Saturday, September 22, 2012

Tough Summer

Seal in the kitty basket

Indy in the greenhouse
Lenny trying to mess with Sebastian.

I didn't realize how long it had been since I posted until I actually went to the blog to enter this post. Yikes it has been months!

News-wise it was a rough summer. I lost two of my kittens from last September and my Indy cat was a victim of a hit-and-run driver. Losing Seal and Lenny was hard but losing Indy was especially difficult. She was the one who would sit on my lap and begin nursing on my clothes. I wouldn't be paying her any attention and when I would get up from the chair I would have a large soggy spot on my clothes. She was my shadow. (sigh)

The super early spring/summer we experienced messed up my garden plans, as it did most gardeners. Such a crazy season. I learned quite a bit about using my greenhouse. This was first season using one and there is a learning curve. Working full-time makes it hard to keep the temperature regulated. When I work 12-8 it's not too big a deal to check the thermometer and make adjustments. The days I work 8:30-5:00 are a little more tricky. I must come home on my lunch hour to unzip the mesh covered windows, doors and if it is really warm roll up the sides.

My peach tree had an abundance of fruit but I was only able to enjoy one peach (which was fabulous) because someone waited until the peaches were dead ripe then stole every last one of them. Angela and I had planned to make a small batch of peach jam to give as Christmas presents. The loss made me mad then made me sad.

The little fig trees have held their own. They are still pretty small but considering the weather I felt just staying a live was quite a coup for such small starts.

My grape vines and blueberry bushes didn't make it.

I visited Leahy's Greenhouse, a local greenhouse, a few weeks ago to buy a new rhubarb plant. After thinking about it I went back the next day to buy a second rhubarb and three blueberry bushes. The following day I added  2 red current bushes to the mix. Daddy was already planning to pick up my mess of plants. Then I called Mom and told her the number of plants had increased I asked her to let Daddy know the number of plants he was hauling. I didn't want him to be surprised. lol

We were finally able to attend Market today. Between a show, sickness and chances of rain Angela and I had missed the last four Saturdays. I sold a hat, a scarf I had just finished weaving in the ends and one skein of yarn. I have another scarf on the hook and need to dye some more yarn. The skein I sold was dyed using Osage Orange shavings. It made a neat mix of dark and light tones.

My sisters and grandniece and I are having a girls nite at Angela's house this evening. Homemade pizzas, ooey gooey butter cake, a. new Barbie movie for Jaidyn and a little crafting for the sisters ... should be a fun evening. [smile]

Sunday, June 17, 2012

It's Still a Kit

Unfinished Kromski Prelude Spinning Wheel

My new wheel is still in kit form. All the parts, except the wheel itself, have two coats of Golden Pecan stain. One more coat the I'll apply a coat of clear satin finish to finish it off. Then comes the fun part of "some assembly required". =) There are films available on the Kromski website and the Hoovers are only a phone call away so I'm not too worried about putting it together. Now we need a nice Polish name for the new girl on the block ... any thoughts??

Happy Father's Day!!

The photo is an older one of my Daddy in his workshop (and not the best shot in the world). I have no clue to what project he is working on that day. It could have been for Mom, or one of his girls, or one of his sisters, or maybe even a paying job.

My sisters and I are blessed to have parents who love and support us. Even we do something they might consider a harebrained idea ... can you say raise chickens in town??

Love you Daddy!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

So Excited!

I've ordered a new Spinning Wheel.

For portability, and my budget, I chose The Prelude from Kromski . Mine is the unfinished model so I will be staining and sealing it myself. I like that it has a built-in Lazy Kate and pretty wood turnings. Because it has the look of an antique wheel it can be used by re-enactors too.

Trying to stay as local as possible I decided to buy my Prelude from Rooster's Run Farm. David and Pam Hoover from Salem, Indiana are my closest Kromski dealers. Besides selling Kromski products the Hoovers also raise and sell Shetland and Finn Sheep plus Angora goats. They attend many of the fiber events in Indiana and sometimes local Farmers Markets too.

