Thursday, March 26, 2015

Now you see it...

 This was the progress I made on Tuesday. I disassembled it piece by piece so Most of it can be reused. Partially to keep from adding to the landfill. Partially to save money. Brad joked that I should just leave the doorway standing to confuse people.
 This is after today's effort. Only the turkey roost left. I haven't decided if it is worth saving or if it is too rotten and destined for the burn pile. The view is much improved.

 The soil there is so rich and dark. My gardens will like it
 My strawberries got some after I finished weeding them today. Some of that chicken wire from the turkey coop ended up here. It is a temporary solution to keep the chickens out. Not pretty but hopefully functional. I may get some strawberries this year (finally)! I only got one load of leaf mulch down before the sky opened up and I gave it up for the day.

 The green beans are coming up.
 The arches are ready for them! I managed to replace the logs for these three beds earlier this spring. I ran out of logs. I need to down a couple of trees to finished later this year. That is a task for when there isn't so much to do.
 These gourds are insane! They are coming up right through the grass. And this is some thick grass. They could seriously become invasive if I don't keep it in check.
My flower garden is starting to regain some life. And the azaleas down the drive are full of blooms.
 My feathers friends found some treats.
This is what most of my time is devoted to. He is such an amazing blessing. And he keeps me super busy! I can only assume things aren't going to slow down anytime soon. He is only 6.5 months old and already pulling up and standing! I love this age!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Where is the time going?

 It certainly isn't sticking around here as long as I feel it should be. It is almost April! I still haven't moved the cool season plants out of the greenhouse and planted the summer plants. It is funny how my brain tends to jump directly from "Its early yet... you still have time." to "Wait, What?! Really? How am I so far behind?!" In my defense, I haven't stopped trying to get things done and lazed around. Other stuff just always gets in the way and steals my time. The plants in my greenhouse are growing fast. And seeming to multiply...

 My parents brought me this cutting of a tree limb that they said grew the flowers that the Hawaiian leis are made out of. They got it from family in Florida over Christmas and brought it to me when they visited for New Years. It has been sitting on my grow shelf wrapped in a damp paper towel and aluminum foil since then. I put it in dirt about a week ago and look! Brand new leaves and what looks like it will be a new flower! Plants are amazing things.

I thought this HUGE tree frog was pretty amazing too. I love frogs!
 The onions are doing nicely. The chickens have been "trimming" the peas I planted at the bottom of the trellis. They haven't managed to reach the fence yet because of it. Those chickens really make me consider penning them in sometimes...
The peach tree has so many blooms! I'm not sure this little tree can handle this many peaches. I need to remember to hang some lye soap on these soon. I must defeat the fireants and claim all the fresh peaches as mine this year! (insert evil laugh here)
 The blueberry bushes also have a ridiculous amount of blooms on them. This year, like the last few, I was worried that we had pruned the bushes a bit too much and they wouldn't do well. Once again I am relieved to say, that is not the case. Bees are buzzing around everywhere! I inserted a video below. Sorry for the low quality. The dull roar you hear in the back ground is not someone mowing their yard. It is the sound of the hundreds of bees buzzing around.
 One of the things on my to-do list. The turkey hoop coop has seen better days. I only have two turkeys left (Yellow and Tabby), both of which have completely refused to sleep in the coop. So here it sits, falling apart and creating a huge eye-sore. I have to dismantle it. Some of the old wire fencing will go to encircle the strawberry patch. The black gold that has accumulated there will fertilize my gardens. Perhaps I should plant corn or something here this summer once it is down? Definite possibility. Now to try to accomplish something before the little guy wakes up.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Gorgeous Day

I sometimes wonder if everyone gets the same intense feeling of joy that I do on beautiful, warm, sunshiny days. Its like my whole being is smiling. Today is one of those truly B-E-A-UTIFUL days. It is the first day this year that will reach nearly to 80 degrees. The sun is shining. The grass is starting to grow. The spring flowers are blooming.the birds are singing. Some bees are even buzzing around. Unfortunately, all of the things I am yearning to do outside are going to have to wait. We have a family get together later and I'm not capable of starting something and putting it down.... or not getting sidetracked and starting multiple other things. Ahh... I'm trying not to let that get me down. It is frustrating though. Not much could mar this beautiful day though.

