Saturday, February 25, 2012

It's the little things...

Lately it's the little things that have been making me really happy.
The bunch born on Tuesday 
 More little things...
The bunch born on Friday
 And even more little things...

Apricot tree

Apple tree

Pear blossoms

Potato sprout

Pea shoot
 There have been some slightly bigger things too this week...
Rooting hormone

Pear branches with rooting hormone

Pear branches "planted" in wet sand to grow some roots
(it may not work, but if it does I'll have free fruit trees )

Granny Smith apple and pomegranate

A complete World Book Encyclopedia set from 1977 for $10 and a dozen eggs
 Now I know what you're thinking. Who needs encyclopedias? Isn't that what google's for. Well, yes, but what if google dies or my computer dies (which is the more likely scenario, I'll admit) and one of the kids has an emergency paper on President Kennedy to get done. No problem, we have an encyclopedia. Now if they have a report on Eastern Europe, well...not so much. On that note, night y'all, Blessed Be...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

PotMaker video

Okay, tonight I'm just going to post a quick video I made of making a newspaper pot with my PotMaker since I had lots of people ask me how it works. It's quick and easy, I've made almost 450 pots already this season for free. I've heard that you can do this with a can from your pantry too, but I've never tried it. I know there are lots of videos on YouTube showing how that's done.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Fun things to do on the farm

  Today we turned all of the electronics off and spent a few hours outside. We didn't get a whole lot accomplished, but it was still a great afternoon.
 First I convinced the twins to climb one of the big trees. They needed a boost to get up but, once they were up there, they were little monkeys. Ian did almost fall out once but a piece of wire embedded in one of the big branches saved his butt.

About 15 feet up in one of the big live oaks
Tiger felt the need to show them how it SHOULD be done
Aislyn wanted me to point out that she is hugging the tree
 After that I found poor Buddy the garden gnome had been viciously slaughtered by an unknown assailant. He will be missed.
RIP Buddy  
 Next I asked Mike to drag the oak tree that he cut down in January (it was already dead before he cut it down) up the hill with the tractor. I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it, I just wanted it up here.

30 feet of dead oak tree
 Luckily Mike knew what we should do with it. First we needed to teach the kids to use a saw.

Ian got to try first

Aislyn next
 I knocked all of the bark off of the tree and found lots of interesting stuff.

Apricot Jelly Fungus 
Tons of potato bugs
 In less than an hour we had two new pieces of rustic outdoor furniture.

The big one is for the kids

The smaller one is for Mommy and Daddy
Of course, they felt the need to tip back in their seats. It never goes well.

Oops, they broke it
 Mike also moved the other concrete ring that we found on the property up into the garden area to use as another fire ring. I can use it to burn fallen branches and add the wood ash to the garden.

We think it used to be an animal feeding trough but it makes a great fire ring
 After construction was done the kids got to go for rides in the small trailer that Daddy bought to pull behind the tractor. They all got turns but I didn't get pictures of the twins.

Gabe always makes sure he has a blanket for tractor rides
 Later, after a break for dinner, we went back out to hang out around the fire and roast some marshmallows. The dogs weren't sure exactly what we were doing but they were more than happy to run around and get some cuddles.
"I love you Mama, please scratch my ears" 
Puppy love

Bruno sees an ember and thinks it's the "red dot"

Aww, so sweet
 The kids seemed a little bit put out that they couldn't have time on the Wii or the computer, but they ended up having a pretty darn good time.

Happy kids
 After the sugar rush brought on by fire roasted sugar hit them they danced around the fire and sang some silly song they made up on the spot while the goats looked on disapprovingly.

Dancing around the fire pit

I can just see them thinking "silly humans"
 Like a said, we had a great afternoon. Blessed Be...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Life on the farm

 We've had weird weather here on the farm in the last week. We had a cold front blow through over the weekend that brought, get this...snow flurries to Central Texas! It only lasted a few minutes and didn't stick, but the kids had a great time trying to catch snow flakes. The onions and garlic weren't bothered by the weather at all, thank goodness. Now, 3 days later it's nearly 80 degrees outside, go figure.
 Other than that it's been business as usual. I had 6 new chicks hatch on Sunday. Three of them are Easter Egger/Buff Orp crosses and three of them are pure bred EEs. They are so darn cute.

