Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Seeds, Sunburn and Snow

Within the past 24 hours, I have planted seeds. got a sunburn and watched it snow...welcome to spring! Yesterday was on the nicer side of cold. Temperatures hovered in the low 50s, which was enough to get me out and going. Luckily I had the day off and was able to get a lot done around the house. I planted more seeds, but instead of veggies, these were of the flower variety. They will be started indoors since spring is so moody here. When we bought the house last summer, all of our efforts went into working on the inside. We didnt have time or the means to clean up the leaves on the lawn that fell in the fall. When we finally had time to devote to the outside, it was winter and either snowy or wet. So the leaves just sat there all winter, thankfully not damaging the lawn. Now that the weather is warming up and the snow has melted it is time to deal with the lawn. I raked up the leaves on the front lawn. When Hubby got home from work he brought huge lawn bags from Home Depot. We bagged up all the leaves and burned them. We stayed out working on the yard until it got chilly. Only then did I realize I had a slight sunburn...oops. I am so not used to this nice weather.

Apparently I shouldnt get too used to it. As I type, big flakes of snow are floating down. So far, they are melting when they hit the ground, and I can only hope they dont decide to stick around. I like snow- in the winter. Not at the end of march, when it should be 60. No, I dont like snow today, not at all. Rain I can deal with. Rain is good for the garden I am trying to convince to grow. Snow is just cold...

On a happier note, my pullets have a new trick. If you remember we have 4 pullets- chickens who are not old enough to lay, but older than the chicks. When they see me coming they fly through the air and land on my shoulder/head/any body part higher than my waist. THey will then sit on my shoulders until I force them to get down (this usually involves feeding them). I think they think I am their personal perch. I love it! Who wouldnt love walking around with 4 chickens on her shoulders? Ok, maybe dont answer that. Sorry about the bad photo quality. The pictures are from my phone.

Tonight calls for cuddling with the hubby watching the 4th and final season of The Good Life, which my Mamaw sent me in the mail today. Thanks Mamaw and Papaw for thinking of me! Leftover chili with cornbread muffins for dinner when Hubby gets home.... I am going to go put on some handknit socks and a sweatshirt!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Hello and Goodbye

This week there are a lot of changes going on around the farm. The chicks said hello to their new coop. Mama Bunny said hello to her babies. And the farm will say goodbye to Meanie. Today Meanie has her date with the butcher. In just a few hours I will load her into the truck and she will say goodbye to her home. Sad? yes. Part of life? yes. It may be her last day with us, but that doesnt mean she is neglected. In fact, this morning she had got herself tied up and couldnt stand. I dropped everything I was doing to go untangle her. She may only have a few hours left, but by golly, they will be good hours. Hubby gave the goats extra hay last night, and they got extra rations this morning. I dont think Meanie knows what is going to happen later, and maybe its better that way.

On a happier note, Mama Bunny is doing well. All 7 babies are alive so far. I realized last time that I can't count them as alive until after a week or so. If Mama bunny feels that one or two are weaklings, she will take care of it. And by that, I mean she will eat them, dispose of the evidence. I always thought it was horrible that a rabbit could and will eat their young. I guess if I look at it from the rabbits perspective, she is doing it to save the others. If she were in the wild, a predator could sense the weak babies and would be drawn to the nest. So perhaps that one weak runt would be the death of the whole litter. The mama would just be trying to put the best interests of the rest of the babies ahead of one baby. So far, all our babies look fat and healthy. I am hoping they all live and will keep you updated.

