Tuesday, March 31, 2009

CHILLY SUNNY DAY

I could never figure out if it was warm or cold today. In the shade it was cold as heck but step 3 feet out into the sun and you had to take your jacket off. Clear blue sky, light breeze. I really wish I didn't have to work.


A bit of bad news though. I have talked about my sis who is the single mother of a disabled son..she is going through radiation treatments for cancer. Her son has 2 compression fractures of his spine. He is now in the hospital. It just never lets up with my sis. Her life is very hard.


When I got home today, I planted 10 sequoia strawberry plants and 1 marigold plantling. The marigolds are ones that I started in the seed box with the sunflowers. I have just been lazy about transplanting them.



We had a storm last night and it seems like the perfect amount of rain. Not too much.


All the tomatos peppers and herbs seem to be ok and not going into shock. I spread a wheelbarrow full of compost around them. I will spread more later when they are bigger.


I also planted 3 rows of soybeans. I love steamed soybeans and I hope they do well. Tomorrow I will decide where to plant my cukes. I may plant them in pots next to my fence and let them climb.


I don't know how long it should be before my peas should begin to show blooms. They are about 6-8 inches high and no blooms. They are struggling with climbing up the fencing. They seem to prefer getting tangled with each other.


I just finished dinner. Look at the onions on the side of the plate. These are the wild eqyption walking onions. I cut a bunch last week and dehydrated them. That worked wonderful. Today there were several growing in my flower bed and I intended just to pull them up and throw them. Then I saw how beautiful the heads were. They were delicious. Herb salad, alfredo pasta and broccoli, and raw crunchy green beans.




I am watching Nugget eat some grass that my daughter gave him. He is lonely. I may bring in one of the little roosters to be with him. I will have to cover him with Vicks Vapor Rub.




Well time to catch up on emails blogs and forums.

Monday, March 30, 2009

NOTHING RUNS LIKE A DEERE

Ok so mine is limping not running. I went to the http://www.johndeere.com/ website and found a local repair shop who can come to my place and service my tractor. I am very excited because I CAN HEAR MY GRASS GROWING!!

They will be here day after tomorrow. It will probably be expensive. I guess I will be a little more careful about what I am running over.

Also...you are not going to believe this. I can't leave my 27 yr old daughter alone for one second. You know I have the wounded rooster chick in the living room in a cage. Well he is now officially in love with my daughter. She sits next to the cage and he runs over to her....she scratches him on his chest and he "purrs" and then falls asleep.

Guess who won't be made into chicken nuggets? :( PS...and this seems wrong somehow...she works at the local wing place. So I guess we are going to name him nugget. (he is ugly...I wish he was a barred rock).

The wind is picking up and it is cloudy. I am going to change clothes and go out and plant my tomatos, herbs and cucumbers and soybeans.

****UPDATE****

Ok I got the tomatos and herbs planted but not mulched. I will mulch tomorrow. Harvested 8 fat grub worms and gave them to the chickens. They loved them.

Have a great evening.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

COLD MORNING

I got up before the sun. Drank coffee with a kitty on my lap and caught up on some blogs. The N wind is whipping still around the house. Then I picked up the book and now it is 2 hours later. What happened to the time.


I was hungry....what do I want on a cold winter morning for breakfast? What else but hot tomato soup and home made corn bread.



Just sat down to eat and then will go to the feed store, take a shower and go to work.

:(

*****UPDATE******

I have people coming to get the 40 bags of grass today. They called me right as I was getting off of work. So I fed horses in Lucas and then raced home. Got my coat and work gloves and ....yes in this cold wind....headed out to the field to bring them in. After two trips up to the house, each time carying 4 bags I decided to get the tarp.

On the tarp I carried 7 bags dragging it behind me. By the next trip I was frozen and exhausted. I went and got the tractor and an old partial electric cord without a plug and drove out to the field. Ok this load had about 10 bags on it, no wonder I was tired. Anyway, I strung the cord through the holes in the tarp, then around my seat and drove slow dragging the tarp. It worked great. It only took one more load to get the final bags.

Then while I was out and because I knew I didn't want to go out again, I fed and watered. I will gather eggs later.