Next Wednesday is the pickup date. I'll have the whole day to get it stained and ready to go. 
I. Just. Can't. Wait.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Our First Market of 2012

Trying on a new hat!

Jack Brock's wooden bowls.
A few of the Market Jammers.

Although it was warm and muggy we had a great first Saturday at the Market. We reconnected with some folks we hadn't seen since this past fall and met new folks which is always great. Angela made some $$ which is excellent! Our life is a fund raiser. lol

Having a three day weekend means I should be able to put the sealer on the outside of the new hen house and stain the floor too. Next will be getting the doors made, the window in place and extending the fence. Daddy is in hay-mode right now so I may have to wait a bit longer before the girls can move into their new home. Making hay while the sun shines isn't a cliche but a truism if you are a farmer!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Lettuce Lenny

So I've been wondering why the lettuce starts haven't been growing very well. Today I had a clue. I saw Lenny, my ginger kitten, sitting in the open cold frame. He moved off the lettuce when he saw me coming and was looking very innocent when I took his picture. His new favorite thing is to crouch out of sight, then jump out and scare the girls. He practically rubs his paws with glee when they squawk. He knows to be particularly careful around Anise, the little black hen, but he isn't quite so cautious with the others. He's never offered to hurt any of the chickens but does love to see them jump!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Thinking About Next Spring

I've been thinking about adding 8 or 10 turkeys to the farm next Spring. 

Considering either Beltsville Small Whites (photo to the left) or Midget Whites (photo to the right). Both are on the American Livestock Breed Conservancy list. Having a few birds for my family's table and a few to sell wouldn't take up much available space. I'm still mulling it over and figuring out the logistics. If I use some type of temporary fencing and housing a pen could be set up then removed when not needed any more. 

One of my co-workers has already told me she wants to buy a bird for her family's Thanksgiving. She had a dreadful time trying to find a fresh bird last year and finally had to settle for a frozen one.

A market friend uses a USDA approved slaughter house so I'll be asking Tye for more information on it. I'm thinking about having three turkeys to sell, three turkeys for family then whatever is left to be ground up in one pound packages. Maybe saving the drumsticks and offering them for sell.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Henhouse Update

 The Girls and I got our window box! For now it is only tacked on because it must be primed and painted but I think it definitely adds a "cute" factor to the building. The actual window will be added after it is also primed and painted. Barring rain I should be able to stain the floor tomorrow.

The bucket in the doorway holds Raspberry bushes waiting to be planted. For reasons unknown the Blueberry bushes are not doing very well. They will be removed from their raised bed and potted to give them a second chance to make something of themselves. They have a month to improve or they are history!

A frost hit the Grapes. One of them is coming back quickly but the other one not so much. I'm biding my time deciding their future.

Figs are doing well and the Peach tree has several lil peaches.

With the exception of the Blueberries and the one Grape vine I'm pleased with all last year's new additions.

New seedling are still popping up in the greenhouse. I'm truly loving this bit of plastic over metal tubing. Every day brings something new when I go into it's warm, humid interior. Several seedlings have their first true leaves and are ready to be transplanted into individual pots. I'm recycling yogurt cups and water bottles with the tops cut off for most of the seedlings.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Making a Lil Progress

A not so great picture of the new hen house. Only being able to work one or two days a week is making it take quite a while to finish. 

I may be adding a few more girls to the flock when the hen house is finished. One of my customers has offered me Blue Orpingtons pullets. I think they are gorgeous!

Better get a wiggle on. I need to eat a quick supper before going back to work.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Hard Working Man

Our Daddy will be 78 on September 16th and is one of the most hardworking individuals I know. He's a dab hand at most anything he turns his hand to and is willing to try building most anything we can come up with ... if we give him a drawing to go by.

