Monday, May 23, 2016

Where to begin....

I was very mentally healthy this weekend.  I took both Friday and Saturday and worked through a big list.  On Friday I:

Did morning chores
Set up the electronet on the hillside
Tore down old duck house
Cleaned work site
Weed trimmed back garden beds, sided of house, half of garden
Washed and hung up four loads of laundry (I was OUT of clean undies.  Geez.)
Finished cleaning out small chicken coop
Made granola
Bone broth on the stove
Made yogurt
Did evening chores

The old gal is getting better!
On Saturday I:

Took three rhubarb plants down to local library for their plant swap
Picked up a pound of local coffee and treated myself to a chai latte
Drove to Home Debt to pick up my part of the duck house project
Weeded two and a half raised beds
Planted edible pod peas
Planted romaine
Planted four types of potatoes (even though I had vowed to only plant two)
Raked the sheep yard
Moved manure
Planted my primroses
Walked the dogs
Cleaned up after the builder

They had lots of supervision
Built better than my house
Duck House!
The skies threatened all day Saturday, but we were lucky.  The Duck House is not quite finished - it needs the tin roofing (recycled from my neighbor's barn) and a ramp and an end board for the inside of the nesting box.  I also need to stain the front, back and sides of the nesting box.  It's a very clever design - the nest box 'dormer' (you can tell he builds houses) roof is hinged and lifts up.  The right side of the A frame is hinged as well, so that the interior can be raked right out.  Very important when housing ducks.  I have put a hardware cloth screen over the door for now.  They have plenty of room and seem to be very happy with it.  There is a screened vent covered by the door in the up position.  I liked it so much that we have decided to make a Duck Village!  I'll be clearing out a pile of old firewood and moving the small coop.  Another Duck House will go perpendicular to this one some time before winter.

This was a good opportunity to see this builder/handyman/carpenter in action, as I am using him to roof my house.  He brought his 15 y/o son along and I was impressed with the way father and son worked together.  Jeff (father) treated his son's ideas with respect.  Ryan (son) worked right alongside him all day.  They started at 11 and worked until 6:30 with no break.  I had run out to get them sandwiches - they stood and ate them and kept working.  Of course, they had LOTS of supervision hand help from the chickens...  We ran out of time (honestly - if I could have carted them to their truck on my back, I would have.  I was ready to S.T.O.P.) and he/they will be back next Saturday to put the tin roofing on and finish the ramp and other bits.  But the main thing - NO DUCKS IN THE HOUSE - was accomplished.  I am celebrating the fact that I will have, maybe, three and a half days with no poultry in my laundry room.  Woot!

In! Over the wire...

I had meant to post these last week.  As usual, I kept thinking I had plenty of time.  There's an example of faulty logic.  On Friday night, I thought, "Hey!  Saturday is still part of the week!"  Saturday morning?  "Hey!  Saturday night is still legally the same week!"  By Saturday night, I couldn't muster the energy to lift a finger....



148-150  The Baby, Mama and Papa of waterers.  Of the three, only the middle one works well (IMHO) but is a citch to blean, if you catch my drift.  And why do I have 25 poultry waterers?

151- Another one of those "read description before you buy" things.  It fits nothing I own.

152- Okay, really reaching here BUT a) it's an item and b) it's going out.  I'm counting it.  So there.

153- Part of the PP (plastic purge).  I found this waaaay back in the top pantry cupboard and I don't think I have ever used it.

154- I love the looks of this, but it is not a functional purse for me.

I am starting to feel hopeful - I'm closing in on the halfway mark!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

How does my garden grow?

It grows....hardly.  This has been a very cold spring, with multiple frosts or near-frosts, so nothing much has been done.  The onions are in, the garlic and shallots are doing well and I did manage to plant my new strawberry plants.  I got peas in, but they are just starting to break ground - two weeks later!  The biggest obstacle in getting my 2016 garden underway (besides the weather and general lack of time) has been dealing with the viola epidemic.  I had planted two tires, two years ago with the pretty little things.  They have taken over my world.  I had two raised beds FULL of them.  They are growing in the grass.  They are here, there and everywhere.  And I can't bring myself to throw them in the compost, so I have them in window boxes, pots, tires.  I have given them away by the wheelbarrow-ful and I still have half a raised bed full of them.  Lord help me.    This weekend I will move the remainder to somewhere or other (I think I have an empty window box or five), plant potatoes, weed the rest of the beds and plant my yellow edible pod peas.  I would also like to plant my sweet peas, but that would mean weeding yet another bed.  This is also the weekend that the duck house gets built - halleluiah! - so that the little darlings will permanently move out of the laundry room.  They spend the day outside in a temporary pen and the nights in their laundry room pen.  All five of us will be very happy, come Sunday.  However, I will miss toting those squeezy little bodies every morning and evening.  Sort of.
Gardening "helpers"

Violas/Johnny Jump-ups gone wild!
Onions in
Garlic and shallots (and Lovey-bomb)
New strawberry bed
Of course, before the duck house can be built, I need to deconstruct the old one and clear the building site.  I also have to have a tree cut down in the chicken yard.  And I have to set up the electronet fence so the sheep can start mowing the parts of the property machines can't handle.  Speaking of sheep, Juno was shocked this morning when her usual molasses drench held straight wormer.  I wish I could have photographed her face.  But she is doing much better and I am relieved.

