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All The Pretty Flowers

2013-05-17 09.29.52For Mothers Day, my first ever, I got flowers.

Not the cut kind that die in a few days, the growing kind that will last all summer. Longer even if I do it right. Mostly Osteospurmum. What a long fancy name for such a pretty little flower. I wanted orange, I have a bit of a thing for orange and purple. Nobody had any though. Not to complain mind you what I got was just as good, maybe better. I got a beautiful pale orange fading to pink and purple, dark purple, rusty red and a pale strangely shaped purple. What fun. Plus a few other random pretty flowers.

I brought them home and gradually, as time permitted, began combining them with my gorgeous Petunias. Finally yesterday I got every thing into baskets. Some of my poor Petunias were getting pretty root-bound. Others haven’t grown hardly at all. I think they were in desperate need of repotting.

I stopped into our excellent local greenhouse earlier to see what they had and pursue my search for a orange Osteospurmum only to find that they had suffered a power outage during the blizzard. The heaters in their greenhouses were kept running through most of it by their generator. Then at four thirty in the morning they ran out of diesel fuel. They searched long and hard finding a neighbor with out an electric pump on their fuel tank but not until hours later when most of their plants had already frozen. It was incredibly sad for me I can only imagine how they felt. The Lil’ Ladybug is a very small family owned nursery and I wish them so much luck getting through this.

Even with all of her problems Karen was, although unable to help me with an orange Osteospurmum, willing to instruct me in the propagation of one once I found it. It was fascinating. Apparently all these years instead of letting them freeze I should have been taking cuttings. She says if I just stick them in dirt they will root and I will have next years plants.

Don’t believe their signs they are really open. The stock is some what limited but still worth stopping by.

Lacewings

imagesLast year, and the year before that for that matter, it was Lady Bugs. This year I put in my vote for a change and my adventuress gardener husband complied. We decided to order Lacewings.

They are a beautiful bright green insect with translucent wings and to quote Wiki “they are voracious predators, attacking most insects of suitable size, especially soft-bodied ones (aphids, caterpillars and other insect larvae, insect eggs, and at high population densities also each other). Therefore, the larvae are colloquially known as “aphid lions” (also spelled “aphidlions”) or “aphid wolves”, similar to the related antlions.”

In other words we got them to help control the aphids that get so bad on the peppers in the greenhouse.

They are shipped as eggs and larva when they don’t arrive fast enough. The eggs are spread about the greenhouse to hatch into larva then eventually into the Lacewing insect.

My Favoite Part of Gardening

2012-07-30 06.59.36We got the sweet corn started last weekend and will follow with a later planting in June. We planted Mirai, Vision F1, Xtra Tender, and Wildas pride, an ornamental. That is my sweet corn loving husbands favorite part now I am working on mine. I may have mentioned it before but I love pumpkins. They make me happy. Thinking about them makes me giddy.

I have fifteen varieties of squash to plant this year. Last year we planted sixteen rows on purpose plus the volunteers. I know I only want to plant one of the Speckled Hound they are amazingly prolific. I suppose I could get by with one of the Baby Bear, Big Max (although it makes me sad) and Wee Be Little. Definitely one Acorn Squash and if there was a way to do half of a Spaghetti Squash they are both astonishingly good producers. The Mini Harvest Blend and Small Ornamental Gourd blend might offer the desired variety if I let two seeds go from the same hill. The others though I don’t know how I will limit myself to one plant of each.

They are so beautiful. Even their names are enchanting: Rouge Vif d’Etampes, Marina Di Chiogga, Jarrahdale, Queensland Blue and Lumina. They are my favorites flat and deep orange, round smooth and blue, big warty and grey. My new experiments for this year: Connecticut Field, Nothing fancy an old heirloom variety plain smooth orange, I suppose the early settlers made many a meal of them carving there niche out of the wilderness. Bushel Gourd, I am fantasising about spending next winter carving and decorating many a bird house next winter.

