Everything that was sprouting in the bay window two months ago is now in the ground! I put the Better Boy tomatoes and all three varieties of peppers into the bed between the garlic and the potatoes. The Siberian pole tomatoes went in near the Early Treats with the hoop house frame around them for future support. And all the peas I had started went in along the fence. I know they’re a cool weather crop, so I’m not expecting greatness.
After lunch, I planted seeds: Golden Bantam sweet corn, Blue Lake Bush beans, Straight Eight and Beit Aleph cucumbers, Granex onions and some flowers in the flower bed and also amongst the vegetables. Also I folded four loads of laundry, scrubbed the sink and toilet, and ran the dishwasher twice. I love these productive days!
Here’s the current bay window population. I have watermelons and cherry tomatoes coming up, and squash and pumpkins seeded in peat pots. The dish of damp paper towels is Nasturtiums. I had no luck with them in the winter sowing containers, so I’m trying a little harder. Hey, it worked for the peas.
Today is the holiday of Shavuot, which commemorates the giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai so I’m home with the girls. Sarah and I stayed up late studying Ruth and Deuteronomy, and it was a nice change of pace to just sit and read until nearly 11:30pm.
It’s a good reminder to take things slow. It took forty years to reach the promised land. As I say to the kids, “Relax! It’s not going anywhere.” And all those things in my long-term to-do list are likewise not going anywhere, and that’s fine. I have a habit of letting my enthusiasm get the better of my abilities and finances.
My sister promised me a spinning wheel, so my mind jumps to, “Get an angora rabbit soon so you can spin!” And why not get a few? They like company. Bees in the plan for next year, so I gotta run to the Despot for lumber and build my own top bar hive right now! And we’re out of cheese; I’d better look into getting a shed so I can get a cow sooner than four years down the road!!
Hang on, slow down, relax. It’s not going anywhere. I printed out the plans and Home Depot shopping list for a top bar hive, and put them in my homesteading notebook. I added a cow and shed to my long-term to-do list. I researched the cost of buying small amounts of wool roving to learn to spin, but it’s not necessary to make any purchases, since I don’t even have the wheel yet. Deep breaths.
It’s hard to be patient, but dreams do come true. Here’s the evidence:
My garden, real, ready and waiting for plants.
It’s chilly! Old timers say that the magical “all danger of frost has passed” date around here is Memorial Day weekend, regardless of what the zone maps say, and I think they might be right this year. The forecast is mid-20sF the next two nights, so I brought in the strawberries and covered the tomatoes in the garden with black weed-preventer fabric. I sure hope I don’t lose anything. I’ve been watching the farm activity on my drive, and I noticed that while they tilled the cover crops under just before the rain last week, and plowed the fields that didn’t have any cover crops over the weekend, there has not been any planting yet. I will definitely the my cues from the professionals and not put any corn in the ground until they do.
I had a very nice Mothers’ Day. The kids and husband didn’t do anything in particular except allow me to go out for a three-hour lunch with my mom and sister. It was so nice to connect with them without being pestered by the little ones. My sister told me she has a spinning wheel that I can have! And I’ll be giving her mom’s old MixMaster stand mixer. Mom got it as a wedding gift in 1968 and it was working until a few months ago. Maybe she can find somebody to nurse it back to health while I try to find somebody to teach me to spin!
Is this a farm? My co-workers at the bank think so, so, ok!
Today I cleaned out the chicken tent again. It was smelly and they had managed to tip their water container over again, so it was time. I had purchased two big bags full of wood shavings from a local farm that chips their own, but the first time I used them I realized the advantage of kiln-dried. The chicks were still under the heat lamp at the time, so I didn’t worry too much about it, but this time, it’s kind of cool and rainy and I didn’t want to introduce dampness to the tent. It will be fine for adult birds in the coop, but not for little ones still sleeping in their shavings.
I work in an office environment. There is a lot of paper involved, and a lot of shredding. The building next door to mine is the Town Hall, and one day I saw a Giant bag of shredded paper sitting out with their trash barrels. So I took it, thinking it would be worm food, or mulch for the garden. Well, paper is very dry, so I looked at the big bag of paper shred, and the big bag of damp wood shavings, and decided to swap purposes. Free chicken litter? Check. Great wood chip mulch for my garden paths? Check. The chicken tent is clean and dry and the garden has pine chip paths. Win!
Then I went out and worked in the garden until it started raining. I took a nice shot of the mulched paths, but it’s *ahem* on my other device, so I’ll put it up later.
The red potatoes are sprouting nicely.
The tomatoes probably wish it were a little warmer.
The peas are coming along, but we need more!
It rained all night, and then got sunny sunny this morning. Everything is so green! The peas have come up! The garbage can potatoes are growing like crazy, so I dug up the cold frame to hill them. There’s spinach and radishes in the actual potato bed, and the red romaine is not bolting. The pot from last year’s container garden that had leaf lettuce and scallions, has leaf lettuce and scallions. How they survived the winter, I do not know! And I would take pictures to show you, but it’s pouring out there again and I don’t want to get my camera wet. Yay! The forecast is warm and sunny tomorrow, with more rain Saturday morning and sun on Sunday. Sounds perfect!
