Saturday, April 24, 2010

Tons to do in the garden

Our spring flowers are in glorious bloom. The Palouse hills are sprouting wheat. Turkey season is underway. And there are a million things to do in the garden. We are going out turkey hunting before dawn tomorrow, but we'll be back and working in the garden by noon.

I've been planting onions, more garlic, radishes, beets, lettuce, spinach, you name it. We have so much to plant, I can't possibly keep up. We are trying to use an "Earthway" seeder, but I think the results are mixed. I'll have to see when things start coming up, but it didn't seem like it seeded the radishes the way I would have liked. I guess I'll decide in a week or so when the other veggies start coming up. I will say that it certainly is faster. It may also be that the part of the garden that I am seeding was tilled early, and, therefore, the soil did not get tilled as finely as I would have liked.

The turkey hunting in the morning has been so peaceful, but I think it wears me out and spins my mood a little bit. We wake up at about 3:00 am, make a big breakfast, and drive about an hour to where we hunt. We walk into the woods in the dark, listening to the turkeys gobbling in the trees. We set up and wait for the sun to rise. We didn't see any turkeys on Friday, but we saw deer and elk. We heard plenty of turkeys though. We are hoping tomorrow morning blesses us with a bird.

Of course, the real reason I am out is to sit in the forest at dawn with Colleen and watch the world wake up. To sit silently in God's natural cathedral, and welcome a fresh, new day.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

flowers and fuzzy butts

The first fuzzy butts of the season are here! 12 Rhode Island Red chicks. They will round out our laying flock and probably begin laying by August. They are currently staying in an old coop we have on the property that we made out of an aluminum tool shed a few years ago. They have a heat lamp, but they only need it at night right now.
You know it's spring when the chicks start to arrive! We've also been planting lettuce, beets, radishes, and onions outside. Of course, there could always be a late spring hard freeze that would wipe us out. Never know.
Aren't they just darling? Below is a picture of a million daffodils in our orchard. I hope they keep blooming until the apples, pears, and crabapples bloom. Wouldn't that be a pretty sight?
It's supposed to get to almost 80 tomorrow, but then it will cool down for a hand full of days. Signing off to plant some more onions. We are blessed.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Finally, late spring weather

It was finally in the 60's and will be in the 70's by today! I needed that. The lettuce starts were wilting in the grow room, so I transplanted them outside. I've also planted radish seeds. The onions looks great. The garlic looks great although there is not as much as I would have liked.

Turkey season opens today. I'm going to act like a youngster and go hunting at dawn, eat lunch and change clothes, then go teach from 1:00 pm until 5:00. That'll be a long day for an old fart like me. I guess I'm not that old.

We've been taking Luna on 2-4 miles of walks each day lately. It is the only way to keep her from tearing the house to shreds. Good exercise for us too.

It was so good to get out in the sun and plant seedlings. I also spread manure and tore up the 2nd field some more. I'm going to rip the sod out of one more patch with the cultivator, spread manure, the rototill the whole thing. We are also going to build some goat fence this weekend.

Lots of work to do, but I've never had it so good. I am so blessed.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Pheasant hunting with Luna

Luna had a great day pheasant hunting and so did we! She is tired and sore and so are we! She was great. She totally "got" it this time. She locked onto birds, pointed, and flushed. After we shot she retrieved. The only thing that she didn't do perfectly was give us the birds. She seemed to think they were hers.

She flushed eight birds and we shot six. I winged a seventh and she had a hold of it a couple of times but wasn't able to bring it back. I hit every bird I shot at.

It was a beautiful day. Sunny and warm. Luna got so tired by the end that she was tripping over her own gangly feet. We knew there were a few more birds, but decided to call it a day. We didn't want her to overdo it. She was so excited. We had a blast.

We'll see if we can afford the time and money to go one more time this season. Turkey season starts in a week though and the gardening is continuing at breakneck speed.

