The average date for last spring freeze where I grow should be after March 30 and before April 10 based on a map provided by the National Weather Service. On April 16 the temperature in our area fell to 30 deg F and caused some damage. The potato plants suffered – the volunteers on the ground surface were almost wiped out –
While the potatoes I had planted in a trench had less extensive damage –
I was concerned about my apple trees some of which are in blossom but they seem fine –
But there were many signs elsewhere of freeze damage such as kale plants showing whitened or yellowed leaves. My pears and peach had already blossomed and set so they were past danger.
And my blueberries appear unaffected, tho some gardeners in Atlanta complained of damage. And my muscadine are now accelerating growth.
A couple years ago I bought Black Locust seed and germinated 10 seeds. I decided a few weeks ago to transplant the saplings to my orchard where I am increasing the diversity. The roots fix nitrogen and the tree is popular with bees. There must have been 100 seeds in the packet I received.
I decided to try germinating more black locust since I have spots on the hill which I seldom visit where they will thrive. The “seldom visit” caveat is important – they have nasty thorns as you can see on this young specimen.
I have kept chicken for several years but this was my first encounter with a broody hen.
She refused to leave the eggs she was guarding, pecked sharply, fluffed out her feathers and made an unusual warning sound. I was undecided what to do. Part of me recognized this is natural and far more natural than incubating the eggs which I have done successfully on two occasions. But there were other considerations. When I incubated the eggs four viable chicken of which one was a rooster, were produced each time. I was lucky there were only two roosters and doubly lucky that a nearby farm agreed to take them both and I now see them in the field whenever I drive past the farm. But what to do with more roosters? Our one rooster takes good care of his 10 hens and a 2nd rooster will create considerable stress as occurred previously. A second factor is the hen is the daughter of the rooster and the eggs she was sitting on were hers or her sisters so with this inbreeding there is an increased likelihood of non viable chicken. In the end I removed the broody hen from the 5 eggs she was guarding and cracked them open over the compost heap. Four of the 5 eggs would have produced chicken – my bad – I should not have waited as long as I did. I temporarily separated the broody hen but as soon as I released her she gobbled down some food and headed to the nest box to sit on more eggs. I shall have to keep an eye on her and remove her from the eggs each day until the habit is broken.
Other hen news
Two of the hens are fliers and wanderers. They have discovered the grass is greener on the other side and they regularly fly over the 5ft fence. The first to do so was the black hen who we call Wanda being a wanderer and the second is named Randa.
The cold weather did not affect the chicken except that the points of the rooster’s comb turned black. I massaged them with vaseline – since he has fierce spurs you have to grab him quickly when he is eating and grip him between the knees – he seemed to appreciate the ministrations and quickly forgot the indignity when released. When spring arrived the black tips either fell off or were removed by one of the hens. He now has a rounded comb.
Frass is poop of insects. In this case the larva of the wax moths which colonized the honey frames I put into storage. I had placed the honey frames in contractor grade black bags securely tied. Didn’t help. What I should have done was to freeze the frames and then place in storage – next time. The black bags were ripped in many places and the wax on the frames mainly gone and replaced with black frass on the lowest surface. The frass I collected and added to the compost heap, maybe it will do some good there.
The frames were covered with cocoons and in each one there was a black slug, maybe from the larva as it grew – reminded me of a belt for machine gun bullets.
I removed the plastic foundation from the frames and spent considerable time scraping and scrubbing them clean. I decided to discard some of the badly damaged wood frames.
I used a salvaged deep, 9 frames and foundation to make a swarm lure hive. I bought swarm lure last year and had a couple surplus refrigerated vials. I added the contents of one vial to a small piece of paper towel inserted in a small ziplock bag held open by a stone at one end. Hopefully this hive will attract a swarm.