Saturday, April 25, 2009

Well today was another busy day. The weather was beautiful, upper 70's and sunny. It was a bit windy, but with temps like that, I could care less.

We started the day off by going to another gem show, like the one Lisa went to a few weeks ago. It wasn't really my cup of tea, but some of the stones were absolutely beautiful. We were going to go to some pagan Earth Day celebration in one of the parks, but we decided to skip it. The parking there is very minimal, and I doubt I could have learned anything from talks about organic gardening and composting. I did want to see/hear the drum circle, ( I love the sound of drums), but that didn't start till 7 tonight, and my friend Bill is coming over at 8. We just skipped the whole thing, spoiled ourselves with a stop for frozen drinks, and headed home.

I finished tilling the garden....FINALLY, and ran more through the chipper. I had a pile around 8L x 3W x 2H, and already used that around some of the flowers, herbs, and the grapes. I'll finish the grapes and a few more flowerbeds, and then mulch will be strictly for the garden. I pulled the lavender from the end of the small strawberry bed, and put it in with the other herbs so the strawberries can just spread all they want in that extra 4x6ft such thing as too many strawberries ya know!

Last year I had a small area in the garden for greens for the rabbits. This year I decided to make it bigger, so I pulled some old rr ties down by the woodpile and made an 8x8 area just for them. Those ties are around 22 years old, I remember buying them for my dads place when I had my first truck, and I was about 22-23, so I'm not worried about anything leaching out of them into the soil. They've been setting in open sun for all that time along dads drive, so I'm sure they are pretty dry. I brought around 3 wheelbarrow loads of soil for it, and figure it will need 12-15 more to fill it. Thats what I was working on when I quit for the day and came inside, I'll just hit it first thing in the morning. I'll run the tiller through it, plant some lettuce seed, and start transplanting dandelions from the yard. I imagine the neighbors are gonna thing I'm nuts, lol, but the greens are for the rabbits, I'll just pop off flower buds as they form. Besides, dandelion greens are pretty tasty. We may just add another section onto it sometime in the next few weeks and use that for our greens. It would be closer to the house, and open more garden space for things that can be canned, frozen, or otherwise stored, which will more than likely be more potato's and corn.

I have to back up a post and scratch what I was saying about the John Deere. I thought it had a dead battery, then yesterday morning I thought it was the starter, nope, it has a valve sticking. I pulled the dipstick and took a sniff of the oil....yep, gas. Looks like I have to have the engine repaired or rebuilt, and that is sure not going to happen anytime soon. I'll just fix the gas leak on the International and get a new battery for it, then mow with that. It's just another reason to use more of the yard for food production. With less to mow, I'll have less equiptment maintenance and more production of food. Sometime this summer when things are a bit more caught up on garden work, I have two 30+ foot pine trees that I plan on taking down. They're half dead anyway, and ugly as all getout. They'll make for more good bonfire wood, and more mulch for the other things. With them gone, it will allow more sunlight into the front yard, so I have to think of things to plant there. I'm thinking more fruits, like more raspberries, a few more dwarf apples, and possible peaches. I still want to transplant wild blackberries from my folks place, but I never seem to remember. I planned on cutting down the mullberry tree this year, but my friend Tammie said she would use them, so I'll go ahead and leave it.

Tomorrow I plan on spending the whole day outside, getting as much done as I possibly can. I'll move the rest of that topsoil, chip the rest of the brush pile, take the snowblade off the Lowboy and work on the gas leak, rake the garden and mark out rows with stakes and string,clean out the strawberry beds, maybe extend the big one, weed out the blackberry beds, and see about borrowing the neighbors lawn mower for a few hours. I imagine there will be plenty of time spent in between on swallowing massive quantities of iced tea and watching the chickens. (I can't help it, the silly things are entertaining!)

