Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Quick "Hello"

I start my day as dawn is breaking standing in the open door of our home with my favorite sheep mug full of hot coffee, looking out over the farm. I make a mental plan of what is hopefully going to get done that day. It has definitely been a challenge lately to plan much of anything. Rain, rain and more rain.
We had two days of partial sun and warm temps this past week. Most days it's drizzly and humid or it's pouring buckets. The predicted forecast: rain/showers/thunderstorms through Friday. This weather is wreaking havoc with the farmers and gardeners. Hay is already is short supply - luckily many folks put in extra last year and it will get them through. The hay in the fields is lodging from all the rain and on dry days, farmers cannot get their tractors on the fields for fear they will sink out of sight in the mud.
A notice came today from the Extension service regarding late blight appearing on tomatoes and potatoes. The cloud cover protects the spores from being eradicated by uv radiation. They are advising if you find it to pull up your plants, seal them in bags and dispose of them to keep the spores from spreading. So far I haven't seen any but if it keep raining fresh vegetables are going to be in short supply here in the Northeast.
The days it did not rain we managed to put in 200 bales of new hay (mowed and baled the last three day stretch of good weather we had and stored in our hayman's barn) mowed all the grass on this farm that needed mowing (I see myself changing lawn into sheep pasture:) weeded all three gardens, planted a few more crops and worked in the new farmstand/shop.
Tyler had a friend over for the week and my cousin, Jake was here for the week as well so our house was busy. The boys all get along great and everyone really enjoyed being together. My Mom loved having them all here - she baked and baked. That's her favorite thing to do and of course, everyone loves to eat it :)
Our kittens, Jinx and Jade are getting big and have made themselves right at home as you can see from the photo above. When they are ready to sleep, they land and conk out. No matter who's arm or lap it is. They are tons of fun :)
We have three baby ducks (that's another post and I'll try to get photos) and we also have a new bunny (photos coming as well).
I'm off to the city for a meeting tomorrow and to hopefully find new curtains for the shop. Fabric hunting has been a huge disappointment. The Curtain Factory Outlet is my next option.
I hope the sun is shining in your neck of the woods - if you wouldn't mind, send some our way :)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Busy weekend ~

Although our rainy weather pattern continues and it's gloomy and wet, we can still find plenty to keep us busy. June 19th, our youngest, Tyler, graduated from the 8th grade! It's hard for us, like other parents I'm sure, to believe that he's headed for high school in the fall. We aren't worried, it's just we miss the years that have passed already.

Caution: Shameless bragging ahead :)

We are very proud of Tyler. He's been an honor student all year. He received a perfect attendance award and a scholastic achievement award in math. He's a kind young man who is loyal to his friends, very tolerant of others and definitely loves his family. We couldn't ask for any more than that.

We spent most of the weekend working on the farm shop. Both entrances have a new porch/landing. Steve put up these great track lights in the center of the ceiling and we bought a ceiling fan/light to install over the new glass display case that was given to us by a friend of Steve's. Mom and I washed all the windows inside and cleaned the screens. Cleaned up the cabinets and the base of an old Hoosier cabinet that Steve brought home for me.

A little electrical work left to finish, a good through cleaning and curtains and we will be good to go. I've hard a hard time finding material for the valences I want to make. You know how you have something in mind but you just can't find it? That's where I am right now. Guess I need to be a little less fussy. I need 10 valences and I know I can make them cheaper than I can buy them.
School is out for the summer. Tyler has a buddy staying with us for a few day and my cousin, Jacob is here for the week. I needed to go to the store to pick up a few extra things and while shopping, I found these great baskets. Aren't they adorable? I purchased two for the shop.

With the additional man power I have here this week we are going to move my big blanket loom and a few other items out of the attic and into the farm shop. I have several other projects in mind that we can get done if the forecast of sunshine proves true. These young lads will do anything for my Mom's chocolate cake!

~Hope it's sunny where you are ~

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Father's Day Thank you........

"Happy Father's Day"
I dreamed as a little girl of growing up, marrying my handsome prince and having beautiful children. I'm one of the lucky ones - all of my childhood dreams came true. Not without bumps in the road but I think those only make me stronger along the way. The handsome fellow on the left is my husband, Steve. He is my best friend and a great Dad to our boys. He takes great care of us and we have a good life. We have a wonderful partnership - I give thanks every day for this wonderful man. My boys and I know just how lucky we are :)

"Happy Father's Day Dad"

This good looking guy is my Dad. We all have homes here on the farm but Dad spends his spring, summer & fall giving horse drawn carriage tours on Mt. Desert Island in Acadia National Park here in Maine. My Dad has been a cowboy long before I was born. He was born in a lumber camp and was driving team, hauling logs when he was 11 years old. He has a natural way with horses that is a rare gift. He taught my brother & I to ride before we could hardly walk. We always had a large selection of horses to choose from and always had friends around to ride with on the weekends. Dad spent alot of time with us as kids and taught us all the right things about being good horseman as well as good people. I miss him when he's gone but I know he's doing what he loves and that's what is important in life :)

Happy Father's Day to all the great "Dad's" in your life.

