I know I'm supposed to be writing about our first experiences with homesteading, but so much is going on in the present that I need to write those things down as well. I must admit to incorrectly thinking before we moved that country life was going to be a slower pace of living, but I was very wrong. I feel like sometimes I can hardly catch my breath!
Our friend Steve had organized a Country Living Skills Workshop for Sunday, May 13. This time the topic was planting, pruning, and general care of trees and bushes. The whole event was taped, so if you are interested, I'm sure Steve could eventually get you a copy. Our family has obtained a state nursery license, and Steve traveled to Minneapolis to pick up this year's trees, bushes and flowers that had been ordered. Friends had purchased some of the trees and planned to come up to attend the workshop, and decided to come a day early so we could have some great fellowship. Seven families and some singles got together for a shared meal and Bible study.
On Sunday our friends the Dagleys came over before lunch to help transplant some strawberry and raspberry plants. Many hands definitely make the work load lighter! The guys also worked on planting trees and bushes that hadn't sold, but would be used later on to create more trees and bushes. I don't remember all the things that are now in a part of our gardens, but they include roses, lilacs, hazelnut bushes, juneberry bushes, and different varieties of apple trees. Steve did a good job of showing us the proper way of planting trees, and Jim did a section on air layering. This part of the workshop was done down by our old Norwegian cabin; there is a crab apple tree over there that was planted by the people who once lived in the cabin. The trouble was the tree was surrounded by overgrown caragana bushes, so we had to climb through them in order to see what Jim was going to do with air layering. Needless to say, I lost count at how many wood ticks I removed from my clothes and skin! They seem to be the worst they have been since moving up here. (For some reason, even after removing the tick our family has been experiencing the bite area swelling and becoming very itchy, and it takes a few days for it to go back to normal. Our youngest looks like his legs are covered with mosquito bites, when in reality it is from the ticks.)
We had one more incident that day which made it very memorable. Our boys thought it would be a good time to play something called "Prison Ball," so one of our boys decided the hose that was wrapped around the pump's tank in the bathroom area would make a good boundary line. The hose was a bit tangled and he was in a hurry, so he gave the hose a jerk. Unfortunately, the hose was attached to a fitting and when it was pulled it snapped off the pump's pressure switch! I was in the house at the time in the kitchen area, and heard a very large WHOOSH! sound, so I ran back and found my son trying to hold back a geyser of water! The water was shooting upward, soaking everything in the bathroom area. If it weren't for the quilts that make up the walls, the entire basement and its contents would have been soaked as well. I didn't know how to shut the thing off, so I ran out to get Jim, and he managed to pull the breaker switch. What a mess! Since it was a Sunday afternoon we couldn't get a new pressure switch, so we were without water until later Monday morning. I certainly had a mound of dishes to do after the water came back on!
I spent last Tuesday and Wednesday helping to open up Metigoshe Ministries' summer camp. Another lady and I spent our time cleaning up the kitchen and walk-in cooler areas. Their dishwasher was having problems, so after a morning of "wash, rinse, sanitize," we hauled the remaining dishes to their ministry center and finished the job in the big dishwasher. Hopefully by now they have the problem solved.
On Thursday morning we had an early call from the post office, asking us to come down and pick up our chicks. Along with the 20 or so hatched from our own eggs, we added another 65 to the bunch. No Cornish Cross this year, but the boys chose more of the traditional varieties of chicken to raise. So far so good, with only 2 deaths.
I had an enjoyable time on Friday, taking Andrew downtown with me to pick up groceries and other necessities. I hadn't been to town for ages, and it felt good to get away for a couple of hours. One of our stops was the local hardware store to buy a 3/4 inch dowel. Well, we found everything but 3/4 inch dowels! The store is located in a very old building, and the basement is full of lots of interesting things for a young boy to check out. We must have been down there for 45 minutes, and not once did a clerk come down to see what we were doing. Didn't buy anything, but had fun looking.
We had more company on Saturday, when the Hendersons brought back our trailer after using it to haul their new apple trees home. We had a very cold weekend with not much rain (not complaining, though we really need rain). There sure was a lot of thunder, but not much rain. Someone told us it is good to have thunder and lightning in the spring since it promotes growth, and I hope that makes up for the small amount of rain we received. The men and boys still managed to get in some interesting target practice -- dangling eggs by a string and attempting to shoot them. What a way to check for rotten eggs! Hendersons have 5 boys with a baby on the way, and we have 4 boys, so there was a lot of camouflage running around the farmstead.
Today was a quiet day, so there was time to finally get a post done.