Saturday, June 12, 2010

Lucky Boy

I had a thought yesterday as Cubby and I were wandering around the property, viewing the sheep, inspecting the garden, peeking at the little chick, sitting on the grass with the dogs . . . what a lucky, lucky boy he is to get to grow up here. Despite the cold house, the water supply issues, the seemingly endless chores to be done, I hope that Cubby's memories of his childhood will focus on the animals, swimming in the lake, eating corn straight from the garden, playing in the hay mow. Because really, this is a pretty incredible place to live. Especially for a child.

A good thing to remind myself of from time to time.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Stuff That Happened Yesterday

You're impressed with my incredibly creative title, aren't you? Yeah. I thought it was one of my better ones, myself.

1) I let Otty out of the dog pen and she immediately ran into the shed where she flushed a small woodchuck out from under the MiL's car and then took off with it to kill it and chew on it for awhile. Yet another entry for the Woodchuck Files. There are a lot of stories in those files.

2) A. finished his fencing off of the horribly overgrown and weedy magnolia area and let the sheep in to graze it down. There's nothing so satisfying as releasing the sheep into an overgrown mess and knowing they'll just eat it all down with no effort on our part and no need to buy gasoline for the mower or trimmer. Weeds+lambs=good eatin' in the fall. A winning situation if I've ever heard of one.

Unfortunately, the sheep are in with the mulberry tree, which is set to start raining down mulberries in the next couple of days. I'm giving the sheep two days to eat, and then I'm kicking them out of there, because I really do not need sheep dung on my mulberry-gathering tarp. And the sheep really do not need to be stained purple. Although that would be kind of funny.

3) I noticed that the elderflowers are ready for picking. Which means it's time to make some more elderflower champagne. WHEEE!

4) I saw the first flowers on the tomatoes. DOUBLE WHEEE!

5) I hilled potatoes. No whee.

And, um, that's all. Have a lovely weekend, poppets!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Can't Stop Till We Get Enough

Except we never get enough. Planting, that is. One of the biggest surprises to me when I started gardening is that the planting never seems to end. I mean, you'd think it's spring, so you go out there and throw all your seeds in the ground and wait for them to grow, right?


If you attempt to eat year-round from the garden, as we do, the planting never really stops. First thing in the ground in March is lettuce, and the planting continues throughout the spring. Then when the early spring stuff like lettuce is done, it's replaced by fall and winter crops like collards. And in the fall, when surely all we should be doing is harvesting the fruits (and vegetables) of our labors, the garlic is planted to over-winter.

We don't plant anything in January, seeing as how the ground is usually frozen hard as a rock and digging it would require a pickax, but still. Year-round eating requires almost year-round planting.

And on that note, I shall go dig out the squash seeds. Which need to be planted soon so we can eat them over the winter. There's nothing like gardening to develop long-range planning skills.

P.S. I almost wrote a post today to tell you Chickie had disappeared. A. couldn't find Chickie anywhere last night when he closed the chickens up for the night in their coop, and Chickie's mom, Poppy, was on the roosting perch instead of in the nesting box with Chickie underneath her, as she has been since Chickie was born. We thought possibly Chickie had been eaten by the dogs when the fence was down as A. was working on it for the sheep. We were pretty depressed about Chickie's apparent demise last night, but then this morning . . . A MIRACLE. There was Chickie, in the coop, apparently grown big enough that Poppy no longer felt the need to keep Chickie warm at night. Our little chick is growing up. And not dead. Yay!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Night Moves

I'm a morning person. Given the choice, I'll always plan my day so everything possible gets done in the morning. Afternoon is acceptable, but not preferable. But after dinner? Forget it. I want to be finished with all my chores by dinner time and then collapse.


The luxury of planning my days this way went out the window with the arrival of the little dictator. He sleeps quite a bit during the day, but he doesn't yet have an actual schedule. Which means I can't count on long stretches of time to accomplish big projects during the day. But I CAN count on him going to bed for the night at 7 p.m., which then gives me at least a couple of hours of daylight to work in the garden, mow the dog pen, trim the forsythia, and all of the endless other outdoor chores I don't always get to during the day. It's not my ideal time to get work done, but I'll take it.

So tell me, duckies: Are you an AM or a PM worker, given the choice?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Let's Recap

My sister is leaving this afternoon to go home to Tucson. Since she arrived on Friday, she has:

1) Helped dispose of a deer carcass.

2) Weeded my carrots and lettuce beds.

3) Let the chickens out of their coop in the morning.

4) Stayed with Cubby for three hours so A. and I could go out to lunch.

5) Washed dishes at least six times.

6) Prepared and delivered drinks at cocktail time.

7) Entertained Cubby innumerable times so I could hang laundry/make breakfast, lunch, and dinner/take a shower/go to the bathroom.

8) Changed multiple diapers, including a spectacular atrocity that required an entirely new outfit.

9) Helped A. install the new water pump that miraculously arrived yesterday afternoon. (Alleluia! We have water again!)

10) Brushed the horribly molting cat for about half an hour.

11) Accompanied me to Target so she could haul Cubby around while I shopped for various and sundry necessities.

12) Broken up a dog fight over a rotisserie chicken that had very foolishly been left on the floor while we were unloading the car yesterday, and then kicked the offending dogs outside.

There's more, but really, she's helped in too many ways to list. I tried to convince her to stay, but she seems ready to return to her own house, her cat, her job, and her boyfriend. I can't say I blame her. I mean, how many people will fly three thousand miles for a "vacation" that involves ceaseless labor? It was more a vacation for me than for her.

Ain't nothin' like kinfolk.

Monday, June 7, 2010


Know what's a really bad way to start the week? Running out of water in the cistern and discovering that the water pump on the lake shore that's been on its last legs for awhile has finally given up. And the new pump that was ordered months ago and has been on back order for forever and supposedly finally shipped but isn't here yet may not get here for a few more days.

Or maybe that's just us.

P.S. The pump ran about 20 minutes before dying entirely, so we're not TOTALLY out of water. Yet.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Rain, Rain, Come To Stay

Well, maybe not STAY, as I would really not like a repeat of last year's soggy and rotting garden season. But we've been getting nice thorough soakings every few days recently. This is much appreciated by all the growing things in the garden. Including the weeds. Which have completely taken over the one patch of ground I have not yet planted. That's the future spot for cucumbers, squash, and green beans, but at the moment all it's producing is an impressive crop of pigweed. I read once in Horticulture magazine that lots of pigweed is a sign of fertile soil. In which case, our soil is more fertile than Michelle Duggar.


I was going to plant that stuff today, but it's been raining since three this morning, so that's a no go on the planting plans. Instead, it appears I may have to take my sister up on her offer to Cubby-wrangle so A. and I can go to lunch.

Thank you, rain.