Friday, June 19, 2009

View out my window..........

I was standing in the kitchen this morning, looking out the window. It's raining again - it's been pouring since last evening. The amount of rain we've had lately really is a double edged sword. We are too wet right now but I'm very thankful that we do not live in an area that is suffering from years of drought. Georgia is finally out of a drought after 3 years. I can't imagine how those folks survive with little to no water. I don't think that is something we need to worry about but things change so quickly, buy August we could be extremely dry and it just pays off to be prepared for everything. We collect rainwater runoff from our outbuildings for the gardens. I haven't set the rain barrels out yet as we haven't needed the water. I'm sure we will set them out soon.

Our property sets on an 8000 acre aqua fir (underground lake). Water is plentiful as we have many natural springs on the farm as does our neighbor next to us. The chance of us running out of water is slim but the natural water table does diminish when we have an extreme dry spell. We do not take this natural water source for granted and conserve water wherever we can. As much as I would much prefer to be outside working today, I'm not going to whine about the rain. It's truly a gift that we always seem to appreciate more when we don't get any.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Gardening progress.....

The sun is shining :) It is sweet to feel the warmth from the sun and see the beautiful, brilliant clear blue sky. It rained for a week steady. Not always hard, driving rain but always raining. Our soil was dry and we did need rain but not inches and inches of it.

The gardens greatly benefited from the rain - almost everything we planted has germinated and emerged. Today we weeded the two front gardens. With the two or three days of sun that we are supposed to have before showers set in again, the gardens should thrive.

Linda from Life on a Colorado Farm sent me four varieties of Heirloom been seeds. As the photo shows, all the seed germinated and we anticipate a bumper crop of beans! Thank you Linda :)

Broccoli, cabbages, peppers and celery are all doing great. Unfortunately our potato experiment was not a success. As I posted earlier, we planted our potatoes in holes that we planned on filling in as the potato plant grew up through. Due to the all the rain and cold, damp weather, our seed potato rotted in the holes. Thankfully, we can start over so we will shallow till that area tomorrow and plant the potatoes in our regular trenches this time and pray for better luck. We also staggered our planting of some crops and it's time to re-plant a few more things such as green beans and cucumber.

Hope all your gardens are flourishing - thanks for stopping to visit with us at Tylerfarm :)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Forever Friends -

At 4:30 p.m. today my sweet, faithful, companion, best friend and work mate of the last 9 years was laid to rest. He has been battling with diabetes since last June and had recently developed a tumor behind his right shoulder which was determined by our Veterinarian to be bone cancer. It was quickly spreading. He had lost the use of his right leg and it was spreading to his other legs, making it extremely difficult to get around. He never complained and still accompanied me everywhere even though he limped on three legs. I have never nor will I ever again have a dog with as much courage and loyalty as Banjo.

at 7:15 we had a slight shower and this beautiful rainbow appeared. Perhaps it's just my mind trying to ease the enormous ache in my heart but I believe my friend has crossed the rainbow bridge and is now at peace. I believe I will be reunited with him someday and until then, he will be happy with with his friend, Barney whom we lost a few months ago.
I feel his presence everywhere I turn on this farm. I'm sure I will look for him around every corner for quite some time. I will be forever grateful to have had 9 magical years with this incredible animal. He taught me so many wonderful life lessons.
Thank you my friend. I shall miss you always ~

Around the farm..............

It seems we've been on a roller coaster ride this week. So much going on. Our days are full from start to finish.
We started putting in new hay which is great! I just love that smell and I love to fill the barn. It's a great feeling, knowing we are well supplied for feed to get us through our long, cold winters.

The gardens are growing nicely, especially with all of the gentle, steady rain we've been receiving. It's still raining - it could stop anytime now but we cannot control the weather :) We try to practice succession planting so crops are not ready to harvest at the same time. We should be planting again next week but will have to watch the soil. With all this rain and more to come, seed will rot if our soil is saturated. A day or two of sun and warm temps would provide ideal planting conditions and vegetables would sprout like crazy.

-The moat from the house to the barn -

The ewes that we purposely bred have all lambed. We had one yearling that we suspected might have gotten bred "accidentally". Sure enough, Emma delivered this delightful, tiny ewe lamb, "Audrey Hepburn" early Wednesday evening. She's a sweetie already and we know we will be keeping. I really needed another white ewe and those tight, crimpy curls sealed the deal :).

