Monday, March 29, 2010

A Few More Pictures

Last week flew by in a blur - there was so much to do, and unfortunately, not all of it was outside. But at least now, our taxes are done :) I had hoped to spend Thursday outside working on the garden, but instead, spent the day inside because of rain. Well, most of the day, anyway. I did get to spend some time outside in the rain, raking and digging wet leaves and branches out of the ditch near the driveway. It must have rained really hard that night because that morning, I noticed that the street was flooded in front of our house. When I investigated, I found that it was because there were leaves and sticks blocking the flow of water through the ditch. Ahhh . . . country living :)

We had guests over this weekend, so I spent most of Friday getting ready for them, but I did have time to plant 4 asparagus plants. From what I can tell, moles have already dug up one of them, but I am hopeful that the others will make it.

Saturday, our guests were interested in going to town to check out some garden centers, so we did. We came home with a Japanese Magnolia, an Azalea bush (an interesting variety that blooms most of the time), strawberry plants, blueberry plants, raspberry plants, a few heirloom tomatoes and a flat of pansies that we received for free (I am sure it is because they were looking kinda rough and would have been hard to sell - and aren't they going out of season, too?). We put them to good use filling some terra cotta pots with them.

This one is my favorite.

The garden is slowly getting built. I am hoping to spend today working on it and maybe get it built and at least one raised bed planted. This is what it looked like late yesterday afternoon. The plan is to cover the area we are building it on completely with hardware cloth (moles) then lay weed blocking paper (most likely newspaper) over that. We will lay the beds on top of that and build a fence around the entire area. I'm hoping to get the hardware cloth and weed blocking done today so that I can start filling the beds. As you can see in the picture, I had to purchase compost this year as there is no way the compost I am making will be ready in time for spring planting. I guess that means we'll have to build more beds in the fall :) The fence around the garden may have to wait until early next week because I have another pressing building project that I must finish soon. I need to build a chicken coop.

Yes!! A chicken coop!! We were offered 3 hens and a rooster and if we are going to take them, they need to bring them by next weekend. Since they are full grown and already laying, they need a coop and not just a cardboard box, so I better get busy. I will post pictures of them some time next week. I do have some pictures of my Dad's chicks. He got 4 of them last week from a farm supply store in a town near where they live. They are such cuties!!
His choices were the commercial variety of white egg laying chickens or a mixed variety, so he went with the mixed, though he does not know what kinds they are or what sex. We think the gray one is a rooster, but the others are probably hens. The chicks (oh, and my parents) were our visitors this weekend so the boys fed these chicks lots of our farm bugs and my compost got a nice little (well actually, not so little, these guys can produce some manure!!) boost of chicken manure. Just a few short years ago, I would NEVER have believed I would be glad to have poop, lol. Ahh . . . country living :)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Projects and Happenings at the Cabin Update (Pics)

I have a few pictures. I'll add more as things get done :)

We are having much success, as you can see, in growing a puppy. He is getting so big. And, he has a natural hunting instinct already, which I can appreciate. He has already caught (and ate) a mole that was digging around in the area we are prepping for my garden. Love that dog!!

This is the pear tree. It does look somewhat like a Bradford Pear, but the branches are more spread out. Only time will tell if we will be putting up our own pears this year.

Between doctor's appointments, vet appointments, homeschooling and math club, I have not been able to get outside to work on the many projects I had planned. I have something else pressing to do today, but tomorrow, after school, I am hitting the yard and getting some work done :)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Projects and Happenings at the Cabin

When the sun comes up, I'll try to get some pictures. For now, here are some of the things we've been working on around here.

Taking up most of our time and energy these last two weeks has been the puppy. I have never had a puppy before and was blown away by the amount of work it took the first week or so. He literally pooped 12 times a day, and if we did not clean it up right away, before we knew it, he had run through it and then we had lots to clean. Things have gotten better on that front and he is growing like a weed. We are all crazy about him, especially me, which is quite surprising to me since I don't particularly like dogs, lol.

A few weeks ago, I put together a monthly menu and started making extras and freezing it. We now have about a weeks worth of meals in the freezer (breakfasts, lunches, suppers and snacks) and the monthly menu is, so far, a success.

We were recently reminded of the importance of storing some water for emergencies. Wwe usually do this, but with the move, I had forgotten to replenish our supply. A few weeks ago, the pipe carrying water to our house and the rest of our road developed a leak, then broke and we were without water for 12+ hours. Definitely, it was not a huge deal, since it was more of a localized emergency and we were able to buy water at the store, but it was a good reminder that those kinds of emergencies can happen without warning, and sometimes the stores can run out of what you need, so we are keeping a few day's worth of water on hand from now on.

