Wednesday, May 22, 2013
We're told that we won't see these cows' heads for at least a month. The Johnson Grass is taller than the cows themselves and is the first thing they went for. They should also graze on the multiflora rose and other weeds eventually. On our way to pasture renovation!
(In case you're just now joining our adventures, these are the neighbors' cows that we agreed to pasture in our field in exchange for bush hogging and some other trade-offs; namely, that we get to watch and enjoy the sight of cows without having to do any of the work.)
The piggies tentatively watched the unloading, and the puppies barked wildly in confusion from the confines of their run while Clyde was locked up in the house. We're hoping that the dogs don't run straight into the electric fence once they spot the cows during their usual rounds tomorrow morning.
Also, both cows are preggos, so we'll get to have baby cows in about a month! Can you tell I'm excited by the number of exclamation points in this post?!
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
No, we're not getting flooded, but the temps are rapidly increasing around these parts, and it's important to keep the beasts (aka, dogs and cat) cool and hydrated. As much as I love having a bright and airy home with lots of windows open and breezes flowing through, when it gets hot, closing up the house is the easiest way to keep everyone cool without A/C. We average at least ten degrees cooler inside by closing the windows and drawing the curtains. Then, when the temperature drops after the sun goes down, we open up the house, and all is right with the world.
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Saturday, May 18, 2013
Today, we corralled the pigs into the little co-op utility trailer and towed them up to the barn with Polly. They were quite pleased with their new accommodations and immediately started rooting around. They also very quickly learned the boundaries of the electric fence. We watched them for about an hour and enjoyed some cervezas in the meantime.
The chickens were intrigued by all the commotion. Interestingly, chicken feathers are apparently excellent insulators because they don't get shocked -- unless they touch the wire with the un-feathered parts of their heads or their feet.
Then Moosie decided to test the fence and spent the rest of the excursion far, far away from that scary white wire. (We checked on them a few hours later and brought Tally up -- she also quickly learned that wet puppy noses and electric wire do not mix -- yipe!)
Clyde might have a second career as barn dog in addition to porch dog (but has yet to test the wire).
Friday, May 17, 2013
Jay has been working his butt off getting the fencing ready for the piggies. Not only that, we decided to let our neighbor use the part of the upper field that the pigs won't have access to for pasturing two of his cows -- probably a mom and calf. At first, we were against this idea, but then we decided that it would work out to our advantage because the cows would start the renovation of this neglected pasture by chomping it down, and then our neighbor agreed to bush hog it after the cows are done and the season is over. Plus, it gets us to install perimeter fencing now instead of waiting until next spring when we plan to get our own cow (or two). Then, we'll only need to cross-fence it into paddocks for our rotational grazing plan. We opted to skip this step with the neighbor's cows because the whole thing will get bush hogged anyway. We won't have to do anything with the cows themselves -- the neighbor will be responsible for all that -- we just get to enjoy the sight of them, which was kinda what sealed the deal.
I finally finished building and seeding the corn patch today and enjoyed the view of some irises growing along our culvert. Not sure if these are wild or planted by the previous owner, but they sure are a sight to see.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
A while back, I scraped the grass off this little area but was too tired to dig up yet more rocks in preparation for a planting bed. So it just sat there and I kept anything from growing in it until I could figure out what should go there. I decided to seed some oilseed radishes in the hopes that they will do the digging for me and will make a suitable planting space for something else next year.
Something has been nibbling on my Michihili cabbage, so I dusted the plants with some diatomaceous earth in the hopes of deterring whatever critter is doing the damage.
The peas have turned into a jungle.
The beans are up! Now for more trellising.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Monday, May 13, 2013
I bought the above 6-pack of red salvia on sale for 84 cents the other day (not yet potted). The purple basil was a lot more expensive at $3.99 but is doing much better than the bargain one next to it that I've been coddling since winter. The bargain salvia should bounce back nicely, though.
Sunday, May 12, 2013
Our frosts are supposed to be over for the season, but there is a frost advisory for tonight, with a potential low of 30 degrees. I covered our tomato seedlings with little makeshift greenhouses -- I think I'll also lay down a double layer of row cover as well for some extra insulation.
Yes, there are actual tomatoes under those plastic domes. They are TINY. I couldn't get them to grow any more indoors under lights for some reason, so I figured transplanting a couple weeks ago was in order, and they are finally showing growth -- hopefully they'll stay warm enough tonight.
Jay kindly dug up some more rocky top today and transplanted my peach tree bargain find.
Saturday, May 11, 2013
The chicken coop is finally done!
At dusk on Thursday, I corralled five chickens at a time in a pillow case and carried them up to their new digs in the corn crib. The previous day, we finished securing it with chicken wire and heavy rocks to shore up the bottom and hopefully prevent any predators from breaking in. We spread a thick layer of straw on the floor inside and wedged a few big pieces of wood found in the barn into the cross braces for roosts.
We kept them inside the new coop all day yesterday and today and plan to let them roam their new outdoor territory tomorrow -- hopefully this will have gotten them used to the coop and I won't need to do any chicken catching at dusk tomorrow when they bed down for the night.
Jay constructed the PVC pipe chicken feeder design I found online at a total cost of 30 bucks (it fits a whole half bag of feed), and we installed an Avian Aqua Miser DIY chicken waterer made out of a 5-gallon bucket, both of which are working fabulously so far.
The slatted walls allow great airflow and shade and keep the coop at least ten degrees cooler than outdoor temps.
The chickens seem quite content in their new home, but I'm sure that after two whole days indoors, they will be quite ready to explore the greenery that surrounds them by tomorrow.
Friday, May 10, 2013
Yesterday, I planted Tennessee Valencia peanuts intercropped with Black Seeded Simpson lettuce (hopefully as a weed supressor). Peanuts are something that I never would have thought to grow, but moving to the south (and, consequently, having consistent rainfall year-round) has meant trying lots of new garden edibles.
Despite being under the weather all day today, I cleaned the house and probably completely overexerted myself, so here's to hoping all that lush green spinach gives my immune system the boost it needs to fight whatever asshole bug is invading my body.