Monday, April 27, 2009

Spring or Summer?

Yesterday the twig was brown and bare;
To-day the glint of green is there;
Tomorrow will be leaflets spare;
I know no thing so wondrous fair,
No miracle so strangely rare.
I wonder what will next be there!~L.H. Bailey
We have been having above normal temperatures which has Spring unfurling forward at an amazing pace. And while my sister finally took off her winter jacket, I have not been enjoying these temps quite as much. To temper my midday washouts I have been getting up earlier and earlier to enjoy the coolness of the morning in peace and quite...well at least human peace and quite as the birds make alot of noise!

I am too cheap to put the air conditioning on this early but I did borrow the mans chain saw to shave my legs! That was my one concession to passing Spring and heading full steam into Summer.

Each day something new is blooming or coming up in the green house. I still need to transplant my tomatoes and they are suffering from phosphorus deficiency. Taking them out from under the grow lights and putting them in the unheated greenhouse seems to have caused it. The low temperatures stop the plant from absorbing the phosphorus which gives the leaves a purple tint. Unfortunately it has only happened to the Amish Paste, both new seed and saved. Now that I have diagnosed it, you know what I will be doing today. When I did chores I grabbed some of this for dinner. Yum!!! It's not much but hopefully there will me lots more to come.

I finally finished my sisters "first" pair of socks and quickly started on a pair #1 daughter requested. I thought they looked too big so put them down until she came home to judge for herself.
I finished going thru the 10-12 bags (which ended up being 17) of fleece from Farmer Dave. I gave more to a friend, tossed more and started picking and washing the rest. The hot weather might make me shrivel up but it dries the fleece pretty fast.

On Sunday, in the afternoon heat, the man and I took refuge in the basement. We got alot of work done re-organizing and tossing things. Then I found out the man had alterative motives for cleaning the basement, as once there was a little room he rolled his motorcycle in so he could wax it "in the shade". #2 daughter and her friends took the spare kids pond, I had in case the ducks broke theirs, filled it with cold well water and sat in it to cool off.
The roaster chicks are getting big, and like me are not enjoying the quick rise in the mercury. But the new layer chicks are going without the light in these temps...buff orps, light brahma's, I think these are the Golden Campines, the Araucana's and the Rose Comb Leghorns. And this is the freebie bird which is either a Buff Laced or White Polish.
Supposedly the temps are only going to stay like this until Wednesday when we will be back to our normal 60-70's. I can't wait. Although I have enjoyed this burst of growth, I find I can wait on the heat.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Personal Pursuits

“Nothing defines humans better than their willingness to do irrational things in the pursuit of phenomenally unlikely payoffs. This is the principle behind lotteries, dating, and religion.” ~ Scott Adams

We have spent the last couple of days on personal pursuits and it has been heavenly. On Wednesday, my sister, #1 daughter and I went on pursuit of some spring scenery pictures. Having been away for so many years, my sister is enamored with rediscovering home as it awakens from the frozeness she wasn't enjoying. We drove around a little and then ended up hiking to the top of the mountain. Although the hike seems shorter as an adult we aren't quite as limber as we were as teens, which is when my sister was last up there.
Thursday found us in a much less enjoyable pursuit. We were in the pursuit of a doctor. #2 son had pulled a muscle in his back. While stacking fire wood he was standing on some round logs, ended up rolling, hitting the pile and when some started to fall he had to jump out of the way. He has decided to stand on the ground to stack from now on, of course when the pain ends he will probably forget and stand on a log again. It's a vicious cycle until things finally sink in. It must be the German in us that makes us all so hardheaded.

Friday was another pursuit of health and yarn. Mom had an oncologists appointment. She was feeling spunky and decided we needed a day out. We left early, had lunch, went to AC Moore and Michaels and then we went to the doctor. She is getting two unit blood transfusion today as her hemoglobin is down. As spunky as she has been, I can only imagine what is going to happen now!!! So far as the yarn I only bought... but when I got home my Knitpicks order was here.... So far my sister likes her "first pair of socks from sis". Sounds like she assumes there will be more to follow! I really need to teach her to knit.
Saturday dawned with the pursuit of fish. It was the first day of trout season. #2 daughter and I went to the ARC Hike/Bike-athon while the rest of the family went to catch dinner. After the hike we joined them only to snarl our line. If it were not for #1 son's girlfriend we would have starved but thankfully she provided and we had trout along with stuffed clams and coconut shrimp for dinner.