Yesterday I managed to accomplish something. A couple of things even. I planted flower seeds. I am usually so limited by space that I have to choose the most important things to plant. Flowers always lose. Especially to tomatoes and peppers. This year I made it a point to get some flowers planted. I ordered the seeds along with my baker creek order. Purple Echinacea, english daisies, cape marigolds (actually daisies), and yellow mums. Some others will be direct seeded.  Maybe this will be the year for flowers.

I also got the garden electric fence back up and functional. It was in sad shape after the pig situation and general neglect from the newborn fog of last fall. The fence was basically unplugged and forgotten for the winter. The chickens took it over, scratching all of the mulch from the beds into the path rows, and digging big ruts in the beds for dust bathing. It is time to excommunicate the chickens and take the garden back. Weeds are starting to sprout and now is the time to get them under control and mulch, before they get out of hand. Of course, there is no point in even trying to mulch if the chickens can come back behind me. Their main goal in life seems to be to undo everything that I do. They actually follow me around and pounce on things as soon as I finish and walk away. Anyway, the fence is repaired, wire tightened, weeds removed from fence line, and posts driven deeper. I spaced the wires closer together and closer to the ground to make it more difficult for them to sneak through, and prepped it for another row of wire at the top for deer. Maybe I will get to that soon. Chickens are the main issue at the moment. While the fence was down Keegan and I went ahead and removed the hog ring that had been left in there. I left the pig sectioned off fence alone though. I know of someone that has baby piglets and am going to see if I can get my hands on a couple of them to raise this spring.

 My derelict garden needs much love. It will be beautiful and full of life soon! All of these picture were taken yesterday when it was still gloomy outside.

While I was waiting for these pics to load I went outside to look at the fireant hills I mixed up yesterday. I read that if you take a big shovel full and throw it on another hill they will kill each other. Not much else worked so I figured it was worth a try. Fireants in a garden bed isn't much fun. Well apparently they were still very angry and much more spread out than I thought, They got me... bad. I had the baby in my arms and couldn't get them off of my very quickly. Gonna make for a fun day. LOL
On a happier note: We have strawberry blooms! Need to clean up, fertilize, mulch, and figure out chicken containment for that bed soon.  Peach tree blooms too!

It doesn't sound like much work, does it? It really made me realize just how out of shape I am after months of pregnancy, winter, and caring for a little guy (lots of sitting around holding him and nursing a million times a day). I'm going to have to remedy that this spring. There are definitely lots things to do to help with that. I made some lists last night (inside and outside to-do) and have already thought of a bunch of things that need to be added. Keegan will get some of the chores to do to earn his game and internet privileges. Yesterday he cleaned the (very much needing it after the torrential downpours) chicken coop and added more fertilizer(used bedding) to the blueberry bushes and fruit trees. I'm excited for this new year!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Winter turns to Spring

At least it is working on it here. Let's be honest... this is the deep south. We didn't have "winter". At least not like the poor people up north that have been snowed in for months. But it sure has been chilly, and mostly grey and dreary. There has been nothing green in sight for months. I have been keeping busy, nonetheless. Taking care of my boys, keeping up the house, and tending to the animals is plenty to keep me busy most days. Having a baby around the house has been amazing! He has kept me the busiest and I am loving it. I can't believe my sweet boy is 6 months old already! He is spending less and less time nursing nonstop and being attached to mommy, and increasingly more time playing and exploring. 

That means that I have been able to get things accomplished (somewhat) lately and even a bit of extra time to be creative. I'm not what you would call "artistic" but I desperately need to be expressive and colorful. Usually the homestead quells that, but not during winter. So I have been turning these gourds that took over last summer...

... Into these birdhouses. Sunflowers even in the winter.

