Tuesday, April 22, 2014

April Showers...

April showers...bring May flowers, right?

I hope they also help bring up the seeds I just planted this morning!

I'm trying again this year, to plant some things in the pallets along the edge of the garden.  I've planted a few things that are hard to hoe around...and things that I don't like the dirt splashing up on, in between the slats of the pallets.

In the front is lettuce, and those small plants you can hardly see in the farther pallet are kale.  In the rows in between, I planted radishes and beets...


The chickens have now officially been banned from the garden, because I'm sure they would make short work of my plants!

They're NOT happy!

I've not yet found the ideal place to plant my herbs.  They need to be some place close to the house, so I can easily get to them, so I'm trying again in the pig trough on the porch.  Last year I tried a raised bed, but the cats wouldn't leave them alone.  Cats and herbs are not an appealing combination!

It's still too cool for most herbs, but the parsley and rosemary should be fine...


I think the rest of the herbs will go in pots in the pump trough, when it warms up some more.  The cats ought to leave them alone in these two spots!

We also had the big maple tree in front of the porch trimmed back really hard this spring, so there should be plenty of sun on the porch this year, both for the herbs and for keeping my hanging baskets of petunias blooming!

Aren't they pretty?  I can't take credit for growing them...they came from Jim's cousin's greenhouse...


I was hoping to plant my potatoes this afternoon too...after all, it's already mid April. :)   My Amish neighbors probably have potato plants who knows how high  (but who's comparing?!)  The rain came a little earlier than I was expecting, so here they sit...cut and ready to plant in a day or so...


They're Norland Reds.  I can hardly wait to bite into a new potato with it's thin skin...covered in browned butter, of course!

Here's hoping the cold winter killed the potato beetles!  Wishful thinking perhaps?

What's growing in your garden doing right now?

Monday, April 21, 2014

Signs of Spring...

I've been overwhelmed today...in a good way...with all the signs of spring around me.

Here are a few that I noticed just this morning...






Spring not only brings beauty...but of course brings on more outside work.  It was time to get out the mower again, and to begin cleaning up all the twigs that winter left behind.  It was fun to get at it again...


And the most sure sign of all?

Minnie had her babies on Easter Sunday...underneath the barn cleaner elevator, of all places..


It's kind of hard to see them, but she's curled up around two almost identical looking kitties.  Contact me in about eight weeks, and we'll be glad to set you up with a new pet!  (There are two more litters hidden somewhere in the barn that we haven't found yet, so there are plenty to go around!)

Are you seeing spring?


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Spring Fence Repairs...

It's that time of year again...

The grass is turning that wonderful, bright shade of green...the temps are warming up (at least they're supposed to be...we'd like to forget about the mid twenties we had last night, and the dusting of snow on tax day!)...and the cows are itching to get out of the barnyard and onto the lush meadow!

Today Jim and I scoped out the fence at the other farm.  I walked around the west and south edges of the meadow, checking to see that there were no sections that needed repair...


The electric wire runs directly through the PVC fence, like this...


This was the only section that I found that needs repair...pretty amazing, after the winter we had!  A car went into this section of the fence, shattering the two bottom rails.  Surprisingly enough, the electric wire wasn't damaged!  We'll need to pick up two replacement rails.  They snap into place quite easily, so it should be a simple fix...


Even the electric wire around the pond was intact...


Meanwhile, Jim headed over to the east side of the meadow, where he knew he had some work to do. During the ice storm we had back in February, a huge branch from this willow tree snapped, landing on the fence.  Several rails were knocked down, but not broken...



Jim cut up the limb with his chain saw, and made several piles to be burned, probably next week before the cows go out onto the meadow.


You can barely see him here, on the left side of the picture, but he's snapping the last rail back into place...


There's one more section of wooden fence that will need some repair before we can put the heifers and dry cows out on the meadow, but it won't be long!

Hooray for spring...and good fences!

Linking up again with TexWis Girl for Good Fences #4

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Good Fences #3...

This is an old picture...one of my all time favorites...from about four or five ? years ago, when we had our first flock of chickens...Barred Rocks.  They loved to sit on top of the fence.

Here they are...contemplating escape...


So you see...fences are not only for keeping critters in...or out...but for your enjoyment!

Linking up HERE with TexWisGirl for more fences...

Monday, April 7, 2014

Real Free Ranging...

This is what happens when you let the chickens roam freely around the compost pile and the garden...

...and it just happens that the calf hutches are in the middle of it all...



I guess it looked and felt like a nesting box!

This is real free-ranging!


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Good Fences #2

There's something about split rail fences that makes them one of my favorites...especially when they're old and weathered.

This one runs around two sides of our rental property...


This fence has been around for probably about 45 years, and its definitely old, weathered, and in need of repair.  Over time, the rails have fallen down...been put back up again...fallen down again...and some of them have been replaced.  We've had trouble finding new rails long enough to fit between the old posts, so Jim had these extension pieces made.  Up close, it changes the look of the fence, but at a distance you can't tell, and it's working for now...


In another week, this section of fence will be especially pretty, with clumps of blooming daffodils underneath...


...and later this summer, the grape vine (that desperately needs pruning) will provide grapes for some juice and a couple of batches of jelly!

What's your favorite kind of fence?

Click HERE for more Good Fences!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Feeding My Babies...


Like clockwork every morning, just after milking, the babies need to be fed.

So...I fill up my wagon with water buckets, milk buckets, and a couple of bottles and head for the hutches...


My helper is along for the walk...do you see her leading the way?  She's hoping for some spilled milk, or a broken egg from the chickens for a snack.

The bottle hummies are waiting for me...



I want to show you the difference in the sizes of these calves.  These two were born on the same day, about ten days ago.  The one closest to you was born about a month early.  At first we thought she was the first of a twin, but nope...just early.  (I actually picked her up and carried her out of the meadow, she's that light!) She's quite bouncy and energetic, and can finish her bottle even faster than the bigger one.  The bigger one probably weighs around 100 lbs, which is much more expected of a calf this age...


These two will be moved to the individual hutches soon, where I can more easily wean them to drink out of buckets.  It's much easier to do that when they're in individual pens.  Can you imagine why?  Think...chewing (on me), head butting (me) and stealing each others' milk!

The little one has already been named.  She will be called Rosanne...or more likely Rosie, for short.  Her mother's name is Bethany (my niece's name), so I left my niece choose the name for her!

The calves are enjoying the spring...and so are we!  How about you?