Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Garden Update

No photographic evidence yet, but I looked at the new gutter garden and the spinach is starting to pop up!!  I'm really excited to see how this works.

Put down 12 bags of top soil the other day and planted 1 short row of snow peas and 3 broccoli plants.  Of course the cats seem to think I created a new litter box for them.  I swear, if it's not the cats getting into something, it's the chickens.  I may need to fence it off until the plants actually start taking root!  Hopefully I can get a bit more accomplished sooner than later as I have cauliflower and cabbage starts that are ready to plant, and I want to get more snow peas in the ground (one can never have too many snow peas).  I think that may do it until closer to the frost date.  I know you can buy tomatoes and peppers and whatnot now, but I'm really leary of planting them and then getting hammered with a late frost.  Plus I am putting in the top soil a little at a time anyway so it's not like it does me a whole lot of good to go out and buy a ton of plants right now.  Ah... but it IS tempting!! LOL

I think I've made a change to the pallet garden.  I would love to do it the way the instructions say -- using soil to fill in between plants and voila... water for a week or so laying down then you can stand up with no worries.  Unfortunately, I've started and then come to realize that for a regular size pallet... that's a LOT of plants!  So I'm backtracking.  Going to probably remove the plants I have... or at least fill the pallet with more soil and spread them out a bit.  Then I picked up a couple packets of wildflower seeds.  I have the time to let them grow so why not?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Overdue Update

Happy Spring!  Granted, there's been frost on the ground the last 2 days, but the tulips and lilacs have been blooming for a couple weeks and it IS the middle of April.  Another tell tale sign of spring?  The animals are shedding like fiends.  Thankfully the sign of "mud everywhere" hasn't struck yet, but the "I'd rather be outside doing yard projects than inside cleaning" certainly has.

A lot has been going on so here's a very quick run down:

  • FINALLY!!  There are 2 boarder horses at SVF now: Map is a 6yo Arabian/Trakehner cross stallion and Teddy is a 6 year old Percheron/Morgan cross gelding.  Both came from iTolt Training Center and are doing wonderfully.  Of course they'd much rather be out on the grass ALL the time, but they're slowly getting more and more grass.  Shortly after they arrived, I was able to purchase mats for the cross tie area and we've used it a few times when I decide they need to be brushed.  Both have long manes and I end up telling them that while we like Bob Marley, no one at SVF is to LOOK like Bob Marley -- no dreds!  Seriously, it's a lot of fun to watch them from the kitchen window.
  • BRING ON THE BEEF.  Last year's experiment with raising a beef steer went really well and I've signed up to raise 2 more this year.  They should be arriving in 2 weeks.  They'll be limited to sharing the chicken room and having a separate grazing area from the horses until everyone gets used to one another.  Several friends are joining in and "purchasing" shares in the steers.  I believe there is at least one 1/4 share left if anyone is interested -- cost is $250 with at least half payable up front and butchering fees are not included.  Should work out to roughly just over $3/pound overall.  Expected delivery date is January 2013.
  • TALKING TURKEY.  Now taking orders on this year's crop of turkeys.  The plan is to raise both the Broad Breasted Whites like last year as well as some Bourbon Reds, a heritage breed that I've heard a lot of good things about.  The BBWs should end up larger than the Bourbon Reds as they are a larger bird (last year's purchase weights ranged from 11.5 pounds to 16 pounds).  They do not get as large as they would in their typical commercial environments, but I'd rather lose some possible pounds than have a bird that isn't able to get out and eat grass and chase bugs.  Bourbon Reds average 23 pounds for toms and 14 pounds for young hens, live weight.  Here's a link to a wonderful review and amateur taste test conducted last fall.  The Bourbon Reds and Midget Whites for this test were raised by an online friend of mine:  Lets Put Turkeys to the Test  Turkeys will be ordered next month, so if you want to guarantee yourself a wonderful turkey, whether a BBW or a Bourbon Red, contact me by May 1st.  $10 deposit is due up front (to help pay for the chicks).  BBWs will be sold at $3/pound dressed weight (same as last year).  Bourbon Reds will be $3.50/pound.
  • SPRING MEANS GARDEN.  Finally getting the garden started.  Moving it closer to the house to make it more accessible and to be able to use the old area as a new paddock for the animals.  Currently only have lettuce and spinach planted, but hope to soon have peas and broccoli as well.  Trying a new technique this year -- the lettuce and spinach are being planted using rain gutters attached to a fence, like this:
The ends of the gutters are a double layer of landscape fabric... keeping the soil in but allowing any excess water to drain out.  Cheaper than gutter end caps and easier than drilling drain holes in the gutters.  With any luck it will work.
I think that's about it for now.  Have been dealing with mechanical issues all over -- 2 wheel bearings and new tires for the Explorer, scooter is in the shop now dealing with a "won't start" issue, just dropped off the weed eater for service and the push mower at the rental won't start.  Maybe I need to take a class in automotive repair?  Also have several projects coming up -- finishing the garden, getting water to the barn, fencing in the new paddock, etc.  One thing at a time though, right?  or at least no more than what will drive me crazy. 

In the meantime, heading to Equine Affaire on Saturday for the first time in a few years.  Looking forward to it and hope to run into some friends.