Friday, February 28, 2014

February 28, 2014 A Daffodil, Chicken Gate Progress and Lizzie Gets Her Hair Done

Yesterday I had a very early work meeting which had me getting up at 4:30.  It pretty much made the rest of my day worthless.  I ended up taking a nap for 3 hours.  When I got up I was tired and pretty much wanted to go back to bed the rest of the day.  So nothing was done in the garden.

Jace gave the dogs greasy pork chops yesterday.  It's been a nonstop poopfest since.  I'm pretty irritated about it.  A lot of times my life seems to revolve around poop.  Chicken poop, rabbit poop, dog poop, and cat poop.  

Today we're hoping to get the new chicken run gate done.  I don't think time will allow any more than that today.  Otherwise I'll water some things in the hoop house.  Everything is coming along nicely.  Only 25 days to go!  Lizzie got dropped off for dog grooming today.  Can't wait to get a picture when I pick her up.

I found some time to dispatch another rooster.  Only 6 more to go!  This will have to be done pretty quickly before they get too big.

Here's today in pictures:

 The first daffodil to open up.  They are smaller in size than I was expecting.  Still a pretty flower.  I'm sure they're more impressive in larger groups.

We completed framing in the area for the new gate for the new chicken run area.

They just keep growing!

The best shot of Lizzie I could get.  She was very excited to be home.  She looks so sweet.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

February 26, 2014 Rainy Day Thoughts and A Throw Together Sundae

The weather today is chilly and very windy.  That will make this an inside day.  We're kind of in an open spot and really get hit with wind.  It's at its worst in spring.  The wind will howl day after day for a few months.  It can be frustrating gardening through this.  It's time to plant but you don't want your plants getting beaten up and torn to shreds from the wind.  I've had this happen.  It's very disappointing.  I'm getting better at arranging plants to be protected from the wind.  At this time there just aren't enough plants in the garden. (Remember, all those gardens in the magazines took 15 years to grow.)

(I just learned how to take a screen shot!  Woo hoo I'm feeling smart.)
As you can see from this screenshot the winds are up to 24 mph.  I temperature part is making me cranky.  It's getting colder after 11 am.  It looks like tomorrow will be good, though.

I went outside and let the chickens out.  They are always so full of bluster when they first come out.  After finding out it was cold they ran back into their coop.  Silly birds.  The daffodil has decided not to open yet.  I wouldn't either with this rain.  I'm grateful for the rain so I don't have to water the new trees, potatoes, onions, and garlic.

There are a couple of inside projects I'll be working on besides the usual housework.  I think it'll be a day for making comfort food, too.

We ended up doing all of that.  I completed some overdue housework, Rowan worked halfheartedly on her school work.  The dogs were happy to stay in the warm house and even let the cat sleep with them.

I made an appointment for Lizzie to get her hair styled.  She always looks so cute after she has it done.  There is so much cute I can't even look directly at her.  It's just too much cuteness.  I'll post a picture when she is done on Friday.

Jace came home from work and made some delicious pork chops and mashed potatoes.  I had a sweet tooth later in the evening.  Thinking back on some blogs I read today, they were all about dollar store desserts, I was inspired to pull some ingredients I had around the house to make my own small sundae.

Starting at the bottom I filled with a chocolate pudding snack cup, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a dollop of homemade strawberry jam, and topped with crumbled walnuts.  

It hit just the right spot and now I'm ready to tuck myself in for a long winters nap.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

February 25, 2014 Potatoes Planted and A Couple of New Plants

Today I woke up feeling almost normal.  Outside the weather is looking a bit rainy or heavy fog.  This crosses off two of the things on my to do list that can't be done due to rain.  I wanted Jace to set a cedar post for the new chicken yard and I needed to water some trees.  As of right now that leaves me with just two other things to work on.

As it turns out the weather improved some.  I was able to plant a Silver Maple tree.  The tag says it grows to 55 feet tall and 45 feet wide.  We'll just see about that.  I also got a hosta plant to spruce up the area where the grapes are going.  I'm trying to follow what some of the gardens in the magazines have. 