Sunday they went in pursuit of the fish again while I moved all the flats to the greenhouse. Sometime soon I am going to have to seperate some of the flats. Not one of the chores I enjoy so lets think of other things, such as the Nanking Cherries that are blooming. I am so easily swayed. I started weeding the flowerbed that encircles the garden. A friend had given me some iris and I wanted to plant it before the rains came. The chickens decided I had loosed this soil just for them and dug up all the transplants in their pursuit of bugs. I gave up and went back into the greenhouse to seed in some herbs and flowers.
The family returned with one (small) fish for all their efforts. After a quick meal we went to play movable chicks, moving chicks from one pen to another as the new layer chicks will be in today. Some family members decided the chickens were getting too much attention and tried to look like a chicken.
Today the man and I are in pursuit of a little quality time together. The man called off work so we can finish up some projects around here. It is suppose to rain which we really need but will make outside chores harder to do. I might have suggest lunch out!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Forsythia is pure joy. There is not an ounce, not a glimmer of sadness or even knowledge in forsythia. Pure, undiluted, untouched joy. ~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh

The forsythia by the shed is blooming. How could someone live in an area that was summer-like all the time and miss out on Springs rebirth? You wait (some not patiently) for each new bud and then after a nice rain and a couple of 60+temps, it just seems to happen over night. Spring makes me feel invincible...and then the aches and pains give me a rude awakening!

But...when you can't play in dirt you can play in fiber. I finished the merino roving. I split the roving from top to bottom. I spun one bobbin from top to middle and one from the middle to the end and then plyed them, which made them come out barberpoled. I got 16-18 wpi and 593 it will go in the cedar chest until I figure out what to do with it. I am waiting on a knitpicks order to make more socks.

#1 daughter and I had thrown some white roving into the dye leftover from coloring eggs. Yesterday when the kids went back to school, I dug out the pot to dye the baby blanket. When that was done, the pot was not exhausted so I threw in some of the tan/brown/gray roving (same as my sweater) and it came out looking like heathered teal which I have not be able to capture in a pic.
While the dye pot was on, I sorted some bags of fleece. I put some aside to wash, gave some to a friend and tossed some. I have 10-12 more bags to go through today.

Also on the list for the day is seeding more broccoli, which had sporadic results, flowers and herbs....hauling manure to the garden...entering my seed information into an excel sheet #1 daughter made up for me....raking the pond garden...stacking firewood...and the list goes on and on. I will be exhausted tonight but soon I will be getting sustenance from the garden....yup asparagus! It is just coming up!!!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

Chocolate causes certain endocrine glands to secrete hormones that affect your feelings and behavior by making you happy. Therefore, it counteracts depression, in turn reducing the stress of depression. Your stress-free life helps you maintain a youthful disposition, both physically and mentally. So, eat lots of chocolate!~Elaine Sherman, Book of Divine Indulgences
We don't eat alot of chocolate, we must just suck those endocrines out of the air because we all like to live in a happy world down here in the valley. Yesterday, while preparing some Easter dishes that can be made in advance, I whipped up a double batch of cookies for #1 daughter. I had some help from monster man. #1 daughter's favorite memory of Easter is these cookies, which I only made once before but she loved. #2 daughter's favorite memory is the bunny tracks left on the carpet and floor courtesy of a large car sponge and baby powder. The kids are are older now and forego the egg searching/chocolate for some small useful gifts.
So alot of the cooking is done and church is over so today is going to be a nice easy restful day....I might even finally finish spinning up the pansy yarn. Hope you all have a stress-free holiday.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Garden in a seed

“Faith sees a beautiful blossom in a bulb, a lovely garden in a seed, and a giant oak in an acorn.” ~ William Arthur Ward

And as the snow flurries continue to fly, I have faith there will be a very fruitful garden. Several days ago I planted seeds and I am starting to see green! One old package of broccoli that I thought might not come up I seeded several in each far it is the only broccoli that is growing. The cabbage is coming up but I think I should get more so I have can be sure of having enough sauerkraut. And the Amish Paste, both new and saved seed, is the only tomato coming up yet. The broccoli and cabbage are getting moved out to the greenhouse today.
And that beautiful merino roving is coming along. I decided to reaquaint myself with the old Ashford and started spinning it up on that. I finished half of it so far. I started another bobbin this morning.