Today is another cold dreary day. I dont think its supposed to heat up much. I am layered in my farm clothes, drinking my coffee, with the heater turned down. Tonight Hubby and I are hopefully doing our taxes. It will be our first year owning a home, and I am hoping to get a tax break. Last year we barely got a refund, and this year we could really use it. We are still not using credit cards, and while its hard!, its also sooo much better. There isnt the stress hanging over us while we wait for the bill to come. If we dont have the money, we dont buy it. This is teaching us restraint, but also to be content with what we have. I have been knitting from my stash and realizing how much yarn I do have. We are cooking "from the pantry". We go grocery shopping for fresh veggies and fruits as well as coffee and milk. Other than that we are trying to clean out the pantry. We have a ton of frozen meat in the chest freezer and are going to try to thin it out. We are learning to adapt and use what we have. We are loving it! Once Kisses has babies (if she is pregnant), we wont have to buy milk at the store. We havent bought eggs since I cant remember when. We will have even more meat, after Meanie's date. The baby bunnies will fill the freezer too. When the chicks are old enough to lay, we will thin out our flock. Our meat chicks will be ready in a month. I want to buy as little at the grocery store as possible.

This post is getting way off topic...and laundry is calling. We are looking forward to what other hellos and goodbyes will happen here on the farm. Stay tuned!

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Welcome Babies! After hubby and I returned from the movies we checked in on Mama-to-be. No babies. Hubby and I spent the rest of the afternoon working in the yard, planning extensions for the chickens and goats. We retired inside so hubby could be with the dogs downstairs and I could be here and clean upstairs. I just checked on the bunny, and lo-and-behold, there are 7 babies (at least). Mama was cleaning everyone off. She must have just delivered because it was all quite messy. Typical mom, she cleaned off the babies first, covered them up and then turned her attention on herself. Isnt that just like a human mom? taking care of the kids needs first. We have the lights out in the laundry room so she can get some rest. We will check in on them, but we are trusting her instints. She has plenty of water, pellets and fresh veggies. I will upload pictures later once everyone has settled in. Right now, I am off to plan dinner. Maybe ill peek in on the babies just once more...just once.

A day off

Working the farm is not a 9-5 job. You cant punch the timecard at 5 and leave it be until the next day. If an animal needs something at 2am, up we go. We are constantly checking on our animals and thinking about them. Mama Bunny still isnt officially a mama yet. We can see the wee babes moving in her tummy, but they refuse to enter the world. We are checking in with the mama to be every hour. We are always checking on the chicks, who yesterday moved out into the little red coop. The meat chicks are in a seperate coop but the 51 layers are in the red coop. Chicks require constant attention. They are always needing fresh water and food. We check on the big chickens in the big coop. We check for eggs. If we are not checking for "something" we are working on improving another. Yesterday while I was at work, Hubby put up fencing all around the garden. He is amazing, and such a hard worker. Not only did he get the garden fenced in, he used our goat fencing and nailed up a fence along the lane. To this fence we will attach the existing chain link, until we can afford to buy more real fencing. If I mention something, before I can blink Hubby has it done. Sometimes I take this for granted. So today, now that all the "checks" are done, the rabbit cages are moved, and the chicken brooder is cleaned, we are taking the "day" off. And by day I mean 3 hours. Ladies and Gentlemen, Hubby and I are going to the movies! Yes, this is a rare occasion. We hate how expensive it is to go to the movies. Luckily for us, I discovered two movie passes we were given two years ago. We will take our own snacks and drinks, and todays outing wont cost us anything (except the gas to get there). Todays date is much needed and will be much enjoyed. Hubby has a rough week coming up and I am hoping this will lighten the load. Off to the movies we go!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

"OH crap, she's up"

I recently came upon this quote and absolutely love it! (sorry for using the "c" word mom...)

"Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor each morning the devil says "Oh crap, shes up"

Love it!

Friday, March 25, 2011

The waiting game

We are getting good at the waiting game...Yesterday we noticed one of the rabbits was pulling her fur. This indicates that she is going to kindle (or give birth). I was hoping she would go last night. No luck. This morning when hubby left at 5, I ran downstairs, sleepy eyed to see my new baby bunnies. No luck. I went to work at noon and came home at 7. Bunnies? Nope. Technically tomorrow is her 31st day from her date with the buck. Rabbits can give birth from teh 28th day to the 31st day. I will have to wait until tomorrow. In the meantime, you can bet I will be checking often. Hubby brought home damaged produce from the commissary today. All bunns got treats of cabbage, cucumbers, celery, tomatoes and carrots. Lucky bunns!

