Wee May Bee Rampant But We Will Be Used

We have been enjoying unusually cool weather here. Or at least I have. The daily highs have been around 21-22degC, which is my ideal summer weather. People at the beach might not be so impressed but it’s been so great for getting things done outside.

I had some big weeding sessions after Christmas, mainly in the ornamental garden beds. They look heaps better than they did before, although I haven’t finished with the weeds yet. I have also planted out some native plants. I will have to take photos of them to put up here soon. The Little Fulla had his own idea of ‘weeding’ his worksite beside the deck…

Naturally, weeding turned into the development of a small brown child.

I also got stuck into clearing work along the east paddock fence and then fencing with wire netting to the end of the roll that I started installing earlier. There was ivy (my rash-causing nemesis) to clear, which did not go well for my arms thanks to not buttoning the cuffs on my long-sleeved shirt. Lesson learned. I also had to cut through branches that were too close to the fence on the fig tree and the red-flowered camellia tree. I found a privet sapling that had shot up high behind the camellia. Tree privet (Ligustrum lucidum) is one of the worst weeds in New Zealand. I have found some shooting up behind the white sasanqua camellia further down this fence as well. The Husband will need to chainsaw this one. They will NOT be allowed to live in my garden. There’s a reason why The Little Fulla calls this part of the garden ‘The Forest’. There’s a lot of crazy, untamed growth going on in there. I’m not against crazy forest growth, but not when it’s horrible weeds. Or excessive camellias. I have some more chainsawing work for The Husband to do in there.

The time came to tackle the undesirable Wee Bee Rampant (Wee Bee Little pumpkin x spaghetti squash) hybrids growing in the Veggie Garden. They were all over the place and I thought there was only one round-pumpkin-producing plant in there. As I began to cut off lengths of vine with the elongated fruits attached to them, I was able to start tracing them back to the main stem. It turned out there were only two plants out of six that were growing rampantly and producing fast-growing, elongated fruit. With the crazies out of the way I was left with four plants with a much more compact, bushy ‘Wee Bee Little’-like habit and rounded pumpkins. I have left them for now, although the size to which they are growing and the continued presence of dark green on them suggests that they probably still have some cross-pollination issues from the previous season, with the larger Small Sugar pumpkins. I feel like the pumpkins are mocking me. But they will not have the last laugh.

IMG_20200102_103800399_HDR 3x2.jpg
The Wee Bee Rampant harvest from two plants, not including the smaller ones. And that’s just one month into summer! If they’d kept growing for another three months, well, let’s just say you might have heard about that family that got trapped inside their own house by a rampant squash hybrid.
Rampant hybrids ousted… Oh, so there are some sensible pumpkins growing in there. And honeydew melons, which I almost forgot about.
It’s round, but it’s still not a pure Wee Bee Little pumpkin.
Where are you going with all that spaghetti squash pollen, little bee? You better not be going to my pumpkin on the deck…

The smallest Wee Bee Rampant squashes went to the chickens and the most ripe few are on the outdoor table, hopefully curing as potential pumpkin racers, although I’m not at all confident they’ll last the three months until The Great Pumpkin Carnival. The other green squashes were marched into the kitchen. I tried grating one to see if I could use it like zucchini; a kind of summer squash. It actually wasn’t bad. I cut it into quarters, cut off the ends, scraped out the soft, seedy middle with a spoon then grated all the rest of the flesh and skin and put it into a bag for the freezer. One fruit made a whole lot of grated squash. I excitedly showed The Husband the large bag of grated squash and announced, “Guess what weeee’ll be eating for the next few months!” The look on his face was of confusion mixed with terror. The Little Fulla was already chomping down on some pieces of fresh squash so I had to give The Husband a little bit to try so he wasn’t so scared. Now we have a bunch of bags of grated Wee Bee Rampant in the freezer. I added some to the butter chicken I was cooking a few nights ago and it was rather good. Take that, rampant hybrid! Even so, I do not wish to grow any more of it. I have my own pumpkin plans.

