I'm sitting here by the computer, trying to keep warm! Amazing that I have been running the woodstove for the past 3 days. When we got up this morning the thermometer looked like it was around 40 degrees, and it didn't seem to inch up much all day long. We are still waiting for a significant amount of rainfall so we won't have to water all the garden areas again, but with all the 50% chances of rainshowers, it just never materialized.
Jim and Jonathan have been away since last Wednesday, so Peter (12) was placed in charge of the farm. And I must say, he has done a wonderful job! No complaining, no procrastinating -- but just jumping right in and meeting all the needs that have come up during these days. Andrew (9) has been his right hand man, and David has pitched in whenever he can. Sometimes I think we sell our children short by not challenging them to new duties and responsibilities.
Peter starts his day by jumping out of bed and taking care of all our chickens and turkeys, and then finishes off by milking the goat and making sure the sheep and other goats are fed and watered. He has also been blogging about his experiences, and you can check out his stories at www.mrflatpicker.blogspot.com.
Jim and Jonathan will be very surprised at how much the gardens have grown in almost a week.
Last week I spent some much needed time outside in my herb garden, covering the soil in between the plants with hay. We have had such little rainfall that we need to do this as much as possible to keep what little moisture we do get in the ground and not evaporate from the heat of the days. I had asked Andrew and David to help me collect hay, so they asked if they could use our old Cub Cadet tractor to get it for me. I was so thrilled to watch the two of them interact and just plain have fun together. They had attached our old red wagon to the back, and would head to the large round bales, pull off some hay and place it in the wagon; then David would hop on top of the hay so it wouldn't spill out, and off they would go to bring it over to me. When David finally got tired of this, Andrew had him sit on his lap and drive the tractor himself. I really think living in the country has helped to cement some close friendships for life between our sons.
On Friday we headed to a friend's farm about 1-1/2 hours away to pick up our turkeys. They live down on the prairie, and I was amazed how cold and windy it was, compared to being up in the hills. They had had plenty of rain, so it was a good thing we all wore our mud boots! The trip was a very spur of the moment thing, and yet by the time we got there the house was full of people, and we had a good time of fellowship with everyone. We all participated in bringing food, so it was easy to pull together a hearty meal. Chris' sister Rebekah had taken care of our turkeys for us, and it was great to hear her explain how to care for them. They are Bourbon Reds, and I had been hearing how turkeys are touchy when they are newly hatched. We found that out, as out of the 24 that had been brought up to their farm, only 16 had survived. In spite of my protests, we ended up taking 10 poults (I didn't know until tonight when someone emailed that turkey chicks are poults!). Got them home safely, but one died the next day. So, we are down to only 9. I sure hope these survive! I was able to see mature Bourbon Reds at their farm, and they are certainly beautiful birds.
Saturday was another cold, sort of wet day. Our friend Paulette showed up after lunch, and we decided to check out a couple of garage sales that were being held around Lake Metigoshe. The boys were thrilled, as the 2 sales we attended had lots of free stuff, and they came home with lots of new treasures! At our 2nd stop there was a box of microphones, speaker, older 2 way radio and other items that was marked at $2.00; when the older gentleman noticed the boys' interest, he just gave it to them! They have been intrigued and spent quite a bit of time figuring out how everything works. Afterward we took a tour of the local state park, since it was free admission for the day. We spent a lot of time there when we first moved to the Turtle Mountains, because living in a pop-up camper meant no running water or shower facilities, and we would head to the park to fill up with water and take showers every 3-4 days. Talk about feeling grungy! Our day with Paulette was lots of fun, and even relaxing.
David had been bugging me all week that he was hungry for donuts, so I pulled out Jim's recipe from when he was a teenager and we got to work. I mixed, David cut them out, and Andrew manned the deep fry. Then we all ate! As they ate donuts I read to them from a set of books called, "The Kingdom Series" by Chuck Black. It is an allegory of the Bible, written by a homeschool dad in North Dakota. The boys sure enjoy them. I think we have read 2-1/2 books of the 4 book series since Jim left last Wed. The books have been picked up by Multnomah Press, so they will be redone and offered as a 6 book series in 2007.
Today was another relaxing day for us. Peter decided to make a lean to shelter to house more of the goats and sheep, and Andrew and David were working on a wooden pull behind wagon for the Cub Cadet. They were using bicycle tires, but the first prototype fell apart, so they will start up again tomorrow. Later in the afternoon we headed to Metigoshe Ministries to do Jonathan's vacuuming job. We will be glad when he gets home!
Well, tomorrow if all goes as planned, Jim and Jonathan will spend time at Good Farmer John's place in Minnesota. If it rains, they will also stop to see Northern Farmer, but if it's a dry day they will have to plan that visit for another trip through Minnesota. It's haying season! I will be very glad to have them home soon, and one reason is because my washing machine died the 2nd day they were gone! Talk about mountains of laundry to get done!