We had planned to fence in the garden this weekend. I found some fencing on craigslist for a super affordable price. Until we can fence in the plot, the chickens are penned up in the coop. Apparently fresh greens are irresistable to chickens. It looks like we are going to have to wait for our fence as well. Not only is the forecast predicting cold weather, but they are calling for 4 inches of snow tomorrow night. Which means snow on the ground, and the ground will be too frozen to work with. All our little plants are covered so they wont shrivel away.

So whats a girl to do while she waits for babies and snow? Today I registered our chickens with the state of Maryland. I also registered our bees. We are official farmers according to the Great State of Maryland! Not that we need them to tell us that... Hubby is napping, I might make some coffee and write to my new penpal. Sounds like a good way to spend yet another cold dreary evening.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Dreary Days

Today is one of those epic dreary days. The day started out drizzly, turned to rain, turned to cloudy, and finally thunderstorms. As I type, its pitch black outside, I have the window open and can hear the rain, and the loud thunder booms. Lightning flashes across the sky allowing me to temporarily see the front yard and tree. It lights up the neighbors house and yard across the street, and then its gone. I sit and wait for the thunder, counting seconds inbetween light and noise. A dreary day for sure, but perfect in my world. We need these to counter the 70 degree days I also love so much. My garden needs the rain. The rain barrels collect the water to be used for all the poultry and livestock. I wouldnt wish everyday to be like this, but for now I am enjoying it. That said, I did have to brave the day to run errands. My frist errand of the day was driving into Pennsylvania to pick up livestock fencing. The drive went smoothly. On my way home I stopped at Sonic Drive In. Sonic is on my list of favorite eateries, not because of its good food. I love it thanks to its epic Route 44 Ice Tea, along with all the memories Sonic holds. Fresh in my memory is the Sonic in Texas near our house. When Hubby was deployed, I would walk the dogs to the Sonic, get an ice tea and bones for the dogs. We would sit in the scorching Texas heat and enjoy our treats before walking home. When Hubby came home he too joined in on our Sonic walks. We could easily make tea at home, but I cherished the walk and talks we had. Delving further into my memories of Sonic, I revisit my childhood. We didnt have a Sonic nearby. I do remember family vacations to the midwest, visiting family in Arkansas and Texas. Sonics are plentiful in the midwest. I remember my first visit and how I couldnt believe one didnt have to leave ones vehicle. The icing on the cake was when the car hops delivered our food on rollerskates. To a little girl far away from home, something as simple as this was memorable. I remember laughing with my sisters as lowrider trucks circled the Sonic with nothing better to do. So today I enjoyed my tea, despite the fact it wasnt delivered via rollerskates. I brought home a tea for Hubby, not wanting to exclude him. When I arrived home, there was a box on my front door. I have been awaiting two boxes eagerly. One is a box of hydrangeas, and the other is our bee equipment. Todays box was small, thus being the former. I opened the box to reveal three small twigs . These twigs aka hydrangeas will grow to be huge bushes hopefully. I want to hide our parking area and thought I would do so using hydrangeas. Hydrangeas too have a special place in my memory. Growing up, my mom always had dried hydrangeas about the house. They were also our wedding flowers and due to that fact will always be special. Today's hydrangeas will bloom white and turn to green. They will take years to be the huge flowering bushes that grace the gardens nearby. I will have to remember not to mow them over with the lawnmower, mistaking them for sticks and twigs. On an extremely dreary day, what better than new blooms to brighten my day? After enjoying my package, I had to take Marshmallow aka The Kid to the vet. The Kid is our male angora, given to us as a spent 4H project. When we got The Kid, he had an eye issue. Not knowing what to do, as it was getting worse, I took him to the vet. The vet examined The Kid, flushing out his ducts, shaving off ruined fur and observing his nature. The Kid has always "hopped" funny. The closest comparison would be to the slinky dog on Toy Story. The Kid hops with his front legs, and his back follows later. The vet's theory is that a while ago he must have broke his back, and it healed wrong. The vet went into detail about what we could do if we wanted to know for sure. X rays, blood work and the likes would let us know what is going on while costing us a bundle. I told the vet that my main concern is getting him healthy. If he isnt in pain because of his back, then we dont need to research his history. The Kid is an old bunny. Thanks to the vet and some meds, he will be back to new, but with his own style of hopping about. Obviously he can still have relationships with the girl angoras so I dont think he is lacking too much. We returned from the vet with lighter pockets and a happy bunny. He was returned to his cage with some new chew toys (everyone got new chews) and I am sure he has already told the other bunns about his adventures. After dinner with the hubbs, I relaxed in a hot bath. A hot bath is my favorite way to unwind after a long day. Wrapped in my bathrobe and slippers, with the window open, here I sit enjoying the crisp air and writing to you. A good, dreary day indeed.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Welcome Spring

