Thursday, March 28, 2013

stinky chicks and pinterest tricks

Anyone that's ever been on Pinterest before knows how easy it can be to get sucked into a million fucking projects without even realizing it. OOOOOooooo, I'm going to pin this and do it [insert vague timeframe here]! A benefit of being unemployed is that you actually have time to carry out some of the time-sucking-yet-must-do things you find on that wretched site.

Like organizing your vegetable garden seeds chronologically and fastening them all to ribbons on your door so that you can be reminded on a daily basis of how much work there actually is yet to do in the garden. At least it kinda doubles as door art, no?

I didn't actually see the wrap-fabric-around-coffee-cans-and-use-them-as-hanging-planters thing on pinterest. I just kinda thought it up myself. Hey, maybe I should pin it on pinterest so that others can copy my idea! There we go.

The chicks are stinking up the house, which we knew would happen but doesn't make it any less stinky. In times past, I've left them indoors for six weeks as recommended by all the chick care instructions I've ever received, but I've heard from others that they have successfully moved them outdoors much sooner than that. So I cobbled together a little outdoor brooder that will hopefully keep everyone toasty enough but also enable them to get some fresh air... and for us to air our house out.

This will hopefully be the last night that temps dip down below freezing, so I think they'll be fine outside after then until we move them permanently up to the corn crib, aka the chicken coop. (I put six chicks out there today just so they can test the waters but will bring them back inside tonight... hopefully for the last time.)

Also, Jay got me a little gift the other day. He knew I wanted to ride a bike to the post office when I work on Saturdays. He also knows how much I love having a bike bell. A bike is just not the same without a bell. Cling cling!

Friday, March 22, 2013

on potatoes and travel mugs

After that onslaught of pictures the other day, I thought I'd tone it down a little today.

Got my potatoes in from I'm supposed to let them sit in a warm-ish, medium-lighted room for up to two weeks to encourage stubby buds to form from the eyes before planting. Potatoes are extremely important to us, what with all the various forms of potatoes I like to make.

It was way to nipply out today to do any garden chores, so I busied myself finishing up this contraption that I sewed for holding travel mugs and other various plastic vessels that I dislike seeing (and just don't have room for) in my upper cabinet. Don't ask me for a pattern because I pretty much just winged it, but it's based on one of those over-the-door shoe storage thingies. Nifty, no?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

SPRING IS HERE. thank the heavens.

The broccoli is looking a bit haggard but is apparently coming back to life even though I uncovered it months ago and subjected it to sub-freezing temps without any niceties like mulch or weeding (I did finally weed it, obviously). Also, I can't believe I grew some carrots. OVER WINTER. Also, despite its poor living conditions, the garlic seems happy, and it took all my willpower to not check just one of them for what's going on down there under the surface (this is because I want as much garlic as humanly possible). Clearly, I didn't have the same patience (or desire) with the carrots (although they were quite delicious).

While Jay changed the oil in Taco, Moosie and Tally inspected the fence I recently put up to keep their little hind ends out of the garden. Clyde, the angel dog, knows to circumvent the raised beds, but two certain little hellions think it's all shits and giggles to tromp through them and eat random pieces of mushroom compost, all disgusting like. So, a fence (albeit a short one at that because they're both little dogs) was in order.

Jay couldn't quite wait until the weekend like he originally planned to do the first mow of the season. The rapidly growing grass (and weeds) was too tempting. If I haven't already mentioned it, we've never had a lawn before so all this mowing still hasn't lost its novelty on us. I love having luscious emerald green grass to walk barefoot through (which I've done already several times in the last few weeks).

So, almost all the garden beds are ready for planting according to my garden plan. We still need one more cubic yard of soil for the corn patch and potato towers. Bed 1, the middle one in the first of the above three images, is 69 feet long. I originally was planning two more of the same length right below Bed 1, but the logistics proved more difficult than I realized. I am blessed with long gams, but hopping over the bed to get to the other side ended up in smooshed soil, and I am just too lazy to walk around 69 feet. So I made some paths and am quite taken with them. A garden shouldn't be difficult, after all. (In hindsight, I might actually rearrange Bed 1 altogether next winter because it gets quite soggy on one end, but this will do for now -- I'm tired of shoveling.)