The Nuggets are doing well in their hoop house and, with warmer weather being forecast, I can open the door and let them lumber around outside.  The hoop house is surrounded by electric poultry netting, but I didn't have enough of the poultry netting to completely surround it; the back is regular sheep netting.  This, apparently, will be problematic, as I came out yesterday morning to find a rabbit completely ensnared and tangled (and dead).  It most likely slipped through the larger openings in the sheep net and then tried to leave through the poultry net.  It took me almost 15 minutes to untangle it.  I will have to move the whole set up back about 10 inches and offset the sheep netting with the permanent fencing so that the available openings are too small for rabbits. this becoming a math problem? 

A mental health day will be taken tomorrow so I can fill it full of activity.  You know that makes me happy.  I will try to remember to take pics of the goings-on (including the measuring of the roof for metal roofing).  I tried to get a video this morning (too dark) of the Geezer (aka Scrappy) tear-assing around with his favorite toy, Foxie.  It's hard to believe he is 16 this year, the old darling.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Equal parts

It's interesting how exhilarated I get when my weekends get jam-packed with 'must-dos' on the list.  Maybe it's the fact that I am connected to the world again - or at least the parts of it that mean the most to me.  It sure wasn't due to the weather.  It was a weekend of equal parts frustrating activities and satisfying activities.   Without further ado - recipients of the satisfying part of the weekend:
Ducklings at 1 month out for
the first time.
Apria, or LaLa seems happy
to be on grass again.

Norman - always photogenic, my
Cormo/Pony cross.
Juno - my problem child
for the week.
Linden - my problem child
the rest of the time.
The Patient

I thought you'd like evidence that the LLF dependents are still alive and kicking.  I spent most of last week wringing my hands over Juno, my elderly ewe.  She has struggled with a parasite load and seemed to be doing okay, when I came home from work Monday to find her with Bottle Jaw.  A quick message via FB to my friend, AnnMarie - my sheep/goat/llama guru, brought her down for a conference.  We wormed Juno again, then she gave me her secret recipe for an iron-building drench.  I have been drenching Juno twice a day, every day since.  It seems to finally be working, as she has perked up.  Since the drench is packed with molasses, I no longer have to wrestle her to the ground to drench her.  She sees the red drencher comes running - I dose her through the fence!

I got a new phone.  It only took most of the week and the threat of tears.  My carrier is Verizon and there are all these rules - contracts, blah, blah.  The phone my dear sister had sent was too outdated and they didn't even carry chargers for it.  With all kinds of finagling and my quivering lower lip, I was back in business Thursday night.  What a relief.

Saturday consisted mostly of my fanny in the driver's seat.  I put the ducklings out for the first time and then drove to VT to make a written report on the theft.  I then zipped back home to meet my roofer and duck house builder.  Then I drove south to get my hair done (thank God), then I drove an hour and a half to pick up a quarter pig for me and a baby beef share for my other sis, had an interesting conversation with the woman, then drove the hour and a half back home.  I did half my chores and tore out of the house to a neighbor's for a couple of glasses of wine, then back home to finish chores and feed my dogs.  That last bit was carried out under the withering beams of three sets of stink-eye.  Not one thing got done on the homestead.  Not one.

Soooo (as I am wont to say....) Sunday started at 7:30a and ended at 5:30p.  I made sure I had a lumberjack breakfast because there was going to be no lunch break.  I got the ducklings outside for their second time.  They are getting so big!  Then I started to work on the hoop house so that I could move the nuggets out of the two brooders.  This involved re-tarping it, cleaning it out (note to self: next time, don't wait a year), running electric (frost predicted) for a heat lamp, hanging feeders, finding and cleaning the big waterer and last, but not least, transporting all 30 of the fat buggers.  This was comprised of plopping a bunch of them into a box with handles, walking across the chicken yard, up-over-down the deck, across the back, through two gates and into the hoop house.  I repeated this process seven times.  I also discovered one dirty, sad, beaten down Nugget.  He/she had been smooshed, pushed and rolled in poop.  Sigh.  After I had gotten the rest in their last home, I put up the electronet and charger and focused on my patient.  I gave it a warm bath and a blow-dry.  Then I set up a little brooder in the - let's say it together: LAUNDRY ROOM (which, please note, saw no laundry done this weekend) - and let it recover.  It is a sorry thing and I don't know if it will fully recover.  But, it's warm, clean, dry and is eating and drinking.  I let the sheeples out into the back paddock for grass and managed to feed the dogs before 6P.  Not quite before the ... snow ... began.