I have made the first batch of plum chutney and need to do more now. I have also done the first batch of pickled gherkins.

The Billington plums are ripe and yummy.

The first chickens of the year have been butchered – Mr Pecky, the young cockerel, known for doing what his name says ever since he hatched, and his full-brother, the other black Tiggywinkle boy. This reduces the chicken load a bit with all the chicks, both Frodo’s lot and the blue/splash brooder lot, now out with the main flock, getting their food from the chick feeder box. The hatchmates of these 12-week-old cockerels that we are left with are a blue Frodo boy, who of course I am interested in, and four Frodo girls, one blue, three black. I am quite stoked to have four Frodo girls. It’s about time I got more girls than boys in a hatch!

Frodo’s young son (left) with his blue sister and a black sister.

It’s still a bit early to make many decisions about who to keep. Mr Anderson’s black sisters or half-sisters, Trinity, Morpheus and the one I’m planning to sell, who I call Link, are five months old now, so hopefully only a few weeks off laying. Once we’re getting more eggs I will start making more decisions. I am hoping to do another hatch in February, depending on when Frodo goes back to laying. She tends to have the best stretch of laying after she’s raised some chicks and satisfied her motherly urge for slightly longer than usual. And speaking of broodiness, Tiggywinkle and her daughter, Duchess, have both been semi-broody for about a week now. They’re still laying, but I have to keep getting them out of the nestboxes or they sit and sit. They haven’t gone full sit yet so there’s no point putting them in the broody breaker. Duchess was actually suprisingly nice to the brooder-raised chicks when they entered the pen. She spent some time pecking at the ground showing them how to find seeds from the hay. Then Mr Anderson joined in helping, so that was nice to see.

Duchess decides to help out the bewildered chicks by showing them how to scratch around for seeds.
Mr Anderson joins in with the foraging lesson and Ribby (blue hen) pretends to help too, although she is just helping herself and pecking the chicks if they get too close.

7 thoughts on “Wee May Bee Rampant But We Will Be Used

    1. Yes, it is fun. And actually, the Wee Bee Rampant hybrids taste nice than zucchini. I’m almost tempted to grow some again. But that wouldn’t help the preserving of specific pumpkin cultivars now would it? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Growing your own would not contaminate all of the seed stock elsewhere and in other people’s gardens. You would just need to purchase clean seed rather than collect it from your own garden for the real ‘varieties’. However, there is no way of knowing if the hybrid would repeat itself with the same characteristics.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes, unfortunately we are getting an increasingly low range of pumpkin seeds available here due to new strict importing rules. Of the two main seed companies here, one only has five Cucurbita pepo varieties now and the other has three, not counting spaghetti squash. There are only several small orange pumpkins to choose from, which is sad! I had a read of the rules and procedures for importing pumpkin seeds and it just about did my head in. So there’s a very real chance that a lot of the pumpkin varieties we have could die out, especially if they cross-pollinate so readily and people aren’t able to save their own pure seeds. Hence the urgency with which I’m trying to maintain my favourite one! At the moment, that is my pumpkin priority. Mind you, I’ll probably get more weird hybrids in the process at the rate I’m going…

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Wow, I did not consider the unavailability of seed. I find that even some seed suppliers (who sell only ‘pure’ seed) regularly eliminate varieties from their catalogues as they become contaminated. Corn is particularly vulnerable.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Oh, interesting. It’s funny how some vegetable species are more prone to cross-pollination than others. I guess corn is a big one for you guys with potential contamination with GE corn, etc.
            Our biosecurity laws are pretty strict here, which is understandable considering the importance of our horticultural and farming industries to our economy, and yet it is also frustrating have seed options become limited. If I had just had some advance warning somehow, I would have stockpiled some seeds!

            Liked by 1 person

          3. It is not so much that all these old varieties are economically important. they just happen to be very susceptible to contamination. GMO has gotten SO crazy here. If something is that so detrimental to other crops, it should not even be legal, even if the other crops are minor.

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