Friday, December 19, 2014

December 19, 2014

Christmas Postcard. So I have a pet peeve about receiving a Christmas card from someone you haven't heard from in a year and it doesn't say anything other than Merry Christmas! However, it seems so difficult to write someone a special note, that I haven't sent Christmas cards for a couple of years. For a while, I was sending an annual Christmas letter instead of a card. This year I think I stumbled on the cheapest and best. The first thing I did was go onto the US Postal Service's website and view the requirements for postcards here. I found that a 4 x 6 picture was the perfect size. In order to get a picture that was Christmas and not copyrighted, I took a picture of the wreath on my front door. I then pulled it into Word and added a textbox full of what I wanted to say about the family. Unfortunately, Word would not allow me to save it as a jpg file once it had a textbox on it, so I did a Print Screen and copied it into Paint, cropped it, and uploaded it to Walgreens, where they were having a sale that if I bought 50 prints, I could get them for $.12 each. I really only wanted 25 prints, but if I ordered less than 50, they were 29 cents each, so it was cheaper to order 50. I bought the $.34 postcard stamps, addressed them and sent them out. The Walgreens in my area had one hour photo making, so this was all accomplished in an afternoon. Yay! Here's a picture of the finished product:

Monday, December 8, 2014

December 8, 2014

Christmas decorations/Apparel/last of leftovers.So it was time to remove the remaining Thanksgiving decorations and put up Christmas. While we have lived at the farm for two previous Christmas holidays, we were so busy doing other things that we were using leftovers from our last house and trying to make them fit the farm. While most of them were OK, the farm needed some decorations that fit the farm. I started with what I had, of course. So, a friend and neighbor gave me a wood sleigh which I wanted to turn into a centerpiece. Not in the middle of the table, mind you (I hate those tall centerpieces in the middle of the table that you can't see over when you are trying to talk to someone, don't you?) No, I have a buffet down at the end of the table with a mirror hanging over it which is a great place for the centerpiece. I will use it there when we get closer to Christmas and my leftover flower arrangement from Thanksgiving gives out (I am really trying to root some of the greenery from the Thanksgiving arrangement that my new niece brought.) For now it is on the buffet. I started with an unfinished wood sleigh, used Pinterest to gather ideas, and combined a few sleighs that I liked with a hurricane lamp to get my final piece. I also need a wreath for my front door. I like real greenery, so I looked for a ready made wreath, but they all seemed either ugly this year or too expensive, so I took out my old wreath from last year that was hanging in the shed looking dead, took off the ribbon and decorations that had come with it, opened up the metal pieces holding the greenery in, substituted greenery from our farm that my husband helped me find, put back in the decorations from last year's wreath, and it came out looking so much better that what was available this year: I then turned my attention to Christmas apparel. I remade a sweatshirt for myself from a too big sweatshirt that was given me and discarded red sweatshirt in my daughter's bag of stuff to get rid of. It came out like this: I then went to the thrift shop and purchase a black men's sweatshirt, a red fleece men's shirt with a snowman on it, and a 24 month dress that was fur trimmed. When I came home, I printed out a picture of the grinch and used it as a pattern to cut out the pieces from scraps of fabric I had, used fusible webbing to iron it on to a sweatshirt, and then machine appliqued it on. It turned out like this: The large red fleece men's shirt was to make a shirt for my college-age daughter. I used a nice fitting shirt that she had in the discard pile as a pattern to reduce the sides of the shirt, moved up the sleeves (a slight gather around the sleeve opening helps to fit it in), and used fur from the toddler dress to add trim to the sleeves (after trying it on her for sleeve length when she came home for Thanksgiving.) It turned out like this: It looked great with her black pants, boots and Santa hat that I sent back to college with her. It was time to get rid of the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers. What I had left was some sweet potatoes, a jelled cranberry/strawberry salad and some copper pennies (marinated carrots). So I put the sweet potatoes in the food processor, ground them up, added yeast, flour, couple of tablespoons of peanut oil, salt, and a little milk to turn it into a loaf of bread and a few sweet potato biscuits. I just added flour a little at a time until it felt like bread dough. For the cranberry/strawberry salad, I added it to the food processor (not even bothering to wash it in between) and added the rest of the ingredients I would have added to zucchini bread (minus the zucchini and spices)and poured it into my sprayed bundt cake pan to make breakfast on the go for the week. For the copper pennies (which I had already used a portion of to make gingered carrots with rice, just adding rice and ginger and cooking with some soy sauce), I put them in the crockpot with two cups of rice, four cups of water, a package of ground venison, some cayenne pepper and some salt to eat for dinner with some sweet potato biscuits. Waste not, want not.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