It also turned out to be potato planting day.  There are now 15 seed potatoes in the ground.  I got a hold of some straw and put it over the top of the bed and then watered it down.  

Lastly I have a new rose bush in the ground and it looks like one of the daffodils will be awake tomorrow!

Monday, February 24, 2014

February 24, 2014 The Dump Stinks, Biscuits and Mac N Cheese Links

 For awhile now we've had a couple of different trash piles from a kitchen and bath remodel.  Three years ago we took a week long vacation and at some point the thingy under the kitchen sink started to break and spray a fine mist of water.  We came home from a 30 hour drive to a kitchen, laundry room, and master bathroom under a half inch of water. 

The kitchen, laundry room, and master bathroom had to be gutted and everything replaced.  This was a win for me since I got to remodel three of the top used rooms of the house.  We also did the demolition ourselves. 

We piled everything outside and vowed we would haul it all away when we finished our remodel.  It should have been finished in two weeks.  But we were tired and we forgot all about it.  We refused to see the piles.

Three years later and with a new truck, the faithful husband finally got it all loaded up and took it away to the dump.  Let me tell you, the dump stinks.  It stinks to high heaven.  It is a miserable gag inducing stench.  I had no idea how awful it was.  It was so bad that I needed something to stuff up my nose.  There were no tissues or napkins.  I had to tear up plastic and shove it up my nose.  I looked very attractive.  I did not care.

Jace worked at lightening speed so we could unload our three year old burden, but mostly to escape this hell on earth place.  I think garbage collectors deserve every cent they earn.

After making it home there was still this odor.  Were we imagining it?  No.  Our clothes were permeated with the odor of the dump.  This was unbelievable since we had spent less than 30 minutes there.  So off the clothes came and went into the washer.

My lesson learned:  Chop up anything and everything into pieces small enough to fit in the regular garbage can so I never have to go to the dump again.  Seriously.

Here's a couple of recipes I found on other blogs and hope to try out very soon.

Baking Powder Biscuit Recipe from Little House Living

Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese from One Hundred Dollars A Month.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

February 23, 2014 A Brief Note

Another day and the flu remains.  I've had this kind of illness before.  Another day and wake up feeling just as bad as the day before.

Something fascinating that happened is Jace was picking up some free wood and came home with a bunch of picket fence panels.  He's going completely in on my idea of a cottage garden for cutting flowers in one part of the yard.  I've since been going over in my mind how I would like it to look.

Spring brings such a flurry of activity.  Both actual and mental.  As I become more serious about developing the property and gardens there's also so many mundane chores to consider.  Yesterday Jace moved the location of the water hose.  Mundane.  Today he will have to move out some tables that simply won't go with the new garden plan.  Mundane.  Sort of like a behind the scenes crew setting the stage for the big production.

The rest of my day was spent looking at gardening magazines and sketching out garden plans.  I find it very helpful to sketch out my plan as it helps me understand if a plant should be put somewhere else and what I need to finish to have the actual garden look like my plan.  It can reveal minor details I've forgotten about.  I have also found I might not be as certain about a particular area as I had thought.  

Although there are many things I'd like to get planted in the garden I must refrain.  There is still a month to go.  I must remain content with doing mundane chores now so I can spend my time simply enjoying my plants when Spring is in full bloom.  Patience must rule.  Winter is not yet done.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

February 22, 2014 A Couple of Yard Sale Finds

This morning I still have a mild sore throat and fatigue.  I received an enormous breakfast in bed.  Rowan must think I eat a lot.  I'm glad to have a Saturday at home.  I'm a very grateful sick person. 

 I thought it would be nice to share some things I have found lately at consignment shops and yard sales.

This is such an interesting piece.   It doesn't have any sort of mark.  I doubt it is worth much.  I have been staring at it at a local consignment shop for months.  It's kind of ridiculous.  Even ostentatious.  It simply will not let me go.  So I brought it home.  It hasn't found its' rightful place as yet.  I would think on top of the china hutch once it's painted.  I think roses or peonies will look pretty in here.

