Monday, March 20, 2017

Happy Spring!

 Dear Friends,

Spring is in the air! The hens are laying again, proving how interesting they can be. The hen in the top photo is Madeleine, who refuses to lay her egg in a nest box, but instead comes around to the front door, waiting until we notice. Evangeline usually finds her and sticks her in a small cardboard box with a gold ball in it, on top of the kitchen table. Madeleine happily sits there for up to two hours, until her egg is laid, and then she lets us know that she wants back out. Like I said, INTERESTING!

We've been enjoying the wild greens in the yard, along with goodies from the grocery store. This salad has dandelion, wild carrot, and speedwell greens, in addition to arugula and lettuce. Nothing brings a feeling of energy into the body like lots of fresh greens. They have a vitality to them, like nothing else, and are the perfect antidote to winter's heavy meals and lack of fresh air.

We've been studying birds lately, and thought it would be fun to have everyone make a different type of bird's nest in the backyard, to gain sympathy for how difficult it must be. It was quite an experiment, and everyone had a lot of fun.

Here we see the beginnings of the nest of a kiwi bird~

The completed nest.

~A robin's nest will be made on this platform,

The completed robin's nest.

And here a pair of eagles decided to use the picnic table as an eyrie.

This spring certainly has had its ups and downs as far as the temperature goes! It reminds us of this old Disney cartoon (from back when Disney was clean family enertainment)~



Saturday, March 11, 2017

I Wander'd Lonely As a Cloud

"I wandered lonely as a cloud
   That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
   A host, of golden daffodils;"

Okay, so it's not quite a host, but our little daffodil patch has begun blooming, bringing a little sunshine to our hearts!

The crocuses are also making a show, although you about have to get down on your hands and knees to see them. :)

The lone trillium (the chickens killed its friends) is about to bloom as well, which means that morel mushrooms will be popping up in the woods.

Ground ivy is blooming, and its flowers have a sweet, dainty fragrance,

And the primrose on the dining table has inspired a beautiful nature journal entry by an older daughter~

It is snowing right now in our neck of the woods, and we are praying that the cold weather will spare our flowers, peas, and greens coming up in the garden!



Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A Backyard Homestead Project

Dear Friends,

We decided to grow some plant starts to sell later this spring, for a little extra spending cash. There was only one problem: Where to keep the seedlings? Someplace where chickens and squirrels wouldn't be able to get in and ruin everything?

Our answer came when we remembered the chicken coop stand that was started two years ago and never finished. We put a couple pieces of plywood on top for a floor, then attached pvc pipes from a failed cold frame project to the stand, et voila! a mini-hoop house!

We started our seeds by placing them in wet paper towels in zip-top bags on a plate over the crockpot, which was filled with water and left on low. Within one day the basil and zinnia seeds sprouted, so we had to rush out and get some potting soil and containers for them. Thankfully, Costco has large plastic cups that were easy to drill holes into and are the size of regular starter plant pots at the nurseries, as well as organic potting soil in large bags.

Here's where we put the sprouted seeds, while waiting for the hoop house to be built (we had to get creative and find the highest, safest place!)~

Once the hoop house had its plastic covering in place, we put the seedlings out for their first day. It's going to be cold for the next few days, so they'll have to be inside, but the weather forecast calls for temperatures in the 60s and 70s after that, so back outside they'll go!

Frankie said he wanted to sleep in it tonight, but the thunder storm we had in the evening changed his mind!

p.s. Big red plastic cups also make good towers!