Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spring Warm Weather Chores at the House

More onions.  Lettuce, spinach, peas, turnips, fava beans.  Outside planting.

Two tons, give or take, of fresh compost.  Still-manure-smelling compost.  As in, our yard smells a bit "barnyard fresh."  Now spread across beds that await planting.

Packages from the guys in the brown.  Our UPS guy even knows our daughter's name, since she gets so many packages, but lately these have been for me.  Blueberries.  Grapes.  Yum.

Cumin, more lettuce, okra.  Inside planting.  Daily heating and lighting for tomato, pepper, broccoli and tomatillo seedlings.

Bike rides to Sonic.  To Chipotle.  To somewhere, anywhere.

Pumpkin bread made from the second to last pumpkin left from the fall.  Home-ground wheat too.

Plants moved from the basement to the outdoors, to take refuge in the garage when a freeze threatens.  Raspberry, blueberries, grape.  More yum.

Hail and rain at the end of a beautiful evening with friends.

Until next time, remember: this is not paradise.  It's Purgatory Ranch.  Although, frequently, I marvel that paradise will be so much more amazing than these snippets of our lives.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Planting Time

Dan has determined one ought to know what they are doing before riding a tractor like a bucking bull. ... but that is a story best told by the men.

Today, we planted several hundred onion plants (Vidalia, Texas Sweet, and Red Candy), 12 asparagus crowns, and 2.5 pounds of Rose Finn Apple potatoes from Seed Savers.

Hopefully, neither Dan nor I had any more contact with poison ivy, as we have not yet recovered from the last encounter. I could have skipped the sunburn too - at least I only burned where I missed the sunscreen on my upper arms.

There is the case of the missing tractor key, but a pocketknife solved the case. Our research suggests it is well-cultivated into the onion bed. Perchance it will give rise to a key tree, in which case I would never worry about James losing a key again.

The manly men hauled a trailer-bed of dry wood to the land from a neighbor for later cutting and splitting.

We are without pictures today. I said to Myle, "I should take a picture before we leave," but we were so tired by the time we were packing up, a camera was the last thing on my mind.

Until next time, remember, this is not paradise. It's Purgatory Ranch.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Homebodies - Tuesday

Separated sprouted and non-sprouted garlic bulbs remaining from 2010's harvest.
Sprouted was chopped and dried.

I've been crocheting, and guess who claimed this hat?

Grinding wheat for cinnamon rolls and bread

Until next time, remember, this is not paradise.  It's Purgatory Ranch.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

You Say Po-tay-to, I Say Po-tah-to...

We all say FUN!

The men departed first in order to rent a tiller attachment for our 13hp (and 13 wee horses at that) tractor.  Upon arrival at the rental store, James attached the tiller, lifted it up… and nearly flipped the tractor.  So they rented a tractor too… a big tractor, for us.

By the time I arrived at Purgatory Ranch, James had mastered the basics and was getting a little frisky driving the tractor.  It certainly made short work of tilling both the old bed (and doubling its size) and a new bed.  The fluffiness (I considered saying “tenderness,” but I don’t know if anyone else would say that) of the soil was amazing in comparison to last year’s unbroken hardness.

During the tractor escapades, my girls enjoyed a little time running around the borrowed trailer.

Upon completion of his work, James reloaded the tractor onto the trailer, and I fully appreciated how much larger it was than our little tractor: James’ truck almost came off the ground.

Needless to say, James and Dan “need” full-size pickups, a large tractor, and a trailer to haul it.  Myle and I say we’re too broke.

While James was returning said tractor and trailer, Dan and I began marking rows with sticks.  Myle arrived with their kids, and we broke bread together.  Yum.  

Shortly thereafter, a man arrived with nearly 4 tons of dirt that we hoped he could dump gradually across the bed.  Most of it ended up in one large pile.  (It’s Purgatory Ranch for a reason, so we all moved a little dirt.)

Around the time of the compost moving, my dad, older sister and her son, and second youngest brother arrived.  They were amazing.  I walked all the kids to Six Penny Pond, but it is still dry.  70 pounds of potatoes later (Kennebec, Blue Viking, and Yukon Gold), we are looking forward to an exciting and gigantic crop in the summer.
At the end, the men (who by now were aching and sore, no doubt) loaded their children into the wheelbarrow and gave them a run up and down the patch.  I think they were happy (the kids, I mean).
 Later, we will be planting sweet potatoes and onions in a new patch that James freshly tilled.

Until next time, remember, this is not paradise.  It's Purgatory Ranch.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Easy Time Ranch?

There is a vote in for a new name for the ranch: Easy Time Ranch.  James figures if we rename it, maybe it won't be so difficult.

Today, we drove out to the land to prepare the earth for potatoes.  As I pulled in with the van, I see the tractor and the truck, but no James.  As I park, I see James lying under the mower attachment, prying out barbed wire.  The best we can figure, the barbed wire wasn't properly attached to the fence post and whipped loose as James drove by.  No fingers or hands were lost in the process (or eyes, or other body parts).  He proceeded to accomplish his mowing task and moved on to...

Plowing.  Well, you know there's a steep learning curve for everything here at PR.  Steep.  As ladder steep as opposed to stair steep.  We had to call it quits for the night since James' trailer's brake light wires are stripped, and he bought the wrong piece to fix that.

Until next time, remember, this is not paradise.  It's, er...

It's still Purgatory Ranch.