 At a yard sale recently, I found this basket.  I think it may be a picnic basket.  Inside it has a plastic liner.  It's terribly ugly unless you have a creative brain.  For $3 I had to have it.

 It's looking better now.  Would you believe I picked up this chair off Craigslist for $15?  I think the basket goes perfectly with it. 

 I put yellow snapdragons and some purple flowers in the basket.

 Cozy little basket.  I wish I had thought earlier to set my little yellow rake with it. 

I am so glad that Spring is here. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

February 21, 2014 And Then We Got The Flu

Last night I went to sleep with a sore throat.  I woke up with a sore throat also.  Jace has stayed home from work for the last 2 days and feeling sick for most of the week.  

Today he went to the doctor to make sure he wasn't getting pneumonia.  Instead he tested positive for Flu A.  There are 3 versions:  Flu A, Flu B, and H1N1.  You do not want the last one.  We even got our flu shots last October.  On an interesting note, flu shots only last about 90 days.

After he called home to inform me, I made myself an appointment with the doctor and went to get my test done.  So we both have the flu.

I went straight to the store to pick up my Tamiflu and other necessary items for my quarantine.  I bought myself flowers because it is sad to be sick.  I picked up some reading material, gingerale, and loads of sympathy from the cashier.

As flu virus' go this isn't so bad.  I may think differently tomorrow.  Jace has a positive outlook saying we now have some unexpected family time together.  There's no one I'd rather be sick with.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

February 20, 2014 Potato Bed, Nectarine Tree, Peppermint, and a Wash Cloth

Today I am still dreaming of garden creativity.  Along the fence line for the big garden I have set some eight foot cedar posts for stability for the fence.  The fence is necessary for keeping out deer and occasionally there is a dog running loose and I don't want to be surprised by it.  Anyway, I have already dug a hole for another cedar post along the front side of the fence.  I have the cedar post and the cement to set it.  It has dawned on me that I would like to plant a shade tree there instead.  Our summers are brutally hot and any bit of shade is welcome.  In this location the plants all do much better with partial shade.

Now to decide which kind of shade tree I would like.  This will require a trip to either Lowe's or Tractor Supply.  I'd like to get something that is fast growing.  I'm reading some things online, too.  Like here.

Another area I'd like to create is a bulb and cutting flower garden.  I think this would do well in the area next to the chicken yard.  I can't work on this until the new chicken fence is up.

Enough dreaming for today.  Something I need to work on is getting a picture of the potato bed because I finished digging it!  I think I'll be planting those potatoes very soon.  I'm not sure if I'm supposed to wait till after the last frost date.  Something else to research.

Here is the lovely potato bed.  It looks narrow in the picture but is 3 feet wide.  There will be 2 rows of potatoes.  I'll cover the bed with hay.

Hello Spring!  The nectarine tree is most definitely ready.  I'm sorry all the people living up north are still blanketed in snow and can't experience this yet.

My experiment with melon seeds in the egg carton is doing well.  So far 21 seeds have sprouted.  Now where am I going to put 21 melon plants?

Peppermint has beautiful blue eyes.  Dreamy.

This is a wash cloth I finished today.  It has seed stitch on the border and then basket weave stitch for the main body.  I like making our own wash cloths because they last forever and they feel so much better on your skin.  The longer I have them the better they look. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

February 19, 2014 Hyacinth, Kohlrabi, Chicken Casserole

Good Morning!  I'm not quite awake yet.  You know if the chickens would make coffee they would get let out sooner.

The other day I did finally take out the heat lamp from their coop.  I do expect we'll still have some cold days but they are big enough now to stay warm on their own in the coop.  Last night I also left the heater off in the hoop house.  There was lots of dew this morning so hopefully the plants enjoyed the humid air.

Here's something funny the neighbor asked me yesterday.  They wanted to know if I had any more roosters and if so, could they have one.  I said yes and then asked if they meant alive or dead.  They want a live one for eating bugs.  This can't happen.  Because roosters make noise and the whole point of bumping off the roosters is because I don't want them crowing.  Since I do want to raise broilers I'll pick up a hen for the neighbor one day.  