Today I am helping a friend put up a swing set and I get to bring home all her rhubarb divisions. My sister is ecstatic as she loves rhubarb and was unable to grow it in PR. I was also given some hawthorne trees and a goldenrain tree which need to be planted today. Which means I should get off my duff and get to work.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Gluttonous Chickens

“Gluttony kills more than the sword” Proverb

Wikipedia defines gluttony as the over-indulgence and over -consumption of food, drink, or intoxicants to the point of waste. Which correctly describes the roaster chicks. They are gluttons. They will sit by a feeder until the food is gone. I have read they will eat themselves to death. When done eating their crops are so full they can hardly walk.

The Jumbo Cornish X Rocks which we use as roasters, along with the white leghorns, red sexlinks and barred rocks were all hatched on 3/16/09. Here is the difference in size three weeks later. While raising them I swear I won't get them again but the freezer full of this big roasters makes me forget their nasty behavior. When you go to feed the roasters they fly at you, peck you and are noisy as heck. The others are so calm and hardly ever make a peep...or maybe we just can't hear them over the roasters? They were in seperate cages in our basement as the larger ones trampled the smaller ones. I lost two before I was able to get another cage set up. This weekend we moved the roasters into an outside coop as they are more feathered than the others. As luck would have it the weather has gotten colder so we added another light. When it warms they will be allowed outside all day...not that they show any interest in foraging. Which is too bad since we seem to have a bumper crop of ticks this year...I might have to get some guinea hens.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Gratifying Greenhouse Time

The year's at the spring
And day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven;
The hillside's dew-pearled;
The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn;
God's in His heaven -
All's right with the world!
~Robert Browning

All week I have wanted to get into my greenhouse and finally get some seeds planted. I am soooo far behind but for whatever reason the planets did not align and I did not get a seed planted. Everyday something came up. Sis and I got alot done in the garden but if I didn't get seeds started soon all that work would be for naught.
But then Friday after home health came to install a telephone-scale, blood pressure/oxygen machine, I was finally able to get into the greenhouse. I was in heaven. The warm interior, the smell of dirt, the rain softly falling on the roof. I went into a gardening euphoria and was able to get all the paste tomatoes started along with the peppers, broccoli, and cabbage. I was abruptly jarred back to reality by the rain pounding on the roof and loud long booms of thunder. After a couple of booms I decided I better get into the house. Which was for the best since I had to get ready to leave.

After a quick shower I left to run some errands and pick up one of my wheels. A fellow knitter borrowed a wheel to see if she would enjoy spinning. She was addicted! Her husband saw the signs and bought her a wheel. She gave me a yummy braid of merino in purples and yellows...reminds me of a pansy (picture does NOT do it justice. Thank You Patty) I wanted to spin it but the weekend was upon us.
Saturday while the man worked 1/2 a day, I baked some goodies to take to a sick neighbor and a lady that works at our local feed store. On the way home I picked up a friends two kids to watch for the day. By then the man was home, while he cut up some oak logs and stacked them, I made beef stew and bread for dinner.
Sunday was a lazy morning but still ended up a fruitful day. The man changed the oil in my car while I was shopping with my sister. Then he cut down two trees. The kids and I piled the brush to be burnt at a later date. Leaving them to load the firewood, the man put my garden fence back up while I went into the greenhouse and seeded more.

This time I was able to do the slicing, grape, cherry tomatoes, and some squash that would not have time to produce if I waited to plant the seed directly.

So what I thought of as an unproductive week ended up with me being in a happy place. Mom ate better today than she has in weeks, I am close to caught up in the seed planting department, tree's are down, meat chicks moved, and the dogs even got a bath. All is right in my world and to keep it there for a bit I am going to bed!