Thursday, April 8, 2010

loving overcast days

I have to admit it - as much as I love the longer days and the warm sunshine, I'm not a sun worshipper in the sense that I sit out in it. Those of you who have met me in person know that I'm, how shall I put it... a red headed ghost; the sun's rays are not necessarily my friend. I've had sun poisoning and it is not fun. Anyway, all this means is that I love the sun, but have to be very careful when enjoying His light. Yesterday was a hot sunny day and I enjoyed it, from inside. Today however is overcast and a bit cool, a perfect day to be outside in my book, so I did some gardening.

I'm still new to this whole gardening thing and with my hands still a bit in recovery mode, I have to leave some things up to Beloved. He does the clearing and digging and moving, I point, explain and do the planting. It's a good system, but it means I need to be patient if I want to start a new bed. Today, as much as I see the need to get the new beds prepped, I know I'll wait til Beloved is available to help. The Girl and I can certainly plant in beds that are ready though and that's what we did. We had already started our raised bed and our peas, but I left room in the raised bed for succession plantings, so today we did another row of lettuce, beet greens, spinach and swiss chard. I thought that I had jumped the gun and was going to have to replant some items, the peas, spinach and beet greens because everytime I've checked there has been nothing, but low and behold today SPROUTS OF EVERYTHING! YEAH! I'm very excited.

Our seedlings are doing well in the bathroom, I think the rosemary may even be considering sprouting. Rosemary, from what I've read is difficult to get to sprout - I was beginning to give up, but a few little bits of green are starting to show. Unfortunately, the broccoli was squashed by a cat trapped in the bathroom (Beloved accidently locked him in there - only broccoli was lost) so we do need to start over with those.

The cheeckies continue to grow, the nuggets have already by passed tender and moved on to small game hen ;}. I can't wait to get them out of the house! Beloved has begun the coop addition, hopefully the "franken cheeckies" will be out soon.

Ralph has really done a lot of damage to the girls this winter and spring - he is not gentle in "having his way" with them. The RIR hens are completely bald on their backs, both Barred Rock hens are bald on their heads and one is beginning to get a bit bald on the back. He's also begun to chase the Girl. What's difficult for me, is that as much as I don't want him intimidating the Girl, he is exhibiting the exact behavior I want of a rooster - he's protecting his girls - I have no doubt he would take on a rouge dog, skunk, raccoon, hawk, raven or any other predator that goes after his girls. If he were a dog, I'd do some training or rehome the dog to a more appropriate environment for his temperament. A rooster is really not very trainable - they are to an extent, but instinct is the driving force for a rooster and dominating other roosters and protecting his flock is what a rooster does. I think he sees the Girl as more of a threat as a competing rooster than as any real threat to the flock. Anyway, it's quite a dilemma. Maybe an Australorp rooster may be in our future. In the meantime, we have to figure a way to separate Ralph from the hens or make saddles for the girls. The Girl and he have made peace for the time being, she just avoids him. She has informed me that she can run faster than he can, so she's fine for now.

I'm loving that my kids have so completely changed their attitude about food. Today for lunch we had brown rice and sauted vegis in local raw organic butter - yummm. Just a year ago they'd have asked for chicken fingers and french fries or mac and cheese, and complained when I said no eat this - of course then they'd ask "where's the meat? Can't we at least have some hamburger with it?" Now all I hear is "Mommie this is delicious!" and "Mommie this is AMAAZING!" These changes we are making are beginning to be embraced by the kids. Last year I had to struggle to get the family to eat any vegis other than corn, green beans, raw carrot sticks (only baby ones and only raw), celery, peppers (preferably red) and tomatoes (as long as they were in spaghetti sauce). I was really happy with that - Beloved wouldn't eat all of these, but the kids would. I just saw so many kids not eating any vegis, that I was glad mine ate these. Now after we began trying to transition to mostly local (at least during the summer ;) the kids and even Beloved with eat a couple of different squashes (spaghetti is the fav), peas (that was a battle, but now after eating fresh local they love 'em), beet greens, chard, spinach, I could go on. It's really exciting to see my kids and my hubby getting excited about healthy food and to be interested in where our food comes from.

I have to admit, I love my life - I love the changes we have made and that we are together and supporting each other with this little "homestead". I love my cheeckens and that I've found the courage to change my life. I love that I get to spend so much time with my kids (even when I'm exhausted from working) and I get to celebrate the milestones of learning in the moment. I love my friends and family and their ability to support me even when they don't understand. I'm just in love with life. :}

Now I have to go feed the cheeckies - they're out of food AGAIN!

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