Tag Archives: tree pruning

A Day Outdoors

It isn’t really here and cold will come again, but yesterday was spring time.  The tractor finally got warm enough to start, allowing  some chores that had been needed for a while.  Haying farmer friend always brings me a couple of bales of old spoiled hay after he takes the new hay each year.  That old hay is used in the chicken coop until it gets too wet to be usable, it also is used over cardboard as mulch between the beds in the garden to help keep the weeds at bay.  One of the bales was dropped where it could be rolled down near the coop, but the second one was too far from the garden.  Our little tractor is too small to load a large round bale and though that ball wasn’t a full bale, it was too large for the bucket, so it just sat.  Now that the boxes are being put in place in the garden and mulching between them is necessary, the bale needed to be moved.  pushing it with the tractor bucket started it to unroll.  Once it was about half of it’s original size, it fit inside the bucket and was dumped over the fence into the garden.  Then the unrolled parts were collected with a hay fork, loaded into the bucket in several trips and dumped over the fence as well.

 

garden

 

Now there is a huge pile of spoiled hay just inside the movable part of the fence that serves as a gate.  Maybe this spring, a real gate will be hung. Shortly after moving in, we bought 4 half wine barrels at a winery to use for storing root vegetables.  They were only used for a year or so that way and then two of them were put in the garden for flowers and later for potatoes.  The remaining two were left behind the house and had begun to come apart.  One of them was sound enough to move very carefully yesterday in the tractor bucket and carried into the garden, partially filled with soil to help hold it together.  There are now three in the garden for potatoes.  The fourth one fell all to pieces and needs to be puzzled back together.  It really should be in the garden too.  For now it is a pile of staves, metal rings, and a bottom.

While the tractor was out, the culvert at the top of the driveway received a clean out as the winter rain has caused it to nearly fill with fine gravel again.  Two buckets of gravel, sand, and soil were scooped out and utilized to build up the area in front of the garage door that was forming a pond with each rain.

driveway

It was pretty quick work to scoop a bucket full from the ditch, drive it down, dump it and use the bucket to spread it flatter.  It only took a few more minutes with a rake to make a gravel area again where it was only sandy mud.  We will see when it rains again if the pond is gone and the water runs around the house as intended.

Some flower bed weeding was accomplished, the chickens loving something fresh and green to eat, the peach tree pruning was begun, but just too much to tackle in one attack.  It won’t produce fruit this year, but will be a much more manageable size for pruning in future years and perhaps the other peach tree will give us some fruit this year.

It was nice to be outdoors in February working in the yard and gardens.  Last year, we had just been plowed out by our farmer friend from one of the largest snows of the winter.

We are still searching for some chickens to increase our flock.  Chick days are about to begin, but that is really not the preferred approach.  Hopefully, the hens will be prolific this year and there will be many homegrown chicks from which to choose.  Their fencing still needs to be removed and replaced with a finer mesh and a top put in place to try to thwart the hawk so that we don’t lose so many this year.

We are toying with adding two piglets, putting them in the lower garden which is a large space.  To do so, perhaps that fencing will be used for the replacement fencing, it is good welded wire fence and just run a row of chicken wire around the bottom of the chicks pen.  We could just use strands of electric to keep the piglets in or put hog panels between the t-posts. More research needs to be done before that step is taken, to see how much a port-a-hut costs, how much feed will be needed, and where and how to get them processed.  It needs to be economical in the long run.

That would be another nice step toward self sustainability.  Still loving life on our farm.

 

 

Contrasts

 

 

Yesterday was thick, gray, looked like it was going to snow weather.  Threats of it doing so were made late in the afternoon, but it never materialized.  It was cold, hovering around 30ºf for a high.  Granddaughter had an after preschool play date with her “bestie,” so we ran errands.  In spite of the fact that it is mid winter here, the stores are all dressed in summer finery and all the winter goods are marked down, seriously down.  My wardrobe has a dress coat that isn’t very warm when it is really cold, a ski jacket that is short and white, an ugly pink, nasty barn coat that is warm but not to be seen in public. Just in time for it to plummet into the teens last night, we found a parka with faux fur hood, 70% off, rated to -13ºf (not that it ever gets that cold here).

parka

 

Somebody who loves me said, “sure,” so it followed us home.  When we headed out for our Saturday morning breakfast and Farmers Market venture this morning it was 18ºf, but a beautiful sunny day.  It was so cozy wearing my new parka to the market, the only  thing that got cold was the hand that had to deal with paying for the goodies that were purchased.

It has finally gotten up in the upper 30’s and will warm back up this week and then it will roller coaster back down again.  It will be nice to have this warmth when it is cold outside, those frigid mornings that require chipping ice off the windshield to take grandson to the bus stop, those hovering at freezing days when the wind is howling, or when a walk in the snowy woods is in order.

seeds

 

In contrast to the cold, today the post brought the summer seed.  The vegetables, flowers, and cover crop bounty.  Some onion sets, potato starts, some brassicas and chard seedlings will be bought locally, not started in the basement or the utility room window sill. The garden plan is done.  There are still two wooden half barrels that need repair and relocation to the garden to be filled.  The potatoes will be grown in the barrels. The fencing needs some work, some clean up is necessary in the lower part of the garden that will be sown in oats and flowers this year except for the blueberry bed.  The overgrown peach tree still needs the major pruning.  Perhaps this week when the weather is mild and dry.

lazydog

 

Lets end this post with 200 pounds of silly dog who was in the sun, but it moved and he didn’t.  Note the discrete use of the tail.

Yoyo Weather

We have two days of spring followed by two days of winter followed by two more days of spring.  And a winter storm is on the radar for Sunday night into Tuesday morning. I’m ready for spring to come and stay. After moving the now week old chicks to the basement, I left them there until they are another week or so older or until the weather reaches more moderate temperatures and looks like it may hold.

Each warm day, Jim goes for a ride on his motorcycle. Today while he was gone and the big chickens were free ranging, I tackled fruit tree pruning and remulching. Over the past couple of years, we have planted 5 apple trees, 3 peach trees, and 2 Asian pears. The oldest two peaches were pruned for the first time last year and responded with lots of new growth. Most of the apples planted last year needed very little work. The peach in the chicken pen is getting too much nitrogen from the chickens, it is growing like wild but probably won’t produce fruit.

One of our goals is to fence this area this spring and then the chickens will free range within the orchard and in non growing seasons, also the vegetable garden. They have effectively cleared all of the weeds from one compost bin and started on another.

This storm will come without the return of our generator from the shop. Most of the pre storm prep is in place from the wind storm two days ago. A few supplies will be added tomorrow and again we will hunker down and hope the storm prediction fizzles. If it doesn’t, we may be facing another ice and snow storm.

Come on spring, we are ready.
Life is an adventure on our mountain farm.