Monday, May 27, 2013

Garden Party

Memorial Day weekend. It is amazing how much changes in a couple weeks here on the farm. Just a few weeks ago I was lamenting the LONG winter that seemed it would never end. Then Spring arrived and now the kids just got out of school for summer vacation... wait, what?! Spring needs to be longer than 3 weeks- what is the rush for summer??? Everything is just starting to grow back and this week my lilacs and the tree outside the living room all started blooming.

my view from the living room window- my favorite tree is in bloom!

We rented a garden tiller on Friday to get the vegetable garden ready. I always forget how much work tilling is. That machine is out of control and will drag you with it! I am so blessed to have a husband that will do the work and not complain too much, even though I know it is a hard job. The garden was full of weeds and grass, and even after tilling, there is much to clean up before I can plant. My goal is to get it all done his week- before June 1st. Last year I made the mistake of planting too late for most things, and I did not get a good return.

Meanwhile in my flower garden, I have been preparing my raised beds for planting, but the chickens think I have been preparing them for dust bathing. Every time I look out the kitchen window or walk outside, I see chickens frolicking and rolling around in my beds. If I come up close they look at me like I am a peeping tom- they prefer to bathe without an audience. It is so funny to me how the hens will roll around and kick dirt in every direction, while the rooster (Big Chuck Jr) will stand guard. Chickens are really quite entertaining to watch!

It is amazing how fast the grass grows here- already the grass is several inches high out in the pasture. We staked the horses out there to start working it down, and they were thrilled. The goats will eat grass now too- but unfortunately, they never eat where you want them to. They are too busy sneaking into the garage, the barn or the chicken yard for an easy meal. It is too much work to graze on grass in the yard. Weird animals. Today Gracie ate my new rose bush and then tried to act innocent...

We noticed yesterday that Muggles has been gone for a couple days- I am so sad, I am hoping he is off pursuing a female at one of the neighboring farms and that he will be back eventually... but the track record out here isn't very good for that. Usually when we notice a missing cat, we never see them again. We have lost every cat eventually- which is sad, because you get attached to some of them. I know that is how farm life is, but it is still hard to get used to.

I have been bird watching a lot lately. I hung some feeders outside our living room window, and every time I see a new species I get excited and try to identify it. This week there has been a hummingbird feasting from the flowering tree (not sure the name of the tree- anyone know??) outside the window and I have tried over and over to get a picture of it. The dang little thing is SO fast and it is almost impossible to capture a pic. Finally yesterday I got one and I was thrilled and did a happy dance (much to my families amusement)

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

 Baltimore Orioles


I have been baking a lot of bread lately- I found some recipes on Pinterest that I have tried and here is one I make pretty regularly now: Grandma's Country White Bread. The recipe is easy and quick and makes 2 huge loaves! My family loves it! In an attempt to make it a little bit healthier, I use 1/2 all purpose flour and 1/2 whole wheat. It isn't as sinfully delicious as using all white flour, but it is still REALLY, REALLY good! I rub butter all over the top while it is still hot from the oven and then we eat it warm, slathered with real butter. It is soooooo good! I also love it toasted with butter and honey for breakfast. YUM! Baking bread makes me feel pretty domestic. I make it from scratch from start to finish and I knead the dough myself- this is not something I grew up doing in the city!! ;-) Farm life is so much fun!

I think I mentioned before that the chickens stopped laying eggs for the winter? Well now they are laying like crazy and we currently have over 14 dozen in our fridge! Yikes!!! Anyone want some eggs? We will be eating eggs for breakfast and dinner a lot this week!


rootsong said...

That's too bad about Muggles. We've had 2 cats disappear since moving out here, too. You got some great shots of birds! I love how close and clear they are.

Do your goats have a lot of bushes and such to browse, or do they mainly graze grass? We're interesting in trying goats but we have nothing but grass land, really. There are some thistles and weeds here and there, but mostly just grass. I wonder if goats would hate it.

Zoa Barker said...

Ha! Goats will eat ANYTHING!!! it is so true- they eat grass, weeds, bushes, thistles... you name it- they will eat it. It is hard to let them roam free though, because they will eat everything you don't want them to eat also! We are constantly finding damage around the farm from our curious goats. I do love them though- they remind me of dogs, they follow us around and love attention. They even try and come inside and "yell" at us when don't let them follow us in ;-)

As for the birds- I place feeders right outside my living room window so that I can keep a close watch on them- it is like watching the nature channel!