The six new babies with the two that hatched last week
 I have 11 more in the incubator due to hatch in a week or so. I candled the other night and all 11 look good, moving around and growing just as the should.

A very blurry picture of candling, the embryo is the dark spot in the middle
 I have started lots more seeds in pots in the last few days. The total count is up to 396 so far.  Mike has been helping to make the pots, which I appreciate more than I can say, because the motion involved really aggravates the tendinitis in my elbow.

I pulled all of the pots out from under the lights to get this picture
 Nearly all of the herbs I planted at the beginning of January have sprouted. 

My herb seedlings
 Even the leaf celery has sprouted, which I'd read has really spotty germination. I'm looking forward to this producing, as celery is one of my favorite flavors.
Leaf celery
 The artichokes are also up. We love artichokes ever so much but don't buy them very often because, well, they're expensive and we can't afford them most of the time. Luckily they are perennials and will come back year after year. We'll never have to buy them again.
Mmmm, artichokes
 With the sleet and rain (which is what the snow turned into after about 5 minutes) we've had lots of mud. Bruno thought it would be a good idea to roll Boris through a puddle the other day which resulted in one seriously mucky puppy. He was not pleased with the bath that came after his dunking.

Mud looks so much worse on a white dog 
 Before the cold weather came through I managed to get the potatoes planted. The only problem is that I can't remember which variety I planted in which row. Oh well, they'll taste good even if I'm not sure what kind they are.

Ready for the potato pieces to go in 
Some kind of potatoes

Some other kind of potatoes

These, I know, are the red potatoes

All planted 
 Once it warmed up I opened the doors to let some fresh air into the house. This is what happens at my house if you leave the doors open and walk out of the room.

Chickens in the house
So, that's what's been going on here at the farm. Hope everyone enjoys the rest of their week. Blessed Be

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Seeds are sprouting!

 This is my second favorite time of year in the garden (the first being harvest time.) Seeds are starting to sprout in my pots! It's always such a thrill to check on the pots and see tiny little new plants. Here are some of them.
Garlic in the garden
 About 1/3 of the garlic has sprouted, I spent a good part of the afternoon trying to convince the goats that it's not for them.

Peas in Aislyn's garden bed
 Each of the kids will eventually have their own garden beds, but so far only Aislyn has planted anything. She's very proud that she has 9 pea sprouts. 

 This is my second year growing spinach. I love how easy it is to grow.

 My first cabbage seedlings (I don't eat it but Mike really wants sauerkraut.) For some reason I think they're very cheerful little plants.

 I have 14 little pots of chives, I don't think you can ever have too many chives.

 Thyme, I have no idea what to do with it, but I had the seeds so I started them. I guess I need to look up some recipes.

The first garlic chive, poking up through the dirt
It's hard to see but there is a little tiny white sprout in the right side of the pot.

 I don't know what to do with tarragon either. I'll figure it out, eventually...

Sweet Marjoram
 Sweet Marjoram, never used it. I guess I need to expand my herb knowledge.

Summer savory
 Summer savory, never used it either but I do know that it's supposed to go good with potatoes.

 Of course, a lot of the seeds haven't come up yet. I'm still waiting on the artichokes, parsley, cilantro, dill and cumin. Lily helped me plant parsnips and salsify (oyster plant) yesterday. They don't normally transplant well but since they are in the newspaper pots it shouldn't be a problem.
Lily is proud of her work
 When I'm not working in the garden Lily and I have been spending lots of time outside with the animals, so now I will post a buttload of random animal pictures. Enjoy
My new baby, Boris

Lily on the rope swing

All 3 goats in one picture, it's a miracle


My grow light setup, Mike built it for me from pallets and recycled 2x4s

 Boris is teaching Bruno who's the boss (ignore the dirty carpet, we live in the country)

Boris isn't sure what to make of the goats

The kids' garden beds, Gabe's hasn't been built yet

3 young hens and my young roo (he doesn't know yet that he's destined for the freezer)

Looking for yummy bugs

My Easter Eggers have finally finished molting and are pretty again

It's a garden bed, right?  It needed a headboard then (which will double as a trellis) 

This is what happens when I let Lily dress herself

I have no idea where he found this bone, it's almost bigger than he is

Lily gave me flowers

Moonshine is showing off for his girls

Time for a dust bath, they love the sand that we used to level a spot for the pool last summer

The goats are eating grass so Boris has to try it out