Friday, April 30, 2010

Windy Week, Productive Weekend?

When the April wind wakes the call for the soil, I hold the plough

as my only hold upon the earth, and, as I follow through the fresh
and fragrant furrow, I am planted with every foot-step, growing,
budding, blooming into a spirit of spring.
- Dallas Lore Sharp, 1870-1929

Hopefully the plough will be working on my garden tomorrow.  I am itching to start planting something, anything.  The wind has to have dried up enough of the rain to make it possible.  The greenhouse is getting so full that I have to take plants outside just to move around in there.  Yesterday I felt bad for the poor tomatoes, they were just whipping around in the wind.
 I console myself that this is suppose to build stronger stems, another "what ever doesn't kill you makes you stronger"  While the tomatoes were risking life and limb, I transplanted some and started seed for more squash.  Mr. Gobblesome didn't particularly like the wind blowing the wind chimes.  He puffed right up everytime.
Last night my cousin-in-law and I went to a discussion for consumers and producers on buying local in our county.  It started out as a discussion on why buying local is so important (some of which was pretty enlightening) and moved on to local food sources and options.  Most of what was toted was food and putting in a small garden to produce some of your own produce, either in your own yard or a community garden.  CSA's were even discussed but nothing was mentioned about canning/freezing.  It is great to produce or buy fresh but to further that along why not can or freeze it when the product is available.  We were told to take our produce/herbs/eggs/meat to a farmer's market but nothing was offered on the legalities of doing so.  They did say based on the results of this discussion that they would offer one solely for farmers and producers so I am hoping more of the info I am looking for will be offered there. 

They discussed the movie, Food, Inc. which I haven't seen and from the sounds of it I guess I am pretty lucky to be eating my own eggs, chickens, pigs, beef, and vegetables.  One day I will have a dairy cow.  I just hope it happens before I am too old to milk the darn thing.

I am dog sitting this weekend while friends of ours go down to Richmond for the NASCAR race.  Since I am not going to MD Sheep and Wool, the ideal plans for the weekend would be getting the garden plowed and getting the sheep sheared.  Keep your fingers crossed.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Tromping On

I am thankful for a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning and gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home.... I am thankful for the piles of laundry and ironing because it means my loved ones are nearby. ~Nancie J. Carmody

And then I am thankful for the lavender epsom salts to soak away the aches and pains!  #1 daughter was here for the week and we got a ton done.   We transplanted tomatoes into larger pots, started several types of squash, canteloupe, and cucumbers (some are bartered out) we transplanted raspberry plants and flowers as we are enlarging the garden and they were in the way.  We delivered a row boat to a friend that my uncle had borrowed many moons many they probably forgot they owned it!  We delivered plants to other friends when we ran out of room (aka got to tired) to transplant them.  We got rid of a whole lotta "trash" that the man had laying around saying he was going to use it, fix it, make something from it and earned $53 for doing so.  We picked up plants I had bought from the conservation district and deliviered one of them to a friend and got most of what I bought planted.  We tried numerous times to find out where Big Red was hiding her nest only to have our attention diverted for a moment and turn back to find her gone. 

We had one rooster left on the farm and we got rid of him last night because he keeps going to the neighbors and having his way with the guys chickens.  The neighbor doesn't like fertilized eggs so since the rooster would not stay put even with a six foot fence we took him to Farmer Daves.  While there I  picked up two turkey poults just in case Mr Gobblesome didn't get enough time with the ladies before they went broody.  I picked out one Buff and one Blue Slate.  The turkey eggs should start hatching in two weeks.

There were track meets/invitationals and the inevitable cooking, cleaning and laundry.   #1 even whipped out two cakes before she left yesterday.  And I found time to knit/crochet/spin.  I finished a sock but have no pictures as I don't know where it ran off to.  I have 3/4 of a skein and then I am done with both this lapghan and the color green, (which looks very olive in this pic).
a little feather and fan for what will be a bolero for the brides mother (friend)
and spinning of the bozo vomit.
It was invigorating and exhausting.  Unfortunately there is a ton more to do.  Isn't there always?  So let's forget about that for a moment, take time to appreciate the here and now and think happy thoughts...

Monday, April 19, 2010


‘If it’s surprising, it’s useful .’ Tom Hirshfield

#1 daughter and Sir T came to visit this weekend.  It was opening day of trout season and the men were up early.  Of course you can't cast your line in until 8 AM but it will be the one day all year that they all wake up before the alarm clock...well hunting season does the same thing.  The river was high because of the rain but they caught a couple to put in the freezer.

#1 daughter is spending the week and we are going to get some work done in the yard/garden.  Or that is what we are suppose to do, who knows what will happen.