I'm daydreaming of things I want to do in other parts of the property.  This is bad.  I haven't yet begun to finish the things I'm doing now.  I blame gardening magazines.  They inspire me to do things I hadn't thought of, and I want my yard to look like theirs do right this minute.  I wish they would say, "It took me 15 years to get my yard this nice."  Most people probably don't want to hear that.  I just have to remember that every little thing I do is probably an improvement.

My blank slate 32x40 foot garden.  This was 2 years ago.

Ok, it's time to start the day.  I'll be back to show you what I've done with mine...

The first hyacinth bloomed.  I wasn't expecting a hot pink color so it was quite surprising.  I wish the other 6 were blooming but they will when they're ready.

I harvested one of the kohlrabi.  It's been growing since November.  They have all made it through the long winter with no noticeable issues.  I'm always surprised at which plants can survive freezing temperatures.  I cooked it tonight by grating it and putting in a casserole with chicken, noodles, onion, cream of mushroom soup and fontina cheese.  Delicious!  Thank you garden!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

February 18, 2014 Lemon Cake and An Apple Blossom

I had a wonderful sleep last night.  I dreamt of looking at houses.  They were all circular, I guess like a yurt, and there were no hallways.  I always wonder why I dreamed something so specific.

This morning I woke up to all manner of dog mess.  There was poop and pee and puke.  The three p's.  I also know why this happened.  I heavily suspect Onslo is being territorial in the laundry room and doesn't let Lizzie eat.  When I came home last night I let her run around the living room and gave her a bowl of food and water.  A little later I put her back outside for half an hour and then brought her in for the night.  She most likely had to go again later in the night and made herself sick with not wanting to go on the floor.  And then she went on the floor.

Luckily the weather this week will be very nice and it's a good time to transition the dogs to staying outside on the back porch at night.  It's very secure so I don't worry any stray coyote or house cat will get them.

Today I have to do some weekly chores.  For some reason I always enjoy putting my clean clothes away on Tuesday.  I also enjoy dusting and vacuuming.  I think in a way it's tidying up the house and having it ready for my days off from work.  Sort of starting with a clean slate.

Other things I need to work on are finishing the potato bed.  I strongly suspect this will win out over everything.  I desperately need to finish sanding the china hutch.  I can see it from almost anywhere I am in the house and its' unfinished state.  It is so very hard to work on it when the weather is so very nice.  Ah, there really are so very many projects I'd like to work on and so very little time.  I'd best get to work.  I'll be back soon to update my day.

I had meant to post this at the end of the afternoon but I was in a cake coma from a delicious made from scratch lemon cake with lemon frosting.  I'm trying to cook more from scratch and I think cake is a great place to start. 

Lemon Snack Cake from Hickery Holler Farm

In the hoop house there are lots of big and little things happening.  I've noticed some plants are getting their true leaves.  This is a Fordhook zucchini.  

This is a cucumber.

Hello strawberries.

Apple blossom on a Fuji apple tree.

Some seeds are just coming up.  I'm happy to see my Japanese white eggplant make an appearance.  I've noticed some seeds dying off.  These are only in the biodegradable/plantable pots.  I think they may drain water and dry out too quickly.  I'll have to keep a better eye on these.  


Sunday, February 16, 2014

February 16, 2014 Processing My First Chicken

This morning I'm trying to find a budget tracker for my phone.  So far I have one I can track my food and gas purchases but it doesn't track my fun money correctly.  Kind of aggravating.  I found another to track my fun money but it doesn't track cents.  I'm kind of particular and think keeping track of cents is important.  I'll continue my search.  Update:  I found one and it looks good at first glance.  I'll test it out this week.

Part of homesteading, in my opinion, is being able to manage expenses no matter how small and pesky they seem.  If you've ever taken a jar, pile, or boat load of change to one of those money machines, poured it in, and see how much all that change is worth, then you know that pennies matter.  The last time I took my pocket change that had filled up a quart jar and half of a gallon freezer bag, it added up to $97.  There's a whole lot I can do with $97.

