Monday, March 26, 2012

Our creek runneth over...

 We have had an interesting week here on the farm. Last weekend we got the bush beans and sweet corn planted, along with melons and pumpkins. On Tuesday we had an epic storm. We got nearly 7 inches of rain in 8 hours and lightning so close that the windows shook. I was terrified that my whole garden had been washed away overnight. I went out the next morning and found this...

Thank goodness for raised beds

The lettuce got a little bit beat up

The potatoes weren't fazed by the water because they are planted on a slight slope

We're not sure how much corn got washed away, but some did...

 After checking the garden I went to see how high the creek was.

 It was high. Just for comparison here's a before and after of the tiny island in the middle of the creek. It's usually about 3 feet above water.

Boris on the island

The stick to the right of the middle of the picture is the top of the small tree on the island. 

It's about 6 feet higher than normal
 While the garden dried out I moved the chicks out of the indoor brooder and out to the brooder on the back porch with the bigger chicks. Since there were 23 chicks in there it was a bit crowded, so Mike got my portable chicken tractor done. It's exactly the right size to fit on one of my garden beds, but for brooding we just set it in the yard, half in the sand and half on grass. They have been out 2 nights now and are quite happy with no heat lamp, even though the youngest are only 3 weeks old.

Our portable chicken tractor
 As if that wasn't enough excitement for the week, on this Sunday my friend Mary came up and brought her 4 year old daughter,Frankie, with her. We love having them and my girls absolutely adore Frankie. It's extra fun for me, because Mary is pregnant so we get to talk about my biggest passion, natural childbirth while the kids run amok.

Mary, Frankie, and Baby Roxie
 We spent a lot of time down at the creek with the kids today. It's even been warm enough to swim, so everyone got to jump in and splash around.

Across the creek on "The Sitting Rock" as the twins call it

It's actually shallow enough to wade across

Gabe just floats

Aislyn and Frankie are best friends

Lily, before she jumped in

While the big kids were at school we took Lily and Frankie out and let them pick flowers. We have thousands of bluebonnets and indian paintbrush, and the girls loved bringing us handfuls.

Frankie loves flowers

Our pretty girls

She REALLY loves flowers

Boris had to get in on the flower pictures

Frankie got to play with the chicks

Ian wanted to make sure I posted some pictures of the treasures we found at the creek. I have to say, we do find pretty cool stuff down there.

Our creek finds


A piece of fossilized piece of seashell


Cool, shiny rock

Striped rock

Seashell fossil impressions
 Anyway, that's it, I just wanted to get everyone up-to-date on what's been going on here before I go into major spring cleaning this week. Hope everyone has a good week. Blessed Be...

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Garden pictures

 March 15th was the last average freeze date for our area, which means that I have been spending even more time in the garden. In the last 3 days I have started putting all of the warm weather crops in. First I put in tomatoes and peppers.

Small Red Cherry tomato plant

Beefsteak and Roma tomatoes
 Next I hilled up the potatoes.

They are growing so well
 The zucchini and straight neck squash need their trellises, that's on the list for tomorrow.


Yellow straight neck squash
 The asparagus is finally growing, I was a little bit worried about it.

Asparagus makes me happy
 Mike planted the sweet corn. He insisted on Silver Queen, because that's what they grew when he was a kid. I'm just thrilled with the idea of fresh sweet corn, so I let him have his way.

Corn, with potatoes, onions and garlic in the background
 We also planted the watermelons, acorn queen winter squash, jack-o-lantern pumpkins, and sugarpie pumpkins. All together there are 30 hills.

Squash and melons
 In the herb bed I have parsley, leaf celery, cilantro, basil, chives, sweet marjoram, dill, mint, tarragon, and a tomatillos along with the cherry tomato I planted a couple of weeks ago.
Apple mint, thanks to Kirk who sent me some root cuttings




Sweet Marjoram


Leaf celery

My cherry tomato is growing like crazy



We planted lots of other things that I didn't get pictures of: okra, collards, swiss chard, bush beans, the last of the broccoli, and eggplant. I'm sure I'm forgetting some, but that's most of it.

Other than working on the garden we made a run to the feed store, where I got a new gardening hat. I don't usually wear hats, because I can't fit all of my hair up under them, but I hate sunscreen and I'm tired of my nose being sunburned.
My goofy hat, I untied the bow under my chin for the picture
 We also got new breeding stock for our meat rabbits. Since they won't be food I let the twins name them.
Our new Californian buck, Easter Bunny (EB for short)

Our New Zealand/Satin doe, Sweetie Pie
 The first thing Sweetie Pie did was scratch me. I used to think that bunnies were so cute, I don't anymore.

Every time I try to hold a bunny, I bleed
 Mike brought me home a present on Friday that I've been wanting for ages. A garden fork! It may not seem like a good present...unless you're a gardener. If you are a gardener, you know that it's an invaluable tool. I'm so happy with it.
My fork
  Here is a full view of the garden, as of this afternoon.

 Since I've been spending so much time outside I've had lots of chances to get pictures of the animals.

Our young rooster, Pipsqueak will be going to one of my Mom's friends soon

Since I plan on cutting this small oak down anyway I let the goats munch on it all they want

Oak trees are their favorite food

Coco was scratching her head on this pot

They look dead, but they're just taking a dust bath
 I've also been able to watch all of the wildflowers start blooming. We probably have 4 acres of wild mustard and another acre of bluebonnets, along with smaller patches of indian paintbrush, western primrose, wild sweet peas, and more that I don't know the names of.

Wild sweet peas among the mustard

I don't know what this is, but it smells amazing

Indian paintbrush

Lily in the bluebonnets

Walking onions among the bluebonnets

Dewberries beginning to bloom

Huge patches of wild mustard

 And now a few pictures of the kids.

Aislyn loves to help me in the garden

Ian's getting so big

Lily loves her big brother, and Gabe loves his "Grandma kitty"

After a long day in the garden

Lily is so proud of her peas and garlic
And one last picture of the eggs I collected today. I got 11 from my 15 hens.

It's not just a hat, it's also an egg basket
I hope everyone enjoys the rest of their weekend. Blessed Be