I had a bad thing happen. I had the chicks kill one of their own and were on their way to do in another one. I brought him in the house and he is happily healing in the living room in a cage. I will give him about a week and then smear him with Vicks and put him back out. He is eating and drinking fine so I think he should be ok.

Friday, March 27, 2009

WINTER WIND AND BOX TRUCKS

Wow what happened to spring???? 39 degrees and dropping. 40+ mph winds. Holy cow. I picked a good day to rent a box truck.

I JUST got home. It is almost 10pm. I left work at 5. I went at lunch and rented a 14' box truck because they are the only ones with a ramp. I was to pick up a free A frame from craigslist and then go to pick up the freezer from mom and dad.

Who has ever driven down Hwy 75 during rush hour. Ok, try it in 40 mph wind in a box truck. It took me 30 minutes to get 5 miles. I found the site and someone had already taken it. So I turn around and head toward mom and dad's right at 40 mile away. Yep had to get on another freeway...still rush hour. I didn't get frustrated at all because I was not in a hurry. Mind you I prayed over the truck the whole way. With a power steering pump ready to go out at any moment, a truck stereo with dash board speakers...one of which had a loose wire, and wind whose goal was to turn that truck on it's side...it was kinda fun.

Got to mom and dads, got out and set up the ramp. Ok did you know I am afraid of heights? I can't get more than 3 rungs up on a ladder....well the top of that ramp is about that and I would be wheeling a 10 ton ancient deep freeze. But when I saw my dad trying to get it I decided to suck it up and do it because I was afraid he would hurt himself.

He guided and I pulled backwards. I did it!!! I headed home hoping that my daughter would be there to help guide it out. I figured if she wasn't by gosh I would get it out and into the house somehow. Thank goodness for the dolly.

She pulled in just as I did with the grandboys. These two little boys got a kick out of their old nanna and their frozen mom trying to get this freezer in the house.



But we did it!!! Woooohooo I have a freezer.

And to top it off....the boys had so much fun running in and out of the box truck, it was worth the wind.





I have to work tomorrow but wont go in until noon. I am going to drink coffee, go to the feed store and if the wind has stopped, drag some of the bags of grass up to the road for pick up.

Stay warm all who are suffering in this spring cold.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

SO MUCH FOR GETTING ANY WORK DONE

Ok so the storms that raced up through the middle of the country have as expected made for some long hours for the next couple of weeks. And although that will keep me from getting much work done here....that's not what the title means.








I got home tonight and decided to try something. I have a ton of the wild garlic/onion things (egyption walking onions) around my yard. So I cut about 2 pounds of them, then using scissors I cut them into 1/2 inch lengths and put them in the dehydrator. I plan on using them this winter in soups and stews. They are so yummy. If they grow back I will keep doing this until they stop growing or I get enough.





Tonight: I ate a huge salad OUT OF MY GARDEN! Ok so it was the winter lettuce but so? It was yummy with onion buds from the wild onions, calorie free asian dressing, shredded cheese and yes again...butternut squash raviolis. This was so cool. I will run out and feed and water the animals, check the garden and start the laundry. THEN.......................




Yep once I start this....I won't get anything done for the next fews days.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

IT'S COME A FROG CHOKER

Ok so maybe not a frog choker, but it rained like the dickens. By the time I got home the end of my driveway was totally under water.

The rain has stopped for now though and the end of the clouds is moving eastward and the sun has just broken through.

You are not going to believe what I bought on the way home! Two Granny Smith apple trees. They are 5 gallons and about 7 feet tall. That was interesting getting them home in my Galant. I will unload them in a bit once I put my mud boots on. Looks like the brief high winds have died out thank goodness because it is chilly. Wow black clouds on one side and sunny on the other. Very cool. No pic though, sorry.

I just ate a salad with butternut squash ravioli and sweet peas (all store bough though). Yum!

Since I hate mud....have I told you guys I hate mud...yep I bet I have...anyway since I hate mud I will only do the chores outside that I have to. When I bought the trees at Home Depot, I also bought a new broom...mine mysteriously broke when the grandboys were here over spring break, and I bought scrubbing bubbles. I am going to do all my laundry, scrub tubs and toilets and sinks, scrub wood work with Murphys oil soap and then sweep, mop and vacume. By then I will need a long hot shower.

