The Last Week of May The First Week of June

 

HAIL article 2016

It is unbelievable how spring works around here.  The melt off in the Rockies turns to some of the most violent storms I have ever witnessed… EVERY YEAR!  This past Thursday I was off to pick up my mother from the airport.  As per usual the severe storm warnings came up.  We had a bit of a hail storm and I thought not much of it.  However, the memo’s being issued from Denver International Airport had multitudes of flight delays.  They weren’t allowing planes to land and were re-routing them either above the storm or way north into Wyoming to avoid the golf ball sized hail we were being hammered with down on Terra Firma.  I left to pick up mom and didn’t get 3 miles down the road and had to hide out under an over pass to keep from having my truck destroyed by hail.  It was like being in a 55 gallon drum while someone shot a 12 gauge shotgun at me repeatedly.  I couldn’t see, I couldn’t hear, I was in 4 wheel drive in a big old pickup, and it wasn’t enough.  The hail was golf-ball sized and was coming down horizontally and breaking itself into pieces on the side of my truck.  Springtime in the Rockies… no matter how romantic…. completely sucks!!

This is what exhausted looks like if you are a Lab:

Even the dog is wiped out

This was from today (May 31st):

However, we have been weeding and manure spreading and tilling and planting like there is no tomorrow.  In fact, tomorrow, the root garden gets planted, the drippers pressurized and tested, and the meat chickens go outside (which will be a blessing considering our house now smells a lot like chicken shit).  Here is a “so far” update on the big garden:

 

We had a day or so with a sick piggy but all seems to be ok.  He was throwing up but the day before he was just fine.  My suspicion is that he ate some of the weeds we had pulled up and something didn’t sit quite right.  As of today he is up and running so all is good.

We put the new layer girls out into the “grow out coop” – a coop that allows them to grow up to the size of the existing hens so they can defend themselves once the new pecking order ensues.  I have had to dispatch a couple of our 3 year olds because the flock was pecking them to death and while it might be part of nature, it is painful to watch.

Here are the new little ones:

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The piggies are all healthy again.  Which is fortunate.  I had to give our last ladies Penicillin shots for a week and there is nothing more deafening than a screaming piglet!

Baby sized wallow

So during the “holiday” we all weeded, spread poop, roto-tilled, flame weeded and got the garden ready for the summer.

Aaron with the flame thrower with dad hoping he doesn’t start a wildfire!

Flame Weeding

Grandma has been a weeding machine!  She seems to love it so I’m not going to look a gift horse…..

Grandma the weeding machine!

Because we couldn’t put the beds to bed properly last fall, here is what we had to contend with…. metric tons of the nastiest taprootiest, grassiest crap mother nature ever invented!

The Zombie apocalypse of Weeds

Once we could find the soil again then came the job of spreading composted chicken crap on it for fertilizer…. guess who got THAT job?

composting

Then out came the tractor and the tiller to flatten it out and make it plantable.

Tilled beds 2016

Tomorrow the meaties go out in the chicken tractor, the drippers get pressurized, the onions get planted, the beans get seeded and we are off to the races to get it all in before the end of the week.  Vacation?  What stinking vacation?  I stop doing my real job for a day or so and this stuff happens….. why am I doing this?  I must be neurotic.  Time will tell.

 

My Amazing Friend

She is now just a year and a half old.  Amazing.  How an animal, who only wants to be with her “pack” can be such an incredible friend.  She was so easy to train.  She only wants to make you happy.  She can infuriate you and make you melt…. all in about the span of an hour.  Basil is family.  She is one of the tribe.  She was THE RIGHT ANSWER for a guy who spends an awful lot of time alone dealing with stress.  She never lets you be alone and when you are feeling particularly grumpy about all of the nonsense of the real world…. she brings you a toy and wags her tail.  Dogs ARE Buddha nature.

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Basil Post Thanksgiving Crazy Lady

After having to put up with the lazy humans yesterday and being completely driven nuts with all of the Thanksgiving day food smells, Basil got to go out and romp out in the back 30.  She was so excited that she tried to fetch the frisbee while carrying the stick she was playing with.  Now, after having put on several miles she is crashed in her crate……. dad is very grateful.