Happy First Day of Spring! Hubby and I celebrated by tilling the garden plot. I am wishing I had a hot tub (preferably one from here to relax in because my back, and Hubby's as well, is killing me! We took turns tilling the plot. Since the plot was grass yesterday, we spent a good amount of time raking the clumps of grass, and throwing them on the compost heap. Once we were satisfied with the tilling job, we started planting our veggies. As I write, we have broccoli, spinach, lettuce, kale and onions in the new garden plot. These are our tests, as it is supposed to snow this week. We have seeds started indoors that we will plant in the ground when we dont think it will snow and or freeze. The weather is supposed to rain all week and I hope the garden survives. Kisses, our new goat is settling in well. We were prepared for her to cry all week. We were told a goat will always cry, and sound horrendous, for their first week in a new home. Not our girl! Knock on wood. She has been extremely well mannered. She cries softly occasionally, but George the Rooster is louder than she. Jackie and Billy dont seem to care one way or another that we have a new goat. Meanie, is her usual mean old self. Jumpy pays Kisses no attention until Kisses gets too close. So far so good. I only hope they continue to get along. On the rabbit front, I think one of our does is going to give birth this week. She is currently renting a rabbit cage in the laundry room so that if and when she delivers her babies might have a chance. She is enjoying this new location. The previous baby bunnies are getting huge! They look more and more like real bunnies on a miniture scale. Hubby thinks he has found homes for two of them, even though that was not our intent. Our male angora has some issues around his eye. I am not sure what is going on there, but we will keep an eye on him. Hopefully it will clear up. If not, its off to the vet we go. We had a lovely visit from a friend/old coworker of mine. It was so fun to show her all that is new around the farm since she last came. I dont realize how much it has changed, since its all been slowly evolving. Looking at it through her eyes made it so much more exciting. Hubby and I are relaxing, watching The Good Life tonight. My back aches, and my arms throb from the vibrations of the rototiller. At least its done for now. Tomorrow can be a lazy day in the rain. I am looking forward to the moment my head hits the pillow tonight.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A girl, A goat, and A glass of milk

Today I couldnt wait to get off work. I rushed home to Hubby. Together we went up to a nearby dairy goat farm. We went to see a breeder about buying a nubian goat. We left with so much more. the breeder and her husband enamored us with a two week old goat kid. They kindly let me bottle feed him. I would have took him home with me if allowed to. He was so cute! Next we met their 4 month old cow. The cow liked me only because I was covered in milk from the baby goat spilling everywhere. The breeder and her husband called the herd of goats and all came running. Bringing up the rear, was the very heavily pregnant doe. They guessed she would deliver tonight. yes, my friends, we got to inspect the mucus coming from you-know-where... The breeder showed us how to tell when the doe is close to kidding (giving birth). We got extremely personal with her goats :) We met Kisses, the goat that would leave there with us. Kisses is a 3 year old doe. We think she is (and hope she is) pregnant. The breeder said last year Kisses had twins. Imagine that! Since our whole reasoning for having goats here at Victory Garden Farm, is to get milk, eventually we will have to have a pregnant doe. Since Billy is not old enough or interested enough, we could either buy a pregnant one, or take ours to a stud. We thought we would add Kisses to our herd. We talked, and played with the animals, and talked some more. If ever there was a couple knowledgable about goats, it would be these two. The breeder asked if we wanted to milk one of the goats. Of course! Her husband asked if we had ever actually tasted goats milk. I sheepishly had to answer that I hadn't. At least not that I could remember. Into the milking room we went. John had built a milking stand (hint hint hubby...) that enables her to milk. Once the goat was in place on the stand the breeder explained how to do it. Contrary to what most people think, there is no pulling on the teat. They gave Hubby and I small cups to try the milk. Amazing. We drank it cool from the fridge. I could have drank way more, but didnt want to be rude. Once I was done with my glass, I got to try my hand at milking. The first few squirts were awkward, but then I got the hang of it. I am no where near fast, but I can do it. Hubby got to try too, and between the two of us, we got a small amount. Her husband strained it for us, and put it in a jar to take home. I am proud to say that the milk in the fridge is milk we milked ourselves! Thats a first for sure.