Then the best part. I am going to make a huge cup of herbal tea with honey, sit at my computer and cuddle with Flash.
Ok I have put off the mud chores long enough.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

NO PICS TONIGHT

Like I commented to Patrice, after all that I did last night I am not even sore today. I am thankful and confused.

You would not believe how still and beautiful it is out tonight. The sky is blue, the sun is shining, the birds are singing and I am enjoying every minute.

We must have gotten just enough rain to benefit but not make too much mud. The puddle is back at the end of the driveway.

I got home very late and only have time to rush through outside chores. Inside I will do dishes and laundry and then just relax. I am sleepy.

My daughter will be house sitting for her boyfriend for the next 5 day! 5 days of peace and quiet. 5 days of when I leave the house clean it stays clean....but 5 days of when I leave the house dirty the cleaning fairy doesn't come while I am at work. What will I do with myself.

I saw a movie where this girl's hippie mom liked to work in the garden in her birthday suit....hmmmmm. I better not. Might shock the chickens.

Have a beautiful evening.

***Update after my walk about*** Everyone is happy and fed. There is a bluebird nesting in my home made bird house!

Everybody got something green and believe it or not, my cat Flash was feeling his oats and ran and tried to attack the two steer calfs the neighbor has. They were eating the grass along the fence and looked at him like he had lost his kitty marbles.

Monday, March 23, 2009

NO HELPER TONIGHT.

Well I got off of work at 4pm because I know the weather is calling for storms tonight and if I let the piles of grass from last night get wet it will be a disaster. At lunch I ran to Home Depot and got a box of 68 Husky brand lawn and leaf bags.

Came home by 4:45pm and by 5 I was in the field with rake and bags in hand. By the end of my first pile I didn't know how I was going to make it through all the piles by myself. So I figured I would just keep my head down, listen to the red winged black birds singing in the cattails, the hoot owls in the creek right behing me, and hope the rain didn't start before I died of a heart attack.

I tried not to stop often because it was hard to start again. I figured on 30 bags. I was wrong. It was 40 when all were bagged. I think I missed a pile on the hill by the pond, I forgot to go back and check. It was almost dark when I came it.

This took me 3.5 hours....all by myself. I wonder really if I will be able to get out of bed in the morning.

I took some Aleve and decided I better eat dinner even though it is late. So I made a wonderful salad, with asian shrimp noodle stir fry and a calorie free asian salad dressing with soy sauce.


It was so wonderful I am glad I decided to eat.

Got 5 eggs tonight but I was too tired to see how many blues, greens browns or pinks. Since it was dark when I went to gather them, and I didn't have a flash light, all I did was stick my hand in and feel around. Now I know better than this. I prayed the whole time that there would not be a snake in the box.

Note for tomorrow: while getting ready to rake tongight I noticed that there might be something digging into the hen house. I piled bricks up against the wall over the holes. I will have to set the live trap this weekend.

Just checked the radar. Spring storms firing up in the mid west. The wind is blowing hard here and the clouds look as if it could start storming at any moment. You all know my job is weather related. I bet I have a busy next few weeks. I am glad I got that raking done.

ps...the bags are still out in the field. I just didn't have anything left. Oh and the last thing I did was mow a little standing patch of grass....guess what? There was a hidden piece of firewood in it and I hit it with my tractor. It is stuck in the blade. I really hope I didn't hurt my grass ride!!!!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

IF YOU THINK BEING LAZY IT WORTH IT? THINK AGAIN!

This was a great day. I didn't have to go anywhere. I was here alone and got to do anything I wanted. I drank coffee and started laundry. Cleaned my bedroom and bathroom. Then wanted to go outside. I decided I was going to mow the 2 acre field.

Well last year I wanted to let it go "natural" so I didn't mow the field at all. During the early part of the winter I discovered why I shouldn't have done that. If any of you know what a Locust Tree is, you will know they take over in a short amount of time. They have thorns up to 4 inches long even on the baby plants. Well there were a million in my two acre field. And I am not joking. While I mowed they punctured my tires making them look like a porcupine.

So that is one reason not to be lazy about your mowning. The next is that there is a ton of dead grass laying on top of the green grass when you are done. That means the new growing grass will die. Then erosion happens and it is the beginning of the end for your lawn or your field.

