Sunday, March 26, 2017

Pajama Day at Brewster's Ice Cream

You know the spring season has officially begun when all the ice cream stores start re-opening or having parties for their customers.  Everyone who wore their pjs to our local Brewster's on Saturday got a free waffle cone with 2 huge scoops of ice cream.   Yes! We went at lunch time so everyone was hungry.

Farm Fresh: Garden Fence and Chicks Growing

 This week I finally got the garden all fenced.  7 ft T-posts and 6 foot fencing will discourage the deer and buried chicken wire will hopefully deter the groundhogs. I also need to keep my own livestock out, but they are not too hard to deter.  It is still a temporary fix because we plan to triple the garden's size over the next couple years.
 Chicken wire still needs to be buried on the frontside and wrapped up on the inside. A couple of home chipped piles of mulch are awaiting spreading.
 Hubby has been working on getting the woodpile under control.  He took this week off from his real job to work for me at home. He chipped tons of smaller sticks and stacked and split several piles of larger logs.
 He used the new tractor rake to work on clearing a path to some wood behind the barn.
 Here are a few of the stacked logs waiting for our future need or for people from the ward who are looking for some firewood.
 He borrowed a splitter from our friends and started loading up the next log shack.  We are thinking that each full log shack might be enough for one winter... We will have to see how that goes. In any case, we have plenty of wood for a long time.
  I have been carrying plants outside to get acclimated (the second time for the cabbages).  I planted some under row covers about 3 weeks ago. But then the temperature last week was down in the 20's and killed 3 of the 8 plants. I have a bunch of replacements ready.
 On Saturday, I replanted my cilantro outside in the herb bed and a row of leeks along side there. I planted a couple other rows of leek starts mixed with beets in the main garden (per recommendation in the book Carrots Love Tomatoes).
 Big bunches of daffodils are blooming in the herb bed and other parts of the landscaping - so pretty!
Everyone says meat chickens grow incredibly fast. I guess you need to see it to believe it.  I use the red bulbs in their heat lamps to keep them calmer. 
 Look at them! They are a little over 2 weeks old and already have half their feathers in.  They are supposed to be able to go outside no later than 4 weeks old.  Most chicks can go out after about 6 weeks.  We can already tell that there are quite a few feisty roosters mixed in here.  That is normal since it is a straight run.  They are generally a lot lazier than the layer chicks - very quiet and sleeping a lot-- which make sense since they are growing so fast. Now that weather is finally getting warmer we can bring them outside for short spurts.  The books recommend that they start going outside no later than 25 days old in order to become the good foragers that the Red Ranger variety is known for being.  We will plan to keep 3 of the hens and try to breed some meat chicks of our own next year.
  Garden goodies under the grow light inside - tomatoes, zinnias, and marigolds are visible here. I have so many plants that I have turned off the timer and just been rotating through my plant sets around the clock 8-10 hours per set.

My Dash: Week 13

My post last week about playing with friends reminded me of some funny games that we made up as kids. One was called "Zero zero".  To play it one person was it and stood on the front porch (also the "jail") and counted to "one o'clock, two o'clock... etc until midnight and then said loudly "midnight zero zero" which meant that they were coming to catch everyone hiding in the yard and try to put them in jail.  The bushes by the mailbox were usually "safe" and everyone tried to get there before getting caught.  Human chains from the "safe" out towards whoever was running towards it were allowed.  Tagging people out of jail was allowed. I can mostly picture us playing this game at dusk on summer nights.

We also had a game that we called "chicken" which was played either on ours and our neighbor's swing sets. The person who was "it" had to close their eyes and try to catch everyone else. Only the person who was it was allowed to let go of the swing set. Everyone else had to be touching the swing set at all times.

On those same two nearby swing sets we also played "berry wars".  Which involved gathering whatever "berries" were on the trees and bushes that season in our sand pails and then throwing them at each other. Usually a girls team  on one swing set and a boys team on the other.

For one summer, I think I was about 11 that year, my mom babysat a girl named Erica and I think a couple of the neighbors.  We played a game called "Bead store" together every day that year.  It involved everyone bringing their favorite beads and buttons. We each set up our own tiny shops. Then we traded each other for what seemed like hours.

We had a series of kiddie pools in our backyard.  I remember the first one was large, but only about 2-3 feet deep.  After awhile we upgraded to a 3-4 foot deep pool that fit on a similar footprint. Marco polo in such a small pool was perfect. We played that and dolphin divers a lot (jumping and diving in the water trying to look like dolphins obviously!).

There was a huge sprawling wooden castle style playground called St Mary's park that had tons of steps, bridges, cubbies and monkey bars.  We loved go there and play a similar kind of tag where you had to always be touching the playground.

I think the best game that we played as kids was one that my brother P and I played a lot, especially on long car rides.  We called it the "what-if" game.   We each tried to think of fun or hard "what-if" question to ask each other.  P was really good at thinking of hard questions and we would talk through the pluses and minuses of each situation...  For example, "What if the car plunged off this bridge, what would you do?" or "What if you found a wallet full of money at the rest stop, what would you do?" and on and on.  Good situations and bad ones, we talked through what we hoped we could do, what would likely happen then, and how we would react to each result. Like a game of life. I still like talking to P about those kind of scenarios.  He is good at pointing out all the angles and really getting into a good exploration of all the possibilities with me, except now the scenarios are a lot more realistic.