Eventually we made our way down towards the house. We got to meet, and play with the hogs. They are off to the butcher tomorrow. It might seem sad, but really its not. These three hogs have had an amazing life outdoors. They were allowed to root up the old garden plot, play in the mud and do what they were meant to do. Yes, they are going to end up as food. At least they have had a good life, and didnt grow up in a concrete pen like most hogs. The turkey is happy and fat. Chickens and ducks roam free, and are locked up at night for safety. The goats and cow happily graze in the pastures. No matter what the future is for any given animal, it should be allowed the chance for a good life.

After playing with the hogs, we gathered up our milk, and our new goat Kisses. Hubby and I needed a drink, so we stopped at McDonalds. On the way there, Kisses had peed and pooped in the car. Hubby, always thinking, had anticipated this, and laid a tarp down on the floor of the back. When we stopped, I took Kisses out so he could dump out the tarp. I know she is a goat, but we didnt want her laying in her filth, even just for the short car ride. Imagine, pulling into a McDonalds parking lot. There, acting like it is an everyday occurance, is this crazy girl with a goat on a leash. For once, I was that crazy person in the parking lot. Although, when its you, it doesnt seem so crazy. Armed with ice teas and a clean tarp we headed back home.

We are letting Kisses meet the herd slowly over the next week. We want everyone to get along, and eventually they will. For tonight they are seperate. Everyone got an extra ration of hay and no one is complaining.

This girl is going to have a glass of goats milk tonight before bed. Just a usual saturday at Victory Garden Farm, or not...

dreaming of green

We were completely spoiled the past couple of days. Yesterday reached up to 79 degrees, and I was at work. This weekend is starting out well (as well as it can be at 7am on a sat). During these nice days I find myself dreaming about the farm being green. Its hard to imagine the backyard looking like it did in the picture above (when we first got Jackie back in October). Right now I can see straight back through the woods. There are no leaves on the trees to add mystery to the forest. If I look closer, I can see tiny green buds on the branches, just trying to peek out. Its coming, spring is really coming. Hubby and I are planning the veggie garden. We have the less hardy seeds started indoors, and the cold tolerant outside. Hopefully this weekend we will get the potatoes and rhubarb in the ground. I have peonies ready to plant, and hydrangeas on order. I am itching to get the plants in the ground, but will just have to wait. The nice weather is just a tease. It is supposed to snow on wed... still, I can dream right?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Uh, honey...can you come up here?

Hubby and I were settled in, watching The Good Life with the hounds. He went upstairs to get a glass of milk. "Honey, can you come up here? I think the fridge is broke" Upon inspection, the fridge itself is working, but its personal outlet has given up. Hubby assures me that tomorrow (after work and poker and a trip to Home Depot) he can fix it. Until then, the fridge is plugged into an extension cord (yes, yes, I know its not ideal but what can we do?) that is plugged in to the working outlet. Hopefully tomorrow night this will all be resolved. I am so thankful that just the outlet is out and we dont have to replace the whole fridge. Definitely not in the budget! On a much better note, its about 9:30 at night and still gorgeous out. Granted it is dark, but its warm and has a nice breeze. All the windows in the house are open. I think the low tonight is supposed to be around 50. I am loving this weather! Goodnight all...