One thing I used that $97 for was starting a savings account for Rowan.  Now I no longer have to make sure I have cash laying around to give her for an allowance.  Thanks to the internet I can just move that money around and deposit it straight to her account.  She still has a grand ole time going to the bank and filling out her bank slip.  The ladies at the bank are always real nice to her and put her money in an envelope, even if it's only five dollars.

Today I'm planning on sending a chicken to freezer camp.  Jace and I talked about this yesterday.  I've been mentally preparing to do this.  I haven't done this before.  Maybe I should play music.  Something like Eye of the Tiger to get me inspired.  It's not something I want to do but certainly must be done.

I did it!  I worked myself up and really did it.  It wasn't very pleasant, but also not too unpleasant.  I thank the chicken for giving me an easy first time.  I think Rowan's face really sums it up.  The video that really helped was this one on YouTube.


Jace brought me my hot water and worked as my camera man.  I tried to have everything I needed already prepared.  I had a chair to sit in to kill the chicken.  I had my very sharp knife.  I had a tarp on the ground for collecting all the feather mess.  I had a fold up table.  I had a pot of hot water, which I had heated to boiling and kept simmering before I killed the chicken.  The one thing I forgot was a plate/pan to put the chicken on when I was done cleaning it.

Here I am cleaning it.  The feathers really came out unbelievably easy. 

This is a picture of its' tail.  Jace wanted a picture of the oil gland but it's really hard to see unless you know you are looking at it.  I was very thankful for this tarp.  After finishing I took the tarp over to the compost pile and dumped all those feathers and what not.  My last step was to simply wash the tarp off and put everything away.

Here's part of our dinner tonight.  I seasoned with lemon pepper and rosemary.   I have to say the flavor was exceptional.  It was slightly tougher than I expected.  I am definitely forging on with my plan of raising our own meat chickens.

Friday, February 14, 2014

February 14, 2014 Estate Sale, Strawberry Plants, and Nectarine Tree

Today I'm doing something I hate.  A mammogram.  I generally hate all doctor visit kind of things.  They're so tedious.  Waiting in the waiting room.  Waiting in the exam room.  And you know it's absolutely beautiful outside.

The rest of my day will include things like paying the bills.  My life is getting more exciting by the minute.  I do hope to have some pictures up.  I've been scouring Craigslist in case there's something I can't live without but need a truck to pick up.  I need to get my money's worth out this truck we bought. 

On our way to town I noticed a sign for an estate sale.  Oooooh.  There's rarely one close by our house.  Rowan and I went to the sale after we had done all our town stuff.

Here's a picture of almost everything I bought.  Rowan picked a game and I also got a rug.

If you're like me it's hard to resist so much wonderful stuff.  I had no problem resisting this cherub riding on a smiling (?) dolphin soap dish, though.  Later as I was editing this post I thought, "You know it's so absurd it would look great tucked away in a corner holding a potted plant."  I should have bought it...

True spring fever.  I'm now planting seeds in everything I can find, including this egg carton.  I simply poked holes in the bottom, filled with dirt and seeds.  We'll see if I get 36 melon plants.

A typical day's fashion sense:  My sloggers, leggings because chiggers suck, a cool skirt, my apron because my skirt doesn't have pockets, and my sweater.

One of the eleven strawberry plants!  They've become more intensely colorful and the leaves are opening up.  I bought these in a box for $4.99 at Tractor Supply.  (Not an endorsement, just a fact) I've decided to give 2 plants to a friend when I'm certain they'll survive.

I went to look at the nectarine tree again.  Is it really spring?  I have blossoms on my tree!  The apple tree is not too far behind.  The weather for the next week will be mild.  I hope it's not too soon for these blossoms to appear.   

Thursday, February 13, 2014

February 13, 2014 Homeschooling Tale

Today we will be catching up on school work.  Like a whole week's worth.

Homeschooling is great.  It gives our family a certain amount of freedom we would not have otherwise.  There's also a certain amount of constraints.  Like your kid is always there.