After I was 3/4 done I ran out of gas. I used that opportunity to call my helper John and see if he was available. He was!! I ran to walmart and then to get John and back we came. While I finished mowing, he started raking. Then when I was done I went to help.

Mind you this is not my front yard....it is a 2 acre pasture that we are hand raking. I had no choice. I have plans for the grass this year. It is going to feed my chickens.

Each pile was approx. 4 feet in diameter and about 3 feet tall. When we got done there was about 40 of these piles in the field.

I don't dare add this to my compost pile because of all the weed seeds and locusts. I would never be able to keep the pile hot enough to kill all of them. I threw about 4 piles into the outside chicken run and they are happy little chickens.

John and I are moving them by raking them on my large tarp (about 4 piles per load) and then he and I grab the corners and start dragging. I seriously got a workout this evening. We added 3 tarps full to the burn pile but then I found out that that much grass doesn't burn well. It just smolders. So now what to do with the remaining 30 piles? I hate to do it but I have to consider bagging them to the land fill.

I will try to advertise on craigs list to see if anyone wants them. But if they don't want them by next monday I will put them out for the trash guys. Boy will they love me.

While I cooked pizza and washed dishes, John planted the rest of my sun flowers. We ate the pizza out on the picnic table and listened to the lions roaring. He thought that was really cool.

I took John back home and climbed in a very hot shower and took some Aleve for the pains I know I will have tonight.

This week we will try to take down the rest of the field fence.

Ps...I got 5 eggs. We are getting a blue egg, 2 green eggs, 1 pink egg and a brown egg. So that means I have two who are not producing. I suspect it is Red and Vanilla.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

SATURDAY EVENING POST

Ok it is time to get ready for the party tonight. I am beat. And I haven't even done that much. But boy am I excited about something. Look at what I discovered around the perimeter of my property......blackberries

















tons and tons of them.
even around the pond.....


and around the tree in the front yard.



While I was out mowing the grass this morning, I swung the tractor around and this is what I found.....some demon possessed my little grand children.....



Then I found what demon it was.....what unsupervised children will do.




I got lettuce planted and swiss chard even though it is not the right time for either. I planted them in the front flower bed where the winter lettuce is growing.

I didn't plant the tomatos but left them for tomorrow.



The auracans are taking a break today. Only brown eggs sitting on the toad house. Maybe the giant toad who lived out in the chicken house will live in here instead of insisting on staying in the hen house. I am not sure if chickens eat toads.


And you can sure tell it is spring in Texas.....the fire ants are wide awake.

SATURDAY MORNING POST

I can't say today is the perfect day because the sky is hazy not bright blue, but it is still beautiful and will be 75 degrees. I have planted about 10 sunflowers and mowed about an acre. I am currently in the house, just ate a late breakfast and am waiting for the advil to kick in! lol

I am then going to take my sister a dozen and a half eggs, go feed horses, pick another huge bag of vetch.

Then I will swing by Home Depot and get two bags of potting soil, some bedding plants, tomatos and stuff, and come home and plant them.

Fill the portable water tank (trash can in a wagon) and water the blueberries (I have flowers on the blueberries!) I didn't think they were supposed to produce their first year. If they are still a good prices at Home Depot I might get some more. (In case you are wondering from the last post...this was a planned purchase)

I raked up pine needles and re-mulched the blueberries because they love acid soil.

One thing I have to do but dread it is rake over by the large oak tree. There are tons of leaves there. I will pile them up there and start a compost pile that I will add the next load of rabbit manure to. I will cover it with a tarp til next year.

On payday I will be purchasing hop ryzomes. I have a request from my daughters boyfriend for fresh hops for home made beer and also I can use them in a relaxing tea or sleep pillows.

Ok time to get off the couch.

Friday, March 20, 2009

SPENDING ADDICT AND CHICK VIDEOS

Ok last week I began to bring my lunches to work. Average cost for a lunch is $2. That includes entree with protein source and salad. I bring breakfast too. 1/2 a bagel with heart smart butter, coffee and 1/2 an apple.