My mom claims that it’s always been sunny for my birthday, and today certainly didn’t prove her wrong. It is beautiful out! I went way off-diet and made chocolate lasagna (can’t find the link right now) instead of cake. Delicious.
A coworker told me that a local farm store that I had only associated with pies and fresh fruit also sells seedlings this time of year. He said he had great luck with their celery starts last year, and that the plants were extremely affordable. Sounds like a good excuse to get out of the house this weekend. It’s supposed to start raining tomorrow and not stop until Monday. Hooray! Great weather for transplanting some new veggies.
My birthday lasagna, after a short trip from the freezer to the floor (still yummy!)
What an absolutely gorgeous and wonderful day. I spent most of it outside in the garden, of course, and told the kids that they had to spend a least some time out in the sunshine and fresh air as well. I weeded the flower garden, worked two bags of sand into the carrot plot, and planted a BUNCH of things.
Broccoli, sunflowers, all four varieties of carrots, all the winter sowing and other containers that I had brought outside already, borage, cosmos, Rebecca’s paperwhite from school, chives, a packet of wildflowers I bought on our honeymoon (1997; doubt they’ll grow!), the onion from New Hampshire, the parsley from Passover, the gourds that Rebecca grew from seeds saved from the gourds awe got on our pumpkin-shopping trip, and the last of the cucumbers that I had started in the bay window.
I also started seeds inside in peat pots for watermelons and cherry tomatoes, set some peas to sprout between layers of damp paper towel because the ones I planted directly have still not come up, cleaned up the yard a bit and took a trip to the Despot for some auto-watering supplies, including a backflow preventer. As soon as I installed the backflow preventer, the hose started leaking where it attaches to the spigot, which says to me that we’ve been getting significant “backflow” all along. That little gizmo was probably a wise investment.
The trip to Home Depot was probably not that good of an idea for my poor husband, however. When we got home he went from feeling almost ok, to feeling Horrible. I’m sure he’s down with the stomach illness I had a few weeks ago. Poor guy, missing out on a beautiful day like this with a sickness like that. At least it should be pretty much over by tomorrow night.
I got over my weird neurosis about not wanting to pick the lettuces (if I pick them, then I won’t have them anymore!), picked one, and ate it for dessert with homemade dressing. It was the first food produced by my backyard garden, and it was very good.
I grew this.
However, I don’t think I’ll be getting any more lettuce until fall. Both the bok choy and the romaines are bolting in the heat! There’s one more little head of butter crunch in the cold frame that I should probably eat soon. The daytime weather has been very warm.
Bolting greens. I’ll try again in the fall.
So warm in fact that I dared to plant out two varieties of tomatoes and the sad-looking zucchini starts. The hybrid ‘Early treat’ is looking happy. The heirloom ‘glacier bush’ is a little less vigorous-looking, but it wasn’t bred to grow in a hurry. I left the zukes and cukes in the house too long (started too early) but it’s still early enough to get some more in the ground.
Early treat. You shoulda seen the roots on these!
The strawberries are glad it’s spring and don’t even seem to have minded a little frost on their leaves this morning.
And finally, the broilers are just about chicken-size! They are enjoying the beautiful weather (sure do wish it would rain) by romping around the run. It’s so funny to see these big birds cavorting around and saying nothing but “peep peep!”
Still chicks at heart.
Check out the new header! Jordan took a panoramic shot as I was finishing up with moving and smoothing out all that dirt into the garden beds. I moved an awful lot of dirt today! I had some help, but I feel really good about how much work I got done. Not only are all the beds ready to be planted now, but the layers have a new home in the garage and we managed to go grocery shopping too.
I was visiting McMurray Hatchery yesterday, musing about keeping turkeys or ducks next year, when I noticed this chicken container on their home page. It reminded me a lot of the Tinkerbell “tent” that the kids have to play with. And then I got to thinking, maybe a tent would be less expensive and WAY easier to put together than any “official” chicken enclosure. Sure enough, we were able to get a 7′ x 7′ tent for about $30.
Jordan set it up in the garage and I filled it with wood shavings and a big, new feeder and waterer. I examined it and stood there pondering for some time, trying to think of a reason it wouldn’t be a fine home for them while they wait for the coop to be freed up. Couldn’t come up with anything. And when they are finally out in the coop, I’ll cut a big hole in the bottom of the tent and use it as a chicken tractor.
I keep a master calendar. On it is everything I need to remember, not that I always remember to check it or remember to do the things on it even when I do check. There are kid birthday parties and doctor appointments, work meetings, classes and phone call reminders, and planting and gardening dates. Today has one thing on it: “Chicks can move to coop.” And it’s true. They are fully feathered and the weather is good enough that, with their heat lamp, they would be fine out there.
Except that the broilers are there, until June 16.
Jordan asked me last night what we’re going to do with the layers this weekend, because they are officially too big to be in the house anymore. I have a slightly larger brooder pen that we may employ in the garage. Possibly I’ll split them between both the hoop house they’re in now and the other unused brooder. Neither one is currently closed in enough to contain them, but perhaps another 4′ roll of chicken wire will do the trick. It only needs to work until June 16, but we are planning on going out of town in a month, so I’ll need to be sure they are safe. I certainly won’t mind parking in the driveway for 7 weeks if that’s what needs to happen.