I love not having to wake up early and nagging at the kid to get up and get dressed.  Then there's either putting the  kid on the bus or driving her to school.  I'd think I'd rather claw my eyes out than drive to school 5 days a week.  We actually tried the bus for 3 years.  In Rowan's fourth year on the bus we started having issues about bullying.  If Rowan decided to go back to public school I would drive her.  I don't believe making someone self-immerse for an extended period of time in miserable situations makes them tougher.

Jace says he never wants her to go back to public school.  He says the influences there are too damaging.  Rowan does not like to watch any scary movie and we don't let her watch things with a lot of smooching or cussing.  So for her to go to a public school and be bombarded by violence, cliques, and behaviors of modern relationships makes her a little cuckoo.  And yes, these things do happen in first grade.

We're now into our second full year of homeschool.  It's been mostly great.  I can't remember being scared at all to try it.  Perhaps since I always pretended to be a teacher when I was little and taught my dolls prepared me for this.  While there are things I loathe teaching, like grammar, there are other things I love, like math.

Since we are in the country we do not belong to a homeschool group.  We did try but it wasn't a good fit and was pretty far away.  There are other kids in our neighborhood Rowan likes to play with.  She knows to get her work done by the time they are getting home from school, if she wants to play outside with them.

The truth is I like having her around.  She's becoming a real gardening nut and all around outside kind of girl.  She knows where food comes from.  She's becoming more capable with helping and she never complains about having to let the chickens out, or putting the chickens up at night.

I remember her favorite show as a baby was Little House On The Prairie.  She loves the books, too.  Perhaps as my love of teaching my dolls has come to fruition, so has her love of being Laura Ingalls Wilder.

For today we will have to put our outside dreams aside.  We will have to do our school work.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Today's Garden Collage

 I'm trying different ways of putting up my photos. 

Sometimes pictures don't need a long explanation.  It's pretty obvious.  A short 5 words or less description will do.  I would anticipate seeing a lot of these in the future.

February 12, 2014 Bought Our New Farm Truck and Pineapple Zucchini

Hi y'all.  I got up early this morning as I was supposed to go with a friend of mine to visit another lady.  My friend woke up with a tummy ache so we aren't going.  I admit I wasn't thrilled about getting up early but thought it would be a nice thing to do for my friend.

Now I have time to do some other stuff.  There may be time for Jace and I to go look at another truck we found about an hour away.  First, I need to put laundry away and let the chickens out.

I did manage to redo my header to something I like.  Blog work is always so tedious.

Reading over some blogs this morning I found a canning recipe for Pineapple Zucchini.  Now most of you know that zucchini can be very prolific.  There's even jokes about people locking their cars so no one can sneak a bag of zucchini into their front seat.  If I'm lucky enough to have a prolific amount of zucchini I'm going to be using this recipe.

Finally!  I am so happy the truck buying adventure is over.  We decided to go see one of the trucks Jace found on the internet.  The salesman assured us it hadn't been in a flood or fallen off a cliff.  It drove like a dream and about 30 seconds into the test drive Jace declared this was the truck he had been looking for.  We made an offer and 2 hours later I was driving it home.  Jace had to leave and go to work so I had to stay at the car place and finish up the paperwork, transfer insurance, and clean out the car we used as a trade in.  (Kind of convenient Jace had to leave and I got stuck with all the dirty work, if you ask me.)

Now I can get back to gardening and chicken-ing stuff.  I'm really going to have to start thinning out the chickens.  I just can't seem to find the time.  Or maybe I don't want to find the time.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

February 11, 2014 Buying A Truck

Today we are supposed to go buy a truck to replace Jace's almost dead car.  The weather is cloudy and around 38 degrees.  This is actually perfect weather to shop because who else shops for a vehicle in yucky weather?  I like to think we're going to make some salesman's day today.  They probably think they are getting up, going to work, and just going to sit there all day not making any money.  A little fantastic don't you think?

If I wasn't doing this today I probably would be sanding the china hutch.  I haven't gotten any further due to a lack of opportunity to sand.  I have faith there will always come bad weather days and I will get it done.

Many hours later...

It's the end of a very long day.  And we are back home without a truck.  We were very productive, though.

