Wednesday, March 27

The Plan......

I can be an ambitious kind of girl. I can also be the kind of girl that likes to crawl under a rock and let the troubles of the world pass by, but today, I am ambitious.

I have been planning and measuring and envisioning and generally procrastinating all winter long and today I finally put down on paper what I fully intended my garden to be this season. What actually happens, due to budgets, time limitations and unpredictable weather conditions, may vary greatly from this original concept. But I am shooting for something that at least resembles the "plan".

My garden this season, if all goes well, will be 32' x 34'. It will encompass the two existing raised beds and I want to add two new raised beds, both 4' x 8'. I am very happy with the way the first two raised beds turned out. The best part is the ease of weeding and the marked absence of weeds in general. I want to add more beds in the coming years, but I like to make them out of cedar or another type of rot resistant, non-pressure treated wood.

Due to the cost of lumber being so high, the other two areas of the garden will be tilled earth. One tilled bed will be 20' x 8' and the other will be 16' x 6'. What I will plant in the tilled areas and what will go in the two new beds are still in question. My main crops this year will be tomatoes, peppers, beans, peas and onions. I am also planning on a row or two of potatoes, watermelon, some pumpkins, and some decorative gourds but I am not sure if these will be inside the fence or outside in a separate area. My main concern is that the vines from most of these plants will take up too much space in the tilled areas. The areas are large, but I like to leave a wide row between plants to allow for easy weeding and tilling.

I have a special area set aside to the west of the garden gate for my hallow tree stump project. Last September a huge tree fell in a wind storm up the road from us and the insides were almost hollow. I managed to acquire some of the pieces and, presto! a garden idea. I have mapped out a 10' x 4' area that I plan to remove the grass from and put down a layer of weed prevention fabric and then a layer of mulch. Then I plan to use some sort of edging to keep the mulch in place and put the hollowed out pieces on the mulch. I have not decided if I will line the insides of the logs with some sort of plastic pot or if I will just leave it and fill the whole thing with dirt. but the plan is to plant a medicinal or cooking herb in each one and have a permanent herb section.

And of course, sunflowers. Lots and lots of sunflowers.

I already have most of the fencing required so all I need is the lumber. I am currently pricing out different suppliers but a decision and a purchase needs to be made by the end of the week. I want the posts cemented in as soon as possible.

Monday, March 25

The New Girls

Meet the new girls..... 6 pullets from the 'assorted' mix at Tractor Supply. Such a cute little group, everyone a little different. I can't wait to see what coloring they will have and what the personalities will be like.
I wanted to get at least six new girls this year to add to the flock since we lost a few of the hens this past year. My original plan was to get 10, then I went down to 8, and I finally decided on 6. I wanted there to be enough room in the big galvanized stock tank that I use to house them - when they start growing like crazy, I want to be able to keep them in there as long as possible without conditions becoming too cramped. So six was the number I settled on.
I waiting until I could go to Tractor Supply alone so I could enjoy the chick picking-out experience, and I did not want little man to know that there were going to be chicks in the house. He still doesn't know and hopefully i can keep it that way. I know he could learn a lot from raising them, however, he is at that stage where he does not listen to a word I say and he would be down in the basement every chance he got. This would mean that the cats would also be let down in the basement and we all know how that would end for the chicks. So little man is being kept in the dark until they are old enough, and the weather is warm enough, for the chicks to go outside in the chicken tractor.
My car 'peeped' and 'chirped' all the way home and it was music to my ears. i was bringing six new little lives into our home and it felt great. From this point on I will know exactly how they were raised, what they ate and drink, how much time they will be outside and how much time they will be in the coop. I will celebrate when they lay their first tiny little eggs and I will fret and worry on the night I introduce them into the flock. My six new little girls.

Friday, March 22


"Just because everyone can't do everything doesn't mean
someone shouldn't do something." ~ Joel Salatin

Saturday, March 16

Procrastination and Nearly Forgetten Things

There has been much going on to take me away from the computer this month. Between the daily chores, the kids, the seemingly endless to-do list, and battling the revolving door of germs and sickness, it has been a busy few weeks. We have had days of almost spring-like weather which puts me outside cleaning up the yard mess that was buried under the snow. Bits of garbage and construction material wrappings have been blown down the road from the new development going up to the west of us. The recycling that doesn't quite make it into the truck and ends up caught in the lower branches of the cedar bushes. And the leaves. Millions of leaves. All the dead, brown and half masticated leaves that did not get raked up last fall that are now plastered to the ground like a thick carpet.
With all I see to do outside when the snow is not flying, and all I see to do inside when it;s just too cold to work outdoors, I have become a little overwhelmed. These are the times that I fall into a rut of  the "whys". Why am i trying to do all these projects? Why do I need to make this or that instead of just going to Walmart to buy it? Why do I try so hard to keep the living room floor free of smashed goldfish crackers? It is around this time that the perils of procrastination take over and I find myself watching a Walking Dead marathon and eating jello instant pudding. The only thing I can think of to write about is my high level of annoyance at Andrea and her indecision concerning the Governor.
So when I saw these little purple crocus flowers making their way though the frozen ground this morning, I was jolted right back into my right mind. Yes, I am still anxiously awaiting this Sunday's episode (I hope Andrea gets taken out by a walker) but I just love these little flowers.
They are the first to show up every year - closely followed by the snowdrops. They are in the middle of the side yard, mixed in with the grass and I was told by my neighbor that the woman who lived her years ago had a small flower garden in that very spot. Now it is just a slight indentation in the ground, about 4 feet by 3 feet, and it is all grass except for those few crocus plants.
They remind me that spring will be here very shortly and the growing season will start and I will be outside until the sun finally sets in the evenings. They also remind me of the nearly forgotten things that are scattered around our property and buildings - gardens in the grass, initials carved in the wooden barn beams, pieces of broken blue and white pottery brought up with the tiller in the side field. I like how it all comes together to form this mysterious story. Did she plant that garden so she could see flowers from her window? Was that pottery a nice blue and white teapot? A chipped plate? How did it end up in the field? Was there once a house there? Or a garbage pit?

Did the person with the initials W.A.W live here? Did he work in the barn? Was he a hired man?

When I carve my initials in a beam and someone finds them 70 years from now, will they wonder who I was and what I did here? I hope, through some genealogy or historical magic, they will know how and why we lived this way - a story of lives lived purposefully. Unless my procrastination leads me to spend too much time in front of the television - what kind of story would that be!?

Friday, March 1

Remote Controls and PBDE's

If you are like us, you probably have a bunch of old tv and dvd remote controls sitting around the house from old equipment. And, if you have kids like us, you know that there is nothing more tempting to toddlers than to get ahold of that tv remote.

After much searching for misplaced remotes, we decided to remove the batteries from a few old remotes and dubbed them "the kids' remotes". They got to think they were getting away with something and we get to save hours of searching time before we can operate the dvd player.

I never really thought about there being hazardous chemicals in them. We knew about toxins in just about everything else - carpeting, a new bookcase, plastic bottles, new clothes - but it never really occurred to me that my tv remote would be treated with PBDE's, or chemical fire retardants. They are most commonly found in polyurethane foam products and electronics.

I tossed the play remotes in the trash, along with a decommissioned cell phone that little man liked to 'talk on' sometimes. He doesn't miss the remotes or the phone and I am glad I happened on a little blurb in a magazine mentioning the possible risk.

Check out this link to learn more about PBDE's.