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My Therapy Dog

My puppy has been SOOOOOOO sweet today. Anyone who doesn’t think that animals are sentient has never owned one. I am kinda laid flat today with a cold. This is the first time I have been sick since we got Basil a year ago. She hasn’t left my side all day. She has laid with her head on my leg most of the day. She keeps bringing me toys and laying them down next to me. Best nurse I’ve ever had. She has known I felt like a cat litter box all day. The sniffs and licks have been very helpful! She has finally called it quits for the day and is sleeping in her crate. Pretty sure there is a reason that yellow labs make great therapy dogs.

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The Next Project Gets Underway

Now that the place has dried out some and we have had some cold evenings to knock down what has been a plague of mosquitoes, the next project in building the JAZFarm has begun.  Just like one has to defend against predators when building a chicken coop, the garden needs to be able to keep out critters… namely rabbits, deer and antelope.  I am not in the business of raising vegetables for the local wildlife!

A few weeks ago we acquired a tractor mounted post hole digger.  After using a hand held one for our dog run, and having the life shaken out of me trying to get into our concrete soil, I decided that there was no physical way I could hand auger the 60 post holes needed to enclose the half acre garden.  Today (my birthday!) I got the thing hooked up and took it out for a trial run.  Worth every penny!  It dug a 30 inch by 10 inch hole inside of 5 minutes.  The two holes I tried it out on would have taken half the day the other way.  This was pretty much done with no blood, sweat or tears!  AND, I can still walk!

The fence will be kind of a rectangle with a corner cut out of it on the north side where there is a metal wall that serves as a good wind break.  The posts will be 5 feet tall, cemented in and we will have a narrower people gate as well as one wide enough for the tractor.  The chicken coop will be enclosed within the perimeter of the fence, thus providing one more layer of deterrent against would be 4 legged chicken lovers.  The field fencing has squares in it that get narrower the closer they get to the ground so that rabbits and such can’t squeeze through them.  Once done we will then decide if we need to run an electric wire around it or if it is a sufficient fortress  to keep the produce safe for humans instead of deer.

So I have posted some pictures of the auger and of the post layout for the fence.  Zina has been tasked with hiring contractors to replace the front and side doors of the house and to have the whole place painted.  Somethings just never end.  Also posted are some obligatory chicken shots!

Woohoo!

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Basil Got Traded In On A Chocolate Version

Living out here on the plains, the one incredible thing you get to see are the storms develop and then move in.  Last night we had some incredible storms (think Wizard of Oz) blow in.  There were flash flood warnings, tornado Warnings, hail and thunderstorm warnings, and all manner of deluges.  We watched the storms build to the west, come overhead, dump buckets of rain, and then move off to Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska.

All is well though.  The next morning, of course, it was quite muddy.  We got up to go check on the chickens who are now inhabiting the coop.  Basil is not allowed in there for obvious reasons and was somewhat jealous of us spending all kinds of time in there.  I had to hang the nesting boxes and we have one who has a hurt foot that we have been obsessing over.

Evidently said puppy child decided that if she wasn’t going to be given the attention that all princesses evidently deserve, that she was going to find her own fun.  The fun…… was a mud puddle.  She might be a dumb blond in real life, but today she was a horse of a decidedly different color.  Spent the morning showering her off.

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The New Dog Run

Basil is a sweetie but there are times when a dog simply needs to be outside by herself.  Labs are very devoted to their pack, and they will follow you around everywhere…. ALL THE TIME!

So in order for us to do all the painting and repairs needed on the house, between snowstorms Aaron and I  built a dog run for her highness.

We discovered in the process what kind of soil we have here as well.  According to a local fencer it is sand with about 20% clay.  It is incredibly well drained but it also hard packs under pressure.  The post hole auger helped but it was back breaking work!  The end result turned out well.  Basil hates it, but too bad, sometimes we need a moment sans puppy!

Doggy Prison:

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