A farmer's market in a nearby city is now open, though there is very little produce yet. It is mostly crafts and baked goods/ jams/ pickles. There is one farmer there with fresh flowers who also has eggs, so we once again have local eggs. We are also using our lettuce that is growing in a sunny window. We are using it mostly on sandwiches as it some of it is still "micro greens" and some of it is "baby greens" though it is nice added to a salad made with romaine or other lettuce. We are also adding home grown sprouts to sandwiches, salads and stir fry.

We were given 10+ pounds of homegrown carrots recently. We ate lots of it for snacks, made soup with some and the rest is about to be fermented as ginger carrots (as soon as I can get to town and pick up some fresh ginger- note to self, find a place to plant ginger). Our scoby is cranking out kombucha as fast as we can drink it and we are making yogurt as I type.

We have two garden beds built and will be filling them with both soil and plants/ seeds this week (if the weather cooperates - we had snow yesterday). I am hoping to put in two more this week as well. The containers I was growing my garden in before we moved here also have some things planted in them. The onion tops that were eaten by deer or rabbits have grown back It will be interesting to see if they still make usable onions. The sweet peas I put in a few weeks ago are up and growing. One of the new beds will be getting spinach and more peas. Another one is getting strawberries. Sweet potatoes and fingerling potatoes are also being planned on, though I think they will probably go into containers since they grow well there. We are planning an asparagus patch that I am hoping to work on this week or next, if at all possible. This year I will probably not focus much on things like peppers and tomatoes since so many people grow these to sell at the farmer's market . I am planning to get most of my tomatoes and peppers for sauce and salsa at the market this year. We will probably also get summer squash and zucchinni from the market though we will try again to grow cantaloupe, pumpkins and watermelon.

As things begin to bloom around here, we are beginning to put names to some of our trees. We discovered last week that we have a big pear tree. It looks like a fruiting tree, though it will take a few weeks to know for sure. If it is, we may have more pears that we can reasonably use in a year, provided the adorable little woodland creatures don't eat them all before we can. We also have many dogwood, which don't produce anything we eat, but are so beautiful and we are thrilled to have them. A few of the bigger trees around the house will need to come down, I think, both because some of them are older and may fall on their own (did I mention they are close to the house), and because we need to remove some to make sure the garden gets enough sunlight.

Well, that is some of what is going on around here. The sun will be up soon, so I will try to get some pictures and try to post them if I can.

Friday, March 12, 2010

What I'm reading

Its been quite a week. Between Mom and her bad days, the new puppy and all of his pooping, an overflowed toilet (and accompanying plumbers bill - it was quite a clog), broken water line on our street and no water for 12+ hours, and our first brush with ticks, well, lets just say I'm ready to escape into a good book :)

Right now I'm reading a few books (I usually have on average 3 books going at all times). I got An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon from the library. Although it is one of the smaller of her books int he Outlander series, I am having more difficulty reading this one than any of the others. I think maybe part of the reason is that this book is less about Claire and Jamie and more about Lord John and William. Honestly, if I wanted to read about Lord John, I'd read one of the books from that series. Anyway, I'm not sure I will be able to finish it before I have to return it.

I also got Going Rougue by Sarah Palin from the library. This one is much easier to read. The story is interesting and the writing style is easy to read - just what my overwhelmed brain needs right now :)

Also, with my MyPoints points, I was able to get a $25 Amazon gift certificate code and I ordered Independence Days by Sharon Astyk. Sharon's writing style is so enjoyable both in her books and on her blog. This book combines "how to" with "why" in an easy to read and interesting book that I was tempted to read cover to cover in one sitting.

Since I am almost done with Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, I am looking for a some fiction suggestions. What are you reading?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Aren't They Cute

This is our youngest son and our new puppy, Indiana. He's a German Shepherd and he is 5 weeks old. He is a lot of work but we are enjoying him a great deal. I am looking forward to when he is out of the puppy stage, though :)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I disappeared again

I haven't posted in over a week mostly because Mom has started having some major memory issues again and between that and homeschooling, there just was not time for blogging. With the unpredictably nature of her illness, it seems that life will be a bit unpredictable for us now - the new normal, as they say. I am going to have to figure out a new way of menu planning and shopping because the old way (weekly menu plans) has not been working for us with all of the back and forth and such. Maybe its time to go back to freezer cooking. Hmm . . . food for thought.

Anyway, I do appreciate the prayers that I know so many of you have offered for her and will continue to offer. Thank you. I'll update as I am able.