Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Plans and updates

Well, my husband has gone back to the Great White North and taken my heart with him. He really loves his work and since there is not a single job for him in our home town, we sadly see him off: two weeks in Alaska, two weeks home. The kids and I click into our "when Dad's gone" routine. But I really miss him. It's always worse the first couple of days he's gone. Sometimes, because I miss him so bad, I wear his socks. (Clean socks, thank you. I'm not that desperate!) It kind of helps me feel closer to him while he's so far away. Don't tell him, though. I'm not sure guys understand why wives wear their clothes when they are gone.

Updates and plans: We have seen the coyote every day now for about a week. We sometimes see her twice a day; in the evening and morning. I can see her nosing around the pasture as I write. She seems content to stalk voles and other small rodents though the little red chicken coop is only about 100 yards from where she hunts. I have never seen her even close to the house. My husband and I agree that as long as she doesn't threaten our animals, she can stay in the pasture. But if she ever strays closer or acts like she might be looking for a chicken/ rabbit dinner, then she will have to be disposed of. Hopefully that won't happen, but we remain vigilant.

My oldest son's knee is repairing nicely. He has finished the first 6 weeks of physical therapy and we are returning to the surgeon tomorrow for a follow up visit. He REALLY wants to play baseball this summer. So under the watchful eye of the physical therapist, he pushes himself and his joint to the edge and back trying to strengthen his weak right hamstring muscles. We'll see tomorrow what they all agree is the next step in his recovery. My son's pretty optimistic that his perseverance will pay off and he'll get to play.

I think spring has finally arrived. Today it was 82 degrees! 82! I can't remember when it was this warm in mid-April. Especially when I look back and remember that it snowed this time last week. I have a million, gazillion chores to complete to be ready for any type of food independence. I have two gardens to prepare; one at my house-that-is-on-the-market-and-might-get-sold-before-I-can-harvest-the-fruit-of-my-labor-in-the-fall and one in a spot remote from my house but is a stable place that I am welcomed use for several seasons if we continue our nomadic/ no house-of-our-own life. A good friend offered his garden site to our family. He swears that he is not going to use the space and will only grow the best looking weeds on the block if we don't put something edible in that space. I accepted. So now we have lots of square footage to grow food. Yea! It's way too early to actually plant in the soil yet even though the mercury says different, but the surface can be scuffed up a little in anticipation. I'm going to experiment with the "no-tillage" system this year. I'm pretty sure it'll work fine in my friend's garden space since it's been used several years before now. But I have deep clay soil here at the house. I also have lots of well rotted chicken/ rabbit manure saved from all winter. The clay and the maunre will need to have some sort of vigorous mixing before planting. I think the weather is going to be nice this week end so the plan is to spade the manure by hand into the clay just once (a kind of partial "no-tillage"). Then plant in June. I'm not finished planning what each garden will grow but I have some time before that needs to be settled.

I am going to start more seedlings in the basement in the next several days. After taking stock of what is growing and what is not- I determined that I need more celery (15 plants is really not enough), more Brussels sprouts (Fresh B. sprouts are nothing like the frozen ones in the store. So for those of you wrinkling your nose at the thought of eating B. sprouts, get over it. Fresh Brussels sprouts are the best!), more tomatoes and peppers. I completely forgot the peppers. Peppers can be kind of finicky so I need to get going if we are going to have peppers plants for the garden this year.

Also, I am picking up six white, broad breasted baby turkeys tomorrow at the local Ag center. It's a joint endeavor that my oldest and I are trying. The plan is to raise the six poults organically from now until harvest in the fall: one for our table, a tom/ hen pair to winter over for next year's babies (that's going to be tricky....stay tuned!) and three more to sell for a profit (he hopes). I haven't raised turkeys before and I understand they can be difficult because they are so fragile when they are young. Not like chicks which seem to be much more hardy. But we have all the needed equipment (heat lamps, feeders, waterers...) so the only monetary outlay is the poults. We have three 3'x6' crates that have no bottom but are enclosed on top and the sides with chicken wire (a little Joel Salatin style turkey tractor). And after about 8 weeks under the heat lamp and protected, they should have enough weight and feathers to go outside into the crates. If the predator activity keeps up (IE: coyotes), we might get some electrified poultry netting to keep them safe. Especially at night.

Lots of plans and ideas!

It's full on dark now. The south breezes are gently puffing through the open window as I sit here at the computer. I can smell the nearby woods in the draft. It's a little chilly and I'm yearning for bed. It won't be as warm or inviting as when my husband is home, but his socks will help keep me warm.... a little. Socks.... and my mind churning about the food that is yet to be!

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