Friday, December 25, 2009

What a beautiful day!

Christmas day has been pretty uneventful for us as expected. Besides the occasional phone calls and text messages from well wishers, we have had a relatively relaxing day. We have been indoors all day working on storing things in the attic and shredding more paper and junk mail we have laying around. All these bags of shred will either go in the new coops or in the compost bin.

The skies are sunny and the humidity is low so the ground continues to dry up. I pray it only dries to the point where we can work the soil and get other things done that are impossible with the wet ground.

I ordered lots of seeds from Johnny's and we should be set for the spring. My bell peppers and jalapeno's have now spouted and there will be more than we'll use.

I told my husband that at some point in the next few weeks we should move cinder blocks closer to the house and use old wood frame windows I acquired a couple of years ago to create cold frames. By then I will have everything re-potted and will fill them up quickly with garden plants.

This is a long weekend for me as is the next. The forecast calls for delightful weather so I should be able to catch up on many tasks outdoors without freezing my ears off...!

Hope you are having a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

W I N D Y!!!!

It is WINDY!

This wind is suppose to lie down late this afternoon. The weekend and the rest of the week should be moderate temperatures in the mid to high 50's with low humidity. The next 15 days we have a little chance of rain and, for the most part, lower humidity. This should dry up the ground a bit if not enough to start turning the ground on the acreage behind the house.

It's much too windy to be out trying to do anything in the yard. This morning I woke up to a limb on my husband's Suburban. Not big enough to do much harm but much too close to the windshield. Would have been just our luck as he just had a back glass replaced and was finally back in business with his own vehicle. My fear is that others might want to come out of the trees and this wind could create falling debris or blowing debris hazards!

We are not doing much for the holidays except to work on projects and rejoice in our Saviors birth. One of our children mentioned that he might stop by and I warned him not to come in dress clothes but instead to wear jeans and boots and be prepared to pitch in.

John said he thought we were missing some of the Americana Chickens. I hope it is just some hens who are sitting eggs somewhere. It will be nice to get the coops finished so we can count them each day.

For now, I am going to start the paper shredder again and warm up a smoked turkey in a while.

Have a great Christmas and don't forget, it's not about the presents under the tree....



Went out just before the sun went down and the temperature is falling rapidly. The wind and cooler temperature stung my face.

So back in I went to finish a paper shredding project and contemplate baking some potato rolls.

It's going to be a snuggle weather night, possibly snuggle weather week.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

What I think about during the day....

I have a real job. I am a Banker for a major National Bank at a branch in our small town.

Having a real job takes away from the farm, and I think about it all the time. Although I know I cannot leave my job for a farm income, I still think about it. I also try to justify leaving a well paying job, trading pantyhose for garden hose but the numbers and the benefits always outweigh my preferred option.

So, I think about it all day. I arrange schedules for tasks I need to get done once I get home. I even told my boss to quit bringing me work late in the day as I had to leave on-time to build compost piles, check on the greenhouse and do other farm tasks.

Today, I solicited "poop" from local farmers while printing out statements for them. One said they'd hook me up with the owners of the local auction barn after the holidays. That made me happier than the prospect of interest rates going up on time accounts.

While some people may show digital pictures of children and grandchildren on their cell phones, I show pictures of my Bantams! I draw out planting diagrams for retired farm customers while we are tending to their bank business, soliciting their ideas while they solicit mine.

Yes, I will admit, I have this homestead farm bug and am infected terribly! Yet doing it as a hobby farm makes more sense than not doing it all.

Tomorrow I think I'll wear my boots to I'll be prepared once I can get away...



I thought I'd be slick and go by the local chicken place after work today to grab dinner so that we could get back to building the coop. My husband had beat me by pre-cutting 2x4's for the rest of it saying we can now just assemble it as tho it were a pre-fab kit. He even neatly labeled each board. At least we were able to work on it for a half hour or so before it got dark and made some more progress.

This time however, it wasn't without incident... I am sure John was tired but willing to put in a little more time.....but it all went down hill once the hens started gossiping about the rooster who got one last hen before roosting for the night.

Chickens, when all together get excited and the sounds is like a group of old women gossiping around the table during coffee or who witnessed something outside their morals and point and discuss the disgusting aberration.

Then there are the guineas, who run to see what every one is cackling about and have to throw their 2 cents in to the discussion. The other day 2 young roosters were starting to bow and dance like they do before they start a fight. When that happened all the guineas stopped what they were doing and ran over to see, making their "buck-wheat" noise. I liken it to a High School fight when everyone comes to watch chanting "FIGHT!"

Along with all this noise, the hens gossiping, the roosters crowing and the guineas hollering "buck-wheat" my husband tried to tell me where to hold a board and I couldn't hear his direction over all the noise which in turn frustrated him more.

Then, as he started to hit the nail he hit his fingers and let out another loud noise, all of which cannot be repeated on this blog.

That signaled the end of the chicken coop project tonight....

