Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Reclaiming feedlots.

Remember this?

Those were the pumpkins I picked up early in the morning after Halloween. There are a *lot* more pumpkins than you would have expected in that truck bed. Five to six pumpkins three or four mornings a week all winter long as treats for my goats my husband's marauding, thieving sheep. I threw them into the feedlot and called the animals in to eat them.

Here is the unexpected consequence of that.

Volunteer pumpkin plants popping up everywhere. For the past three years, I've been trying to introduce plants into the feedlot that made up over half of our acreage, and these volunteer pumpkin plants just grew up where I couldn't get anything else to take. Now that they're there, the other weeds around have decided it might not be such a bad place and are starting to move in. Right when we move out. But it still makes me so happy to see packed down, desolate dirt start to give way to green life.

Makes me so happy I'm just grinning when I look at that picture.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Putting one foot in front of the other.

I don't know why this blog gets so much less attention than my other blog. I have so much stuff going on that my day is overflowing, yet none of it makes it on here.

I have

-had baby goats born
-planted what I could in a food garden
-helped the girls plant flowers in their flower garden
-cared for chickens who are laying lots of delicious eggs for us
-started milking Physion (the goat in my current header with her then-newborn babes) and trained two first fresheners to be milked - we are drowning in goat milk
-began my goats on a rotating pasture system which is still a (frustrating) work in progress. Would be easier if goats respected electric fencing, but they don't, so panels must be used.
-taken girls on many horse and pony rides
-tried to clean up the infernal mess that the previous tenants left. The pastures, the yard, the feedlot, even the roping arena, all left a mess by a tenant who figured he didn't own it, so why care for it?

So, busy, so much going on. But I love this busy season after a long, long winter.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

How that flower garden is coming...

It was the location of an epic (and epicly fun) mud fight this afternoon.

It was difficult to have a mud fight while avoiding all of the seeds and flowers, but they did it - and they deserved the play. We put in a solid few hours of planting in that garden this morning. We planted annuals (already grown), tomato starts, and lots of seeds.

Our flower garden looked like this when we moved in -
It started out as just a gravel pit. When I took that picture, I'd already started removing the border and some of the rocks.

I removed alot of the gravel, then my husband used a four-wheeler with a blade to remove even more, then I used a rake to remove even more. And I tore my deltoid. It's hurt for two weeks. I don't think mother's muscles get enough rest to heal.

Now the garden looks like this -

It doesn't look like much, but trust me, stuff's happening there. The morning glories (Don't tell me they're a weed. I know, I know.) are starting to pop up at the bottom of the teepee and many of the seeds planted last week are coming up strong. The purchased annuals aren't visible in this picture, but they're adding color to the edge of the garden closest to the house.

We also have a hanging basket of bright blue lobelias (I think) by the front door, right over the flower garden. Since this garden's purpose is to be a butterfly garden, you can imagine how thrilled we were when we looked out the window and saw a huge yellow swallowtail butterfly on our hanging basket. It's come back several days in a row, but I haven't been able to get a picture of it. I have never seen a butterfly so big. When it flies away, over the road, I can see it until it gets past the neighbor's house - it's that big.

I had a lot of pictures for you, but Photobucket and my internet connection are having a disagreement, so these are the ones I uploaded before I lost patience.

The pesto circle with chives in the center.

Hannah's iris. She transplanted it from the small iris bed beside the house. I can't believe it's still alive.

I'm so proud of this patch - it's flax, the seed saved from flax that I planted last year. Look at how well it's sprouting!

Hannah also wanted some veggies in her garden, so a cherry tomato and pear tomato plant went in there. We'll also add some lettuces and carrots.

It's a good start.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Planting flowers.

We did different things with the different kids to help them feel more comfortable with moving to a new house. Grayson didn't need much convincing - Mommy and her chest was going to the new house, so so was he. Ainsley was excited about having a flat driveway to ride her bike on. Hannah was promised a butterfly garden. I'll go into more of the details later, but here are some pictures of our planting today.

Since immediate gratification is not always a bad plan, and can many times help kids appreciate what they are doing more, the girls each picked out some ready-to-plant flowers.

Ains planted her marigolds very carefully.

The picture would have turned out better if Grayson hadn't decided to attack the camera at that moment.

And trust me - there is a good explanation for every single thing in the background of that picture. The clothes hamper, for example, was the only blasted thing I could find in my house that helped me get up high enough to hang the hanging flower basket we bought.

In addition to the already blooming plants, we planted three varieties of wildflower seeds in a rainbow pattern. The first layer was a store-bought package, the second layer was from my husband's grandfather's property, the third layer was from a field near my sister-in-law's house.

Hannah is taking this job very seriously. She helps me dig (for at least forty seconds before she 'needs to take a break from all this hard work'), helps me scatter the seeds, and helps me cover them up with soil (for at least thirty seconds before she stops because 'I want to make sure you have a chance to do as much as you want to do, Mother').

I'll post more pictures of what we started with and our current set-up soon.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Pony ridin'

Little wind, threatening rain, cool weather - this has been the last few nights. And each night we saddle up the pony and the horse and take the girls for a ride.

Hannah's working on independent reining right now. We could have her practicing truly independent reining on Daisy, the horse we bought for that purpose, but Hannah has claimed Princess the pony and Ainsley has claimed "Daisy Pony", so Hannah must practice reining on a lead rope. Princess is a great pony, don't get me wrong, but she's more 'little horse' than 'pony plug'. Lots of energy, that one, and even though she's kind and gentle, a child must not only know how to brake but have the physical and mental strength to back the request up.

Ainsley is working on balance and feeling more secure on the back of a horse. I can't believe she's doing this. I remember when Hannah enjoyed these little games and now my littler girl is doing it.

Spread your arms out!
Ride backwards!

Touch your head, touch your knees, touch your bum, hold your arms out and twist, ride side-saddle. She does it all with a smile and amazing balance.

Then there's this little one. He has his own ride. No need for any equines.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Swallows and Owls

Barn swallows were a new arrival this spring at our 'old house' and we were excited to have them. They've become one of Hannah's favorite birds to identify with their 'two tails'. Imagine her joy on one of her first mornings here when she woke up to see a barn swallow who'd gotten into the house flying over her head.

It was easy to catch in a butterfly net and transfer outside.

One thing I haven't seen at our new house - and likely won't - is Great Horned Owls. Not enough cover here. I snapped these pictures last week of one of the owls at the old house.

He skeers me.