Friday, January 30, 2015

April can't come fast enough!!! Game of Thrones Season 5

Staying busy in beautiful weather!

We've been outside much of the last few beautiful days working on the chicken house and in the garden.  John's finished the chicken "play yard" and I've been working on painting again.  Almost finished -- I ran out of stain again with only about 2 foot of the back wall to do (drat!!), so I started on the white trim.  I'll take a photo when I'm all done, but it looks like we're going to have a few cold/wet days coming, so it may have to wait a bit.
 The gate to the chicken play yard
The chicken from mom's apartment found a home at the entry to the play yard

Meanwhile, over in the greenhouse, the tomatillo plants are up.  I'm going to have to thin these out and re-pot soon. I hate thinning out plants, but I know it has to be done, we can only eat so many tomatillo.
Tomatillo, Green Husk
 Most of the tomato plants have their second, and in some places third set of leaves, so I started potting to bigger pots.  These have been buried up to their leaves to encourage more roots.  I've moved 6 of the 8 varieties that I started.
 I also started repotting some of the cabbages so they don't get to leggy.  These are the Dutch Flat cabbage.
We pulled out the old incubator that we bought many, many years ago, in order to try our hand with a few of the chicken eggs.  My mom always told me that the eggs that are "rounder" are usually hen eggs, and the eggs that are "longer/pointy" are roosters, so we're gonna test that old wives tale.  We're going to set 14 "rounder" eggs and see what we get.  The two white chickens that we believe are Easter Eggers, lay the most beautiful rosy colored eggs, so I'm making sure there are a few of those in this batch.  We'll see how we do -- I'm starting them on Sunday, Feb. 1st.  I hope the old incubator still works.

I found this little puff just sitting in the chicken play yard yesterday when I went out to let the girls out to play.  Some kind of animal was in there during the night -- John thinks it probably is rabbit or squirrel, but of course my mind went immediately to other predators.  Thankfully the flock is locked up nice and tight at night.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Tiny Plants!

The tomatoes and some of the cole plants have started to grow! I'll be adding more in the next few weeks.
and some cabbages!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Engagement Photo

Adrienne and Marcos shared their official engagement photo with me this past weekend!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Painting project started...finally!

Behold, I finally started painting the chicken house today while John started running the chicken wire on the extended run for them.  It was so pretty today, it was great to be outside!
 Trust me, its all going to be gorgeous when it's done! Ha!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Out in the garden....

I harvested the last of the mini Pak Choi yesterday -- I had envisioned these as a "cut and come again" crop in the greenhouse, but they really aren't suited for that, so sadly this is the last of them.   I'm planning on braising these this week with some balsamic dressing -- so delicious!
We're also loving the Swiss Chard, dwarf kale, and the delicate corn salad -- I'm using all of these in salads.  These plants are all still growing and going in the greenhouse.
Today I started the tomato seeds out in the greenhouse.  During the past cold days, I spent some time making "seed mats" with the various types of tomato seeds that I'm trying this year.  I'm not sure if this will work, but it seemed to make sense to me - the cheap napkins will hold the seeds in place when I'm watering them and will add another layer of moisture. I hope I didn't make a mistake, but time will tell.

This year I'm trying: 1)Beefsteak, 2)Snow White, 3)Sleeping Lady, 4)Cherokee Purple, 5)Great White, 6)Juanne Flammee, 7) Red Star, and 8)Cherry Mix (this is a packet that's two years old, with various colors of cherry tomatoes, so not sure what will come up.)
 I filled the pots up about 1/2 way, then put each little mat down, and covered them with more soil.

John helped me set up the new grow light above the table, and I got a seed mat heater for under them, so I don't know what else I can do to baby these along! Time will tell.

This past week he also pruned the peach and the plum trees.  We're looking forward to lots of fruit this year, and he wants to add a couple more peach trees.  We really loved that Rio Grande Peach, so we'll look for those.
 Methley plum
Rio Grande Peach
And the blackberry plants are continuing to spread.  Hope to actually see some berries on them this year!
This week I'm also planning to start the tomatillo seeds...I can't wait for spring!!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

RIP Red Man

Photo from 2009
Our big orange cat, Red Man, died tonight.  He's not been well the whole day, and this evening we couldn't rouse him.  John went out to check on him at about 9 pm and he'd passed away.  I'm very sad, since he's our oldest animal, he's been part of our family for so many years. I swear I really think he's must be over 20 years old, and he's been an outside cat all that time.

Most of his life he's lived out in the barn or in John's shed out on the cliff.  He's always preferred to be on his own.  This past couple of years he moved up to the porch, and putting up with the other animals.

We will miss him terribly, the place won't be the same without him.

Grow Light and the beginning of the garden this year....

I have my grow light!! It came in yesterday and John put it up in the greenhouse today for me.  Now I can start some of the tomato seeds I have been collecting.  So excited!
 4 foot long with 4 grow light tubes
I repotted some artichoke plants today, I ordered the plants on Amazon.  They seem to be doing great and look pretty healthy -- these are Green Globe artichokes. 

 I transplanted what I thought was two tomato volunteers that I found in a couple of my greenhouse plants, but they turned out to be Litchi Tomatoes, not sure if you can see those big spikes on these leaves? It's hard for me to get a good picture of them...I'll have to dig out my macro lens and try again.
It looks like a jungle in the greenhouse right now!

He's putting in another fence....

I think John's addicted to fencing....I came home this week from a quick trip to town to find John adding another run to the chicken house!  He's incorporating another area in front of the original fence so that the chickens will have the shade from the big oak tree.
 I really need to take some time to paint that chicken house.

A pneumatic fence driver...pretty cool!