Thursday, May 15, 2008

Around the Hobby Farm

Hm. I thought we were done for now, but yesterday, the trap was tripped. This morning, I saw another squirrel, so I've re-set the trap. I'll keep you posted, hee hee.

We've had some more cold weather, but so far, it looks like we ARE getting fruit this year. Meaning, if we don't have any more hard freezes, and if we don't get hailstorms, and if we can keep the squirrels off the property, and if we don't have a plague of grasshoppers, birds or naughty neighbors, then yes, we'll get fruit! I'll just keep my fingers crossed for the next few months - that should do it!

Asian Pear
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Reliance Peach
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Bosc Pear (hoo, doggies!)
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The early garden (anything planted before May 31 is a risk here) seems to be doing well. The peas are coming up nicely, the onions are making progress, the lettuces and spinach are at least trying. Since it's been cold at night, the wee little plants are just sitting there for the most part. I'm not sure if things we plant early really have that much of a head start...just more time to get frozen, trampled or eaten by a bird. Still, I get garden fever every year, right after Christmas, so I plant some stuff early to keep my sanity. I do limit myself to one soaker hose worth of planting, also to keep my sanity. Wait till June - then we'll be rockin' in the garden!

For now, our peas and onions:
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The rooster chicks are really growing. They're nearly as big as our bantams now, and fully feathered. They're so cute!
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Meanwhile, the two bantam roosters are getting pretty fiesty. They're starting to run at us sometimes when we're in the henhouse, so I'm not sure about putting the younger roos in with them. Truth be told, I don't need either of the bantam roosters. I got them, along with 2 hens, from a lady on freecycle. The hens are laying, and they're little and don't eat much, but the roosters are just being rowdy and eating. They may end up back on freecycle some time soon - or maybe on backyardchicken.com . They're too little to eat, though I did threaten one with that fate when he got frisky with the kidlet. She got mad at him too, and told him, "You'd be good with barbecue sauce!" That's my girl, alright, hee hee. The colorful ones are the roosters...the hens are porcelains, pretty in their own right:
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When you live out in the country, 'utilities' aren't the same as in a city or town. We have electricity (we don't live THAT far out), but instead of natural gas, we have a propane tank. Ours has a wee, tiny leak on the filler valve. We have to have that fixed before we re-fill...and to have that fixed, we have to run the tank down to zero. It's taking forever! We're finally down to six percent, but with warmer weather, we use far less - it's just for heating water and cooking. Anyway, once it's empty, we'll get that fixed an start thinking about filling the tank. Last I checked, propane was about $2.50 a gallon (OUCH!). Our tank is a 500 gallon tank (mew!). We have some propane at 'contract pricing' but it's hard to say if they'll honor the price once we get the tank fixed. They said they will, but contract price was about $1.70...so I guess we'll see.

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To help offset the price of propane, I've started 'project firewood'. Some people who heat with wood gather wood during the summer, but a lot of them don't. We don't cut trees here - the trees (even in the mountains) aren't hardwoods anyway, so we gather waste wood. Specifically, I dumpster dive our firewood. I have one special 'firewood gettin place' where I know them, they know me, and a good time is had by all. We get wood, they save on dumpster fees, and we keep that wood out of the landfill. This time of year, there is wood available any time I stop by. Come September, there are others 'collecting', and once the weather really cools off, wood is much harder to come by. So, I'm making hay while the sun shines. I've got a lot cut and stacked, and a lot to cut and stack, and I plan to go get wood at least once a month. I already have almost enough for an average winter, but I'd rather have too much, especially with the price of everything going up so much.

Rabbits are everywhere. I see several every day. They aren't shy, either, for country rabbits. Thankfully, they leave the garden alone. The only thing they ever bothered was edamame (green soybeans). They never touch our lettuces or any of the other greens. We enjoy watching them romp and play, too. I'll have to get some photos of the jack rabbits some time - they are as big as dogs! This is a 'teenage bunny', sunning in our flowerbed next to a newly planted sand cherry.

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The lilacs have burst bud, as have most of the other shrubs and plants on the property. It really is a pretty time of year. We could move from pretty to gorgeous if the weather would just co-operate! Still, each day offers its own treasures and beauty - we just have to look for them. Soon, these will be huge clusters of sweet smelling lilac blossoms! The anticipation and hope that I find in that thought make this a great day to be on a hobby farm!

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