December 2, 2014

Prep/Thanksgiving/Family Fun/Leftovers. Thanksgiving is a time for family, and as I like to cook, they usually come to my house. This year we had my husband's family and our children, which made for 16 people to feed. Only my two daughters stayed here, so I only needed to do my best to finish my spare room/office redecorating project. When you are redecorating with used items, sometimes it takes a while to find what you want, so it didn't get completely finished (and I had all that cooking to do.) However, I did get the new comforter set in, the rug, bought two night stands used that I needed to sand and paint, got the lamps, and got the drawer knobs in. Here's a picture of how it looked when my oldest daughter came for Thanksgiving: You can compare it to my inspiration picture on my pinterest page here. I am still looking for the chairs, and I have an armoire in the basement that my husband is going to help me turn into a sewing armoire for my birthday. We enjoyed a large variety of food for Thanksgiving. My husband smoked two turkey breasts, and I cooked a ham, pumpkin pies, fruit salad, cranberry salad, corn pudding, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, copper pennies, stuffing, and string bean casserole. My mother-in-law brought homemade rolls, chicken salad, and pecan pies, my niece made a cheesecake, and my new niece-in-law made some baked apples. My youngest daughter and I put together some turkey cookies to decorate each place setting: . You can view the inspiration cookies on my pinterest page here. We had lots of fun with family. My brother-in-law brought everyone a picture taken at my nephew's wedding. Since my nephew likes his mustache, he had all the groomsmen grow a mustache and wear suspenders with a bow tie. So my brother-in-law stopped by the dollar tree and picked up self-adhesive mustaches and the whole family put them on for the picture. Great memories and family fun can be really cheap. Here's a wedding photo: Once the Thanksgiving meal was completed and family went on their merry way, we were left with a lot of food. The next day we celebrated my oldest daughter's birthday, who picked ham and cheese crepes for her meal. The leftover ham was perfect for this. We also enjoyed turkey sandwiches made with leftover rolls, refrigerator soup, chicken spaghetti, chicken casserole can be made combining the green bean casserole with turkey pieces, and basically, just remaking the food into something else so we won't be tired of it. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

November 25, 2014

I just want to comment on fixing an F-20 error code on a Kenmore HE 2t front load washer. My washing machine was flashing F-20 every time I got 6 minutes into the cycle. The first thing I tried after making sure of the water flow is the pressure switch. Found a new one for $6.95. Still had an F-20 error. I then discovered that the drain plug had quite a bit of fluid in it and figured it was bad. Bought a new one for $78, put it in, didn't solve the problem. We then noticed there was a little water leaking from somewhere. We discovered that the tube running from the pressure switch to the tub was flat on one side and had a pin hole leak (this was under the hose insulation. . .go figure). Replaced it with a piece of tubing from the auto parts store for about $1.50, and this fixed it.

Monday, November 24, 2014

November 24, 2014

Clothing Reconstruction. I love to sew. However, the expense of buying fabric, patterns and notions has turned sewing into an elitist hobby these days. There are reasons and ways to sew that make it worth your while. One of the times I sew now is when I am decorating a room and want everything to match. Also, I can sometimes score fabric at yard sales either in fabric form or curtains or clothing to remake. Recently, I have been remaking clothes in our closets and thrift shop finds. One of my recent projects is to take a sweater that I bought at a thrift shop to wear (but didn't like it when I got home) and try to make some useful items out of it. I ended up being able to make two hats, a pair of mittens, and a neck scarf out of the sweater. Here are some pictures: In the layout of pictures, you can see how the original sweater became all four items.

