, and I am back to growing pumpkins. Both jobs are a bit difficult in a very dry summer. Because it has been so dry and brown here, it is fun to see new life at the farm! We have several new additions to introduce to you. First, Grammy and Papa have brought some new “ladies” to the farm–guinea hens. There are 10 new guineas that are getting familiar to the coop and us. The darker ones are the same variety that we have had in the past. They are Helmeted Guineas, and they will look like the older guineas in the last picture in a few months. The four lighter ones are called Lavender Guineas (I think). I will have to do some more research to find out. My kids are trying to befriend the new “ladies” with oatmeal and millet. So far they are still pretty flighty and timid. Am I crazy to think that they are kind of cute? By the way if you see the birds that don’t look like either type of guinea, those are the quail that Papa hatched (again, don’t ask).
Speaking of cute, we also found a new litter of kittens in the shed yesterday. I didn’t take a picture because they are so young, and last time that mommy cat moved her litter after we found them. We couldn’t find them after that, so we are hoping that bringing her a cozy bed and some milk will help her keep them around. They are so cute! My kids can’t wait to be able to play with them.
And last, but not least, are the new laying hens. We have replaced our chickens that were lost in the “Great Chicken Massacre” of 2012. Grammy and Papa chose some different varieties (all Heritage Birds). I can’t remember them all, but I’ll check. Right now they are molting (not super pretty), so they won’t lay for a couple of weeks, and then we will be back in the egg business!Grammy’s Pumpkin Patch 2012
I am actually in Iowa right now. My husband and I have temporarily traded pumpkin farming in McPherson, KS for corn roguing in Traer, IA. It is kind of a working vacation. I have not decided which is better: pumpkin flood irrigating and weeding or corn roguing, both in 100+ degree weather. So, since we are here, mom and dad (Grammy and Papa) are keeping us up to date on the pumpkins and farm life in Kansas.
Last night they called with sad news. Something got into the chicken coop, killing 10 chickens! Papa had been leaving the windows open with screen coverings, so the chickens wouldn’t roast prematurely in this weather. Apparently, some critter, (maybe a raccoon??) clawed through the window frame and screen to reek havoc in the coop. Grammy opened the coop door to a very sad sight in the morning 😦 Farming is not always easy. The crazy thing is that whatever killed the chickens didn’t bother the young guinea hens or the 3 quails in the other half of the coop. We are thankful for that.
The guinea hens had slowly been disappearing throughout the spring because they preferred to roost outside in the trees during nice weather instead of in the safety of the coop. Every couple of nights one would “disappear”, so Papa and Grammy had recently brought 10 new ones to the farm. Glad they are safe. The quail–don’t ask–let’s just say Papa rescued a nest and hasn’t yet released them into the big bad world.
Needless to say, Papa is setting a live trap out for the next couple nights. I’ll let you know if the culprit is caught.Grammy’s Pumpkin Patch 2012
We had some entries delivered for the Johnstown area giant pumpkin contest. If you have a giant you’d like to drive out, give us a call! It is exciting to see those big ones rolling in. The Guinea Hens and chickens didn’t quite know what to make of all the commotion. I am impressed that these gardeners had such great results-even in a drought year! Way to go! I hope to get some pictures on here soon, but you can come and see the giants yourselves. They will be displayed throughout the season.