My sisters and I are blessed to have a Daddy who helps us when ever he can and as much as he is able.I thank him every time he leaves my farm for his help.

P. S.
It was raining this morning so I was unable to get updated photos of the work on the new hen house. My nephew-in-law Ivan will be putting the roof on it soon. Daddy and I have the siding on and one window cut out. Next we will be making a screen door and exterior door. We are using hardware cloth instead of screening for the windows and screen door for strength and durability.

The weather forecast is bad for the Plains states today and tomorrow. We, the Midwest, are suppose to get it early next week. So batten down the hatches and stay safe where ever you live!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

New Coop Progress

The new chicken coop is coming right along. It is seven and a half feet wide by six feet deep and eight feet tall. We are going to put a half loft it to store my straw bales.

Most of the rafters have been built and, weather permitting, will go in place on Saturday.

Love my Daddy!!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Good News & Bad News

Good News :
I now know how to send photos from my phone to my email. My co-worker Nina taught me how ... a trick she learned from her teenage granddaughter. =)

Bad news :
The first photo I send is of my car after a lady hit me Thursday evening on my way home from work. No one was injured but my poor little car. If I hadn't been paying attention to the traffic it would of been much worse. She would have T-boned me and I most likely would have been injured.

More Good News :
The plants I added near the end of last Summer are putting out leaves! I was concerned about the Grapes and Figs but they are coming right along. The Blackberry bushes kept their leaves all Winter and I was pretty confident they would be fine. Now if the Blueberry bushes perk up my investment of last Summer will be well worth the money spent.

My lil greenhouse-a-box is now set up and waiting for me to start my seeds. Daddy helped me put the cover on it yesterday. That cover requires two people when one of the people involved is "vertically challenged" at five foot and one inch. lol

Daddy and I have the new coop framed up and part of the rafters built. Can't wait to get it finished and move the girls into their new digs. Although it is only 6' x 7.5' x 8', after spending nights in the little Chicken n' Hutch for two years, the new coop will be so much more spacious . With it being eight foot tall we are adding a half loft so I can store straw. This will be sooo much better than keeping the straw on my backporch. The feed barrel will also be going into the coop getting one more thing off the porch. Yay!

Better get a wiggle on there are seeds awaiting me!

Happy Spring!!
~ Penny ~

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Summer Time Dreaming

Living Jewel

Hard Times

Horrific storms and tornadoes hit counties just south of us yesterday. Lives were lost and there is much property damage. Lives are changed forever. Praying for all concerned.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A Good Day and a Chicken Roundup

February 2nd was Mom's 74th birthday and Daddy's followup appt. for another procedure. We received the great news that Daddy is still cancer free. Big PTL!

Angela and I took the folks to The Olive Garden for a celebratory late lunch. Most of us enjoyed our meal but Olive Garden is not Daddy's favorite ... as he let us know. {smile}

When I arrived home the sun was shining and it was relatively warm for a early February day. It was such a pretty afternoon I decided to set my self up with a chair, soda and my knitting while the hens free ranged in the barnyard (also know as my backyard). The girls love eating grass and scratching around the edges of the compost pile.

The Little Black Hen, no name as yet, is a cat chaser. Mostly she has it in for Indy. If she spots poor Indy first she gives her the stink-eye then takes out after her, head down, wings spread, and get the cat her aim. Indy is beginning to be a lil paranoid about TLBH. Always looking over her should to keep tabs on her nemesis. Lennie and Seal, the kittens from this fall, aren't fools they stay under the porch out TLBH's way.

Frack would graze for a while then come over to me to visit a bit. She is very social and liked to keep track of my knitting and nibble on the ends of my wooden needles. She is a sweetheart!

