Bringing Home a Box of Nuggets

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It’s that time of year again!  The greenhouse is hosting chicks and new tomato seedlings.  I love getting new chicks and never tire of their adorable antics.  This year we decided to add a couple more Reds to the flock.  We only have one left and she’s getting way up there in years, so… she’s really not laying as much as she used to.  Typically we rely on our Reds to get us through winter with eggs, as they’re known for being good winter layers; but this year for the first time in a very, very long time, we had to BUY EGGS!  *clutches pearls*  It just doesn’t seem right to have a flock of 8 hens and still have to pay for eggs.  Sigh.

So, we also decided to add another blue egg layer, simply because they’re so darn pretty and we love our Dr. Seuss-ian colored eggs.  And for those observant readers who say, but that’s only three, and that there is a six-piece box of nuggets!… We are splitting the chicks with my sister.  Hers are the Buff (yellow chick) and the spare Red and Aracauna.

Smashing Pumpkins

Feasting on Halloween.

Feasting on Halloween.

I ended November with finally getting around to winter prep for the chicken coop.  Aside from squeaky clean roosts, nesting boxes and feeders, the girls now have a nice thick bed of shredded leaves in the run.  Much frolicking is to be had rifling through the leaves when I throw a handful of sunflower seed or cracked corn in there. I also took the remaining pumpkins from the porch and cracked them open in the run… the girls love pumpkin seeds!  With that done, now it’s time for evergreens, holly, warm wool mittens and snow.  Fa la la!

Emerging from Winter’s Cave

 

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It looks like the Earth is finally shaking off the last vestiges of winter. In the past week, buds have started forming on the trees, the crocuses are in full bloom, the daffodils are about to burst, and the warblers and thrushes have shown up at the feeder. The neglect of winter has taken its toll on the property, especially since we didn’t do leaves in the fall, and I’ve been itching to get out there and clear up the mess. After several rainy days off– which are nice in their own way– I finally had a day off today with perfect work-outside weather. It felt so good to be out toiling in the sunshine, though my weary bones are feeling it now.  Happy Spring!

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Raked out annual bed.

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The herb bed off the kitchen porch– all raked out!

 

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Making way for Peony shoots.

Alpaca and Soap and Felting Oh My!

On Sunday Peep #2 spent some time at her friend’s alpaca farm and store.  Below are a few pictures.  Enjoy!

Peep #2 and India the Alpaca

"Smile" for the judge!

Training is done for the day.

Then, after a quick hot chocolate break, the kids went back into the store to work on some felting projects:

Making felted soap.

The finished products!

Needle felting.

This was Peep #1’s first attempt at needle felting.  I’m happy to report there were no stabbed digits!!  But neither was anything finished– this was just a practice run.  We’ll be working on more at home…

First Foods

It's still early in the season in these parts, but I've been enjoying lettuce (as well as wild foods– dandelion, chickweed, and violets) for a while now at least.  Now, at last, I'm starting to get some of the really good stuff!  This is a photo of one morning's worth of strawberries, organically grown and freshly picked.  We had the best strawberry harvest we've every had this year.  I even got to make a little jam!

Could be a very good year for fruit in general… this is the first year that I have fruit on my dwarf trees that survived the "June drop."  I have little pears and apples, though none of my nectarines made it (it's only in it's first year, so that is to be expected).  Of course the giant old apple and cherry are producing like mad, as always.  The blueberries aren't quite ripe yet, but we have lots of fruit this year for such small trees (they're only in their third year).  I think we'll have enough for pancakes and smoothies, but probably not enough for pie… we'll see.

At the moment we have a steady stream of peas, which we like to eat straight off the vine.  I keep a bowl on the kitchen table for snacking but it never stays full very long.  I look forward to seeing what will be debuting next!

More Bounty from the Garden

Herbs are amazing; they just keeping giving and giving!  I still have
most of my culinary herbs going strong in the herb bed just outside the
kitchen (most of the medicinal herbs are located out in the garden,
which is a bit of a walk).  So, yesterday I gathered a bunch of oregano
and white ceremonial sage.   I've been hearing so much about the
wonders of oregano oil, especially as it pertains to flu, so I decided
to make a batch for myself.  The white sage I've been growing for a while with the intent
of making my own sage smudges.  I finally decided to get around to it! 
It was pretty easy, and the result was pretty cool.  It's hanging from
a kitchen beam at the moment; I can't wait to be able to use it!