Sunday, March 29, 2015

Seedlings.....cats.....dogs... *sigh*

So, several weeks ago, I had planted my seeds for the garden. This year I was excited to start my herb garden. I stood out by the big garden area...contemplating where everything will be planted this spring....and where my herbs will go. Inside, my little seedlings are "safe", warm and growing. Well, except for my herbs. I was stumped. Why are the herbs not growing? Tomato's, onions, cauliflower, lettuce...everything....looking good, just not the herbs. Then.....I saw why. I was fixing supper....busy in the kitchen, just a few feet from my precious seedlings....I glance over at them only to see....CHUBBY KITTY EATING THEM! *AAAAAAHhhhhh* !!! Bad kitty!! He jumped down and ran off to the safety of the family room. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Stupid cat! OK, not really....he is actually pretty smart..eating the super soft green seedlings. Just don't eat MY seedlings! Looks like it is time to replant the ones he finished off...and figure out a way to block him from getting to them. Oh how I wish I had a green house. Then there for sure would be no more "kitty snacks" Now, you may be asking...what does a dog have to do with this? Well, nothing indirectly. The in cahoots with the cat to either drive me totally insane...or kill me trying. These two are best of friends.
Now this beautiful big dog is "my dog" I "saved" him from a high kill shelter 2 years ago He was just a 3 or 4 month old pup. I brought him into my home....loved him....guided him...and he has become my protector. We have bonded like no other. Until ..... This evening, I was sitting here, minding my own business just relaxing and watching some TV. The cat was laying in the chair curled up all smug with a full tummy of tender greens...soaking in the heat from the wood stove that I have been slaving over. The dog...comes in the room....stops to say hello to his cohort...then looks at me and wags his tale. Now, I don't speak cat or dog...however I am sure there was some sort of dialog between these two. The dog starts walking towards me....tail wagging...head down. I watch him out of the corner of my eye...he is walking slow...sniffing the carpet? I shrug it off, silly dog. He gets closer...I realize his tail is wagging enough to create a small breeze. This is when I turn my attention to him...just what is he doing? Then I saw was black...and I think hairy...with 8 legs, beady eyes and I bet it weighed 8 pounds!! That dog was coaxing it towards me. He wanted it to climb up my leg and bite my neck and suck my blood...I am sure!! Then something happened....It was uncontrollable. My legs started dancing...stomping the ground around me...and it happened. The big black creature that was being coaxed towards me...met its doom under my slipper. The dog stopped...looking at me cocking his head...once he saw it laying there....he walked up to it and poked it with his nose. That is when he realized the creature was not moving....he looked at me with such a look as if to say.. " I can't believe you did that" Then, he just turned and walked away. Foiled!! HA HA! I won THAT little battle. Now to figure out how to keep the cat from my precious seedlings.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Time to get busy.. is time to get outside....and start the cleanup from winter. I walked around yesterday to take mental notes on everything that needed to get done, and where to start. Lets start with the barn.....first and foremost, it needs cleaned out. There is one stall in there that over the winter, became the area to put the dirty bedding. There is about a truckload of garden greatness out there. I am going to be building a wall in make a walkway where I can maneuver without being trampled by the sheep. Every day at both feeding times, the two new sheep get so excited that they literally run circles around me as I try to put their feed down for them. Several times I have been almost knocked to the ground. I have come up with a plan on how to get them fed, and not get hurt, this will involve building a wall and putting in a "feeding station" for them. Then as we move to the outside of the barn, there is another area that I have been shoveling the dirty bedding from the goats into a heaping pile out in their yard. There is at least another two truckloads of bedding for the gardens. I also have some major fence repairing from the little buck, Fred. Speaking of gardens, we have decided to start a new area for the thorn-less blackberries. This new area will be about 10 x 30 and will require us to turn the soil and lay several layers of cardboard down to smother the grass and weeds...then top with the bedding from the barn. We are also planning to build 2 new raised beds. One for herbs, another for Broccoli and Cauliflower. These areas will of course require us to get started soon! Then over to the rabbit house. I am planning to rebuild the inside pens and build outside yards that will let them get exercise and be safe. Over to the pig area...all of the electric fence needs to be reworked and I need to shovel all of the fence line and move the dirt that they have pushed up. The small garden needs to be worked and get ready to plant the beets. The big chicken coop...oh boy, THAT is going to be a BIG job. ALL of the outside runs need to be torn down and rebuilt. Yep, I think I have enough projects to keep us busy all summer....along with cutting firewood, the gardening and later the canning. Having a homestead means there will be something to do around here, every day. This will keep us young, and mobile. So, what are your projects? Planting fruit trees or maybe mending fences?? Get out there...the weather is letting up. Time to get busy!!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Weather teasers..

Yes, the weather is toying with us. We had one day of almost 75 was beautiful. I stayed outside most of the day. I was able to get quite a few little tasks finished up. Then the weather turned cold again. *sigh* I will look at it as a time to rest up from the first good long day. I can tell you, I slept like a log. This weekend we are supposed to get back in the 70's again. My plan is to work on the hog pen. The winter has been tough on the electric wire fence. So have the pigs. They like to rut the mud and straw towards the fence line, covering the hot wire. So, I will most likely spend most of Saturday, shoveling pig "stuff" away from the fence. I will have to tighten the hot wire as seems to have stretched a bit and in some places I have had to prop it up with a stick to keep it off of the ground. A "quick fix" during the cold winter. My seedlings are just starting to poke through the soil. I am getting excited to get them in the ground...grow babies grow. This year we will be putting in our Thorn-less blackberry patch. I am hoping to have enough to have at least 4 - 15 ft rows to start out. Maybe next year we will increase it, or even double it. My goal is to have enough for us, and to sell at the farmers market along with the strawberries, creating just a little more income for our homestead. I am planning to save enough from summer sales to purchase a log splitter. We are not getting any younger, and because we depend on wood for heat...we go through a lot. Splitting wood by hand is hard work....harder than I want to work. :) This time of year I start the incubators. I need to get some fresh layers in our group. The goose is laying now, so I will put a few of her eggs in there...along with the Guineas. I am looking forward to bonding with the new babies. So, what are your spring plans besides getting the garden going???

