Monday, April 26, 2010

The sun is finally shining again! Today my mother-in-law came out to help me with the boys, which meant that I was able to actually take full advantage of the sunny day by working out in the narrow strip of garden that has been tilled. I dug four holes with a post-hole digger, set an 8 foot high bean pole in each one, then filled in the holes. Then I took 1”x1” bird netting and hung it with twisty ties in between the poles. After the netting was secure, I used some neon pink twine and tent stakes to stake the poles back. The wind whips through here like a freight train at full speed in the afternoon, so staking is a must if I want my beans and peas to stay upright. Once the kids go down for their nap I’ll go back out there and try to put up another four poles to give myself a total of four 20’ rows. That should be enough for all of my climbing peas and beans. I’ll also intersperse some sweet peas and marigolds to beautify it a bit. If I have enough time tonight I’d like to get it all planted, too, but we’ll see. It’s still pretty early in the season so I won’t feel too bad if I can’t get to it just yet.

The second batch of chicks is now interacting with the older chickens. They are still less than half the size of the first batch, but the Sumatras have taken a motherly role with them and seem to be protecting the babies from the other big chickens. Henry, our rooster, is ambivalent about the little ones. He totally ignores them for the most part, and if they get in his way he simply walks right over them. I’m hoping he’ll take control of them like he has with the older hens. I’m not sure if we got another rooster in the new batch, but I’m crossing my fingers that they are all going to be pullets who won’t fight for dominance with him. I like Henry. I couldn’t bear to see him having to fight for his right to rule. I think any other roosters we may get will end up in the stock pot at the first sign of belligerence. Come to that, I think I will thin out the flock before next winter. With my husband gone, I can’t see us needing more than a dozen birds. I would still like to try letting a hen or two go broody this summer to raise their own babies, but I’ll just use the new ones as meat birds instead of keeping them around. As so how I am going to slaughter all of those biddies myself… I haven’t yet figured that out. I’m open to suggestions, though! I might end up just taking them en masse to a local butcher shop.

Ok, I’m itching to get back outside now. Hope you all are enjoying the weather!

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

It’s lunch time, so we’re taking a break from outside. It’s shaping up to be a nice day again out there. This morning was a bit chilly. I made the boys wear their coats, but I was sure to slather everyone up really good with sunblock… coat or no coat. Yesterday I didn’t end up getting back to working on the pea and bean poles any more. I decided that the grass was getting way too long, and that I should mow. After 3.5 hours of mowing, and only half the yard space done, I was tired and sore and burned. I’m pretty fair-skinned, so even on a 60 degree day I can burn to a crispy in no time flat. You’d think that after so many years I would learn. Alas, today I look like I have lobster arms and a face to match. So, now the word of the day at our house is sunblock. And lots of it.

It’s warmed up enough outside that we don’t need our coats anymore, and I have yet to actually get anything productive done. I’ve just been chasing the kids around and trying to make lists in my head of things that need to get done. Ah, the life of a single parent. I miss my husband something terrible, though I don’t like to admit that I have such a dependency on him. I’d like to be able to say that I’m an independent woman who can do anything she puts her mind to, accomplish tasks that would leave other people in awe of my brilliance and organizational skills… but I guess that’s just not who I am. And with two kids to raise and watch over 24 hours a day, I’m really going to have a steep learning curve ahead of me this summer. How in the world did women do it a hundred years ago? I have enough trouble with two underfoot – I can’t imagine living in the country, alone, with ten kids running around.

Anyways, I wanted to make a list of things to get done, so that I can look back here and say, “Hey! Look! I did manage to actually accomplish something amidst all the chaos!”

  1. Put up two more rows of bean/pea fencing, stake it down.
  2. Get the first onion sets in the ground.
  3. Plant the first potatoes.
  4. Plant the peas and vining flowers.
  5. Bang in the fence posts for the children’s area.
  6. Build a swinging gate for the children’s area.
  7. Take the tiller to the welder to get the handle fixed.
  8. Check on the bees and add another super to each hive.
  9. Get the strawberries in the ground.
  10. Start the melons and pumpkins, one more tray of cukes.

Okay. There. Ten things to do. Let’s see how long it takes me to actually get them done. Toodles!

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