A hard frost is expected tonight. We jugged out the small vulnerable plants, those too big for a jug went under plastic or in plastic bags, and beds 8 and 9 got covered in a large sheet of 4 mil plastic - this will be used for the low tunnels over these beds once we get the frames constructed.
The fig tree is in the background covered in a pink comforter. I used three stakes and chicken wire to make a broad cylinder around it, filled it with 11 large bags of leaves, and covered the upper shoots with buds poking up from the leaves with straw and an upside-down bucket. This keeps the blanket from bending and crushing the upper shoots and buds. The bucket and blanket will be used only on very cold nights, till winter really hits - then we'll cover the whole thing with a tarp and tie it down.
I put up old sheets of plastic over the coop windows to keep the draft out of the coop. Plexiglass would be ideal, but it's very expensive. The west window which really brings in the cold and wind is covered with rigid 1/2" insulation. Once we get a glass cutter we'll start cutting whatever glass we need from storm doors at the thrift store.
Today was cold and gusty and we ran the stove all day. I did two loads of laundry with the breather washer, washed dishes, fertigated the garden, and we disassembled the pool and drained the water in the bottom, hosed it off and laid it out to dry. It cleaned pretty easily. We'll pack it up before the next rain.
Big salad from the garden today, and arugala is growing like a weed - coming up in cracks in the concrete like dandelion. We also had eggs and toast cooked on top of the stove . . . somehow more flavorful, like cooking over a campfire [maybe the slow-cook in cast iron].
The two mixed runner drakes were mounting the crippled rouen today. This rouen has a terrible wobble to her walk and constantly shoots her head down and to the side like a nervous tic. She has all the colors of the male but no drake feather, so we weren't sure of her sex. Either the drakes are confused or have figured it out. She may be now sexually mature and start laying. That would be nice since we're averaging only 2 to 3 eggs a day. We could never breed her with her disabilities, but eating the eggs'll be fine.
We're catching deer out on the property every night, probably biting down fruiting perennials. We need to get them all protected with chicken wire. A neighbor suggested surrounding the forest line with two strips of 'caution' tape - apparently it works for hunters trying to funnel deer into a certain area. May be a cheap solution if it works.
Last night I heard a noise out by the dishes and took a flashlight to investigate. It was Rosy pecking at a pot. I guess she got suprised by the dark and decided to roost in the dishes. I carried her up to the coop and found the ducks all nestling down on the hillside. I herded them in. It's partly the birds getting confused by the early dark outside and late light inside the coop, and also I've been shutting the front door to the coop and leaving the new run door open to encourage the birds to use it as a way in and out. It takes birds eons to learn a new routine. The ducks have yet to figure it out.
3 of the 12 guineas are roosting in the oak over the coop tonight. At least the other 9 have sense enough to seek shelter for a long cold windy night.