And as I was gathering tools to bring inside I looked up at what appeared to be rain clouds rolling in.

I think I'll pour me a glass of Texas Sweet Red, find my MP3 player and read about Agritourism and small scale farms....

Monday, December 21, 2009

Late night post: What I want for Christmas

If I could sit on Santa's lap and he could truly bring it to me I would ask for

Buckets of poop for the compost.
A burn barrel for what I can't recycle.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Fall/Winter 2009 brings moisture, time to plan for the spring

Our rain prayers have been answered! We also got several inches of snow a week or so ago. Local Extension Agent said that was wonderful as snow adds nitrogen to the soil. I have standing water in places and a soggy ground but I am not complaining!

My husband and I are working on chicken coops. These coops will be closer to the house as the last one we had that was a good bit behind the house and was broken into by a 4 legged thief! Something ate a hole in the chicken wire, large enough for a medium sized dog. We figure it was either a rogue dog, small coyote or a racoon and whatever got into that coop ate our old rooster! It was indeed a massacre as there was blood and feathers all over the place. We never found the rooter.

These coops will be easier to gather eggs, give the hens a good place to sit eggs and provide heat and safety to our feathered friends.

The babies we bought in the spring are grown and fully feathers. Just beautiful! Along with the older hens and roosters these guys are a good compliment to those we had before. We also have several BB Red Bantum chickens and they are quite tame and adorable. They are a very small chicken,fully grown are about the size of a pigeon if not a little bit smaller. We were given those the same time we got the Americana chicks in the spring as a friend heard we were going to the hatchery and asked if we wanted the hen and all her chicks. We were quite blessed with almost 20 chicks last spring.

Today I also build the first of many compartments of compost bins and layered decaying mulch, house scraps of mostly coffee grounds, labels from canned products and fresh veggie scraps. Also lost leaves from the banana trees when it snowed so I cut them up and layered them in there too. They were already decaying on the banana tree. I cleaned out the bottom of the chick pen and added in chicken poop to the compost. This should be a good first batch. Have arranged cube mesh so that I can make another compartment when this one gets full. Will be a great way to do smaller piles of compost and keep track which one was started first.

I have also started hundreds of tomato, pepper and jalapeno plants for the garden. I won't use them all and will donate the left over plants in the early spring to the local food pantry. Based on "Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day but teach him to fish and he'll eat a lifetime" this will be another way to contribute to the community.

Watch to blog to see how I progress through the summer season. I plan to can, freeze, and dehydrate veggies but have not done any of it in 30+ years. It will be quite a challenge but I'm up to it. Partial self - sustaining by this time next year is my goal. In one year I only want to have to visit the local grocery store for meat and dairy, hygiene products and an occasional bottle of wine...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Pictures for the scroll bar

We needed to change out pictures on the home page. They had to be loaded somewhere. Enjoy!



Sunday, February 8, 2009

Looking at the world a whole different way.....

It's my last day of vacation....Ah yes, in the morning I will once again slap the alarm silly, stumble into the shower, blow dry my hair into a semblance of a sane 50 something professional, put on pantyhose and a suit and head once again to the 9-5 I have learned to tolerate. Hey, it's a paycheck.

I have accomplished much during this week, some tasks that were intended and others that were not. But the one thing I have learned this week is to look at life in a whole different perspective.

Here are just a few:

Peer out the window as you drive through town, scouting for someones rose or vine overgrowth. If it has grown over into the right of way, it's fair game.

Look deep into old cemetery's for old rose's in hopes to get a snip. Don't go at night.

Find forgotten plants old at abandoned houses or where there once stood a home. There might be a story behind them.

Deplete the ginger from the produce department. It grows and reproduces quickly.

Always maintain a path to your coffeepot and kitchen sink after propagating in the kitchen all the new things you can acquire in a very short time.

And share...extra clippings, your own overgrowth, your knowledge and your friendship with other's who share your passion. It will make your work week go a little smoother.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

You pick up the coolest tips!

What I learned in master gardeners tonight was priceless...well, almost.

I love gingerbread. I love to use fresh ginger in beef recipes. It's a sinful taste...

Tonight we had a speaker on Gingers in your garden and the lady said you can take the Ginger "root" you buy at the grocery store and plant it. She suggested you lay in flat and cover it with about 1" of soil. I wouldn't plant it much deeper.

Apparently it grows and grows and grows and the "roots" (actually called ryzones) multiply pretty quickly!

We joked that there wouldn't be any ginger in any of the grocery stores around for quite some time as we are all going to try it.

Also, I love hosta's. I have seen them at the nursery's and are really pretty. This same speaker said they don't do real well in our semi-tropical climate but that there are varieties of gingers that are very similar and do.

Anyway I have a lot of shaded area to work this spring....and want to try some hosta's but know there is a substitute for them if they don't do well.

And now....I know I'll have a "ginger" theme in the Papillion Gardens.