Monday, March 20, 2017

My Dash: Week 12

One of the hardest things about the area where we lived before moving to this house, was that it was very transitional for most people. Families came for schooling, a job, or a career boost and then moved as soon as they had accomplished that goal.  Big sister A has had at least 4 "best" friends in her life, all of whom have moved away.  Now that we are on the farm, we are finally able to make friends with people who have no plans of moving soon. That has made me appreciate how lucky I was as child to have had my best friend E.E. nearby almost all of my growing up years.  Our moms are best friends and the siblings in our families line up neatly by age and gender.   They lived 2.3 miles (I just looked it up) from our house. Once we had a snow day from school and mom let P and I WALK to their house so that we could play together.

A lot of my childhood memories feature E.E.  In the story about making the "Secret Garden" in the woods behind our house -- she was often there helping me. She was also a frequent creek adventurer. E's family was homeschooled most of the time. They said funny things like "belt seat" instead of "seatbelt" and "mazagine" instead of "magazine".  They had cool station wagons -one with a blue interior and a wide seat facing out the rear window that I loved sitting in. I still remember when they came over one day to show us their new brown station wagon that talked.   I got E in a lot of trouble with my love of bubblegum (Bubblicious).  She was not allowed to have it (her mom said that people who chewed it looked like cows). But I always convinced her to try it and we frequently got caught.

I am certain that I learned half of my negotiation skills begging for and arranging sleepovers and activities with E. We saw each other at every church activity, all the time in the summer, and on most holidays during the school year.  I liked her house because her family had special foods like potato chips and soda (which they called "pop") that we never had. They had this huge old apple tree in the backyard that we loved to climb.  It had wide spreading branches, enough branches for each of the big kids to have their own spots. Their mom would make us pbj sandwiches cut on the diagonal (very special) with chips and let us eat them outside by the tree. Eventually their dad also built them a treehouse/fort that was our special talking place. We had a "spy club" for awhile with spy kits in a box that we each made and carried around. Their family also had great taste in movies. It was at E's house that I watched amazing classics like "Around the World in 80 days" and "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers".  I think seeing all of E's dad's artifacts from Africa was part of my inspiration for wanting to go there when I got older.

Even though we saw each other all the time,  I remember at a certain age we started hiding out in the mother's nursing room at church to talk about the events of the week.  One year for halloween we convinced our moms to make us matching genie costumes and of course we had to trick-or-treat together.  Every summer, we hung out together. They swam in the pool at our house and we spread our towels out on the black asphalt driveway together to get warm. For awhile she went to gymnastics every Saturday morning with me. She hurt her back at one point and had to quit though.

As we got older we stayed friends and E eventually started going to school.  We were in the same school when she was in 7th and I in 8th grade. We had a special notebook that we passed back and forth. We learned Egyptian hieroglyphics and used them as a code to write secret messages to each other...  I think I will stop there, as those are most of the early childhood memories that come to mind off the top of my head! Ha!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Farm Fresh: Silver Fox Rabbit Kits 5 Weeks Old

 Their Easter photoshoot. They were so hard to photograph! Never still.
   They are almost to weaning age and we are getting ready to advertise them for sale/rent again.

Farm Fresh: Red Ranger Chicks

A lot of poultry firsts this week - Our first mail order chicks arrived. The Post Office called us to pick them up. Our first time having 25 chicks at one time. (We had 120 additional chicks in boxes that we had ordered and picked up for another farming friend of mine!)  It was like a chorus of cheeping.  They are our first "meat chickens" -- the Red Ranger variety are supposed to be hearty and excellent foragers. 
 It was also the first time any of my chicks have died.  We lost 2 in the first 2 days. None since then.  Baby L is obsessed with them. She could easily reach them in this first brooder.  I heard a cheeping noise getting louder and louder as I was working in the kitchen.  It was baby L coming up the basement steps with a chick clutched "gently" in her hand. I am not sure if that was one on the casualties... It seemed fine when I screamed and took it back to the brooder.  Needless to say, by the second day we had moved them to their larger brooder box.
 These pictures were taken just after they arrived and were taken out of the shipping box.

My Dash: Week 11

The Great Gummy Rat Debacle

Tops grocery store had a large bulk candy section when we were kids.  Every week, if we were good helpers, we could pick out a small baggie with 25 cents worth of one kind of candy or multiple kinds if they were the same price per pound.  We knew all about weighing produce and bulk items at the store as it was part of our usual "runner" assignments. We knew that we were not supposed to touch anything with our hands.
Things rarely changed in the bulk candy section. The arrival of a new bin of huge gummy rats was an amazing discovery. My brother P and I quickly realized that they were too expensive for even one to qualify as our candy prize. They were so tempting to look at though, like a toy made of sugar.  Eventually, we touched one. Then we smelled each of the different colors to see whether they were different flavors. Then finally, we took a small lick. And then had to try several. I think we must have taken too long choosing a candy prize that week. Dad came over and found us. He was very upset. We lost our candy treat for that week. And he had to fish a couple rats out of the bin to buy-- none of us knowing how many we had contaminated with licking and touching them.  
I should mention that we had mice as pets around that time. We thought that the rats were cute, not gross.