Everything was fine for about a hour then the girls began drifting into the neighbor's lawn. Not a good idea. The wind had also picked up causing it to be colder so it was time for the girls to go home to their run. Frack was easily scooped up, placed under my arm and placed in the run. Frick .. no problem. Rosemary is such a good girl. Just tuck her under my arm and pop her into the run. Then I picked up Tansy. Oh.My.Goodness. She squawked and carried on as though she had never seen me before in her life. Screamed like a big ol' girl. Napoleon comes racing over and began trying to spur me to rescue Tansy. So I'm trying to hold on to Tansy, who is easily ten pounds and not cooperating and push back Napoleon with my foot. He ended getting popped in the chest with my size nines six or eight times before I was able to dump Miss Tansy into the run. Napoleon has all the instincts of a good rooster. He was doing his best to protect the girls but I am so over him. He has to get a new home asap. I'm just not coordinated enough to do that routine on a regular basis. If I fall it will be ugly!

Library is ready to close so I had better stop for today.
Have a blessed week! Penny

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Catching Up and Moving Along

Apologies all around. I haven't gone this long with out posting for ages.

Christmas was a blessing. Most of our family was able to be together to celebrate and open gifts on Christmas Eve. Miss Jaidyn was a hoot. Being a four year old is a pretty wondrous thing at Christmas time. A sinus infection took me down on Christmas Day so I spent it in bed with fluids, throat drops and tissues ... not much fun. After a few weeks of yuck I'm much better.

I have a Kindle Touch and am using the Amazon gift cards I have acquired through Swag Bucks to build my library. If you haven't tried Swag Bucks I highly recommend them. It takes 450 points to purchase a $5.00 Amazon card. If you do any searching at all those points will build up quickly. I have a link on the left side bar if you would like to investigate SB. The first title I purchased was "Barnheart" by Jenna Woginrich. While I am really liking the Kindle it is doubtful it will ever beat holding a book in my hand.

January held two birthdays for my family. My niece Hillary turned 25 on the fourth and Angela gained another year on the thirteenth. Yep her birthday was once more on Friday the Thirteenth. We call it her lucky day. =)

Seeds will be started for tomatoes and peppers in two more weeks. I purchased a second greenhouse shelving unit at the Tractor Supply a few weeks ago. It will go inside my "greenhouse-in-a-box" for extra protection when I plant some cold hardy seeds for plants such as lettuces and other greens. I think the double covers will help hold in heat to give a little added protection for germinating seeds and developing plants.

Tomorrow I will sit down with paper, pencil and calendar to plan the rest of the planting schedule. Angela and I want to do some canning this summer so I want to have a plan for succession planting to keep us in produce, plus have some to sell. The plan will also tell me how many more raised beds I need to add. I found some end of the season deals on large flower pots last fall and will use them and a couple of flower boxes in addition to the beds. The pots and boxes can be tucked in here and there to add more growing space. Vertical growing is also something I want to add this year. Homesteading on a small city lot requires you to be creative.

Our temperatures in south central Indiana have fluctuated so much I am concerned about my Peach and Fig trees breaking bud. It has been nothing to have 30 degree changes from day to day. Crazy! I need to research dormant oil sprays for the Peach tree and see if they do anything for the Figs too.

Chick Update:
Tansy ended up raising three pullets and one rooster. They are now four months old and it is past time for the rooster to go! I call him Napoleon. If he was able tuck a wing into his waistcoat while puffing out his chest he would. My co-worker Roni is suppose to take him and I hope it is tomorrow. My lil town has a no roosters allowed ordinance and I'm afraid all the crazy crowing, beginning at 3:30 in the a.m., is going to get us in big trouble. He is a pretty thing but ... I. Am. Over. Him.

Next month Angela and I are vending at a two day show in Kokomo, Indiana. It is the Winter Woolin Workshop. This is a first time show for us so please wish us well and pray for traveling mercies as it is a bit of a drive.

Better get a wiggle on as there are farm chores that need tending to. Have a Blessed Week!

P.S. Napoleon still needs a good home. Roni decided against taking him as she hopes to be moving in the near future.