*We have financing through our bank.  This is good because it gives us bargaining power with a dealer.

*We found a couple of trucks and are sort of playing the waiting game to see if they really want our business and will call us back tomorrow.

*We have found a few more on the internet since getting home and sent emails out to the dealers. 

Now I need to go read up on how not to get swindled with warranties and such. 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

February 9, 2014 Strawberries, Peonies, and Honeysuckle

Sunday.  Ahhh.  Yesterday was a very horrible day.  I am glad that it is over.  I should have known it would be bad.  Onslo stood right in front of me and peed on the floor.  My mouth dropped.  My excessively potty trained dog just peed on my floor.  I'm pretty sure it was because it was cold outside and he was just being stubborn.  I'll keep an eye on him.  Work was chaotic.  It's so busy in winter.  It makes me very cranky.  So I got in an argument with Jace.  We stopped talking to each other for the day.  But then I didn't have a support system to whine to about my terrible day.  Thankfully, Saturday is over.

This morning I took some time to read one of my old blogs.  This is actually my third blog to write.  I think I felt I outgrew the old one.  It put me in a good mood reminiscing about some past garden adventures.  Things are definitely improving on this tiny homestead.

Today, is beautiful outside.  I can tell it's a day for getting some things done.  I want to keep a good schedule of cleaning out the chicken coop on Sundays so I'll be doing that first thing.  They sure do make a mess.

I planted 11 strawberry plants in the hoop house today.  The box said there would be 10 plants.  Ha!  I got an extra.  Should strawberries come in a box?  I know I planted strawberry seeds and I still have a pot of dirt.  Rowan wants strawberries so bad and I'd love to make that happen for her.  She may have to settle for an artificial strawberry plant.

Today is exceptionally beautiful.  I went around the yard taking some pictures.  In the hoop house I planted 11 strawberry plants, a clematis, and three more peonies.  I love peonies.  If they grow I will even try to paint a picture of one.

It's hard to see but this chicken has a tasty clover weed I picked out of the potato area I'm working on.  It has turned out to be a good idea to dump the weeds for them to sort through.

This is a winter honeysuckle.  It always blooms about this time.  It doesn't mind any freezing temps.  It's wonderful to sit next to and watch the bees on warm days like today.  I can get close enough to see the pollen they have stored on their legs.  The winter honeysuckle smells very sweet and like perfume.

These are poppies.  They will be red.  I harvested seeds last year and then scattered them over all the back garden beds.  They are quite whimsical and lovely when they bloom.  They are one of my favorite picture taking flowers.

This is from the nectarine tree.  Lovely buds of new leaves.  Some are already opening.  This tree did very well last year.  However, due to blustery spring winds, all the blossoms were blown off.  No nectarines :(

Friday, February 7, 2014

February 7,2014 I Wish Winter Wouldn't End

I really wish the day would start later.  Something decent, like around noon.

The chickens are a bit funny.  I opened the coop this morning and they all ran out but then must have decided it was too cold and they all ran back in.  I didn't get to see what they did after that because it's Friday.

Friday means paying the bills and buying some food before all the money is gone.   Today was a special Friday.  I also got to buy 150 pounds of various animal food.  It's still in the car.  I suppose it will help to give some weight since there's ice on some of the roads.  It would be my luck to end up in a ditch with 150 pounds of pet food strewn all over.

We spent our evening playing Go Fish with Lizzie (one of us is a cheater and licks the cards)

 I don't mind the ice or yucky things of this weather.  Especially in February and early March.  Most of the blogs I read are all bemoaning the endless snow and pronouncing boredom and plans for riots against the weathermen.  I see it in a completely positive light.

 Cardinal on a Mesquite Tree.  Foggy day, long grasses underneath

I'm not ready for Spring!  The weather, sure, but I don't have things ready yet.  If tomorrow was planting day outside I wouldn't be ready.  I'd even be disappointed with myself for not having things completed.  Disappointed that some things would be getting a half effort because it wasn't finished.  Disappointed because my plan was to work hard over the winter so there would be no hard work when spring came.  So I could enjoy my Spring.  All my beds would be cleaned out and compost mixed in with all the dirt.  All the dead things would have been cleaned out and moved to the compost pile.  All the tools, pots, buckets, and trash will have made it to their purposed spots.  All the fencing put safely away.  The lawnmower tuned up and anxiously awaiting it's first chance to mow.