Since they are going to Sir T's mom's house for Mother's Day, I got my gifts early.  I have a dryer but I don't use it.  I either line dry or use a small rack I bought at Walmart.  They bought me a monterous rack from the Amish market by them.  It is six feet tall and four feet wide and the dowels have to be 3/4 of an inch thick.  It will hold some serious laundry. I love it. 
But that was not all when I am done doing laundry, I can go soak in a tub with lavender epson salts and use my new scrubbie which #1 made me!  She did an amazing job but she won't give me the pattern!   
#1 underestimates what she can accomplish.  It must be osmosis, fiber has rubbed off on her and now she just has to fine tune and she would be great at it.  She has great tension and picks things up quickly.  She will probably dabble with it until sometime later in life like I did.

Everything is turning green.  It is getting harder to spot the animals in the woods. 
The apple blossoms are just starting to open.  Hopefully they stay closed until we are done with the frost so we don't lose any. 
And most of the tomatoes did make a full recovery.  I had to add more soil to prop them up and repot others.  Some did bite the dust but not as many as I thought I lost. 

On the farm front, both turkeys are setting on eggs.  I don't know how many and I am sure there are some chicken eggs under them also so it will be another Mother's Day surprise.  We are getting ready to get the meat birds and piglets.  Lambs are due next month and hopefully I hold it together better than last time!

I have been spinning some of the multi-colored roving.  I also started another baby blanket and another pair of socks.  But right now #1 is saying we need to motivate and when I have an extra set of hands I am going to take full advantage of them.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Land of Make Believe

“The world has been doing little else but playing at make-believe all its lifetime.” ~ William Hazlitt

#2 daughter signed me up for Facebook.  Then a friend told me I had to join Farmville so that I could send her what she needed to finsh building a barn. 

Two and a half days later I have 2 shamrock sheep, one regular sheep, 4 cows, 1 strawberry cow that gives strawberry milk, 2 calves, 2 horse, 3 foals, 2 ducks, 2 pigs, 9 chickens in various colors, 1 cat, 3 breadfruit trees, 1 apple tree, 1 walnut tree, 2 bird feeders, a resting tent, a picnic table, a rain barrel, a water trough, 1 mandarin tree, 2 lotus, 1 section of whitewash fence, 17 plots of soybeans, 12 plots of strawberries, 15 plots of wheat, 6 plots of daffodils, 18 plots of artichokes, 1 Spring basket with 42 eggs, 35,000 coins, 12 Farmville dollars, two arborists, 1 farm helper, and various materials to build a barn and tack.
Yesterday we went to #1 son's to open the pool and have a BBQ.  When we came home I found Gray (the turkey) missing.  We thought maybe she was setting on a nest since I have not been finding eggs but we can't find her anywhere.  On the plus side we can't find feathers either.  We gave up because it got too dark to see.

I went to the garden to close the greenhouse and a flustered hen came out as I opened the gate.  She ran past me and over to the coop.  I have an old window screen which I put in front of the greenhouse door so if the chickens get into the garden they won't get into the greenhouse.  The screen goes up 1/2 way and has always worked well as a deterrent.  Except for yesterday.  The flustered hen must have flown up, landed on the screen top and then flown up on the shelf.  She proceeded to knock over tomatoes and to walk across most of the others.  I picked up what plants had roots showing and tucked them back in pots then closed the windows and door, leaving it to be dealt with the next day.

This morning I went out to access the situation in daylight.  The flats of cabbage and brussel sprouts went unscathed but a lot of the tomatoes were bent or broken.  I put some dirt around the bruised and battered stems hoping to get them to stand up again after the abuse they took but I am not sure it will work.

Thankfully, I never composted the less vigorous seedlings, so I can transplant them into individual pots and hope for the best.

And #2 daughter asks why a mess around on a virtual farm!  No sweat, no tears, the farm makes money as there are always buyers for your product, people are always eager to send (aka give) you plants, animals or building supplies.  It is always warm and sunny, no weeds oh I could go on and on.

Of course the food doesn't taste as good as what I harvest and you don't get as happy as I did when I walked the dog and found.....
She might have a nest.  I guess we will know in 28 days, if not I am just glad to have her back. Yipee!!!

Friday, April 09, 2010

Idiotic April

April comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers. ~ Edna St. Vincent Millay

Every where I look something is growing.  We have had unseasonably high temperatures.  Records were being broken.  A little rain and then warm temps takes the nanking cherry from this...
to this...
It was unbelievable.  I even picked asparagus today!  It was on the 27th last year.  Oh granted it was only a couple of spears but there are lots more coming up.  
The columbine is unfolding,
the hops vines are reaching for the sky,
the hosta is twisting right out of the ground.
The irises, bleeding heart, spiderwort, mints, marsh marigolds, vinca, magic lily, peonies and may apple are all up and doing fine.  The azalea is even getting ready to bloom.
Of course the weeds are growing faster and some flowers are coming up thru last years leaf cover making it twice as hard to do things, but I think things will slow down a little now as the temperatures went back to normal.  Tonight we are to go down to 32 so I am going to have to put some heat into the greenhouse.  I planted some more peppers, brussel sprouts and cabbage.  The peppers I have in the house as they like it warmer and I wouldn't worry about the sprouts or cabbage but I do not want to lose the tomatoes.  They are looking pretty good.
I finished the second sock and they were quickly claimed by #2 daughter and then I knit a bib.  Today's cooler temps made it much more conducive for spinnig so I started in on the "bozo vomit".  Of course pictures will be forth coming.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Life Is....Good

