A bit about us...

We are a modern family of three, living on less than two acres with a 3,000 square foot garden that meets our produce needs and allows us to share with friends and neighbors. Our laying flock of chickens seems to expand each year as we raise chicks each Spring to replace older hens. This blog is more of a journal, if you will, for us to chronicle and share our experiences in the yard, garden and kitchen. It is our hope that along the way a few folks might learn something, be entertained, or simply enjoy sharing in our stories and the lessons we learn on a daily basis. I named the blog after the times when I am the happiest, when I am elbow deep in earth.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

A week's worth of work

So much has gotten accomplished this week with the help of Shane, Mom and Lexi, I suppose bullets are the easiest way to go through the tasks rather than explaining them all (as I can get a bit wordy).  :)

  • Flower beds in front of the house cleared and mulched with some fantastic mulch
  • Blueberries planted (4) 
  • The area surrounding the chicken yard has been turned over and planted with Pole Peas, Pole Beans and Cucumbers for pickling (free trellis area, basically)
  • The area between the shed and the yard (where there is a retaining wall) has been cleaned and planted with assorted sunflowers of all colors and heights 
  • The area immediately above that in the yard has also been cleared and turned over for me to move Grandma's old fashioned bachelor buttons from another bed (I don't think that is what they really are, but that is what she called them.)
  • I began digging out plants to salvage from the back bed so I can eventually kill the remaining unwanted plants and mulch, in order to replant those I saved
  • The Vidalia onions got planted (many of them anyhow)
  • Mom and I brought a huge load of lesser quality (but suitable) mulch back and spread out what was in the truck along the creek bank (the trailer remains in the area to be spread when the weather dries a little and I can roundup back there)
  • The rabbits have been relocated and settled into their new place
  • The canopy is on the gazebo and the area is ready to be killed and mulched so I can put the furniture back where it belongs
  • Planted herbs in pots
  • Planted Spinach, Ruby Leaf Lettuce and Oak Leaf Lettuce in containers
  • Lawn got mowed for the second time this season
  • (This space reserved for the numerous things I can't remember at the moment but will add as they come to me)
My memory is already failing me about the events of the past week or so. I suppose I should write more often to prevent that from happening.  I will defer to the events of this weekend as they are enough for an entry. I was lucky enough to have my helpers here. Shane and Lexi were both ready to work this weekend but the weather made it tough to get as much done as we had hoped.  It seems that happens regularly when Shane is available for assisting.  Mother Nature must really get a chuckle out of seeing him frustrated.  Despite the rain, we were able to get some ground turned over and some planting done.  There were a couple shining moments
that stand out in my mind.  
I purchased some garden tools for Lexi to use exclusively that are her size.  She seemed pretty excited about that and even chose chores over playing in the yard a couple times to use them.  It was fun to watch her put on her apron and rake, dig, and even plant some veggie seeds.  It will be awesome to see how she reacts as she sees those seeds become seedlings, then plants and eventually food she can eat.  She has no concept of that yet, but I hope to help her understand it at a much younger age than most kids. 

While we were working around the chicken coop, turning over soil and planting the items that require trellising, someone (who shall remain blameless as well as nameless) passed gas.  Shane suggested to Lexi that it might have been one of the chickens.  She smiled and said, "NO!  Chickens have different butts than you Daddy, they can't do that!"  Ah, the mind and mouth of a four  year old! :-)

Because of the rain forecast for this morning, we decided to head to Prielipp's Greenhouse to pick up a few last items for the yard and garden this year.  It may have been gloomy outdoors, but it never is inside a greenhouse. It was simply gorgeous in there. They are chock full for the upcoming season and it was like a playground for Mom and I.  Shane and Lexi were such good sports about wandering endlessly around the rows and rows and rows of plants. 

When we came home, Lexi and Shane had to head out, so I spent a little time planting some herbs in pots and planning out where some of my treasures from today's shopping will live for the season.  I also spent some time with the chicks (who have been with me 9 days now).  They have CHANGED!  Those little critters grow so fast...  I caught them napping at first...they almost looked dead...all stretched out.  It was a good opportunity to see how they are already feathering out.

They are also behaving more like chickens.  They are holding themselves more vertical and establishing their pecking order.  Soon they won't look so cute and "chicky" and they will head into that ugly period where they aren't fully feathered yet, sort of an awkward adolescence.  Nevertheless, I am thoroughly enjoying seeing them change each day and visiting with them while I care for their needs.

As I reflect on my week, I recall one day in particular that warrants mentioning.  I went out to let the chickens out so I could get on with cutting the grass and other assorted tasks.  As I opened the shed door, something came charging at me, startling the life out of me.  Lacey, one of my sweet ISA Brown chickens had apparently snuck out when I put the girls to bed the night before and thus had spent the night loose in the shed.  I picked her up and put her back in the coop, but have been watching her very closely because I have no idea what she may have eaten while she was out.  There are all sorts of things that are not good for birds accessible in the shed, including cat litter that is soaking up a puddle of oil under the workbench.  I will have to use that as motivation to get the shed cleaned.  So, heart beating wildly, but Lacey back with the flock safe and sound, I headed out to mow.  I hopped on the mower only to discover one tire completely flat. Of course!  

Every day is an adventure when you have a little land and some animals to care for, and I LOVE IT!

P.S.  One last item I am super excited about and simply must share... my wisteria is going to bloom for me this year.  This is notable since it bloomed last year as well.  It rarely graces me with blooms two years in a row.  Early this spring, I collected seeds and frowned a little at the thought that it would not do so this year... but it surprised me.  These little cones will be long, beautiful blooms later in the season and I can't wait!  

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