Friday, November 14, 2014

November 14, 2014

Thanksgiving Decorations. This year my husband's whole family along with my kids are going to be here. I have started working on some Thanksgiving decorations with the help of Pinterest. This is a link to my pinterest page: These are a couple of the things these pins inspired: I was so impressed by the Dollar Tree wreath that I went to the Dollar Tree to find the stuff to make it. However, as it was after Halloween, they didn't have any of the stuff (except I did pick up a roll of burlap ribbon there for a dollar). I even looked for the parts at Wal-mart, to no avail. They didn't even have a good price on the wreath form which I wouldn't buy without knowing where I would get the fall leaves. As a last resort, I stopped by the Dollar General on my way home and found a completed wreath with a wimpy bow. I took the bow off, made a burlap bow, then made a matching bow for the light. I spent $6 on the wreath and $1 on the burlap ribbon. Here are some close ups: I was inspired by the pinterest pictures to make some candle holders, because I may have up to three tables. So I had a set of six red votive candles that I had received one year for Christmas, I had six mason jar mugs that my mom had given me, I had the glass marbles, and I picked some small pine cones off of a tree in my back yard. I did have to spend $2.37 on the jute twine, and now I have some left over for another project. I used some white acrylic paint that I had with a sponge paintbrush to add the white to the pine cones. Then I wrapped the jute twine around the top of the jar twice and tied it in a bow. I added the pine cones with hot glue. I held the votive candle in place with a pair of tongs and dropped the clear, flat marbles in the jar. Oila! Six decorative candles that can be split between 2 or 3 tables (depending on how many show up.) Here's a picture:

Monday, November 3, 2014

November 3, 2014

I believe that things can be both practical and beautiful. In order for a house to stay beautiful, you must have a place for all of the necessary items, so you can put them in their place. For example, when we redesigned this modular to be a passive solar, we put the front door in a location that kept us from being able to have a coat closet. So we painted some boards with hooks that we already had and put a double row behind the front door so the guest coming in the door did not see them first thing, but had a place to hang their coat. I also designed a beautiful bench that my husband built for me to house the messy shoes: In the bedroom, my husband was always bringing in a pile of books that he deposited by the bed. So I redecorated the bedroom and included a storage ottoman that was meant to hold his pile of books: Another fact of life for us, was that we were always changing clothes to go outside to work and usually kept them going for a few days, so we always had "half-dirty" clothes lying around. We finally have a location for our half-dirty clothes in the linen closet in our bathroom where we also store the dirty clothes and the vacuum cleaner. Another thing that always bothered me was that our toothbrushes were always sitting on the counter making messy toothpaste spots and leaving them open for flies to land on them (yuck!) I was looking on the internet one day and ran across the simple method of putting a cutlery tray in the bathroom drawer and keeping them in the drawer while solving both problems: That's why I love our farm so much. Practical and beautiful.

Monday, October 20, 2014

October 20th, 2014

We finished hanging the marble shelf, so I thought I would post the promised picture: This is the stainless steel bucket under the sink: Here is a more detailed picture of one of the nightstands painted glossy white with the new green crystal drawer pulls: The cheap plate easel works perfectly as a place to put my tablet so I can view it hands free. I often use it in the kitchen for a recipe. I can also just touch the button when I wake up at night to see what time it is, watch the morning news, or watch an HGTV special on for decorating tips. I love the High Low Project. I also thought Freestyle, Decorating Cents, and other programs large on creativity with a small budget were good uses of my time. One can always spend MORE money, but the real learning comes in when you can do the same thing with LESS. I always thought the House Hunter shows (since I don't intend to move) and the decorating shows that spent a ton of money were a waste of my time. Here is more progress on the last side of the double decker doghouse: As we are doing it with leftovers, it is somewhat pieced, but once it is trimmed and caulked (again with leftovers), it should be nice looking, sound, and frugally built. We still need to finish cutting out the door on the top, as you can see in the picture. We will attach a small diagonal ladder to the top when we finish with the trim.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