“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive - to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.”- Marcus Aurelius

And we just had a wonderful weekend which solidified that even more.  On Saturday after the man got home from work, we got a little work done around here.  We caged up the two roosters that made any outside work precarious.  It is hard to get much done while holding a stick and swiveling your head around, to fight off a rooster.  And because I can not drop animals off without coming home with something, we came home with....

any guesses?

#2 daughter calls him Mr.Gobblesome. 

Isn't he just so sexy? 
Well I didn't think so either but Red & Gray did because within five minutes of arriving love was in the air.  Hopefully we will have little turkeys hatching this year.

Sunday, the man and I, had a leisurely start.  We drank coffee, watched Sherlock Holmes and I took a break from bright colors and I managed to finish this sock.
The second one is done to the gusset and should be finished today.  Later Sunday, we went out to dinner with #1 son and his lady fair.  We stopped at Walmart for ice cube trays and came home to the younger two kids. 

They had spent the weekend with their dad.  #2 daughter came home with a serious sunburn and #2 son (who called crying until after 11pm Saturday, thinking I could magically fix it) had them all in the emergency room late that night into early Sunday morning with an ear infection.  This is the first one he has had in years. Tylenol wasn't working and he has ruptured his ear drums so many times he has hearing lose in both ears. Thankfully he is feeling much better. Because no pharmacies were open they gave him enough meds to make it until later today so I have to go fill the prescription now.  After which I have to transplant some more seedlings.  I love Spring.

Saturday, April 03, 2010


“Sometimes it's important to work for that pot of gold. But other times it's essential to take time off and to make sure that your most important decision in the day simply consists of choosing which color to slide down on the rainbow.” ~ Douglas Pagels

I haven't slid down any rainbows but I have been playing with color.  On Thursday I baked up some cookies for #1 daughter.  When they were cooled, I iced them up and decorated them to look like eggs and shipped them off to her.  It is a yearly thing that must be done...hopefully she gets them today!
Looking back thru posts I notice that when Spring and Fall hit, that is when I play with dyes.  And this year is no different.  After the cookies, I pulled some dye out and played a little then laid it all out to dry. The man lovingly refers to this as Bozo vomit.  I have to get more dye so he will stop insulting the roving.
Later that evening while watching Survivor I spun up a small ball. 
I had to put the wheel away before I did it damage when they voted off Rob instead of the toad. 

Friday, the coloring continued with Easter eggs. 
And then all the colors started swirling together into an ugly mud and I receeded to my bedroom with a migraine.  I guess my poor brain has to slowly be re-introduced to color after the dull gray winter! 

Today, I am feeling much better but will limit my exposure to brightness just in case!  But how can it be a bad day when you have coffee with the natives.  Hope everyone has a Happy Easter. 

Thursday, April 01, 2010

The April Fool

"The first of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year."- Mark Twain

What Mark Twain is so nicely trying to say is that we are fools. Now I know this to be true for #2 son.  You see my son has allergies and is really having a bad time of it right now, making his participation in track & field harder on him.  He has a daily medication for this but unless I stand and watch him take it, he won't.  "You are 14", I tell him.  "I should not have to stand here like I did when you were 4".  He doesn't like the taste of the liquid, so I bought pills but he doesn't like taking pills. As a mother, I sit and wonder if I coddled him too much, why is he like this?  He would be able to breath easier and cough less if he took the medicine and he knows this so why won't he take the medicine?

But each morning, I stand and watch him take his medicine.  He leaves for school and I start to knit on the Fluidity.  As this was a pattern I wanted to make I knit some more, squeezing every spare minute (and then some) in to it.  Yesterday morning I finished.  I lay it out to finally look at it.  It starts as a circle but turns into a square and is knit in the round so it is hard to see while working on it.  AND I am not happy.  OH don't get me wrong it is beautiful but SMALL.  It should be 36 x 36.  It is 24 x24
And who do I blame?  I have to blame me.  I am not known for swatching. (I don't like the taste of it)  I plunge in without reading the fine points (I hate taking medicine) until I hit a wall.  Now I could undo the bind off, rip out the seed stitch edge and add another repeat.  I could even undo the bind off and make the seed stitch edge really wide. 
 I could give it to a friends kid to use as a doll blanket and forget this ever happen! I haven't decided what to do yet. I could say that this has never happened before or that I have learned my lesson and it will never happen again but I would be telling a lie. 

Like my son, even though I know what is best for me, I don't always do it.  I guess it is true...the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Sigh, back to knitting.