Sunday, March 14, 2010

Everywhere a chick chick!

One of the highlights of my family time growing up was going to Angelo's Pizza Parlor for family dinners. With quarters ready we would play Ms. PacMan and try our luck getting a prize from The Chicken Machine-Lucky Eggs. I was always thrilled with my $.25 item from China (or maybe still the US back in those days). But I must say that my heart is filled with pure joy as I have spent the past three days helping Owen nurture new life up on Walton Mountain. Andrew and I have both felt like kids again, celebrating the simple joy of a new life. Baby chickens are the cutest things! Even when they poop on your hand. I would have been grossed out by that years ago, but after a baby and taking care of three dogs, poop doesn't bother me so much! Owen is the proud papa of four Golden Sex Links (all females, 2 weeks old) Miley, Herme, Rainbow and Flower. Then we have 4 day old Fluffy (name fits and he/she is feisty) and Bingo our Black Silkie Bantam. Owen knows this drill, wash hands, snuggle, check water and food, snuggle, no kisses and wash hands again. It has been a great indoor activity as he has been so sick this week! The chicks temporary home is the downstairs bathroom, heated and actually a great place to be given our frigid weather! Feels a little like Hawaii! I love that Andrew and I can provide this experience to Owen and to each other. Thanks A & L Feed for making it a fun morning for Owen and Daddy!
We did a little bit of planting this weekend. More chard and lettuce starts and the first direct sows of the year. Radishes, two types of beets and more spinach. I have gotten some great seeds from the COOP and I am sure that I will be ordering from seed catalogs next winter!
I was turned onto a great magazine. Mary Janes Farm (yes I love the shoe reference as well)! It is the everyday organic lifestyle magazine printed on recycle paper. Recipes, articles on gardening, homemade tips and journal entries/writings from other women. Time to read some more articles before the next week begins.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Hurry before the rain comes!

Last weekend I was lulled into a false sense of security with the glorious weather on Saturday. Fun and sun with friends in Salyer. Owen was thrilled to be chasing chickens, wild turkeys and older girls (he is infatuated with them). On the drive home, I couldn't believe my luck-two days off still with this weather! Pop to my dream bubble. I was informed to check my blackberry for the weather report-rain and lots of it.
Sunday was spent working a little on the chicken coop and getting more starts going in the greenhouse. I may put netting over the chicken coop as the ospreys have returned and their neimsis the red-tail hawk is circling the pastures. Last year we had a 10 lb. robin! Well probably not, but the fattest I have ever seen and I put netting over the fencing which worked well to keep the berries in place. I sometimes feel we have a fortress protecting our crops-but it is necessary as bucky is hanging around with 3 does.
The sprayed insulation was doing its job in the greenhouse-95% germination so far(yes I can be a math geek at times)! Owen was thrilled to plant his sunflowers and cosmos for mommy. The rest of the afternoon was my workout. I turned all the soil in three of the beds ready for month for planting!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Makes it all worth it

There are two places I feel most at peace driving. One is highway 255 between Arcata and Samoa in the morning. Pastures and the morning sun hitting the bay make for a pleasant drive to work. The other is up our gravel road, especially this time of year. The azalea, daffodils and trees are in bloom, with the rodies not far behind. It makes the amount of digging the past week worth it (along with the glorious sun and warmth today). A total of ten wheelbarrows of weeds were taken out the beds. Tomorrow I will plant the rest of the strawberries and my February to do list is finished.

The greenhouse got a tune-up today. Andrew sprayed insulation into the cracks and I added covers to the starts to help keep them warm. I can almost taste the sugar snap peas! Now onto the rest of the weeding and mulching once Andrew fixes the biodiesel clogged fuel system. Yes biodiesel does not sit well in a tractor gas tank during the winter.

The biggest accomplishment of the day was beginning the chicken/duck coop. Posts set, chicken wire cemented in a trough 8 inches in the ground. It will take quite a bit of digging by a bear, coon, fox and (hopefully not this year) mountain lion to get at Owen's new "friends/hugglies". Owen helped all morning, moving the limbs of three redwood trees, clearing the area, and helping daddy pound in the stakes. I had to move the terrarium to the garden today as Owen was catching "little fellas"/banana slugs. Luckily he did not see his mother taking the shovel to the ones I found in the greenhouse.

It has been wonderful working outside with Andrew the past two weekends! I miss our quality time during the short, rainy days of winter. We are that weird couple who would rather spend our days working together than getting dressed up and going out. We are looking forward to the bonfires later this week as Scott comes to burn the logging slash. Then the fun begins with the addition of new trails...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Thank goodness for President's Week! Let the planting begin!

The Petersons tend to do things as a family. I could think of no better way to spend Valentine's day and the beginning of my week off than going to the snow followed by our family V-day present-a trip to Mad River Gardens after a morning of getting muddy riding with the girls (their new form of exercise). It is amazing the service you receive when you walk into an establishment with the boat mechanic! Owen picked out 3 more blueberrry plants, we took a flat of Tristar strawberries (about 75), and a bunch of onions.
The highlight of our shopping excursion was the addition of 4 fruit trees. An EZ-Pick Frost Peach which will ripen in July and is doing very well on the coast for people. The second a 3n1 Asian Pear-Hosui, 20th Century and Shinseiki. The final two will hopefully yield beautiful apples-a Liberty which is proven successful for the coast and is disease-resistant and a Braeburn which is an excellent keeper. The great part about buying from Mad River is if it grows there it will hopefully do well at our house!
We now have 10 different varieties of blueberries ranging from early to late producers to hopefully keep up with Owen's insatiable appetite for the juicy delights. Darrow, Toro, Patriot, Sparta, Southmoon, Jubilee, Bluecrop, Legacy-I am enamored with the names. Andrew and I maybe ate a pound last year, the rest were for Owen to pick and eat at his leisure.
Owen was quite the helper this week, watering all the new trees, blueberries and strawberries. All I need for him is a few worms from the garden and bubbles, simple pleasures. The worms are his "little fellas" and I have never been happier to see worms in my life! I was excited to have our own composted organic matter to use with our new trees and the red worms in our compost bin are definitely happy little fellas.
So the plan for the 20-22? A trip to the lumber yard for our potato boxes (grow up to 100 lbs in 4 square feet), wood for the chicken/duck coop, chicken wire to keep out those darn gophers and cement to keep all the critters out of coop. I am so lucky to have a "Handy Andy" and he has ensured me nothing will get in our coop. Next I need to finish weeding another section for the rest of the strawberries. Finally time to get the greenhouse ready for starts!!!!! Starting herbs (basil, dill, and cilantro), sugar snap peas, two varieties of lettuce, leeks, heirloom eggplant and broccoli. Hopefully the weather cooperates.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Where to begin

When I first asked Andrew to build me raised beds I was hoping to grow some lettuce and get Owen out of the Ergo to play in the dirt. Little did I know that two growing seasons later I would begin planning our little back-to-the-land experiment. I have the upcoming summer off and we decided it would be wonderful for Owen to just be home with me, growing food and raising animals. Planning and preparing for all of this begins in February and with a haphazard stack of photos, drawings and tidbits from the past two years still not in a scrapbook I thought I should just blog! My hope is to inspire all my fellow "fashionista" mamas to get a little dirty this summer and plant and grow something you love! It also doesn't hurt that we have a fox to thank for our six month quarantine-we will just have to spend our time being where we feel at home, the George Garner Ranch. By the way who has a bedazzler I could borrow? I think my Bogs need a little something...More to come this weekend, blueberries are only $6.49 at 3Gs!