October 15, 2014

Wow, we have been so busy. One of my projects has been the double decker doghouse. I think I mentioned it before when I was planning it. I wanted it to be passive solar with a southern window wall, but soon discovered that plexiglass has gotten outrageously expensive. So I went to the thrift shop to see if I could find an alternative. What I found was a plexiglass shelving display with some broken shelves for $7.50. I used the two 12" end pieces for tall front windows. They weren't quite tall enough, so I bought two transparent clipboards, removed the hardware, and used them for the top of the window. We are not quite finished with it, but here is a picture: We have one side left to finish and that will be the one with the doors and ramp to the second floor. This is for my two border collie/catahoula mix puppies. At least they now have a dry spot when it rains, and the bottom floor is currently large enough for both of them. In the picture, I have it blocked off until the paint dried on the floor boards. (Although those puppy paw prints might have looked cute, I wasn't ready for them on my new deck.) Also, I had to find a way to conceal that ugly septic tank cover in the backyard. My solution was to hide it in plain site. I hauled over some rocks we had laying around, along with some compost from the pile, and added some plants I had to dig up when we put in the deck, and a resin column and sundial we have had for a few years and voila! My husband sparked this idea by putting the column on there to be out of the way when he mowed. You can imagine his chagrine when I jumped up and down and told him what a great idea! I have also been bitten by the home decorating bug. I (with my husband's help) have painted our small powder room pale green, hung pictures, will be putting up a marble shelf, and even used a shiny stainless steel bucket under the sink to hold the toiletries. I call it "Farm - Luxury". My favorite bathroom secret for marble shelves are to buy a 4" marble threshold from Lowe's or Home Depot and put them on crown moulding corner blocks or a fancy shelf (We have done this in another house). I got an extra good deal on it because I knew when I went that I only needed 30 1/4 inches, so I found one with a chip on it and asked for a discount. I was quite surprised when he gave it to me half off. I will post a picture when we get it done. I can't wait to put the little lotion bottle and the air freshener on the shelf. I bought a vintage-look crystal perfume bottle with the bulb squeeze to put the air freshener into. My Powder room that started out looking more like a closet looks so much nicer! On the master bath, I went shopping in the basement and found some wall hangings we had in a former dining room. My husband made quick work of hanging them for me: I used some fabric I had leftover from the window curtains in my bedroom to make a curtain and literally found a green ribbon to tie around it for color. For an added detail to both bathrooms, I found a couple of battery powered motion lights from here: They look fabulous and after a few days of having them on an easel and moving them from place to place, we found just the right spot for them so they will come on when we need them to and not before. Then we permanently attached them to the wall.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

