Monday, April 30, 2007

Enjoying Spring

I've been waiting for a rainy day to get some things done around here, and unfortunately we haven't had any wet weather since the snow melted. We awoke this morning to a light drizzle, and it was such a blessing. We sure could use more, since an hour after the rain stopped this morning it was dry once again.

A couple of weeks ago we had a few marathon canning days. Our friend Steve picked up 200 former laying hens from a Hutterite community a few hours from here. At first we were going to butcher them ourselves (or should I say the boys were going to butcher!), but for 50 cents per chicken we had them do the butchering before Steve picked them up. What a job! I don't remember how many quarts and pints we canned, but 2 pressure canners were going constantly for 3 days. We still have 50 chickens left, and I can't say that I'm excited to finish the job. I am thankful for all that ready to eat chicken meat, though.

The boys and I spent 3 days last week in our former city, visiting friends and family. Our reason to go was to help our former neighbor celebrate her 100th birthday. This lady is absolutely amazing. She has the best attitude about life, stating that she has had plenty of reasons to worry, but chose to give that up years ago. Mrs. Nelson has a wonderful sense of humor, and her memory is probably better than mine. It was so much fun to spend the afternoon with her, and I hope some day we can do it again. My parents drove 5 hours to spend time with us as well, and it was so special to have them with us for a day and a half. We also had time to do a bit of shopping and visit with other friends.

As I write this, I am listening to the chirping of a chick. One of our Buff Orpingtons decided to be a broody hen, but after a while thought another spot in the shed looked like a better place to sit on eggs. So, the boys grabbed the vacated eggs and placed them in the incubator in the house. So far 3 chicks have hatched. Jim and the boys marked the eggs and have been turning them, but so far that is all that has hatched. We also have 4 kittens in the house. They will be 5 weeks on Friday, so it won't be long before they will be gone.

The puppies are getting very cute and are full of personality. We have had 2 spoken for, and now need to find homes for the last 3. I am getting a bit anxious about finding them homes, since I don't want to end up with 5 dogs running around our farmstead! We have kept them in our hoop house at night, sleeping in a big metal watering trough, but it's just a matter of time now before they figure out how to jump out. It's so much fun to walk outside and have them notice me, and then they come running with their tails wiggling.

The goat kids are doing well, too. We have another doe that should be kidding soon, and I hope she does all right. Then I need to learn how to milk goats! My sons are experts, and they can teach me.

We have another bumper crop -- and that is wood ticks. They are everywhere! I don't go into the woods, but I still end up with them on me. I suppose the boys bring them in and the dogs do, too, but I also get them just from walking over to the clotheslines to hang clothes. I suppose it will be this way until the weather becomes hot and they disappear for another year. Any odd feeling sends me to check to see if I have another one on me.

Jim and the boys have started to raise supports in the main floor of our house. Maybe by fall we can be up there, but we may not have windows installed for the winter. I can't wait to spread out a bit! Currently we have way too much stuff in this basement, and it's frustrating to try to keep it clean. Jim elected to shell in the structure last fall and then build the floor between the 1st and 2nd floors; the boys have already decided that as soon as the floor is built they will sleep up there. I hope they wait until the soffits are enclosed, as mosquitoes would be a problem.

So far the boys have planted potatoes -- more than last year (and we harvested about 1200 pounds of potatoes)! They have also planted some peas and carrots, and cucumbers were planted in our hoop house. We don't have a way to keep heat in the hoop house at night, so we have chosen not to plant anything else in there yet. Most people don't even think of planting in this area until Memorial Day weekend, and tonight the temperature could go into the lower 30's. Last year we planted tomato plants in there, and that same night they froze. I don't want to do that again. Jim has been working on setting up a pump system to bring water up from the lake. Our raspberry plants -- all 600 of them -- look like they are in great shape, and maybe we'll have enough to sell to others later in the season.

That's about it for now.


Marci said...

1200 pounds of potatoes!!! WOW, did you eat all but what you saved for planting this year?

I would love to come and visit with you. Sorry about the ticks. Hey, I am sure Emily will let you have a guinea or two!! =)

Lynn Bartlett said...

We haven't quite eaten all of them yet! We couldn't use any for seed potatoes since we planted them where we had fertilized and they had scab. We did use potatoes for seed from Steve's garden, so all was not lost. I don't know how many lbs. of potatoes are left from last year, as they are being stored in a friend's root cellar. Every time we go visit we haul back a bunch. I think I use 10 lbs. every time I make mashed potatoes -- and they are all eaten up!