Remember how I said that I wasn't gonna get all fancy and shred leaves with the mower to make leaf mulch? Me neither. (P.S. that totally works!) (P.P.S. that pile was about three times the size before shredding.)

The chives, oregano, perennial onions, and comfrey gifted from a friend are as excited about spring as I am (the echinacea has yet to reappear).

While the weeds certainly enjoyed my winter sowing attempts, the actual flower seeds are trying their best.

I was thrilled to find some flower buds on an as yet unidentified shrub coupled with (I think) an abandoned bird nest.

The potager garden is finally filled with soil like the rest of the main garden.

Again, the main garden is finally fenced off from the mutts. This has been thrilling for me.

Clyde continues to maintain his position as Head Porch Dog.

Well, shit, that was an awful lot of pictures. Can you tell I'm excited about spring??

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

a muddy jeep

It was so gloriously nice out the other day. We took Ruby for a little spin around the property to get her acquainted with our land.

We removed the back seat so Clyde can fit but have yet to take him for a real ride. (Sorry, Ma, I'll get a picture of him in it soon!)

For the record, Ruby is super duper crazy fun.

BiL took some of the above pictures. I am particularly enamored with the one above of me and Jay.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

the first livestock has arrived

Unfortunately, not all of the chicks made it through the shipping process, which I'm not surprised but still saddened by. We ended up with six Speckled Sussex (out of ten ordered), five Black Minorca (out of five), and five Americana/Araucana (out of five) chicks. One of the Speckled Sussex chicks is supposed to be a rooster, so we're hoping that he was not one that met its demise en route. A friend got in on the order with three Red Star and three Pearl-White Leghorn chicks, all of which are happy and healthy and that we'll be swapping out with a few of said friend's homegrown chicks on Thursday.

The heartbreak of receiving DOA chicks (and a few that were clearly not going to make it and had to be euthanized) has encouraged us to explore homegrown chicks more thoroughly, but I'm still more interested in letting a mama hen be responsible for the work than incubating chicks ourselves. Euthanizing a chick is certainly no fun (not that I dealt with it -- Jay took care of what needed to be done).

In our household, everyone (meaning all the beasts) must get along, so we introduced Moose and Tally to their new chickens, and all has gone well so far. Clyde and Nekkie already have experience with chicks and know that they are not to be messed with, but even so, the chicks will be kept in a locked room for now to keep them safe.

Ali made her way back to California today, and I miss her exuberance and energy already! Here's to hoping that she and more friends will be paying a visit again in the near future.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

warm holler shootin'

Did you know that 72 degrees is perfect target shooting weather? So we decided to take advantage of that (made-up) fact today and inaugurate Ali into the world of firearms.

She (and I) fired our Winchester Model 61 .22 rifle and Colt .22 single-action only revolver.

p.s. Ali is the best stylist on the planet and finally cut the shaggy mop that's been sitting on top of my head for the past eight months (and Jay's, too, but those pictures are for another today because hooo hooo! those are FUNNY). Too bad I can't afford to fly her out from California every six months for a haircut.

[ all pictures courtesy of Ali's iPhone; hence, her email watermark ]

Then we went for a stroll around the property so Clyde could smell the recently sprouted daffodils.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

to texas and back

After an awesome visit with my folks on Sunday and Monday, Ali and I drove 1,154 miles from Port O'Connor, Texas back to Kyles Ford, Tennessee on Tuesday and Wednesday in our new friend, Ruby, the red Jeep.

We traveled through Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and finally into our home state of Tennessee. We're still totally exhausted and recovering from our adventure.

Pictures tell the story better than I do. First, my Mom's pictures:

My Dad and me at the airport in Austin.

My Ma and me.

Then we added Ali to the mix.

It's been eight months since I've seen this fine gal.

Enjoying 70 degree weather.

Delilah wanted the salt & vinegar potato chips.

Good grub at Hurricane Junction.

Bye-bye Texas!

And now mine:

Ali and Bluto, the mastiff/border collie mix.

My Pops doing what he does best: cleaning things.

Gulf coast foliage.

Port O'Connor jetty.

Bluto enjoying some freedom.

Delilah enjoying Bluto's bed.

Bloody Marys on the deck.

Ali, Ma, and me.

Checking out Mom's garden on a stroll over to the neighbor's house.

Mom and me in the neighbor's fancy home gym.