Nice Weather

Today is such a gorgeous day! Forgive me for not writing a long post. Hubby and I are maximizing our time in the sun (working of course). Piles of leaves are being burnt, seeds were planted and the yard is generally looking better. While hubby was at work, I took the dogs down to the woodline to scout out a place for the bee hives. Tuesday's class touched on the perfect location. Whiskey, Jack and I went out in search of such a place. We found perfect-enough. The bee hives will be set up down by the old garden plot, future corn plot. They will have morning and afternoon sun, evening shade, shelter from the wind, and out of the way enough to not be bothered. The two canines and myself were having a lovely time in the sun exploring, until they found a chunk of animal hide. That ended our adventure! Tomorrow is supposed to be even nicer. Its a pity I have to work. Such is life... Well friends, I am back outside to enjoy the last of the suns rays until I can enjoy them again on Sat. Adios.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

missing bunnies...

Today started off normal enough...well I will admit it was super hard to get out of bed at the normal hour since it was dark and rainy. I waited until the very last minute and got up to tend to the farm. Dont get me wrong, i am not getting up at 5 like hubby. I waited until about 730 before convincing myself I had to get up.
Farm chores go like this- check on the chickens (feed and water) in the big coop. Check the ducks, chickens in red coop, other ducks, and geese. Feed and water as necessary. Feed goats. Check on bunny in coop by the barn. Check on bunnies in stacked cages. Check on Mama bunny and babies... babies? This morning on my check, there was one baby in the cage with mama. Four were missing...the door was slightly ajar. Not open so Mama could get out, but just enough for four mischievious babies to escape. Hunting down 4 baby bunnies was not in my alloted time frame. Mama Bunny's cage just happens to be next to the huge woodpile. hmph! I spotted one bunn sitting on a log. She had nowhere to go and I caught her easily. A second bunn was under the stairs. I tried for 10 minutes to catch her, but she would run into the woodpile. I still had to feed the chicks, dogs, other chicks and cats. And get ready for work. I was headed in to the mudroom to get food and water to leave out for the babies, when I spotted the fourth baby sitting by the door. Scooped her up and she joined Mama and the first two. I set out food and water for the remaining babies. One I knew was under the wood pile, but the fifth I had not seen. I finished up with the farm chores, got ready for work and hit the road.

This afternoon, after work, my attention was focused on finding the baby bunnies. I knew there were 3 in the cage with Mama. How hard could it be to find the remaining 2? Ha...what a joke that was. In the cage with Mama was not the 3 I had expected, but just 1. The door again was ajar. What a day, what a day.... Long story short, all 5 babies are reunited with Mama. The wood pile is now in 2 piles. The super easy to open door is now tied shut. When Hubby gets home I will have him help me switch the bunnies to a non-escapable cage.

The rest of the afternoon was enjoyable. The rain has stopped. The chickens are enjoying the wet dirt and all the worms that come with it. The goats got an extra ration of cracked grain. I could spend all day surveying the backyard. The chickens alone are entertaining. Add in the bunnies, chicks, ducks, geese and goats? Its no wonder we dont have tv. Know what? I dont miss it...

Monday, March 14, 2011

Duck Eggs

Check out the difference in size between the two breeds of ducks....

And a mis-shapen chicken egg. I dont even want to know....

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Little Guy...with a fro

In the beginning there was Little Guy...
He started growing...
And fast...

Last week he looked like this...

Today he looks like this...check out the afro...

