Tuesday, May 8, 2012

So, it's once again spring on the farm! Baby chicks and baby kittens this year. The cows are all teenagers, so next year, we'll have babies.
Since I've increased our chicken flocks by A LOT I had to make the caged in area bigger. They have free run of the whole acreage, and love to scratch in the woods, but I like my eggs. At night, they dutifully return to the coop and I close them in. In the morning they fly out. Guess what my project is? Yup, gotta get a top put on the penned in area, so when we're gone, and in the morning pre-coffee, they are safe.
I've stopped putting heat lights on the babies during the day, but still at night it gets chilly, and sometime in the next month or so, I've got to introduce the two flocks to each other, and let everyone learn how to get along.
Have heard that putting them all together during the night and having them wake up all together works. It doesn't, there is still the "pecking" order that needs to be worked out, and right now the babies are too small to be attacked, plus they can still fit through the fencing, so they'll stay in the baby pen for now.

Hubby is starting to make noises about getting the tractor hooked up to the disc, this means that soon my garden will get tilled. YAY!! Can't really plant much until the 1st of June (or when ever the frost date is for the current year) but it still gets tilled, and tilled and tilled again. I've got some of my herbs started, tomatoes are looking awesome and peppers not so much. It's still too cold to germinate the pepper seeds, and this time of year, we don't heat the house, but even putting them into the garden as bitty little plants will give them time to grow.

Another project is to make the dog pen biggeer. I want the Bu-Dawgh to have a lot of running space, he has to be in a pen or on the line when outside because he just won't stay in the yard and he won't listen (to me). With baby deer being dropped now, I don't want him chasing. And he does love to chase!

Asparagus produced little to nothing this year, but the rhubarb (as usual) is very prolific. Found a recipe for a rhubarb crumble that I want to make, but my oven is out of commission. The element burned out of it, so I have to scare up another one soon.

On the needles is my festival project. Our Northern Michigan Lamb and Wool Festival is end of September and this is my contest entry. I'm using a yarn I bought from the festival last year (requirement) and making the Central Park Hoodie, with my awesome Knit Picks Harmony Needles. Although I did break my own "rule" about knitting with dark yarns on dark needles in a pattern, oh well, I love the Harmony needles, so it's worth a little eye strain.

Today? After work I want to work on the chicken pen and see if I can find another element for my stove from the "Stash Of Used Pieces and Parts" that every homesteader worth their salt keeps! Hoping I don't have to buy one!

In the meantime, it's a bit chilly today, but the sun is shining and Life Is Good!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

So I started my Iknitarod 2012 project. What? You've never heard of this??
Over on Ravelry (online knitting and crocheting mecca) they have a Knit-Along called the Iknitarod 2012. Now if you've watched the news at all recently, you just may be able to put this together, if not let me spell it out for you.
The Iditarod (famous dog sled race through Alaska) is happening right now. If you replace the "d" in Iditarod with a "kn" you get Iknitarod, in which a bunch of crazy knitters get together and knit while the mushers mush.
From the first "MUSH" (or whatever they yell to get the dogs going), until the Red Lantern goes out (last musher crosses the finish line) we will be rooting them on with our marathon knitting session.
But... I'm not getting much knitting done right now am I? Nope, better get at it (but I did do some last night, see?)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

So, yeah, once again it's been awhile and there are so many things going on in my normally crowded life.

Works continues (barely, damn economy - don't get me started...) My daughter and I have taken over my Mom's business while she decides if she's ready to semi-retire or not. Semi retirement. Hmmmm, unusual concept, but so far it's been really good for her and great for us.
We've taken the traditional 9-5  concept of the office to a more casual "just get it done and if there's time left over..." strategy and it seems to be working great for both of us.
I can now go to my Yoga classes during the day, or the yarn shop if the yarn fumes start calling to me and work early mornings, late nights or weekends if I want. That in itself is almost like a semi-retirement!

As far as the garden, yeah there's still quite a bit of snow out there, but that's ok. Up here we save snow throughout the winter and call it "water table" in the summer. I've got some seeds started, some herbs that I use for cooking, and am looking at doing an organic garden for things like oils and tinctures for our little fledgeling business. I've even gone so far as to get the duffel bag of seeds out of the closet and go through them! Gasp!!

Normally I won't plant tomatoes or peppers... until Mid March or so, but it's hard to wait. The weather has been so nice lately (so not like February in Northern Michigan..) that the urge to get my hands in the dirt and ride my bike have been nearly overpowering. Thankfully there are fail safe preventions automatically put into place to rein me in. The snow in the garden keeps my hands inside, where they stay warm and the ice on our rode pretty much limits my bike riding, but pretty soon......

This year on the farm I will be getting more chickens (LOVE pastured birds). I used to say my chickens and turkeys were free range until a new friend (shout out to Monica) told me the difference between free range and pastured. You would think that free range would be all about the little birdies going where they want, and when they want, but not so. Free range means that they are  kept inside and have an outside space where they can go, be it grass, mud, dirt, or chicken crap. Pastured is really what you want. My birds are pastured. They spend the night inside the hen house, but in the morning I let them out to roam where ever they want, which usually means the barn this time of year. Then I play heck trying to find their nests. Every year I have to re-train them to lay their eggs in the hen house, so soon that initiation will begin.
I am also getting a couple of pigs. I love pigs, they are so funny, and smart!

My cows have made it through the winter so far, and are looking quite nice. They will look a lot nicer when stuff thaws out enough that I can get the skid steer into their paddoc, and get some, um, cow shit cleared out of there. I'll put it in a pile and then use if for next year's garden. I don't know the time table on letting cow crap compost, but I give it a year.

Going to build a dog pen this summer, tired of having to put them on a chain. I have a nice large part of the yard, away from tractor paths and garden paths and pool paths that will work nicely, and it's quite large, so they'll, I'm sure, be a lot happier.

Am still looking to re-home my boxer. She's high energy, about 4, has been spayed, is great with kids, very affectionate, and loving, will sit on you all day long if you allow it and just in general is a very nice dog. Why don't I keep her? Well, hubby really doesn't like her, and I don't have time to put the training on her that she needs to go from a good dog to a great dog. Why did I get her in the first place? I didn't. She was left behind when her owner moved and the family that took her in didn't want her anymore and was considering euthanization. She's too great of a dog for that. So with that in mind, the search continues.

We're butchering another cow this weekend as two families are almost out of meat. This cow was aquired with hopes of producing a nice line of calves but that hasn't happened, she's wild and since she hasn't done what she needs to do to keep her spot in the pasture, we're going with option B.

Knitting! Ah knitting, my passionate friend..... Being the sort of person who has to compartmentalize my life and then tear that all apart just when it seems to be working.....never mind.
Currently on the needles I have another pair of socks, a crazy brother project (more on that later), a denim sweater and will be starting my own Knit-A-Long over on my other blog Craft Gossip shortly. I figured out that I don't really knit socks just to knit socks, but I knit socks so that in spare moments during the grandkids wrestling or basketball games, or waiting for food in restaurants, or riding along in the car I have something to keep my fingers busy. That's really best for everyone.

So as the snow continues to melt a little more each day (totally weird for the snow to be melting in Feb) I see all of the remains of the yard that didn't get cleaned up last fall. It's so nice and clean under the snow and then......

Yup, there are so many, "and thens...".

Life is Good! (And thanks, J, for lighting a fire under me to get this going again ;-)