Sunday, April 22, 2007

happy birthday parsnip!

parsnip is officially a yearling. she is about 11 hands now and donkeys grow until age 4 or 5 so there is hope she will get a bit taller. she will definitely get stockier--she still looks very much like a baby. that is a fur belly she has, not a hay belly.

fox and i teamed up and sheared pattur this weekend. you can see what he looked like before here. i think his adult wool is going to be a bit darker than his lamb wool was. (i'm very excited to see what color his and freyja's lamb will be!)

i'm slightly getting the hang of shearing, but not quite. at least this time i got the fleece off almost in one piece. shearing is certainly an art and i hope to master it at some point in life. for now, i will just keep practicing.

freyja's udder has become quite noticeable so i am hoping for a lamb this week. from the date i last saw them breeding, i calculated her due date to be the last week of april. she seems to be right on schedule! the passed couple of days her belly has just exploded and she sort of has a wide stance. i wonder if she knows what is pending--i always wonder that about animals.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

making room for the orchard--part two

today we used our burn permit for the first time. we had two huge piles of dead vine/brush type stuff and there was no chance of it going into the chipper shredder so burning was our best bet. i'm not an advocate of burning stuff just to get rid of it but since we will be planting 25 trees in return for clearing the brush, i think the carbon will balance itself out. this photo was taken from the same exact spot as this before shot.

here are some other veiws of our newly cleared land:

the goats and donkeys have been loving the land clearing because they get all the pine we cut down.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

the easter tree

the easter bunny left booty for all in our egg basket this morning. even sissy the cat got a little mouse. funny how when there are no human children around, pets make excellent substitutes. especially around the holidays.

this is my poor attempt at an easter tree. when i was little, easter was a big deal for my polish catholic grandparents. my grandmother and i used to make pretty elaborate decorations for the easter tree. we would carefully crack all of the breakfast eggs for weeks ahead of time and save the halves. these we would dye and then put the cutest little feathery chicks in. i wonder where my grandmother got those, they had real feathery stuff all over them. the easter tree was usually a big, blooming forsythia branch. so, here is my version: a pussy willow tree decorated with blown out turkey eggs.

also, my seed order came! i will start some things indoors this week and begin direct sowing others in a couple more weeks. we are still in the 20s at night. april is always a deceiving month and you have to resist the urge to plant. i NEVER put plants out in the garden before mid-may. the tomato seedlings will spend a lot of time in the coldframe before i trust may enough to put them out.

Monday, April 02, 2007

more garden space

last year, i was really impressed that we even got a garden in. this year, we are already expanding by adding a few more plots.

there are two spots adjacent to the big garden that i want to cultivate--one for a pumpkin and squash patch and one for strawberries and raspberries.

sunday, instead of another day helping fox with the orchard clearing, i got to work on garden bed number one. it is a nice plot between the big garden and the turkey run (which is getting moved elsewhere this spring.)

the rocks that make the border to the left all came out of the big garden. so i continued the stone border trend as i pulled them out of the ground. there is no shortage of rocks here and although they make sinking post holes impossible (think one hole per 4 hours of work) they are handy for borders, fire pits, and grave sites. which brings me to my next point.

lady rose and my donkey gina were inseparable. they even shared a stall.

the young pear tree at the top of the new bed marks the grave of my old mare, Lady Rose. i had Rose since i was a little kid and i had her put down last april--a few weeks shy of her 35th birthday. she had been falling/lying down and then would not be able to get up without assistance. finally, the day came when i was not able to get her up and neither could the vet and i put together. so, we put her down right where she lay and my neighbors brought their backhoe around and buried her. i planted the pear tree for her because she was very fond of pears. she preferred them to apples. it is never easy to put such a large animal 'to sleep', but honestly she went so quietly and quickly. it makes me happy to know she had a good life and that i was able to care for her throughout her old age. and now she is part of the farm for good!