Thought you might enjoy an update on little guy....

welcome home

I am happy to say I am back safe and sound from my amazing vacation in california. I had a great time visiting with family and meeting a certain new 9 month old family member. I got back in late on friday night. Sat, hubby and I hit the ground running. The chicks were in desperate need of a new brooder. A bigger brooder. A non-bathroom brooder. Hubby, being the amazing fixer-of-all-problems that he is, built a new and improved box. Not just any old plywood box. No, this box has a chicken wire bottom so the chicks can discover grass. It also has a hanging brooder lamp for warmth and a large wired door so we can reach in completely. Have I mentioned he is pretty smart? Building the brooder box, burning piles of leaves and running into town took up all day. Last night around 830, I got an email that went something like this. (note- this email was from a girl who runs a duck rescue, she didnt just steal ducks from a pond)
We collected 19 ducks today from ___ pond. I have 4 that I need homes for. Right now they are in a dog crate in my car until I find somewhere for them to go. Can you please please take them? Call me
Um, sure! So at 10 last night a complete stranger brought over 2 pairs of pekin ducks. Apparently the pond they were "rescued" from is over run with ducks. No worries, there was a cop present while they collected ducks to explain to the locals why they were hauling away perfectly good ducks. Luckily, we just happened to have an unused, brand spanking new brooder box. At 10, there was no other place to put them. In they went. We hadnt put the chicks out yet so the box was just ducks. Hubby and I called it a night.

So today started out with the issue of where to put the ducks. The girl had suggested they could go in with the geese, since they were used to geese at their pond. Yeah right. We tried. Our geese are just mean. They would pin the new ducks down and peck. I dont know if its some rite of passage thing, but I wasnt going to watch them kill some innocent duck. Hubby went into the geese pen and got the ducks out. Poor things. They went back into the brooder box until we could rig something up. A couple hours later, we now have a large chain link pen for the ducks. Complete with a mini-pond (anyone know when those blue kiddie pools are stocked in the stores?) that works for now. Said pen is chain link on three sides, complete with a gate, and barn on the forth side- we didnt have enough chain link. We took a break from farm work once all the ducks (the 4 newbies and the 4 muscovies we already had) had moved in to their new diggs. Hubby and I went into "town" to do a grocery/walmart run. I needed cold medicine, the cats needed tick meds (we found two huge ticks on Mitten's neck) and hubby needed a break. Once refuelled with groceries and coffee, we headed back home. Hubby set to work on the garden plot. I started raking up in the front yard. Now that the snow has melted, its obvious we have a lot of work to do. We have been burning (yes, very carefully) piles of leaves as we have an incredible leaf surplus. As hubby was tilling rows for potatoes, asparagus and rhubarb, the chickens were close on his trail cleaning up the grubs and worms. We were able to get one row of asparagus planted. Too bad we wont be able to enjoy them for another year or two. Hopefully later this week we can get the rhubarb and potatoes in the ground. We also have planted in starter pots- lettuce, kale, broccoli, spinach, onions and more. I would plant one pot, and immediately the chickens would try to peck off the leaves. Luckily we had extra cages from the chicks that fit perfectly over the freshly planted veggies.

We concluded our day of hard labor with a dinner of oven baked chicken, with rice and corn. For dessert we had a fresh out of the oven lemon cake. We ate all of this while watching a new favorite tv show, Good Neighbors. Before I wrap up this post, I just wanted to say how grateful I am for my family. I was able to spend all of last week with them. I am extra blessed to have my grandparents as well. I know everyone doesnt agree or understand what hubby and I are doing. No matter what, I know my family supports me. For example, when i came home from my trip, there was a letter waiting for me from my Grammy. Included in the letter was an old picture of the farm she grew up on and its many chickens (and by many I mean well over 50). The picture is hanging up safe, until I can frame it. I love that! She knew how special my chickens are to me, and I love that she shared her stories too. The lemon cake from tonight? I made it after tasting the lemon cake (same recipe) she made for dessert on thursday with my family in california. And the tv show hubby and I watched while eating said lemon cake? That was a dvd set my Mamaw gave me on my trip. I was completely ready for it to be a not-so-good show, considering how it is British tv, and I am not usually a fan. Wrong! I loved it! Hubby loved it! I also love that Mamaw knew that we would love it. I love that I am here in Maryland and both my grandmothers are here with me (not physically, obviously).
Hubby is now in bed, I have coffee poured, and I think its a bath night. I am sore from raking. I am tired from a long day. I am full from a good meal. I am ready to relax in the tub with my coffee... goodnight all...goodnight.