Also I have been bypassing the fancy coffee shops and drinking the free stuff at work, and no fast food (except for the golden arches fiasco a couple of days ago with my grand kids and their best friend from the planet Jupiter)

I can not believe how much money I have left in my checking. It is still a week to payday but I have all the food I need until then except for salad. I will get one more box. (man I can't wait until I can grow my own).

But during this process, I am harrassed constantly by my own mind! Constantly there is a little voice in my head when I pass Starbucks, Wendys, Sonic....just a Frap? just a diet limeaide? This "audio" plays in my head non stop when I am in my car. I don't know if it is passing all the billboards, ads, or just being out.

I feel like I am in a battle of tug-o-war with someone. But you know what by gosh? I won last weeks battle and the week before. I will continue to fight this battle. Because it is the only way I am going to be able to get ahead.

My mind has graduated to "the HGTV audio/video"...this is even harder to fight. Because I have such great things in mind for my farm. Both things to make it prettier and things to make it more functional.

Raiding my friends debris pile is helping because I know I am gaining building supplies which I will use. It also gives me something to do that doesn't cost anything. Both digging through the pile and using it to build with. I can't wait until I finish my first free project.

I hope that I finally some day get to the place where I am good at living cheap/frugal.

I believe I have done well on the propane tank out back. I think it has been almost a year since I filled it up and it is only a 250 gallon tank.

I have only spent 65 on wood this year as almost all of my firewood has been free.

Wow this is sooo hard. I am amazed.

Anyway, I left work late and had to feed horses. Didn't get home until after 7:30. So there was just enough daylight left to take some videos, photos and feed water and gather my 3 green eggs. The chicks are getting so big. Can you believe they are only 1 month and 1 week old?






I had a huge treat for all the chickens tonight. Where I keep my horse, the owners have a poorly maintained flower bed. It has become overgrown with crown vetch and weeds! Vetch is very healthy for animals. So I got a bag and pulled up a whole grocery sack full and gave some to the grown and the baby chicks.


video

Here is a video of them enjoying themselves. Look at the happy full crops!

Then I leaned on the chicken house while my dinner cooked and listened to the quiet. My grand kids had to go home today. I will miss them so much. But the farm was sooo quiet.

My wish for all of you? Find Frugality Easy and enjoy a peaceful warm spring weekend.

Tomorrow night? Late St. Paddy's Day party at my daughters boyfriends house. He makes his own hard cider. Yum.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

ALIENS AND HAPPY MEALS

Tonight I picked up the grand kids and decided to stop at the golden arches (yuk) for a snack to tide them over on the long drive to feed horses.

***NOTE TO PARENTS***Turn off the tv and radio in your car when your kids are there. You are missing out on some interesting conversations!

1 Mile down the road Jayden informs me that they have moved some "furniture" into their home made lean-to. Then he told me that there was an Alien living in the lean-to also.

Yep....his name is Shadow and when he wants to he has 20 eyes and 5 arms. But then he can change to look just like Jayden.

I asked what he liked to eat...Jayden said he happened to like the same Mighty Kids meals that he like so maybe we should get an extra one since Dakota had snuck him into the trunk.

He has a sister named Hola. They live on Jupiter in a town called &%)*$#@....not sure how to pronounce it here. Sometimes Shadow goes invisable. Sometimes you could stick your hand right through him....but you can't pull out the hamburger though.

At the farm where Sweetheart is they really enjoy the goats although only one is nice enough to let them pet her. They like to lay down in the field after she eats and she lays beside them to get scratched.

Then they found two beautiful red lady bugs with black spots.....on a hill.....so they say they must be Hill Lady Bugs. These are different than the ones on my farm as they are smaller and orange with black spots.

After the long process of feeding was over I got in the car and started it, looked in my rear view to see where the boys were only to catch sight of Jayden taking a big drink out of the billy goat water. Not sure if I should be worried about that one. Gag me.

All I had time to do when I got home was feed chickens, water and gather eggs. Going to bed very early tonight.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

GIVING AWAY EGGS TO NEIGHBOR KIDS

What a cool evening. I got to work at 6am so that I could get off at 2:45pm and race to meet my daughter and pick up the grand boys. She had to work.

Off to pick up coupons from mom and dad, and also empty pill bottles to store seeds in. I hope to gather a bunch of them.

Then over to feed horses. While waiting for them to finish eating, I was given a bunch of firewood which I loaded into the trunk.