September 9, 2014

Homesteading - a traditional role for women? When you look at the roles encompassed by my husband and I, you might think we espouse traditional roles. I guess that would depend on what era's definition of the "traditional role" you use. I enjoy creating in the kitchen - so I'm the cook (he's in charge of the dishes). I preserve our food (often with my husband by my side helping). I sew - mostly those unique items that can't be found elsewhere, or either I am reconstructing some clothing we already have to re-purpose them, otherwise it's cheaper to purchase them at yard sales or thrift shops. I clean - mostly because I don't like clutter and find that a clean, clear space helps me be creative. I do the laundry - mostly because I work from home and need breaks from my office chair as a financial consultant to stretch my legs, and that task really takes minutes. Those items would be considered "traditional" in the industrial age which is really fairly recent. Then there are those things that I do that are non-traditional. When my daughter and I were working on the chicken coop (our "chick" project) and I asked her if she wanted to try the nail gun she said, "I guess. I want to be a good wife some day." I love variety and homesteading/learning to farm sure provides that. This week for example I made floor pillows for my daughter to fit some euro shams, bed pillows with the leftover parts of the sheet I used and the leftover stuffing, am building awnings for our produce stand, a west window, and over the door of my son's new town home, made bread, make my husband's breakfast and lunch to send him to work (today it was slicing a fresh peach and coating it with lemon water, making some peanut butter delights, peanut butter sandwich with the homemade oatmeal bread, filling his water bottle and sending him with a coffee to go with some cheese toast), do my job between the hours of 8 and 3 as a financial consultant, then fit in whatever else needs to be done. My husband feeds the animals, will be assisting me with the awnings (I like using the radial arm saw to cut most of my pieces, but don't like using the circular saw to cut the sheathing for the top and I need his hands and muscles to help me put them up) is in charge of the dishes, has to keep our cars going, etc. In short, our "traditional role" like country people have been doing for thousands of years is whatever it takes to get the job done. For an example, you should watch one of my favorite movies "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers."

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

September 2, 2014

Busy summer. Big project was the wrap around deck. The south deck is to house our solar kitchen and solar clothes dryer (pulley line system so we can stand on the deck and wheel the laundry over the yard.) The south also has our bedroom windows so we are building solar pet houses for our dogs and cats so they can be near us. All passive solar of course with windows to the south to keep them nice and warm in the winter time. The overhang should keep them cooler in the summer. The cat house is finished with some leftovers we had in the barn, including an acrylic sheet for the south window and sheet insulation on the other sides and top and bottom. As we got two puppies that we hope to train to herd our cows for rotational grazing, we have designed a double decker doghouse. We will be fitting it in the space between two windows and have steps leading to the upstairs portion. As we did not have any more acrylic sheeting lying around and it is quite expensive (we have plenty of spare lumber), I went to the thrift shop and discovered an acrylic display stand with broken shelves for $7.50. The end pieces are each 1 foot wide and very thick acrylic, so I have designed the front (south side) with two tall narrow windows. This is yet another principle I learned from Amy Dacyzyn of the Tightwad Gazette, start with what you already have or can find for a cheap price to make your plan, you'll save money (almost)every time. The other day we went to some friends for dinner and took homemade cornbread and blackberry crisp. We had some of the blackberry crisp leftover, so I added a cup of flour, an egg, some baking powder, and some milk to turn it into pancakes. Yum. . .

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

July 16, 2014

Life is so busy. We have been skating along with little to no rain until last night. We have had to irrigate with a half inch garden hose on a standing sprinkler. We have used a 250 gallon tank in the bed of our pickup to water fruit and nut trees out of hose range. We have had a tree or two to die and the grass was crunchy. All the while we have been harvesting vegetables mainly for our own consumption, putting them up, sharing with friends and family. We have toured a farm to view paddocks used for rotational grazing for cows which we hope to add next year. We are signed up for a poultry processing workshop to learn how to process our own poultry.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

June 18, 2014

Wow. Life is so busy. We have put up 17 quarts of squash with onions, 7 quarts of green beans and 26 two cup bags of grated zucchini squash. We are so excited to have discovered today that one of the chickens we have allowed to set on eggs has hatched a chick today that looks very healthy. This is our first naturally hatched chick! Yay! Every time something like this happens, we realize we have so much to learn. Our youngest is preparing to go off to college to finish her last two years, so we have a lot to do for her. We are catching up with building projects as my husband is out of teaching for the summer. Our egg mobile is working out nicely and we have moved it once. We did discover that the chicks are still small enough to be able to get out of the fence, so we had to put in a temporary run until they grow more. We have loved how the garden looks this summer (despite the major hot temperatures already - 95 yesterday and it's supposed to get hotter) and the raspberries are loving the half shade spot we moved them to.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

June 8, 2014

A lot has been going on. I decided to start a page entitled "farm recipes", using ingredients grown on the farm. The first one was in May and was a beautiful salad.Turn to the Farm Recipes pages to view the ingredients.