For now, I'm going to hit the shower and wait for Bill to get here. We already ate dinner, the first bbq on the outdoor stove of the year, yippee! There's just no comparison to grass fed beef burgers over an open flame of good, smokey apple wood, mmmmmmmmmm.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Weekend this n' that

The weather FINALLY stayed nice for a few days, and I was able to play more catch-up outside, YAY. I managed to get the tire changed on the JD, but of course I lost that silly little C clip that holds the wheel on. Next week I'll have to go to the dealer and get one if the neighbor doesn't have one in the stack 'o parts he has laying around. I still have to get a battery for it, but that has to wait too, as does a battery for the LowBoy. I'm in no real rush for either, I have far more important things to do than mow grass.

The weather finally managed to draw out the neighbor boys on their little 4-wheelers. I love watching them ride those things, they have this constant smile that you just can't resist.

Of course, their dad and his buddies had to give them a shot, which is hilarious since they're all pretty big guys. I had to sneak a shot of them, it's just too funny NOT to.

I walked over for a visit and asked about borrowing the wood chipper/shredder that belongs to his one buddy. He asks if I want to buy it, and I tell him I'm broke, so we work out a deal. He's trading me the chipper for making him a brooder for some turkey chicks. That works great for me since I have all kinds of lumber sitting in the garage that I wanted rid of. It's an older Sears/Craftsman model, but it still works great. It only has one small problem, which is just a bent bracket on the loading chute, but that's an easy fix that I'll attack some time this week.

Iwheeled it across the field, and started to see what it can do. It has adjustments on the blades to set it for either a heavy mulch, a fine almost sawdust, or anywhere in between. I set it at it's finest setting and ran part of the pile through it. Oh yea....this thing may be a bit old, but it still works like a charm.

The stuff on the top of this pile is REALLY fine, almost like sawdust. I ran more of the really old dead pine through it and managed to get 2 wheelbarrow loads in about 10 minutes. That first load went straight to the chicken coop. I still want to get more straw since I used the last of what we had on Friday, but like everything else, it has to wait. I found someone local who has straw at $3.50 a bale, which is HALF of what the garden center wants, and $2 less than the feed store. They have a minimum of 10 bales, so I'm going to check with my friend Tammie to see if they want to go in half on a load.
She stopped over here on Friday and brought us some tarragon and loveage for the herb garden, and Lisa gave her some aloe. She also brought over one of her doe rabbits to see if my buck would breed with her. Apparantly her buck needs to watch the same how-to video that I had to show mine, lol. She wasn't gone 3 minutes and he "got busy", hahaha. About 2 hours later, I'm still working outside and in pulls Tammie again, this time in the truck with a load of raspberry canes for us. Those silly plants just jumped right out of the ground and into the truck while they were all fishing at a local lake! Who knew raspberries could do that?? Next thing ya know I'll have alien pods growing in the
Yesterday I got a good start on tilling the garden, but I was about to run out of gas and it started to rain. Now the forecast calls for rain for the next 3 days, arrrgh. Ah well, I'll get it finished later in the week when the rain clears up, and we can hopefully start some planting next week.

The young birds are doing just fine in their new home outside. I have to get them a bigger feeder since they pick the tray feeder clean twice a day, but for now I'm just using a hanging bird feeder. It's funny to watch the hens when I feed the young birds, they jam their heads through the fencing to see what the young girls are getting. You just KNOW that the seed is always better on the other side of the fence, LOL.

Today I'm spending the day inside, doing house-hubby duties. I'll do the laundry, dishes, sweep, find something to make for dinner, and spend some time downstairs. I have to put away the rest of the fishing gear I found in the garage, and find a home for all the magazines and books that I brought down from upstairs. I'll look throught the usual job-seeking websites, and make a few calls just to check. I *may* have a line on a job, but I have to wait to hear since they are working nights for a week, and he's asleep during the day. If this one doesn't pan out, I'm going to leave the trade alltogether and find something new. We'll just have to see what happens.........

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