Then on the way home I got a call from my helper John who told me that he had a bunch of scrap wood which I could come and get. We fit all we could into the trunk but the rest I will have to have a truck for. Yet another reason to get a truck.

Then home we raced to unload the wood and kids. As we pulled into the driveway there was a HUGE boom from behind the house. I could tell it was a rather large shotgun. As I pulled around to unload the wood I saw the "behind me" neighbor along with two other men and 3 kids shooting a shotgun into a large pile of dirt. I have met him before once. His name is Glen...very very nice young man...he waved at me and came running across the field with a couple of the kids. He wanted to tell me he was not pointing the gun in my direction. That was really nice.

I know shotguns and knew he wasn't close enough to hurt us anyway but also saw which direction he was pointing the gun.

The boy and girl with him were around the same age as my oldest grandson and both my grandsons were up on the fence introducing themselves. As most kids do, Jayden and Dakota asked the boy and girl to come over and check out their tree houses. Glen gave them til dark and another boy a little older came over too. In 15 minutes they checked out the tree houses, found a football and threw it back and forth and came to see the baby chickens. I sent them home each with an egg, 2 green and one pink layed today. They thought it was really cool that my chickens lay Easter Eggs.

Here is a picture of the irons that I traded for eggs. I haven't figured out what to do with them yet.



And here is a piece of wood I found on the pile of fire wood I got. I don't think I will burn this one. It is too cool.



Right now it is just dark and the kids are watching an alien movie while I cook speghetti and meatballs without the red sauce but with butter...(go figure the taste buds of kids).


ps....last night the first of the bull frogs woke up!!

Monday, March 16, 2009

NATURAL FOOD

Ok so I cooked the cattail shoots and made a lemon pepper butter sauce to go over them. They have to be good for you. They are full of fiber! They taste great but you have to chew them forever.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

MUDDY DAY!!!

It is 49 degrees out right now and I believe it has been 49 all day. But it is very damp and it feels much colder.

John and I worked outside from 9:45am to 4:45pm without a break. The temp was great to work outside but it is very muddy and damp. (ok truthfully I didn't start working outside until after noon)

John dug up the two horrible looking rose bushes out of the orchard.

He pulled out the posts that held up the horrible looking wire fence in the back yard and then he and I dug up the small wild plums. This wire fence has been collecting blowing leaves and keeping me from mowing for a year and a half. Now the wire is down, the scrub trees are gone.
Before:
After:




And for the first time since I have been here, I got to mow there!!! Ok I have many odd ball qualities. One is that I hate mud. Another is that I hate long grass. I don't play golf but I love the grass. So this area of my yard has always bothered me. Any area that has long grass does. (as you can see there is a little pink left on the bottom. I will replace the underpinning this year)



We also cut a large branch from the side tree. This branch prevents easy mowing. So it is now on the burn pile. We used a hand saw and after 5 minutes I got a charlie horse in my tricep. So John took over.

I also found an interesting blog. Prodigal Gardens had some practical information for gathering and using cattails. I knew from reading so many survival sites that having a cattail patch around means you won't starve. But I tried to dig the roots last fall and just found it too labor intensive. So when she talked about the shoots being edible and tasting like cucumber, I decided to see for myself. Since I already had my mud boots on what the heck.

So John and I went down to the pond and the shoots are just about a foot high. They pull straight up out of a pocket. The bottom part is light green or almost white and that part does taste like cucmber but John says it tastes like lettuce.



I cut off the lower portion of each leaf and put it in a box in the frig. Tomorrow I am going to steam these and serve them with dinner with an herb butter sauce.



John worked very hard and although I believe he is beginning to hate mud too, he never lost his smile while he was working. I am lucky to have such a willing worker.


I HATE MUD! AND A COOL FIND IN THE ORCHARD

Ok have I told you guys how much I hate mud???? I HATE MUD!!!! And boy do we have a lot of it here.








But first I gotta show you the coolest thing I have found on my farm since I moved in here:






A baby spur

It was just laying there on the ground in the orchard.



Peas are growing.

The hen house has standing water in it. I still got 5 eggs though.





I lost a little chick last night. I had one chick that was not thriving and was not getting bigger. It finally died.