Sunday, March 15, 2015

S P R I N G ...... getting ready to get busy.

Yep, we all grumbled through the last month or so of winter. It wasn't just was a test of our humanity. Did you come out of it sane?? It was close for me. Whew! I am so glad the worst is over. Oh, I am sure we still have a few cold mornings left...even a few freezes I am sure. However....we made it....Spring is FINALLY is evident when I heard this..........
One lonely little peeper....calling out to wake the masses...telling them to wake up, Spring is here! With Spring comes the " BIG MELT". Remember all of that snow? Well, not only did it melt but it had help melting with just over 24 hours of a steady rainfall. I was glad to watch the snow melt...
but Ohhhh, the flooding!
Hoping we get warmer temps seeds are started and my potato seed's are begging me to put them in the soil...not yet...slow down there!!
Soon my pretties.....soon.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Spring IS almost here...

Yes my dear friends....Winter is almost over...YAY! Spring is just about here....Almost all of the snow is gone...temps in the 50's and 60's..yes...Spring is near. Time to get those seeds started....if you haven't already. I am starting mine, Tomato's, green peppers, Onions, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Head lettuce, and Herbs. I can't wait to get in the gardens..of course, I have plenty time to wait since there is water everywhere. Now come the days of wading through mud, water and...the dreaded... " poop soup" Every farm/homestead, that has farm animals can relate to this. With the melting snow, comes clean up time as well. Little "treasures" popping up everywhere. Feed bags that have blown around during that one winter storm we had...( Pick one, there were plenty) Trash in the ditches that had fallen from cars as they drove by...( because people would never just throw it out of their windows, ) Time to "freshen up" those flower beds and garden areas...get them ready to plant. And time to clean out those animal houses. My biggest thing about Spring is..... DON"T OVER DO IT! Yes, we have been cooped up for months and the fresh air is amazing..and we feel we have endless energy...but we all know...we will over do it that first good week. I am going to TRY not too. Farm animals are birthing their young...poultry that haven't laid an egg in weeks or MONTHS are now starting to lay again. Spring wakes us all up lets get out there, but body has been resting a bit over the take it easy...don't over do it!!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Finally.....I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

That tunnel being winter, and the light being Spring! This whole next week we will have temps in the 50's and 60's. Woohoo! The white stuff is slowly melting....and the sloppy water levels are rising. Normally I would complain about the "poop soup" and being human, I am sure I will at some point....but for now...I am excited to see it. I was able to open the big barn doors yesterday and let the fresh air and sunshine in. Now comes the super busy MORE cleaning. There is one stall in the barn that I threw the dirty bedding in most of the winter. There is a pretty good pile in there, and the cats decided to make it their personal bathroom. When everything was frozen, that wasn't a problem. Now that the temps are rising.....oh boy, I have to get that out of there and ASAP! Today is the day....I am moving it all outside...where it will compost for a few months before going on the garden. With the warmer temps, I long for the sweet smell of fresh straw in the barn floor. One day at a time....I will get this place cleaned and get ready for the gardening. Are you as excited as I am?? It seems this past winter has been colder and harder than normal...I need fresh air....I need fresh turned soil....I NEED to be outside. For now, I am going to sit here and drink my morning the sun come up, then head out....It's time to play outside again!

Monday, March 2, 2015

More snow.... GRRRRRRRRRRRrreat!

OK, so by this time of the season....a lot of us are grumbling about every single snowflake that makes it's way down with it's millions or trillions of friends. I am no different. Yesterday morning, as I headed out to do the morning chores....the snow was really coming down. Big wet flakes. I started grumbling about I headed out, I stopped. Everything was silent...I just love the "hush" that seems to come with almost every snowfall. Most of the animals and critters run for cover...waiting out the snow...but not all of them. As I stool there, listening and watching the snow blanket the homestead..I heard a familiar "knocking" sound. " Tap, tap, tap" I looked around and saw where it was coming from....this guy..
Every spring a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers come to visit. They will hang around for a few weeks, then fly off to start their family. As I stood there taking in their beauty I captured a few more pictures I would like to share.
One of our gardens... we call it the Spring is the smaller of the 2 gardens we work with and usually is the first one we can get in and plant. I like to start the cooler vegetables in here. Peas, Brussels sprouts, Beets, lettuce and cabbages call this little spot home. Here it sits in limbo...waiting.
This birdhouse...waiting on it's next inhabitants...
This flag hangs outside of the rabbit house...frozen and hanging heavy with the wet snow. We didn't get a lot of snow....maybe another inch. It actually started to rain a little, later in the day...making slush everywhere. I am not a fan of slush. I carried on with the morning chores...taking water to everyone...filling feeders...throwing hay...turning bedding to fluff it a few pats on the heads and cheek scratches. Once inside, back to the warmth and safety of our home...I realized that this was going on in the storage area......
These potato's are ready to go in the garden and I am ready to get them in there. So.... Come on Spring....lets get this growing season going here!