And Just Like That…. It’s “Summer!”

It’s a mud hole here.  We still have drifts big enough that we have to keep the does penned up so they don’t escape by going over the fence by running over them.  BUT!  Where there are no drifts, it is starting to dry up!  YAY!  I am so sick of slop.  Of course, after the 70 degree weather we are going to have this week, we have predictions for snow this coming weekend.  Hopefully, it won’t be enough to mud the place up again.  I’m here to attest to the fact that that bomb cyclone was a SOB.  All of our support goes out to the Nebraskans and all those living in river basins and drainage areas.  They are getting water and flooding like Noah and the flood.  We have the BIL and the SIL coming next week and it would be inconvenient to have the Detroit suburbanites come out and have to slog through the mud to meet the donkeys.

We took the boy back to college yesterday.  He was on spring break but I’m not sure he thought it was much of a break.  We picked him up sporting a wicked chest cold.  He had JURY DUTY that took up two days (fortunately he was able to convince the attorneys to let him go – although he was in the pool of preferred candidates going into the last hour), and he spent most of the rest of the week sleeping and re-charging from being sick.  Oh well.  It was a break.  I never got to do much during spring break either…. oh ya, “Hey boy!  Find a job!”

I’ve been Fit-Bit training.  Both of our doctors don’t seem to understand just how many steps we get in in a day just by doing chores and taking care of things (“You need to get cardio in, in addition to the farm work,” they say.  Look doc.  Have you ever even BEEN to a farm??).  So I had to find out.  The first day I wore the new leash, without doing anything out of the ordinary, I had 8625 steps in for the day.  You can set whatever daily goal you wish, but 10,000 steps is that new thing “they” tell you to aim for.  One additional walk up and down the driveway would fill that shortage. The difference here is that one is usually hauling something or pulling something at the same time (Feed bags, tools, wagons, water buckets, poop – you know….. the basics).  I’d say we are good.

The race to get the hail guards done in time for planting is ongoing.  After today, I have 11 of 21 finished.  If I cover one with screen per day, I’ll have them done in roughly a week and a half.  Planting is the mid-to end of May so as long as we keep drying out, we should be all set.  It needs to dry out and firm up as we need to have a semi come in with a load of planters mix soil for the new beds and the orchard we are building.  I have been teaching gardening classes in the city.  Ironically, this next class is all about raised beds and drip irrigation.  Something I know a thing or two about!

We embarked on the hail project mainly because of the drought last year.  The challenge here is the increased intensity of the sun at a mile above sea level.  Last year we had extreme drought that dried everything out and got the best of us.  I gave it some thought and decided that having a cover that we could throw sun-shade cloth over would help tremendously (It works pretty well in the greenhouse).  This year though, is the complete opposite of last year.  The mountains have “mountains” of snow which will likely make our spring thaw the normal violent hail/rain/tornadoes we normally get.  It will be nice to have the shade cloth, but I suspect the hail screening will be the real hero this spring.  I think the screens will work great.  I still have to cover the rough edges so the sun shades won’t get hooked on them.  I’m thinking of globbing on silicone caulking to provide a nice soft edge.  We’ll see.

The grow tables in the basement are filling up.  In the next day or so the plants will all be transplanted from their cubes into the grow-out pots.  Then the next round of seedlings get started, including hundreds of onions.  I go through at least 15 big bags of potting soil a year to get everything started.

Now that the ground is firming up I can finally get to the greenhouse again.  Chicken poop compost is on the agenda for the beds along with the new drip irrigation plumbing for the 9 new beds we are adding.  I’m excited to try out my new in-line fertilizer doser that mixes liquid fertilizer into the drip irrigation lines so the plants can be fed automatically.

We are on piglet search for the spring and our new broiler chicks arrived last week.  All is bustling here once again.  It’s nice to not be contending with retirement, selling a house, unnecessary conflicts, building a barn, having surgery……….   just farming.  My self-imposed JAZ Farm ashram retreat, such that I’m allowed, has been the ticket.  The head is clearing up.  I’m not the same person I was (better for me and my family – the three of us) so some folks will see some serious differences.  For me they are the right answer.  Others will simply have to adapt.  Not my problem.

Weaving, unfortunately, is on the back burner these days.  I have these great napkins on the loom, but finding time to get there and throw the shuttle has been a bit difficult.  Just the way of life on the farm.  It’s spring!  Even the garlic, wheat, and dandelions are coming up!

Hail 1Hail 2

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