Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Springing Up!

I just checked the garden and it's looking good! The Blake-eyed peas, chard, and carrots are now up! So are the morning glories I planted at the gate. The broccoli has heads and the tomatoes are growing. I ned to replace a couple of tomatoes and peppers that the cut worms got. Everything else is fine.

The goats seem to be adjusting well. They are still a little skittish though. The fact that our neighbors have turned their yard into an ATV track doesn't help. It also doesn't sound or smell very good either. UGH!!

Monday, April 16, 2012

New Lawnmowers!

Up until last fall, we have kept chickens for eggs. They has a pretty large area to run but they were able to keep the weeds and grass completely out if it. Their pen looked like a moonscape. Now that they have all been dispatched by varying critters, it resembles a jungle. That is just one spring's worth of growth.

This area resembled the moon with craters as well as lack of vegetation.  I was not going to try to mow it for fear of falling into one and never being found.  It is too large of an area to weed eat and I didn't want to spray it.  It was beginning to look like a jungle.  I asked Jeff if we could get a couple of goats or lambs.  He went one (two) better.  We got four, a nanny goat and her triplets.  They are about two weeks old and are the cutest lawnmower ever!  If you have never seen kids jumping around and playing, well, you just haven't lived.  That may be the greatest stress reliever of all time.  With our new acquisition we hope to have the former chicken pen in shape soon.  We also hope to be able to milk the nanny some.  First she has to warm up to us.  All three kids are doelings-BONUS!  They sell better than bucklings and we can also have them bred to keep a supply going of meat and milk.  We were blessed with paying less for them than normal as well.  The three doelings had gotten off by themselves and we were able to catch them.  As siblings they like to stick together, so once we had them we decided that was the group we would take. (The man had 4-5 nannies all with at least twins.) I had picked out a nanny before we had the kids.  She just happened to be their nanny.  We had been quoted a price over the phone.  Once we had all the goats the man checked their sex and was surprised that they were all female.  (he had only ever checked one of them and figured law of averages would have at least one male in the group.)  Normally this would raise the price for a family, but since he had already quoted us one, he kept it at that!  So now they are here and we have named them.  Fortunately they were not bucklings or they would be Moe, Larry, and Curly.

Jack Rabbit (Jackie)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Little Restructuring

The garden is in for the most part!!!  All I lack are a couple of purple bell pepper plants and my sunflowers.

This year I have had quite a bit of help from the hubby.  Usually he just tills the ground for me and then the rest of the year it is all mine.  All the planting, mulching, wedding, picking, preserving, cleaning out.  All of it.  That really is okay with me, after all, he does work a demanding job.  Besides, I really like working the garden (unless it's 100 degrees).  It brings a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.  This year we did a bit of restructuring though, so his help was very much appreciated and needed.  We moved the fence panels to make the gate opening at the shed instead of in the middle of the fence.  This gave us a sturdier structure for a gate to actually be put on.  Now that we have a large dog that is like a bull in a china closet outside (in the house he is very laid back)  we felt that it was necessary.  Then we decided to try landscape cloth as an underlayment for our sawdust/wood shavings mulch.  This can be a one person job, but it is so much easier with two.  (Though still a pain, I don't think I will do it again unless it works really well.)  Then we decided to make paths down the long sides of the garden.  We used landscape blocks that had previously been a retaining wall in the yard to make the borders.  Then we filled the area with colored cypress mulch.  This will make it easier to do raised beds next summer. 

We got all of this finished just in time for the rainy and storm week that has been forecast.  So, what did I plant?  Not as many things as I normally do, but the usual things made it in there.  Tomatoes , of course.  Jeff picked those out.  We have: Roma, Jet Star, and four heirloom varieties that include a black tomato and a yellow tomato.  We have bell peppers (4 colors so far), jalapenos, habaneros, sweet banana, and Anaheim.  I may put in some poblano as well.  Purple carrots and multi color Swiss chard, broccoli, garlic, spaghetti and yellow squash, cantaloupe and one lonely eggplant round it out.  I had thrown some spinach and lettuce seeds in with the strawberries a few weeks back.  They are slow going, but have finally made there selves known.

Now it is just a wait an see game.  We are all just hoping for a much nicer summer than the last one.  With the very mild winter and a warmer than usual spring, we may be out of luck.  I guess we'll find out soon enough.

Landscape fabric and cardboard under the mulch

Sawdust mulch
Leveling the path

landscape fabric

Blocks and mulch

Something to trip over in front of the shed

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Beautiful Day to Work Outside

Today has been overcast and cool. You can't ask for better weather to work hard in the garden. It went from overgrown with wheat to completely cleaned out and it is half tilled. Chicken poo has been spread over all of it. (I made a pretty good dent in that pile.) I'm throwing in a picture of our chicken feeder that Jeff put together a couple of years ago. It will hold 2+ bags of feed.

We rearranged the fence a little this year, moving the entrance closer to the shed. We will attach a fate to the shed and grow honeysuckle or morning glory on the trellis.

I've got to get the landscape cloth down an then we will cover it with wood shavings from the cabinet shop.

Lots more to do, including the purchase of a couple of goats!

That's a pile of...
New garden entrance
Gophers!  UGH!
More before
And even more before-iPhone does not arrange in order chosen apparently
These are of the chicken feeder-concrete forms duct taped to the feeder and then hung from the ceiling

Monday, April 2, 2012


Got the broccoli in. It's a little later than I would have liked, especially considering we just had the warmest March on record, but it's in!