On June 2nd, we got fish stocked in our fish pond. We got slightly more than 100 bluegill and 10 bass. The bass are to keep the bluegill in check. Here are some photos of the fish release: When Foster Pond Management came to bring the fish, they suggested that I put rocks in the runoff shoot that was bringing water to the pond. My husband suggested that we put flat rocks at the bottom. As we had just finished getting a friend to flatten an area around the barn to build a lean-to for the tractor and a photovoltaic shed, there were lots or rocks that needed a home. I used the trailer on my golf cart to haul them to the pond.

 Our raspberries were not doing well in the full sun (and are indeed not supposed to do well in North Carolina.) We moved them to a spot that has afternoon shade and they seem to like it well:

Friday, May 23, 2014

May 23, 2014

Today is mine and my husband's 33rd wedding anniversary! We are going to an Italian restaurant, watching a movie, and buying ourselves some fish for our fishpond. Our chicks have been moved to the basement. They are getting larger and one got out of the tub it was in. It looks like we might have two roos out of the nine. When contemplating what to put them in, we decided on a watering trough that someone gave us because the bottom was rusted out. We cut out the rest of the bottom, and as the bottom had a dented spot that we were afraid the chicks would escape from, we made the bottom be the top. To avoid those freshly cut edges, we put some pipe insulation over the edges. We added some pine shavings to the bottom over cardboard, and the chicks had a new home! My husband finished the solar water heater and it is working like a charm. The total cost was $1384.29 and we are expecting about half of that back with a tax credit (state and federal combined), as well as a savings of $30 - $40 per month. I can't wait. We had a meeting with a representative from soil and water conservation to give us some ideas on rotational grazing paddocks. We are already impressed and our next step will be going to tour a farm in mid June that has something like this in place. We bought a dump truck load of compost this week. My main project is to heal the ground outside of the basement so grass will grow. It is our intention to rent out to weddings in the future as part of our effort to be sustainable at the farm, so I must make it look nice. It will also be nice that the red clay will quit being dragged into the house. The weather radio went off a few minutes ago to indicate a severe thunderstorm warning. I had to run out and spread grass seed on those areas that I had covered with compost. I am hoping the rain will water it in and this will keep the chickens from eating it! Only on a farm. . .LOL

Friday, May 16, 2014

May 16, 2014

The chicks are progressing nicely and are starting to get their feathers. Yay! We got rain! The ground here was so dry that we were having to drive around with a 250 gallon tank on the back of the truck to water the trees and berry bushes. We are also hoping that it added more water to the pond (I need to check that this morning.) The garden should take off, as we have only been doing minimal watering since we don't have an irrigation system in yet. This week we went to a pastured poultry workshop at the Wings of Dawn farm (thanks Jan and Mike and the cooperative extension agency for making this happen). We not only enjoyed the workshop, but always enjoy meeting the other folks there and swapping ideas. We have enjoyed a borrowed car provided by the shop that is fixing our daughter's vehicle this week. It is fun to occasionally drive around in a Mustang convertible with the top down. . . Not very practical for a permanent vehicle, though.

Friday, May 9, 2014

May 9, 2014

Hatched chicks are so much fun and they sure are cute. We had one chick that was hatched with curled toes. I researched this on the internet and found a consensus that if taken care of early, the chicks' toes can straighten out. We tried the cardboard sandal with vet wrap. It was not possible for me to do even with my daughter to hold the chick. Between how tiny the chick was and trying to wrap the vet wrap around its tiny toe while the chick of course would not hold still, didn't work. Then I looked for another solution and found the suggestion of thick sturdy tape. We always have duct tape, so I gave it a shot. Now the chick is running around sporting one duck flipper. It started out with two, but one foot wasn't so bad and it seemed to be slipping with the duct tape. Sadly, we have named it "gimpy". We will probably love this chick best of all. . .