But one hill of each it will be. Already myriad volunteers are popping up across last years pumpkin patch. There is great excitement in seeing what they will be. We will transfer them into the open space and wait to see what we get. Probably twenty spaghetti squashes like last year.

Planting Corn

Now there’s corn planting

And then there’s CORN PLANTING

Spring Things

A New Red Wagon

We finally got the Small Goblin Child’s wagon put together. Only about a year after receiving it. Better late than never. She loves it, we love it. As handy as the back pack is for things that require using my hands, like oh, say working Nevel, the wagon is easier on my shoulders for walks and the like. She is so cute sitting in there clinging to the sides as we bounce over the rough roads. Good thing it’s a four-wheel-drive wagon.

Dirt is Healthy

I was a little concerned so this is very good news. It’s all well and good to theorize and listen to hearsay but a little proof is always nice.

We put the tomatoes and various other plants out in the green house today, finally. What is it now a month after we first hoped to get it done? The tomatoes had gone insane. They were a good two feet tall twining about the grow lights. We dug the holes for the four going into the green house with a post hole digger. We buried them until they are only about six inches tall.

Every thing else looked nice, until it saw sunlight for the first time. They wilted instantly standing in water. My gardener husband constructed a little shade and they are recovering nicely. The peppers are gorgeous and we will have petunias coming out of our, well they look good.

The Goblin Child got her first ride on the four-wheeler hauling the flats of plants over. Then, during the planting, we sat her on the ground where the corn isn’t coming up. She played happily the whole time. I looked over once to see her sucking on a clod of dirt like a lolly pop. I took it away and spent the rest of the time trying to control her dirt intake. I wasn’t going to tell anybody. I didn’t want people to know what a bad parent I am, but I came in the house and started to research dirt so I would know how much I had to worry about it.

Come to find out I am actually a very good parent. I am helping her to develop a strong immune system. When I let her pet poor disgusting Daisy, same thing.  So we will, cautiously, continue to allow her to eat dirt. Now I need to start researching the eating of grass, I think she has been watching the horses to much.

So Exciting!

It’s the little things.

I got a new book! I know how cool is that?

Well it’s a new book on clicker training. Used to train dolphins and quite common in the dog world it is still mostly unheard of for horses. So of course if it’s not main stream I’ve got to try it.

I’ve made it through the first couple of chapters and it’s fascinating. I was able to sneak out and work Nevel during the child’s morning nap so we tried it out just a little. We tried targeting. It sounded, and seemed to be, very simple. I brought my beautiful purple lunge whip and every time he touched it with his nose I clicked my clicker and he got a cookie. The point being to teach him to associate the click with a reward and realize that he did something to cause it. I’m not sure yet how this carries on into something useful. I guess I will have to finish the book.

Also, I’m getting a tack room!

Life is so very very exciting.

In our yard sits a building that at one time was the bunkhouse where the hired hand lived. I planted flowers up it, but mostly it has sat there rotting for many years now. Generations have used it for storage but now the roof on one side had caved in and it was deteriorating at a much quicker rate.

A bundle of tin was discovered that had been ordered for it years ago then forgotten. So my occasional carpenter husband and his pay-loader driving father re-roofed the west/worst side. I tried to help but we used up the Small Goblin Child’s brief happy patient period quickly. I spent most of the time in the house trying to get her to sleep. Seldom have I been jealous of anyone but I have to admit I envied my brother for living close to my mom. She baby sat for him all the time while he worked on his house. It sure would have made this easier. I think he’s had his share and now she needs to move out here. Fortunately the father-in-law showed up to help and was, I’m sure, way more help then I ever could have been. I love the way they use the pay-loader for scaffolding.