Most of my plans are actually coming along quite well.  I proved true and completed the cucumber and grape growing area.  That's a huge relief.  The grape growing area does need some bun poo still.  I'm creating another area for growing potatoes.  I only started this yesterday.  I approximate needing 30 sq ft this year, allowing for spacing.  I have much work to to do to get this area ready.  The rest is making sure the beds are topped off and pulling errant weeds.  Then I will proclaim it Ready!

It should only take 2 days.  That's where things don't work out.  It's difficult to work outside in these kinds of conditions.  Although, the boys at the greencenter do give us weird looks for wanting dirt and seeds right now.  One can only ignore the biting cold on the hands for so long.  The hoop house is a blessing to work in when there are winds or rain. 

We should have been able to complete some more over the weekend but a minor travesty occurred.  Jace decided to take his car into the shop to get something fixed.  It's going to cost more than what the car is worth.  Now we are blessed because we didn't get the camper this past week.

The rest of the weekend will be spent scouring the internet trying to find the elusive .
vehicle he's searching for.  I have found 6 within 100 miles of us.  Jace will have to gather the rest of the information and make his choice of which one he wants.

I hope next week isn't so pressing on my time.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

February 6, 2014

0815  I suppose the chickens want out.  They're needy like that.  Have I mentioned that one of them is trying to find their voice?  That means crowing is coming soon.  That means chicken dinner is coming soon.  Still need to watch a video on that.

Update:  I watched 2 videos.  Tomorrow might be the day...

0830  Chickens are free.  Chicken water is frozen again.  Not all the way through.  This will give them something to do.  Yesterday I gave them all my grass and weed pullings from the garden.  Is this ok?  I don't know.  They are all still alive today.  I also gave them some dog food my neighbor gave me.  They let it sit around for awhile and then they peck at it.  They seem to like it ok.  They are interesting birds but I find that I don't have a real deep affection for them.  Perhaps because I know they are livestock and are here to work and serve a purpose.  I feel the same about the rabbits.  Jace takes care of them so I don't really see them a lot anyway.

My love is for Peppermint, Lizzie, and Onslo.  I let Lizzie and Peppermint sleep on the bed last night.  A big no no, I know.  Peppermint sleeps on the bed all the time.  Lizzie was looking kind of downhearted about sleeping in the laundry room.  I think she does not like it there any longer.  Her breed is very social and she is well potty trained, so I think it may be time for her to move up in the world and stay with the family all the time.  This will of course depend on her obeying and behavior.

Today looks like it will be an inside day.  Outside it is gray, cold, and breezy at 36 degrees.  In the hoop house it is 40 degrees this morning.  No new sprouts and all the current plants look ok.

This cold and dreary weather is responsible for THIS! (pointing to evidence above)  It's a simple white cake recipe which I added brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice and almonds to.

Lizzie and Peppermint sleeping.  They have been growing up together and Lizzie loves everyone and everything.  Today Rowan and I gave her a bath and conditioner.  I shaved a little more.  I'm doing it a little more and about once a week to get her used to it.  There are so many stickers that it's a lot of work trying to keep her sticker free.  It'll be easier just to keep her shaved.

 Isn't she cute?  I picked her up at Hobby Lobby.  I'm hoping she'll sit on the china hutch when I finish it.

This is the orange cinnamon natural cleaner I put together a couple of weeks ago.  I poured it into a bottle and put the orange peel and cinnamon sticks in the compost bucket.  It smells pretty much like you would expect:  orange, cinnamon, and vinegar.  I had already finished cleaning the kitchen (4 sink loads of dishes) so I'll have to try it tomorrow.

Lastly, this is my first paper rose I made last night.  I followed the youtube video.  For color I used a couple drops of red food coloring in about a quarter cup of water.  I'm looking forward to making some more.