Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Counting Blessings.....

Yesterday, I walked through the gardens, kicking the dirt and watching the dust fly up....dreading that I needed to drag out the water hoses to water my precious vegetables. I grumbled and looked up at the sky...wondering why we couldn't get some rain.....when I wanted it. Wow, pretty self righteous of me wasn't it? Then I remembered all of those in Texas and Oklahoma, who are begging for the rain to stop. Here I am complaining because the lack of rain might cause me a little inconvenience... when thousands of people are losing everything they own because of flooding, tornado's, and storms. I hung my head....and had to stop and ask God to forgive me. I looked around at all of my blessings...my garden is doing fantastic....the animals are all healthy and a few are giving us babies...the poultry are laying great....yet I complain. Wow. Oh, I know I am not the only one out here in "cyberland" that does it, or has done it....I might be one of the few who will actually admit it tho. It is embarrassing to admit when we are acting like spoiled children. So....if you are reading this...and live in Texas or Oklahoma...or have family and friends that have been effected by this weather...know that I am sorry...and I am praying for everyone there. If you are like me, and are not down there...please...say a little ( or BIG ) heart felt prayer for everyone that has been hurt by this weather. Then, stop and look around at all of your blessings...

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Strawberries and cooler weather...

The strawberry patch we planted last year is surprising me by doing quite well this first year. I really didn't think there would be any berries from it however it seems no one told the plants.
These were the first 3 I picked....then yesterday....these.
I always get excited when the first strawberries start to ripen. Soon it will be time to start making jam....and cakes...and everything strawberry. Another great thing about late spring?? Wisteria! It is blooming everywhere! Someone had planted this years ago, and just let it grow wild. It is in the tops of the trees, some as tall as 30 feet. At least it smells good over by the chickens, geese and rabbits. Maybe I should plant some by the pig pen!?
I wish this was a scratch and sniff....this stuff smells SO good. Tomorrow I plan to bring some in for the table. Today's weather was pleasantly cool. Highs in the upper 60's. Looks like we will get at least 2 more days of this weather...but a little cool overnight. Lows in the low 40's make for good sleeping for me...but Nikki my Macaw is not happy. I have to make sure she is covered early to keep the warmth in. So, that's about it for here. Cool weather...strawberries and Wisteria. Oh, and of course...gardening.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The fruits of our labors....

It starts. The strawberries are just starting to ripen and I am giddy! Friday early evening as I walked through our new strawberry garden a flash of red catches my eyes. My heart races....fresh strawberries! Not a whole lot to get excited about, just yet....but those first few are always exciting. As I walked the rows, I found 3 pretty good sized strawberries. I quickly pick them and cradle them in the safety of my hands....safe from the birds and bugs that want them as much as I do!
I hurried back inside with my treasures and show them to the hubby. I hand them to him....and head back outside to finish with the evening chores. A mistake I know I will not make again! When I came back inside....he tells me how " sweet those strawberries were" Waite......WERE?? Yep, he ate them all. *sigh* That is OK, There will be plenty more...later. Forward to Saturday. Again, on my way from the barn, I stopped in the strawberry patch...just maybe there would be a few more?? As I walked the first two rows, nothing. Disappointment crept up....then, I see it. ONE big red strawberry. I smile...and quickly pluck it. This one is mine! I will not even stop at the house to show the hubby....I quickly head to the chicken coop to let the chickens out...stopping at the rain barrel to wash my prize. I stepped into the coop, berry in hand and there stood Momma. Now momma is my favorite little hen. She has been with us for 8 years now, and has raised several little ones. She eyed my strawberry.....then looked at me...back to the strawberry. She watched as I lifted it to my mouth, then....she did it. She dropped her little head in disappointment. I swear I could see her shoulders slump and heard a little sigh. I froze. DRATS! I turned my back to her so I could eat my strawberry without prying eyes.....but I could "feel" her watching me. Why does she have to be so darned CUTE!????
I quickly take a small bite...I couldn't resist....but then I bend down, and give the rest of it to her. She ended up with more than half...but that is OK. She is a special little hen...and there will be plenty more strawberries....later. She was so happy. She quickly gobbled up the sweet berry.
I will tell you.....IF when I walk through the strawberry patch later this morning...and I find another ripe one.....I will wipe it on my shirt and quickly pop it in my mouth. I will not leave the area with it in my hand. I will not look into the eyes of another being...that wants MY strawberry.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

S P R I N G .... means NO REST.

