It didn’t rain after all

Most of the day has been sunny, occasional cloud cover and a light mist once or twice, but no rain yet. The next 4 days look like there will really be rain, so after delivering the masks and some asparagus to daughter’s house, I tackled the chicken problem.

First part of the job was to remove the inside fence that they were getting under when they were in the garden run. It was rolled and tossed over the fence on the east of the garden, the stakes pulled and sorted. I have two sizes of the garden stakes, one is right at 4 feet when pounded in the depth you are supposed to pound them, the rest are about a foot shorter. The longer ones and some sturdier T posts that are 4 feet when pounded in were set 3 feet to the east of the sturdy garden fence. The wire that had been removed was fastened to those posts. The chickens lost about 4 square feet of pen, I gained 4 square feet of compost, and that fence was attached to the other piece to change the configuration of their pen to a smaller square with a long 3 foot wide run off of it. The second piece of wire that I had removed was then used to provide a cover to the new run so the hawk can’t catch a chicken in that area. It was a fair amount of work and I didn’t finish cleaning up because I was worn out and it was time to prep dinner. There are about 15 T posts laying in the grass that need to be gathered and stored and several sizable rocks that were inside the pen blocking holes that need to be returned to one of the many rock piles.

It won’t take them long to make it a barren wasteland, but I have been putting large sheets of the spoiled hay bale in there and using more of it in the garden so that when the hay men come, they can give me a fresh bale for the upcoming year. I usually get one that either didn’t get properly tied or one that wasn’t full sized for me to use in their run and in the garden as mulch.

About a dozen years ago, I planted this Dogwood on the hill by the driveway. It had to be protected year after year from the deer nipping off the new growth. All of the native Dogwoods have bloomed out, but this one is just beginning.


Our kitchen window and French doors from the dining room face south to the depth of our property. When I went down to prep dinner, I spotted a bear in the lower hay field. This is zoomed as much as the camera would zoom, then the photo cropped so that you can actually see the bear. This one is much larger than the little one we saw a few weeks ago, probably 125 to 150 pounds. It was a couple football fields away and seemed totally unaware of me on the deck taking it’s picture. It finally moved closer to the house, but stayed on the other side of the lower hay field fence, the disappeared into the woods to the west. Some years we don’t see any, this year we have had three sightings, two on our property and one near the bottom of the road near the creek.

Ah, the rain has begun, the veggie starts and seeds will get watered, I will take a few days off to read, spin, and knit. After the storms end around weeks end, there is weeding to be done between the garden proper and the outer fence. The chickens did a pretty good job when they were allowed in there, but they don’t like Creeping Charlie and a plant I haven’t identified that has a similar shaped leaf but is larger, spreading out 360 degrees from a substantial stem. They will eat the catmint leaves, but where it grows right under the fence, it needs to be dug out. I’m sure after 4 days of rain, there will be more found mint to dig out as well. It is less each time I work that area, but man that stuff is tenacious. After a few days of rain, the soil will be softer and easier to rid the fence line of grass and the outer path of weeds. I need more cardboard to put down so I can pile spoiled hay on it, that helps too.

Another beautiful spring day on the farm.

The first thing I do each morning, is look out the windows of our bedroom and see if we have clouds, fog, or rain. Next I check the weather app to see how warm it will be to determine how many layers need to be donned. This morning is was bright and sunny and the weather app said mid 70’s before the day is done. The porch thermometer read 51 so the short sleeved wool tee was topped with my wool hoodie until it warmed some. Once coffee was made and dogs fed, I stepped out to let the chickens out and give them some scratch. It was almost too warm for the hoodie already and the walk over to the coop reminded me that the grape vine needed to be trellised before it leafed out.

Before attacking the grape vine, I carried a dozen eggs up to my neighbor’s porch for him to enjoy. That half mile walk revealed that with the sun and no wind, the hoodie was too much clothing. It was exchanged for a cotton sun shirt to protect my arms from the vines and the sun and donned a large brimmed straw sun hat, grabbed my car keys and the post pounder. Because of all the rain lately, the T posts that weren’t being used but were still pounded in where an old fence had been were wiggled free and repositioned in line with the grape vine about 7 or 8 feet out from the trunk. I knew that there was a good amount of high tensile wire at the very back of the hay field, it was found by the brush hog the first time we mowed that field and it got tangled in the blade, so I drove the car down, yanked it from the brush and loaded it back to the house. This was my first experience with high tensile wire except to get it out of the brush hog. I had no idea how tough it is to work with, but with two pair of large pliers and a wire cutter, I managed to run two strands between the poles. That was a tough job and they aren’t as tight as I wanted, but the best I could do with the equipment I had.

The grape vine was seriously pruned. There may be no grapes this year, but next year when it does produce again, the grapes will be strung out along the wire for good air flow and ease of harvest, not in the tall grass and tangle of vines like last year. The best canes were stretched out along the two strands and anchored with tomato plant clips until they wind themselves on the wire.

The vine trimmings will be soaked for an hour and made into a grape vine wreath, you can never have too many of them.

The smiling panseys and the coral bells are loving the warm sunshine on the back deck steps.

With the ground still soft, I think the afternoon will be spend moving fence posts for the garden and chicken run. It will get me out of the noise of the exhaust vents and smell of the self cleaning oven. Windows are open and fans are blowing. It needed to be done before I made bread again and it is a nice day.