Thursday, May 8, 2014

May 8, 2014

Our main focus right now is hatching eggs. The chicks are so cute. We have had our struggles though and have written more in-depth about this on the new Hatching Eggs page. In the food department, we have asparagus to harvest, lots of lettuce, kale, and eggs. We have potatoes, onions, kale, broccoli, carrots, corn, beans, pumpkins, tomatoes, watermelon, cabbage, canteloupe, honey dew melon, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, grapes, hops, cucumbers, and herbs all growing. Most of our fruit trees are leafing out, but we are wondering if the cherry trees died this winter. My spouse has made a trailer hitch for the golf cart out of a piece of metal he bought for $2.18 and we are able to pull the small trailer with the golf cart to spread the "chicken gold" to our fruit and nut trees and blueberries. We are continuing to add protection to our trees from the deer with rebar and bird netting. We planted the "chicken garden" with corn (saved from last year's crop) and black oil sunflower seeds. However, the chickens are scratching there so we wonder if they have found the seeds or eaten all the black oil sunflower seeds that were just coming up. We keep talking about fencing that area temporarily until the plants get to a good size, but there are not enough hours in the day, it seems. The mini egg mobile is almost completed, but we need to figure out the wheel structure, finish trimming and painting.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

April 29, 2014

This has been a great week.  My husband and I went on the beginning farmer tour and got inspired by Perrywinkle Farm, Granite Springs Farm and Cozi Farm.  It always amazes me that farmers are stereotyped as not so smart, when they seem to be amazingly intelligent.  It takes it to make it as a farmer.  On our farm, we hope to have a turning point this year.  Everything is coming up well.  17 out of 17 thornless blackberries are in leaf.  The new raspberries are coming up.  Looks like 100% of the new blueberries are doing well.  We have frogs, tadpoles and at least one turtle in the pond.  The garden looks fabulous with all the potatoes, onions, kale, broccoli, cabbage, beans, pumpkins, etc. coming up.  We managed to get in all the tomato transplants last night just in time for the rain this week.  Last night we had our first asparagus of the season in ham and asparagus soup.  Tonight we will have a salad from the new lettuce.  Yumm!  I love the vegetable season.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

April 24, 2014

Tuition fees.  Most people have paid them and they are very expensive.  When I am learning new things on the farm and make a mistake that will cost money, I try to look at it as a tuition fee.  Most likely, it ends up being much less expensive than my college tuition and I am learning very useful things.  Today, for example, I decided it was high time I learned how to run the tractor with the tiller attachment.  We have one final field to till, it's getting late, and my husband has had to work many hours as a teacher.  So I asked him for some pointers last night and thought I would try it.  I had given it a test run by myself yesterday on a very short area, so I definitely knew the questions to ask.  Today, I started down my first row.  With the pointers I had gotten from my spouse, it was working so much better.  It was tilling much deeper with the right settings.  I was so proud of myself and happy.  Until I got down to the end of the row and saw that I had found the hose with the tiller.  Of course, I shut the tractor down to assess the damage.  Two of our hoses were not fixable and were wound tight around the tiller.  Determined to fix my mistake, I went and got the pruning shears to get the hose off of the tiller.  Much prodding and pulling later, the hoses were off and I went on the plow the garden spot three times over.  Now the short crew with feathers is working on the spot so it will be ready to plant this evening when my spouse gets home.  All for the price of two hoses, but many plowed rows in the future with the new found knowledge.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

April 22, 2014

We have been so busy getting things done that it has been hard to find time to write.  My husband was on Spring break last week and was busy working on our solar water heater.  It's almost finished.

Every day is a new adventure.  One morning we looked outside and there were two miniature horses in our backyard.  We also worked on plowing the rest of the garden and getting all of our seeds planted that were supposed to be planted after the last frost date.

Additionally, we did some extra finishing on the Produce Stand.