All is well, in this the best of all possible worlds.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Tomato Sauce

Finally, got the last of the tomatoes out of the freezer! Cooked down about 20 pounds. Homemade tomato sauce tastes so good, compared to the store bought. At one point it seemed like 1/4th of our freezer was filled with tomatoes. Every year the tomatoes ripen late and we are ripening them on huge sheets on the grow room floor. Just about the same time, the school year starts and hunting season ramps up. No time to spend a whole day canning.

We went steelhead fishing one last time yesterday. Didn't land any fish, although I had one on. The canyon was beautiful. It was sunny and we were fishing in our t-shirts. One bit of excitement was when the old truck caught fire at the top of Shoemaker grade. It always runs a little hot, but I guess a vacuum hose must have fallen down onto the exhaust manifold on the bumpy ride. Smoke started pouring from under the dashboard and when I opened the hood there were flames. We doused them with water bottles, I think I'll get a fire extinguisher for the truck, and got everything put out. Since we were in the middle of nowhere we just cut the burnt hoses out and drove home. The truck seemed to run just fine. I suppose I should replace the hoses in case they were important.

We had 40 mile and hour winds and hail today. I guess it's too early to plant lettuce. I'm sure the onions and garlic are fine though. Well, have a wonderful day.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Using the new tiller to plant onions!

Got a new tiller at a good price! It was a life saver in tilling a section of the garden today. I finally got the garlic starts in the ground. Much longer and they would have died. The tiller is working great. Not quite as deep as we'd like to go, but the ground is pretty tough after being over-grown for so many years.
I don't know what we'd do without our little tractor. It's only a compact, but it really can do everything we need it to. A bigger tractor just wouldn't be able to maneuver in the garden area. The tiller is 4 ft wide and does a great job down 4-6 inches. We also have a cultivator to rip up the ground deeper than that. We've been running the cultivator first to break the turf and turn things over.
The garden season is here! There is so much to do. I've got tomatoes inside that need to be re-potted, lettuce that needs to go outside as soon as it stops snowing every morning, more starts to plant. Yikes!

And what blog could be complete without Luna. She brought me a small bunny that she caught all by herself while I was tinkering with the tractor. We will be taking her out for "game preserve" pheasants this Friday. I hope she does well. She is going through an adolescent phase where she just doesn't like to listen. Be well.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Palouse Falls

Went to Palouse Falls in Washington today. It was a bit of a drive and we had hoped to spend a few hours hiking. Unfortunately, it was raining, windy, sleeting, and snowing. We did hike for about 45 minutes. Luna had a good day with plenty of attention from her humans and a bunch of exercise. The falls were beautiful.

Found this ironic sign at the edge of a 500 foot cliff. I didn't really need the sign to know that I didn't want to fall off the cliff.
I'm on spring break from teaching, so that is kind of a relief. Spring is not my best time of year. As the weather bounces all over the place, I go from feeling elated to depressed. But I have plenty of fun, relaxing, hard-working, and rewarding things planned. I'm going to go on lots of hikes with Luna. I'm going to build the goat fence. I might take Luna and Colleen pheasant hunting. I'll try, weather permitting, to finally get the onion starts and sets planted. I'll even squeeze a nap or two in there.

Whether I'm feeling happy or depressed, an attitude of gratitude always goes a long way.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

barn progress

The latest progress report on the barn. The top has been closed up and the sliding door has been framed. We will be buying hardware for the door tomorrow and finishing it up on Friday. Nothing comes cheap, but it is an important step in saving the barn. The saving grace is that we can do the restoration step-by-step as finances allow. It's looking good and we are pleased.

Started working over the garden with a cultivator on the tractor. It needs it. The weeds and rogue wheat that was growing in the old garden area had really set deep roots. It really needed to be ripped up to a depth of eight or more inches. When it dries out a little I can rototill it. We have a 3 point tiller ordered for the tractor, but until it comes in we will be using our walk behind. We need to get the onions in as soon as possible.

I have spring break next week from school, so I'll have time to catch up on garden and home as well as time for hiking and maybe even one last "pay-to-play" pheasant hunt. It's been a stressful week and I am glad that today is my last day of teaching before break.

I feel so blessed.