Our kittens, Jinx and Jade are getting bigger and learning to eat solid food. It's been fun bottle feeding them but they are ready to become more independent. Jinx is the playful, less patient one where Jade is sweet and loving and happy to curl up in your lap and purrrrrr. We are enjoying having kitties in the house again. Danny really likes them as well. They crawl all over him and he's so gentle with them. Miranda the chicken and her guinea Keats are doing well also. We moved her to a separate small chicken coop. We were worried that the other hens might peck her babies. The Keats are growing quickly and learning to scratch and peck for feed. When they are about 8 weeks old we will let her out with them to bug during the day. The will make their way back to their house just before dark as guineas have poor eyesight and will stay right where they are if they are caught outside when it's pitch dark until morning.
Although it's raining, I snapped a few shots of the new hanging plants on the front of the barn and a photo of the new farm shop. Steve has been working on it as time and weather permits and I think it's beautiful. We hope to open soon- the weather is hampering our efforts but we aren't discouraged. All in good time as they say :)

~ Have a great day ~

Friday, June 5, 2009

One more project completed..........

Isn't this a beautiful color? These are my Japanese iris'. They are blooming early this year it seems. My neighbor gave me a flat of starts when I first moved here. I wasn't sure they were going to make it. Now I have a huge mound of them and they are one of my favorite flowers. I actually had the time this afternoon to visit my perennial gardens and see what was blooming.

I feel like an enormous weight has been lifted off my shoulders. All three of our vegetable gardens are planted! We planted the usual - peppers, tomatoes, cukes, summer squash & zucchini, green beans, carrots, spinach, etc. I also tried a few new things. This is my first year for banana peppers. I love them on sandwiches - I hope they do well in our soil. Also fellow blogger Linda @ Life on a Colorado Farm graciously sent me four different types of dry bean seeds. One variety is" called Linda Sisco" - this seed originally traveled by covered wagon to Missouri around 1880. How cool is that?! Another variety was black turtle beans. I love to make bean soup - I hope these all do well. Thank you so much Linda :) I also planted turnips, huge pumpkins and basil from seed.

The boys wanted cantaloupe and watermelon so we planted a package of each and tons of sunflowers in the gourd garden. Now we pray for the right amount of heat, rain and good luck that it takes for the gardens to thrive :)

Another of my favorite flowers - the columbine. My variety happens to be purple. I guess It's obvious that I really like the color purple :) These surround my lilac tree and bloom just as the lilacs are going by. They are really lovely.

Off to a memorial service tomorrow for a great lady - my Mom's best friend for over 40 years. Definitely a relationship that epitomized what true friendship was all about. It will be a celebration of her life and we all have plenty to celebrate.

~Have a great weekend everyone ~

Thursday, June 4, 2009

A Chicken experiment.............

This is one of our Delaware hens, Miranda. Delaware's are great layers - they lay large brown eggs all through the winter without heat. She's been really cranky the last couple of months. You put your hand in her nest box to check for eggs and your liable to get picked. I didn't think Miranda was being mean, I just figured she was broody and wanted to set on her eggs. As we do not have a rooster right now, no point in her setting on her infertile eggs. I have three guinea females that were raised with then hens. They range during the day with the males and come back to the hen house at night. They started laying eggs on the floor so I picked them up and put them under Miranda. She's been setting on them faithfully about 29 days.

When we went to the chicken house this morning to do chores, we discovered that the nest box full of guinea eggs weren't eggs anymore~ they hatched! Meet Miranda's new family -

Aren't they just the cutest? She now has 9 guinea keets to raise and is doing a fabulous job. She's already teaching them how to peck around and eat chicken feed. It's amazing to watch her. She is one happy chicken :)

I'm thinking now I need to find a new rooster. We could certainly raise our own replacement hens instead of buying them from the hatchery. Besides, it's fun to have baby chickens around :)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Monday, June 1, 2009

June 1 so the calendar tells us....

Doesn't feel like June 1 here.......30 something this morning. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! My flowers were all shriveled up trying to keep from freezing to death. My vegetable plants are in the woodshed - not sure when I dare take the plunge and put them in the garden. It feels more like fall than spring. We had high winds yesterday - strong enough to cause a power outage late evening. Mother nature at her finest - unpredictable!

I want to share my June calendar page with you all as it just cracked me up. Warning: it is a very male bashing calendar and I am not a male species basher and do not want my male visitors to be offended. It's all in good fun. The calendar is "Chicks Rule" I live in a house FILLED with testosterone. I am the lone female amongst men, boys, their buddies, male dogs, etc. I'm thinking my men were humoring me at Christmas when they gifted me with it but I sure do get a chuckle out of it.

June 2009

I can just picture myself at age 11 saying something like this to a boy. I mean, didn't we all think boys are dumb when we're 11?

Hope it made you smile today!