Spring.....many if not all of us sit around the last few weeks of winter....dreaming and talking about, even planning for the first few days or weeks of spring. We dream about the warm sunshine, the spring rains, the songs of the frogs and gardening. Rarely do we hear anyone say a word about being exhausted, sore, frazzled or frustrated about the planting season. Mostly all we can think about is the snow and cold being gone. Then, Spring gets here. We start getting excited about "getting in the garden" however with Spring, comes the Spring rains. Oh, for a lot of us, this means...a whole lot of rain,flooding the gardens so that we can't get in there to prep the beds...or washing out what we had just planted. The winter cold and snow tends to make us forget about those frustrations. Spring comes and we head out with high expectations. " THIS year I am going to get all of my planting done early" or maybe " This year I am going to keep on top of the weeds" HA! I bet we have ALL said that last one, and we do.....for a while. For us here, Spring means sore backs, hands, and feet. It means losing sleep when kidding season starts. Making lists of repairs that need taken care of, and in the order of importance....then losing that list, and for the most part, just winging it. I sat down with my pen and paper, drew up images of the garden areas, planned where I would be planting this or that....then when the time came to actually plant...well...because of the time constraints....or maybe it is the frustrations of trying to just beat the next rain storm...about half of what I planned actually gets planted where I had planned it. This year is no different from the last. After two full days of tilling, pulling weeds, planting....we marveled at our work, only to realize we forgot to plant beets! But, about 90% of the gardens are planted. I need to clear out another area for the beets....then get the last 40 onion sets in the ground, plant carrots, pumpkins, and cucumbers. Once everything is planted, we can set out to start the repairs needed in several areas. Before you know it....we will be cutting firewood, canning, and storing away our hard fruits and root vegetables. Counting, weighing, planning....getting ready for another long winter. But for now....it is mid Spring..as I stand slowly, stretching my aching muscles, groaning as I pull boots on my sore and tired feet, I smile. I smile because I know that from all of my labors and hard work, we will survive another winter, with full bellies and great tales to tell around the fire on cold nights.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

What am I forgetting???

So for the last two days, the hubby and I have been busting our butts, trying to get the last of the gardens planted. Friday I planted 2 rows, 20 ft long of potato's, and a hand full of onions. It felt good getting them in the ground, but we were a long way off from being done. Yesterday I was able to get the green beans in while he filled the raised bed for the tomato's. By the time I finished, he was finished so I set in the tomato's and 20 Brussels sprouts. That was enough for one day, the heat combined with humidity was really taking it's toll on us. Today...we planned to finish....I had to run into town for gas and I wanted to pick up a watermelon for later. By the time I got home, hubby was ready to till the other larger raised bed. Once he finished I got busy getting the rows of lima beans in. 2 rows about 15 ft long. I left enough room on the one side to put in the lettuce. There was just enough room, whew! On the other side, I finished up with 12 more Brussels sprouts, while he tilled the last spot in the garden. That is where I planted the green peppers. The only thing left to plant will be cucumbers...and that spot is ready to go. As we stood there watering everything in....we both had the feeling...something was missing. But how? Both gardens are just about full to the seams! Potato's....onions....green beans...tomato's...Lima beans...Brussels sprouts...lettuce....peppers....cucumbers. We couldn't figure out just what was missing. THEN.......Hubby said the ONE word that rang through my veins like ice water...... BEETS!! My head snapped around..NO, no no no no no......I must have planted them SOMEWHERE!! I hurriedly looked over the gardens....not a beet to be found. How can that be??? Quickly, I started thinking....where can I plant them! I MUST HAVE BEETS!! I felt the tears starting to well up...This can't be happening. Then..... I found it....I found the spot where I can squeeze in maybe 2 rows, 20 ft long....*sigh* disaster averted!! Now I can sit back and rest....let this old body recharge....tomorrow I will tackle the area I need to clean up for the beets.

Friday, May 8, 2015

One step forward....Two steps back?

Isn't that the old saying? Here lately I feel like it is more like one step forward, twenty steps back. The weeds are growing faster than I can get to them. Oh boy, if this is how the summer is going to go, I will be a very busy woman! Maybe. I have been saving my cardboard for months. My plan is to get everything planted.....lay cardboard down thick, then top it with the old barn bedding. Hoping to keep the weed growth at a minimum. For now, my biggest worry is getting the garden planted! So far....here it is May 8th, and I have....NOTHING planted. *sigh* Just trying to get the beds ready has been a chore. I WILL get the potato's in the ground today.....one way or another. How about you? What have you planted? I had full trays of seedlings....they were growing so well. Tomato's, peppers, Brussels sprouts, Broccoli, head Lettuce....all coming up so pretty...then, the cat happened. Apparently he thought I was growing "fresh greens" for him to snack on. Yep, he ate EVERY ONE of them! *sigh* I need a better system for sure. Like a green house! That will be another one of my "great goals" this summer. A large enough green house to not only grow my seedlings, but to have a place for either the rabbits, or bantam chickens to over winter. *sigh* One can hope. For now, it is 8 am...and here I sit. ( maybe that is why I am falling behind?) It is going to be another hot and humid day, so I need to get outside and get it going before the heat starts. I love Spring....the busy days...planting...working so hard you drop into bed at night...then you get a short time of "rest" before the harvesting begins.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Getting back into the swing, or trying.

This time of year, we step outside and realize all of the jobs we have to get done. Some are big, some are smaller..either way, after a long winter there are a lot of things to get done. So, pick your "poison" and do it wisely. My problem is, I try to pack too much into one day. I get up in the morning, and while drinking coffee I lay out the day, always thinking I can get so much done, and not stopping to realize just how involved one may get. Like today. We have that strawberry patch we put in last year. There are 5 rows that are about 30 ft long. The weeds are coming up so fast I can barely see the strawberry plants
. Well, today the temps in the low 70's, sunny, light breeze. My plan, get all of the weeds pulled, replae any plants that didn't make it through the winter...then bring the barn bedding over and lay it in the rows. No biggie.... right? I mean, there are only 5 rows. HAHA! I was able to get 2 rows done. It is a lot harder getting back into the swing, once you turn 50. It doesn't help that we have the baby goats pip poppin around and "require" scratches once in a while. I mean...just look at them!
Now the sun is setting....I am clean and in my warm jammies.....coffee by my side. Time to rest these old sore bones and get ready for round two, tomorrow.