Monday, April 11, 2011

Just a typical weekend on the homestead.

I will have to say, in this weekend's defense, that the weather was glorious -- a perfect spring day with warm sun and light breezes.  It started off with Scrappy showing signs of a urinary infection.  This, after a week of me ranting and raving at what I perceived to be his 'bad' behavior.  Bad me.  Of course, the jury's still out on this.  I managed to get the vet to agree to me driving him up (45 mins each way) for a urine collection that would be sent out to their lab.  I arrived with 5 minutes to spare, to be told that the lab truck had been a half hour early.  So, Scrappy and I went to get cheap gas, a coffee for me and three Munchkins for him.  There is a scarcity of vets near me, and I do like this group except for the fact that they are so far away.  Incidents like this, however, make me rethink sticking with them.

Besides all the extra driving, I did manage to plant onion sets and mulch them; rake off some of the mulch from my garlic, which is coming up nicely; go grocery shopping, where I lost my mind and spent close to $75 on fruit, vegetables and ingredients for my Sunday dinner.  I am weak.  I did some laundry and hung it out on my laundry tree, cleaned up the front yard and took stock of all the damage caused by this winter - three new blueberry bushes snapped in half, branches broken, bent and bruised.  I still have a huge mound of snow in the shady spot in front of the house, and at one end of the other side of the front.  I also found, much to my delight, that Manuel started up almost immediately!  This, after not being run or moved since last fall.  Ole, Manuel!

I planted peas, too, and discovered that the spinach I had planted under cover last fall was still perking along, albeit pretty flattened.  So I uncovered it and it's popped right up.  I buried Ginger, the rabbit, who had langquished frozen until I could dig a proper hole.  I cleaned out the rabbit cages and trimmed some horrendous mats off Little Brother.  I took a huge load of trash and recycleables to the transfer station and, when I returned, I was thinking about taking a nice, long shower, sweeping off my deck, and then starting up dinner preparations, when I heard the unmistakable poultry alarm.  I raced into the poultry yard and found all the chickens gathered in a semi-circle outside of the coop, staring at it.  Yep.  Mink #2.  So I quickly closed it in and called my neighbor.  While I was waiting for him to arrive, another neighbor backed into the drive with my new-to-me, double spinning composter.  They were not using it and would not take anything in trade or cash for it.  Good golly.  Once I figure out where it's going and get it set up, I will post a picture so you can all be totally jealous.  Then another neighbor pulled in to pick up my tiller and shovel up llama beans.  And other neighbor pulled in to say hi.  And Kay pulled up to give me pansies (thank you again, Kay - they are beeutiful).  Then I raced in to take a shower, while Kay sat guard, and Marianne showed up with wine and Hummingbird Cake.  Then the armed neighbor showed up and he dispatched the mink.  Another healthy male specimen.  My new motto may be, "If It's Sunday, It's Mink".  I sure hope not...

While Marianne was here, we autopsied my bee hive.  They were, indeed, all dead.  It appears there was too much moisture trapped in the hive.  The only upside of this is that it happened early and the hive was filled with honey.  It will be interesting to see just how much there is, but we figure there will be over 4 gallons.  An expensive lesson learned, both in bee deaths and $$.  But it is a lesson -- be sure that there is enough ventilation to allow moisture to escape.  The bees had sealed the vent in the inner cover with propolis, and the entrance and screened bottom board had been too often covered with snow.  There was no place for the moisture to go.  I hadn't known the ventilation was sealed off at the top, as I was told not to open it AT ALL during the winter.  You better believe I will be checking it when weather allows on the next hives.

Sylvia showed up, also bearing wine, to see the lambs and have dinner, then we went inside an enjoyed a nice bottle of wine, with rabbit braised in white wine with olives and lemon, and lots of great conversation.  We topped it off with Marianne's Hummingbird Cake - my new favorite cake!  It was a non-stop and eventful weekend, some good, some bad. 


  1. My goodness what great neighbors you have. I rarely see mine, and if I do it is usually because they want something or the horses are out and in their backyards. I wish I had a few like that.

  2. So I suppose you were ready to go back to work this morning so you'd see some people and have something to do, huh? ;o}

    I think Jane's right about your great neighbors. But I think it's you and your warm personality that just attracts people. You may have to put a stoplight and turn lane at the end of your driveway.

  3. Sorry about your bees, you will have to post a photo of the honey you did get from them. Great neighbors you have, but I have to ask why they dispatch the mink, "Susan, get 'yer gun"! :) Dinner sounds delicious!