In between, my sister and mother stopped by for her beef share.  I would usually be horrified for my mother to witness the state my house was in.  This time?  Didn't care.  I also lost a hen in a very mysterious way.  When I got back from the police station, my neighbors were hiking by and wanted eggs (and to see the ducklings), so we went into the chicken yard.  There, dead center (pardon the pun) was one of my Welsomers, neck broken, one foot pointing skyward.  There was no visible cause of death, but it looked to be violent.  She was not an old hen.  It was a shame.  (And very traumatic, apparently, for my neighbors.)  Let's hope they do not sue me.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Neither rain, nor stolen phone ....

can keep me from posting my weekly purge!  You'll just have to close your eyes and imagine what they look like.

(Trumpet flare)

141- Black wide legged work pants.  With tags.  Languished in my closet for over four years, waiting to be hemmed.

142- Navy cotton Bermuda shorts.  Right.  Shorts rank up there with bathing suits in my wardrobe.

143- Black cotton sweater.  I have three.

144- Beaded pie weights.  Got these as a gift and used them once.  I think it was back in 1975.

145- Four fake gourds.  I grew real ones instead.

146- Black Merrell shoes.  You know, the kind that make you think you are walking pigeon-toed?  I find (lo and behold) that I own three pair of very similar shoes.  These are the lace-up kind and I am practicing for when I am old and feeble (in about 24 hours), so no laces for me.

147- "The Silver Palate Cookbook".  One of my oldies but goodies that I used constantly, back in the day.  I have not opened it during the entire time I've lived here.  Time to share.

(Not counted but still jettisoned, three pair of BGPs that were beginning to look like a cross between cotton gauze and Swiss cheese.  I find it very difficult to part with comfy undies.  TMI?)

Duck news - someone is quacking.  I had put them outside in a pen yesterday and then, when I brought them back inside last night after work, I heard a distinct "Quack".  It's the largest one - I caught him looking around, startled expression on his puss, wondering where that sound came from.  My babies are growing up!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

I've been Liebsterized!

The Fair Fiona from Confessions of a Crazed Cattlewoman has bestowed a Liebster upon me.  While I am going to be a poop and not follow through with the whole thing (create questions, spread the award), I will answer her fun questions:

#1- If you were going to travel where would you go?

I would love to travel to meet all the bloggers I know and love.  And I will, as soon as I don't have 65 dependents at home.

#2- What is your favorite time of day?

Early morning.  The earlier, the better. 

#3- Who is the most inspirational woman in your life?

This is a tough one.  I would have to say a certain woman living in a northern state who quilts, homesteads *coughmamapea*, but truthfully?  It would be a woman who is a conglomeration of so many woman I have met through blogs.

#4- If you could change one thing about the world what would it be?

I would like to see an upsurge of compassion.

#5- What is your very favorite food?

Any flavor (without nuts) of ice cream, followed by a potato chip chaser.

#6- Have you been to a movie lately and if so what was it?

I have not seen a movie in a theater since Lincoln and was disappointed with that one.  However, I can still see Omar Sharif's large, dark eyes filling the screen in Doctor Zhivago.  I have never fully recovered and I was in my early teens.

#7- What made you decide to start and maintain your blog?

I had just moved to my first home and started homesteading in a small way.  I didn't know anyone and found a lot of inspiration on the blogs I was reading.  I started as a way to connect and to create a history.

#8- When was the last time you sat down and read a good book?

I have been reading a book I like a lot, about two pages a week.  It's hard to find time to sit for more than 15 minutes (without falling asleep).

#9- What kind of costume would you wear to a costume Ball?

I'd like to be the Lone Rangerette!

#10- What was one thing you had a trouble learning?

Math.  Any form, color or iteration of it.  An iron curtain clangs down in my mind whenever presented with a math problem.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

First Harvest

Stinging Nettles and gear

(Obviously taken pre-camera-theft)  On last Friday morning, I hurriedly took scissors out to the compost pile by the barn and snipped a bag full of nettles.  I had been clued in that my farmer/neighbor was going to toddle down with his front-end loader and turn the pile for me that morning after milking.  I love to dry it, make soup from it, toss it in salads.  Looks like I have plenty more - everywhere!