Now we simply need to finish the other side of the roof, clean out decades of carefully stored “stuff”, and haul all of our junk over. Oh yeah, it doesn’t just get to be my tack room. That is merely a pleasant side effect. Mostly it will be a storage shed for gardening supplies and all the other misalliance “stuff” that currently fills our back porch. Eventually we will get this house organized so we all fit.

Been Busy

2013-04-12 11.08.59

See how his hind fetlock joints bend forwards?

The blizzard got over. As far as I know the two calves who started their lives in the barn are still alive. The one I tubed had bad hind legs. My father-in-law thought his hind feet had froze. I thought it looked like contracted tendons. We shall wait and see if they get better or fall off. If he is still alive that is. I went along to doctor him during the last snow, he had pneumonia pretty bad. He had a bed of hay in a pen with only one other calf, and their moms but sometimes they really like to die no matter what you do for them.

The one other calf is his barn buddy, that one decided he had no interest in eating. The guys spent a lot of time running his mom into the chute so they could show him how it was done. (By guiding him into position, not by demonstrating.) Now that the weather is nice again I am no longer checking cows and really have no idea what is going on out there.

My hands are full enough with the small Goblin Child. We have been thinking about trying to return her to her true father (the goblin king). We hope she is teething, if not, well if not hopefully she will out grow this stage quickly. She has given up on sleeping through the night and now wakes up two or three times. Lately she is refusing  her naps leaving us with the most amazingly grouchy baby.

She is learning to walk. Very exciting for her, and us. Every time we get near her she reaches out her hands wanting us to assist her to her feet. Once up she doesn’t really want us to hold onto her any longer but she also has no sense of balance and no fear of falling. Her favorite position seems to be standing with her forehead pressed to the floor.

We got more chickens! The three from last year all turned out to be roosters. As fond as we were of them we didn’t want roosters. One went to be the herd rooster at my husbands uncles house. The other two took to roosting on the in-laws porch. My husband doesn’t eat chicken, weird I know, and apparently the in-laws don’t ether or at least don’t want to butcher their own. The chickens disappeared one night, I didn’t ask for details.

The new ones are promised to be hens. Bomgaars said so. They also has an excellent selection. I got a Silver Laced Wyandotte, one Blue Andalusian, an Americana and two of my all time favorites Speckled Sussex.  Bomgaars is supposed to be getting a shipment including Buff Orpingtons so we may have to get one more chick.

The Aftermath

The snow is supposed to be over at least. In reality it is still coming down pretty good out there. The guys have been out in the pay-loaders all morning clearing snow out of the feed lot so they can feed calves for reals, yesterday they got some bales of hay. When the small Goblin Child went down for her nap I went out to check the horses and look at the snow. The horses were great, the snow was incredible.

While I was out I thought I would let the cow and her hopefully still alive calf out of the barn. He was not only alive but doing great so I fought the door open, there was some doubt as to the outcome, and kicked them out.

Unfortunately I then immediately found another calf born on the ice and mud still alive but barely kicking. I called my snow plowing husband and he came to our aid. We were able to get that cow and calf into the recently vacated shed. She is quiet and devoted but not licking on the poor little guy. Of the calves born yesterday that seems to have been the main deciding factor in whether they lived.

Two were still alive when we found them, the one in the barn and another that was immediately hauled to the Quonset and placed in front of  a heater. He barely lasted out the hour. At the barn door was another already gone when we got there. At least one other was up and going nicely.

Today we found an older calf that looked like he had been laid on. One newborn and the one we got into the barn this morning and lots of brand new calves up and running around. All in all we fared nicely there is tons of protection in the pens. I can’t imagine how people are doing with out so much shelter. I didn’t realize just how bad it was until I dropped the child off at the in-laws. The wind was blowing straight down the driveway, the one unprotected spot. It was cold. In the shelter of the pens it had been nearly warm and the snow was melting.

The main roads are opening again but I hear they have given up on the county roads until the snow stops blowing so hard. School is cancelled today and again tomorrow. I hear the snow is drifted to the second floor windows.