Wednesday, April 02, 2008

It's cold, it's warm and cold again--but it's spring!!!

Today was fantastic! The temps got up around 60 so the boys and I just had to go play outside. The ground is still very wet from all the snow and rain, but things are definitely looking greener. I started to work on a compost pile today, it's too wet to start working the land for our garden area yet, but I did manage to rake up a bunch of dead leaves and grasses into a nice pile for a starter compost. I've been saving veggie and fruit shavings/peels/extras and egg shells for a couple of weeks now, so they went into the pile as well. Who knew compost could be so exciting???? I can't wait to add more, LOL! I weeded out a couple of small garden areas by the house, what fantastic soil we have here! When we lived in the burbs, no matter which city I was living in, we always had to deal with clay, everything was clay. No matter how much I tilled, added lime and compost and topsoil, it all ended up into more clay---which is why my garden at the old house was all in containers. The soil here is black and crumbly and beautiful, I cannot wait to get the garden started!!! Of course, being in a farming community---I suppose I would expect to have decent soil since this was all once farmland.

I've been trying to get the boys outside everyday, no matter the temps outside. They need to countrify their bones, get tough to the elements--as do I! We've been sloshing in the mud around our 6 acres, exploring every nook and cranny---we still have a lot more to explore. Hubby starting cutting down the trees that are directly in our garden path---they are just little ones that have strayed from the main little forest area. We've got a good start on our firewood for next winter and we'll plant more trees to replace the ones we take down.

We will be modifying one of the sheds into a chicken coop in the next week or so. I hope to get our first chickens by the end of April. I'm going to start out with pullets, get used to caring for those before I try chicks. The main reason being, I don't really have a good area where I can care for chicks right now---with the cats and dogs around, they are sure to end up as snacks. The barn is a mess, tons of stuff from the old house and garage is taking up space, plus it needs to be cleaned out from the previous owners' horse and chickens. The shed has wiring to it for electric, but we have yet to figure out where things can be turned on, the panels aren't labeled well but being as there is a corral with electric fencing in the back---electricity is obviously to be had far back into our land. But, until we get that all figured out---I can't set up heatlamps anywhere else due to our other animals. You'd think as big as this house is that we could find a spot---but it would just take one person not closing a door well for one of our cats or a dog to get in and--well, I'm sure I don't have to go into details.

This is all so new and overwhelming! I want to do so much right now! I have to be patient and let mother nature warm things up and dry things out before I can really start working on the gardens. I've been reading up on goats, I would like to have a couple of dairy goats--soon. Of course, that would require strong fencing---and we have none presently, that's going to take money---of which we are in short supply. The IRS said we should get our refund by June 1st. I mailed everything on January 29th!!?? Until we get that refund, we are stuck on a few projects that are waiting to get going.

Annie, our Border Collie/shepard has gotten out once since we moved in---and she played chicken with a few of the many semi's and other trucks that fly by our home at 55mph. She was lucky--this time. Not that a fence will stop her---we fenced in our backyard at the old house just for her. Three quarters of it was fenced with 6 ft high privacy fence, the other 1/4 was regular chain link. When she really wanted to get out she jumped right over the chain link---or she ran up the privacy fences. She will have to stay on a line from now on.

I'm hoping we can get our black lab Raven trained well so she won't have to be on a line---she's still a pup and a bit wild yet but she'll be 2 in August and while she is just as stubborn as my dear toddler, she is starting to respond to commands. I'm hoping she'll be good around chickens and goats---I've read so many things on how good, gentle dogs have decimated peoples' chicken stock, I'm hoping that since she is still young she'll be able to be trained to respect the birds.

Annie--while she is a herder---I don't think I would trust her around chickens or goats. She wasn't trained well, my daughter wanted her many years ago and she trained her a bit and then got bored and stopped caring for her. I was too busy working and caring for all the kids to have time for the dog so her training was pretty much forgotten---which is why we have so much trouble with her now. We are not going to make the same mistake with Raven---of course, life is much different now---things are more conducive to making the animals and their care as important or nearly as important as the humans. That's not to say I've given up on Annie learning new things---she's just got it in her head sometimes that she's the Alpha dog, and she'll just totally ignore any of us sometimes, especially when she's herding 18 wheelers and running through other peoples' property. We're still working on her, though.

In quilty news, I've been working on the patchwork for my niece, Savannah and I have all the strings cut for the Amish string quilt for my other niece, Ashley. My iron died on me, so work has come to a stand still until I can get to town this weekend and pick up a new one. I also have to get some new batteries for my camera---the old ones aren't holding a charge anymore, which is why I don't have any new pictures of my progress. My other niece, Sam, is wanting something in a beachy/tropical theme. I've got a few ideas floating around my head for her. I still have to quilt the small leaf quilt I made for my Aunt and my mother is clamoring for a chicken quilt. Jaret wants a quilt for his bed--since I haven't made him one yet. He wasn't interested last summer when I was making Sean's rag quilt and Jeremys' Spring Star quilt top (it's not quilted yet, I want to quilt it on my Grace, but I have to learn how to use it yet) I would also like to make something for my bed---oh and I found a great wolf quilt that I want to make for DH for next Christmas. Lots of projects, little time. I can only sew when the baby is sleeping, or when DH is home to keep him busy---otherwise he's into everything and making sure I don't get to sit for more than a minute---or he's trying to get into my lap and changing the settings on my machine. Mommy isn't aloud to do anything other than entertain the boy, LOL! He's so cute though, it's hard to be impatient with him. I just have to do most of my sewing late at night.

Friends forever.

Ok, I've babbled on enough! Hopefully I'll have a camera again soon so I can post pics of EVERYTHING going on, LOL!

Until next post........see ya later!