Sunday, April 12, 2009

Oh the goodness...

Hope you all had a wonderful Easter. Today we enjoyed a wonderful meal which included this fabulous leg of lamb. The leg of lamb was gifted to us by our friends, The Reinhardt's, after we helped them move their hair sheep to the breeder. It was so delicious. We prepared the lamb with fresh garlic and rosemary....YUM It was the first time most of the family had lamb and it was really enjoyed by everyone. Even the dogs, they got the bone. This made us anxiously anticipate the arrival of our lambs later this week. Be sure to tune in for the obligatory cute little lamb pics.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Easter!!!!!

Nothing like a good burn......

Growing up in Texas we didn't have the pleasure of a burn pile. I never knew what I was missing. I love spring clean up and the stacking up of limbs, pine cones, old hay, whatever will burn. There is something very cathartic to sitting in a chair close enough to feel the burn of the fire but not get burned...especially when the nights are cool.........or when the marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers are close.

Greenhouse in action

Friday brought beautiful weather to the our little corner of the world. We took advantage of the sun and attached the plastic sheeting to the greenhouse frame. It is complete except the entrance. We will still frame in a door to allow for easier access.

We moved our starts out and they enjoyed the nice warmth of the 100 degree greenhouse. This weekend we will make tons of soil blocks and get to getting on our planting in earnest.

In eight short weeks.....

Our special delivery arrived early Thursday morning. We received our long-awaited call around 7:15 am. Terry hurried down to the Post Office and picked up this wonderful little package all the way from Nebraska.
This tiny little box contained 104 Cornish X broilers ordered from Central Hatchery. This is our first venture into meat birds but we feel very confident that it won't be our last. The meat birds take 8 weeks to make butcher weight. They require a broiler feed that has a higher percentage of protein to support their rapid weight gain. We are currently housing the chicks in a special stock tank turn brooder complete with straw and heat lamp until they can be moved into chicken tractors.
Terry will build the movable tractors from electrical conduit making them very light weight allowing for easy movement around the pasture with the Rhino. Tractors are used not only for meat birds but layers as well. It allows for them to harvest bugs, worms, and natural grasses which cuts down considerable on feed costs. Stay tuned for upcoming posts on constructing the tractors.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Ever been to a Hog Hoe-Down?

Well let me tell ya, it is one stinky affair. Terry built a new hog pen in the pasture and so after work and school, it was time to move the porkers to their new domicile. The first two pigs we only thought were hard, nothing was near as hard as Patrick....our largest hog who is almost ready for butcher. He is probably 220 lbs or so, 20 pounds of stink and 200 pounds of attitude. It was a wrestling match moving them with the pig in the sled, being set on by Michael and being pulled 300 yards with the Rhino. Don't know what we would have done without the Rhino and everyone's help. It will make the bacon all the sweeter.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Spring finally showed its much awaited face.....

Yesterday was a beautiful day and we finally got to spend some time out in the sun. We raked, clipped, piled, chopped, and burned. It was awesome. I used muscles that spent much of the past few weeks in dormancy. Did I mention it was awesome? We started cleaning off the foundation (in a previous life, before fire it was a chicken coop) but now will provide the foundation for my new greenhouse.

The fire gave us the opportunity to have a re-do because as much as I loved chickens free-ranging in the yard and coming when I called them, I didn't like the incessant scratching in the mulch in my flowerbeds....well at least the mulch that used to be in the flowerbeds until they scratched most of it into the grass. SO, now the new coop will be located in the pasture where they can scratch and peck to the hearts content and hopefully come no-where in proximity to my flowerbeds. I hope to reclaim them and make them beautiful again, but they will have to take a back seat to gardening that will produce something edible. Hence the greenhouse.

We live in the Pacific Northwest and have a very short growing season. Old timers here say nothing is safe in the ground until after Memorial Day. I looked up the last frost date in the Farmer's Almanac and it indicated May 10th. That's better than May 31st.....I have a few starts up and running.....brussel sprouts, spinach, watermelon, cantaloupe, and some others, can't remember right now.

Terry spent his day today fashioning and securing stock panels that will provide the framework for the greenhouse. Tomorrow he will cover with a thick clear plastic sheeting. We can't take credit for this design, our friends over at Pile of Omelays. Check out their site and see the beautiful tomatoes. I'll post updated pics through the process. We also made a decision to do the garden expansion on the flat ground adjacent to the greenhouse as opposed to terracing our back hill. Should be much easier but I'll get back to you and let you know for sure.
Hope you guys are having pretty weather where-ever you are. Plant something and watch it grow and feed's an amazing experience. Pass it on.....