 It has rained, almost nonstop, for the last several days and is supposed to continue to do so for a couple more days. A sure sign that spring is here. During a short break this morning, little man and I managed to take some pictures. What was nothing but brown dead grass is starting to show signs of life. Hints of green can be seen peeking through. That means that soon the chickens will have enough to forage to keep them from gobbling down anything green they set their hungry little eyes on.
 Like the lettuce, collard greens, and cabbage I set out in several of my garden beds a few weeks ago. See them? No? That's because by the morning after I had planted them they had been gobbled up, despite the scratchy  fence around it. So I replanted and covered them in cayenne pepper which worked to keep them away from my flower beds last year. Apparently, when there is nothing else green in sight, a little pepper in the eyes is worth it.
 I did manage to get a bed of onions planted a couple weeks ago (and some peas to grow up that trellis) and they are coming up. I just managed to get the other 2 beds of onions and some garlic planted. Very late, but better late than never. Even small onions are better than no onions.
To get around not being able to plant anything until the chickens could be distracted by other greenery, my tax money splurge this year was a new greenhouse! I have wanted one for years and had planned to build one, but couldn't decide how to build one that would last. I found this one for an amazing price and it is super sturdy. Unless something drastic happens this guy should last for years! I plan to take it down during the summer to help extend its life somewhat. It is 8' x 10' x 7' tall. Now I just have to decide on what to do about shelving. 

Liam had a great time helping mommy plant seeds. There was soil flying everywhere! Never too early to get them started in the garden. <3 

I will need shelves for all of the summer garden stuff but I went ahead and started cold season crops. Lettuce, radishes, broccoli, cauliflower, several kinds of kale, cabbage, spinach, collard greens, chard... and perhaps a thing or two I have forgotten at the moment. The 4 covered plastic containers are filled with cactus seeds that I am starting for Keegan. It should be an interesting project. And maybe a money making endeavor for him. I also got sucked into the clearance section at the plant store. I got two little pomegranate trees for $3 each! I always wanted to try growing them but they don't over winter in this zone. But I have a greenhouse now! Now I need to find some avocado trees too. I have a mild avocado addiction that I really need to become self sufficient if I plan to keep.  The other ornamental plants were $1 each. I just can't pass up cheap plants... Also in the mix are herbs for the herb garden I am determined to get up and going this year. Some of it is mint... to replace the mint I managed to kill over the winter. Who said you can't kill the stuff?  

I was lacking planters so I used feed bags folded down for some and a box the greenhouse came in lined with feed bags for a big one. I hate throwing feed bags away and our feed store only sells cracked corn in paper bags. Yet another use for them. I would be more worried about the plastic breaking down if they were supposed to be more than just a temporary fix. Apparently it is working! Seedlings popping up everywhere. I believe that fresh grown salad is in my future! I have had to resort to buying lettuce at the store... ugh. 

The blueberry bushes are blooming! One of my favorite signs of spring! I gave them a little bit of compost fertilizer about a month ago, but it is about time for some more. I was a bit stingy with it. 

Some of the spring flowers are blooming.

And the chickens have started laying again! We went from not even checking the box for eggs for most of the winter to having them overflowing onto the counter. Just in the last week! We also had to deal with an opossum in the nesting box enjoying to new bounty a few days ago. Hopefully we won't have to deal with that again. 

The chickens are happy to have a break from the rain. They are also enjoying the warm weather! It has been in the 60's and 70's for the last week. This weekend begins the high 70's temps and sunshiny weather! I am so excited and am making my list of things I have to get done. 

My inside grow area is full too. The right part has been dedicated to our tree frogs and basically grows wild. The left section is filled with herbs for our herb garden. Six containers of Lavender. Brad LOVES lavender. He said it reminds him of Ireland. Chives fill another four containers, and basil fill the final two. We use lots of basil but it does well when direct seeded in the garden so I will plant more later. 

The beautiful basil is already coming up. I keep having to control my urge to pick some and rub it between my fingers so I can smell that wonderful smell. Liam loves smelling herbs too. I pick a leaf and roll it between my fingers and hold it under his nose and his wrinkles his little nose up and smells. It is the only time something can be near his face and he doesn't try to shove it in his mouth. I may have a little gardener on my hands!