Tuesday, April 25, 2017

It Isn't Spring Without Chicklets!!

Last year was the only year on the farm that we didn't have chicks...
and Spring just didn't feel right.
With egg numbers dwindling (due to too many geriatric chickens)...
we felt it was time to breathe a little new life into the flock.

Meet our nine new gals, Beebee, CeeCee, DeeDee, Fifi, Gigi, Kiki, Lily, Mimi, 
and Sissi.

They are four-week-old Rhode Island Red/Black Sex Link crosses.
In a few short months they will be laying delicious brown eggs.

I am heading to Tractor Supply today to see if I can find just a few more girls to add to this batch.

It's always so much fun to watch them grow!

And speaking of growing....
the garden!
Can't wait to show you all that is coming up.
I see veggies coming out our ears in just a couple months.
We've started cutting asparagus this week....YUMMY!!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Pastoral Sunday

Sunday in the front pasture looked like this...

The horses spent the morning in the upper pasture,
so the pigs, sheep and donkeys took command of the front pasture.
(However, at the time of these photos the sheep were nowhere to be found....
they had already sought the shade of their own yard.)

You might remember last summer I was a little wary about letting the pigs and donkeys graze together without me chaperoning.
The donkeys were completely uninterested this time,
and happily grazed through the little hole in their grazing muzzles...
(lots of activity with little caloric intake.)

I sat and watched as everyone calmly wandered about.

The pigs were intent upon investigating every inch of the donkey yard.

Finding nothing of interest (translation: nothing to eat) they headed back out to the pasture.

MaryAnn plopped herself right down beside me for some belly rubbing.

It wasn't long before Moll was in the thick of things....
surveying the rest of the pasture from her piggy perch.

I was asked if the cats get up on the pigs by themselves.

Actually, I always put them there.

The pigs enjoy the attention, and the cats have become much more relaxed around them as a result.

We had an unpredicted frost Saturday night.
When I arrived at the barn Sunday morning, I quickly rinsed the frost off of all of the plants.
I think everything will survive...

with the exception of two cucumber plants that I took a chance on planting early.
As the saying goes... "Haste makes waste."
I was definitely a little hasty on planting cukes this early.
The rest of my cucumbers will wait until the chance of frost is completely out of the picture.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Garden Tales

Come....sit with me on the bench beneath the wise old tree.
We'll sit and sip a cup of tea,
and listen to his tales of old...
full of adventures, big and bold.

We must be very quiet, though, as a wee fairy sleeps beneath his craggy trunk.

Fairyland is once again awakening.
As Spring spreads her magic sparkles across the land,
the ferns begin to unfold and the moss begins to hum.
There are flowers and greenery everywhere.
It's really quite magical!

 An old rusty wagon makes the perfect container for a little fairy garden.
A trip to the woods yielded moss and ferns.
A few tiny plants and flowers complete the landscape.

In preparing the wagon, I drilled holes in the bottom,
and covered the bottom with vinyl screen to keep the soil from washing through the holes.
Then I filled it half full with compost and topped it off with potting soil.
A layer of moss provides a thick green carpet on which to add the fairy details.
Tiny rocks make a footpath. 

Between animal chores, my days are spent gardening.
I am most happy when my fingers are in the soil....
and so I am planting, planting, planting!

I can hardly wait to share the garden progress with you in the coming weeks!

(Thank you Linda for gifting me this wonderful, wise old tree and the fairy gazebo!!)

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Girl Time

"Sometimes we gals just need a little "alone" time....
or a little time to chat with the girls."

"It's not that we don't adore you men...
we do!
But... an occasional "girls day" recharges our batteries.
Spending some time with our besties who "get" us...
who speak the same language."

Actually, when it comes to the turkeys,
Ethel does her own thing for the most part.
Tom and Chuck spend most of the time hanging out together...
trying to out-flex each other.
Ethel's never impressed.

These two turkey boys spend all day, every day, together and having been getting along marvelously.
In the past, when Chuck was alive (before the arrival of Fred and Ethel),
our two turkey boys would fight at this time of year....
a mating season ritual.
So far, Tom and Chuck seem to cohabit in peace.

Ethel spends most of her time with the hens or on her own...
snacking here and there,
and indulging in dust baths at the public baths.
Occasionally in the middle of the day she will head back to the turkey house to lay an egg.
She's an independent woman with her own agenda!

Yesterday I mentioned Chinese Red Noodle Beans.
If you are unfamiliar, here is a photo from last summer....

These beans are excellent climbers and produce lots of long (12 inches at least!)
red beans that taste just like green beans.
I use them in stir fry...
and by the way, they turn green when you cook them.

Another vining bean that I will plant on the tunnel trellis are these Christmas limas.

With no nights dropping below 40 in the extended forecast,
I might just be able to get the rest of the seeds into the ground in record time!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Spring Chores

It's 9 PM Tuesday evening and I've just gotten into the house.
The animals are all put to bed for the day...
the birdsongs have stopped...
the farm is silent in its repose.
It's been a long day... spent outdoors... helping the farrier, mowing, gardening, caring for the animals.
It's been the best kind of day.

I can't remember a more beautiful Spring than this year.
Everything is blossoming... every inch of the farm is oozing new life!
I found this single little soldier standing upright in the asparagus patch.

I swear it's the earliest emergence ever!
I have planted parsley amongst the asparagus this year,
as these plants make the best of friends.

Yesterday's work in the garden included the construction of this trellis.
This tunnel/trellis is made from 3 livestock panels.
 (you can find them at your local farm supply store)

In the box on the right I will plant tomatoes so that they can climb up the trellis.
In front of them... basil for companionship...
and what a yummy combination.

In the box on the left I will plant pole beans...green beans and red Chinese noodle beans.
These will also climb the trellis to the top.
By late summer we should have a lush tunnel with lots of shade for the dogs to sleep
while I work.

Out in the yard beyond the garden the guineas were in formation.

They line up and sweep across the yard, eating bugs and ticks as they go.
I am hoping to add more guineas to our flock this year.

The rest of the animals spent their day grazing...

 a typical Spring day for all!

I have lived my life both in town and in the country.
I appreciate spring here in the country so much more than I ever had in the past.
Previously, Spring signaled the beginning of warm weather.
In the country, where winter surrounds us with nothing but grey and browns...
Spring is like changing the world from black and white to color!...
much more noticeable without all of the man-made structures in town.


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