Sunday, April 28, 2013

Tomatoes hardening off...  I think we have 13 flats.

I love the sight of redbuds blooming in the spring.  I didn't know, given my ignorance of trees and the drought last summer, if I was lucky enough to have any redbuds. We have two!

While working outside today, I remembered my hat in an effort to avoid the nearly-obligatory first ferocious sunburn of the summer.  (No, it's not summer weather, but it's always the first sunburn!)

Rhubarb is thriving!

Strawberry bed

I don't see any major gaps in the strawberries, so I think we planted well.  The rain has definitely aided in helping plants establish themselves.

Peas, lettuce, spinach, and onions are planted.  Who left the shed door open?  I think one of my little helpers have come by...

Despite the thriving weeds and lilies around them, threatening to choke them out, the garlic is doing well.

ASPARAGUS!  I am so relieved to discover five plants survived the searing heat last summer.  Q added his finger to the picture.  I'm looking forward to the first harvest of the spring!

The Assistant and Q added their thumbs to this onion picture.  The onion have lovely new growth, and I hope they enjoyed the cold weather we had recently.  It should aid in bulb size.

Peach tree, post-multiple frosts.  I'm still not sure what will come of it.
Until next time, remember, this is not paradise.  It's Purgatory Ranch.

Friday, April 19, 2013

In Case You Thought I Was Bored...

15 Turkens, aka Naked Neck Chickens

kinda ugly babies
Hopefully, more of these survive than the guineas (5 of 9 survive).  On that note, the guineas now knock over their feed every chance they get.  It's time for a hanging feeder!

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

Grateful for the Rain

I am always nervous until the first potato sprouts appear.  What if I killed the potatoes?  What if I didn't plant them right?  (As if there was a way to plant a potato wrong... Okay, there is, but really?)

So I have anxiously examining the potato patch for sprouts.  Thursday, finally, in the mud, I found some!  There are plenty more still to sprout, and the grass is kicking tail, but I don't weed until enough sprouts are up that I know I won't hack any.
Tree Onions


Tree clearing progress

Sunday, April 14, 2013

All in a Saturday's Work

First, James spend the morning helping a friend clear all the trees (particularly red cedars) from around Six Penny Pond, as well as cleaning out the garbage remaining from a torched single-wide a previous owner decided should be burned.  In the pond.  Yuck.

And that, my friends, was all before lunch.

After lunch, James began assembly of a shed for the kids' bikes, toys, etc.

I planted three Heritage raspberries; emptied the barn of garden tools, which were deposited in the newly-constructed, used shed next to the garden; fed and water the guineas; cleaned their previous home; and supervised the kids, including JoJo, who was particularly crabby.

Then, James and I selected planting sites for four rhubarb crowns.  Exciting stuff around here!

After dinner, as the crowning event of our insanity, we planted 200+ strawberry plants, half Earliglow and half Honeoye.  I stretched our remaining drip hoses and discovered I need, oh, maybe six more!

On the to do list to address the watering needs of the strawberries is also to discover whether or not the outside faucets to our house run through the water softener.  If yes, we have a watering problem.

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

Friday, April 12, 2013

I might have gone a little overboard when I found a better-to-me price on canning jars.

Then again, I have four kids and lots of extended family members.  Maybe I should go back for more.

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

After the Storm (Thursday)

The trees sparkles this morning as the sun rose, and melting ice and shattered blooms tinkled as they dropped like hail.  Although the ice will have brought the Bradford pear bloom season to an abrupt end, I don't mind if it means the pollen is cut short too!


In rolls the ice...

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Many Hands...

Today was a full day.  We kicked it off with cake for breakfast to celebrate Q's third birthday.

James and Dan coordinated three dump truck loads of compost between Secondhand Ranch and YJ Acres.

Some guineas and chicks were purchased.

360-odd tomato plants were moved to pots from the seedling trays.  Myle and I worked longest, but most of the kids helped at some point.

All animals were appropriately fed, watered, and exercised.

One of our sheds was mostly assembled with the help of the previous owner.

Sticks were piled up for use as kindling, and leaves swept up from our lower deck.

Laundry is sloshing (a daily occurrence), the dishwasher is running (a rare occurrence), and the children are all asleep (whew!).  I'm going to bed.

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

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Nap Time's Labors

Today, our mail lady dropped a "Johnny's" box on my door step.  "What was inside?  Surely not the sweet potatoes," I argued with myself.  "It's too early!"

Nope.  No sweet potatoes.  Purple asparagus.

Myself, I'm just okay about asparagus.  However, I love eating from the garden, and I have a mom who will eat all the asparagus I can grow, so I ordered asparagus crowns.  And here they were, in all their sandy, damp glory, just waiting to be planted.

Ah, tis the rub.

I am notorious for not planting starts, crowns, etc., in a timely fashion.  Once, an entire box of strawberry plants went MOLDY because I didn't plant them.

But not today.

Today, the baby was sleeping by himself in the swing.  (This kid puts himself to sleep while laying down, which no other of my children have ever done.  Who knew how un-needed it would make me feel?  But anyway, back to business!)

Planting.  Here.  Now.  In the sun and the breeze.  The day the box arrived.

So I found my rain boots (remember yesterday?), gloves, a shovel, and the box.  Soon I added a rake, bucket, and wheelbarrow to my tool pile.  There is an existing asparagus patch (*the upper left of the photo), but the rest of the "patch" was full of lilies or irises.  I love a good iris, but there were more than enough that I could sacrifice a few for the sake of edibles.  Besides, my mom was willing to take the bulbs.  Hence, the bucket.

There was plenty of dead grass to rake aside, so the wheelbarrow was duly loaded.  I'm not particularly adept at the shovel (I'll blame it on having a baby less than three months ago), so it was slow going.  I think I reached the appropriate depth, and I'm that much farther along in cleaning out this bed.  I have a 4-gal. bucket of irises for my mom.

The garlic was unburied in my raking enthusiasm, so here it is.

And, as a crowning glory for my efforts, I discovered these beautiful blooms on the peach tree.  Now for a few glasses of water and a hungry baby.

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

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


No potatoes... plenty of snow!

Snow, very wet snow!