Tuesday, March 30, 2010

knitting and cheeckies

I have to admit that working third shift has its challenges - lack of sleep for instance. However, there are some "perks". The night shift at this time of year tends to be quite slow - no, I take that back - veeerrrrrryyyyy sllllooooowwwwww. Last night I finished Beloved's new socks; he's actually wearing them at work today. Here they are:
I think they came out well, especially considering I haven't done any knitting in over 2 years. I rarely even had to look at my pattern - Beloved asked while I was working on them whether I felt like there was a "relearning curve" and I had to admit it was like riding a bike only easier. When I didn't ride a bike for a long time and then started again, I had to refigure out the whole balance thing - it only took a little while, but with knitting, honestly it was like I never even stopped - I really didn't even need my toe grafting cheat sheet. Now on to socks for the Girl and myself. I still have to find the right yarn for the Boy - then I'll make him some ;}

One of my co-workers used to raise chickens for meat and he just loves to tease me about my cheecken journey. He laughed at me when I talked about how stinky these cheecks are this time around and how fast they are growing. As much as he teases, he also has given me some good advice about the cheeckens. Last night's was that I should move them out of the house as soon as possible (he never had his in the house, but I think he has a garage he could keep them in). I have to admit I'm seriously considering moving them to the basement. The Girl is quite upset with me about even considering it - she just doesn't understand that the heat lamp with keep them warm where ever they are.

I was sharing with all of you just the other day how much the Nuggets have grown and decided I would share a couple of photos showing the differences in size between the layers and the meat birds. Remember, these cheeckies were born on the same day:

In other news, I have given up on my broccoli seedlings - they are far too leggy and have starting falling over - we should definitely have put the grow light up sooner. I'll just pull them out of the pot and start over - Love SEEDS!

All in all, in spite of the stink, life is good. :}

Monday, March 29, 2010

it's raining again

Well, not too much is happening here in the homestead. Rain kinda stops things in their tracks when trying to get things done outside, though we did manage to get deer fencing up along most of the right hand property line to keep cheeckens out of the neighbor's yard.

We do have some growing green seedlings in the bathroom and after a week Nuggets 1-10 have almost doubled in size. They are stinky in my living room too. The pullets are growing, though not as noticeably as the "Nuggets". Life continues unabated.

Beloved is a little worried about the late spring/early summer because I keep expanding the garden plans. He looks at me with worry every time I buy more seeds ;} mostly because he does most of the prep work and it means lots of prep work - we're (by we I mean me;}) planning 3 new raised beds and 2 other regular beds as well as fencing to keep our friendly neighborhood ground hog out. I'm thinking of taking the last weekend of May off from work to get everything all set - or as all set as a garden gets. Of course it helps that the Girl's birthday is that weekend as well.

Knitting continues and still fills me with unbelievable joy. I bought another skein of sock yarn for a pair of socks for me because Beloved's first pair are almost done. I will probably knit a pair for the Girl before starting mine though. I'm just that kind of mom.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

cheeckies look dead when they sleep

Cheeckies look dead when they sleep - minor heart attack when I look in the brooder box. Don't worry they are fine - just sleeping ;}

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

rainy day on the "homestead"

Well a rainy day means cheeckens are in and so are we. It also means the girl is having a hard time leaving her brother alone - time for something creative for her to do. Time to practice letters in her workbook then maybe some ATC art.

I'm making more granola - yum the last batch is all eaten up, everyone seems to have enjoyed it. It's quite cool today, so the oven is helping to heat the room up, which is always a good thing.
Today is a great day for art and knitting, so that's what we'll spend the rest of the afternoon doing.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

the next day

Well our Ostara was truly blessed by beautiful, warm weather and we got much accomplished. Our raised bed is planted with lettuce, kale, spinach and beet greens. We decided today that we should go ahead and hoop this bed - we have freezing overnight temperatures forecast for later in the week and besides the hoop tunnel is cool!
We also dug up and tilled the newest bed to add to the garden - peas! Yum. The kids and Duane finally gave fresh peas a chance last year from the farmer's market and they all decided they love them, so we're growing our own. It felt wonderful digging in the dirt and luckily we still had some compost left from last year, so the soil is now nice and yummy and rich. As soon as we finished I realized that the bed is now prime cheecken scratching space, so we put them in the coop and fenced the bed in this morning - sorry guys - those peas are for us! Eventually the plan is to fence the whole front yard in, but until then the temporary fence will do the job quite nicely.

Beloved and the boy also raked the entire front yard, so the whole area looks much nicer now. The girl was just an all around good helper - she had so much fun helping me plant and was really good at spreading the compost in the beds.

We also notice buds on all our lilac bushes and blueberry bushes - yay they made it through the winter!
It feels really good to have started the garden - life continues anew. Blessed Ostara!

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Blessed Ostara to one and all. Spring is definitely here. The living room is filled with the sounds of peeping, the cats are clustered around the brooder watching the new cheekies, there are seedlings beginning to sprout in the bathroom (to keep cats out of the dirt), the first bed has been tilled, and seeds have arrived or are on order.
the newest batch of cheeckies.

Whew. Lots is planned for our humble homestead this summer. We are expanding our laying flock by 8 hens: a RIR, a Barred Rock, 3 Australorps (the cheecken of my childhood ;) and 3 Ameraucanas. We also have 10 Cornish Crosses - Nuggets 1-10 right now and an assortment of 15 dual purpose breed cockerels coming next month. Good eating for the family this Fall and Winter. We're hoping to raise all our chicken meat from now on - also exploring the possibility of a pig next year that we would raise, but split the cost and meat with some friends. We'll see how the cheeckens go.

We are also expanding the garden quite a bit, which after last year is very brave of me - I only got some herbs and bush beans out of my garden last year, so I'm really taking a chance with my skills. They're only seeds right? If it works out, lots of vegis in cans and the freezer, if it doesn't, I have two farmers' markets down the street. Gotta love living in the country. My beloved bent some electrical conduit for me to make hoop tunnels to start my cold weather seeds, but the weather is so good I'm not sure if I should use them now or wait until the Fall. It is possible that we could get another hard freeze, but it seems unlikely. I'm planning on planting this weekend, so I've got to make a decision and if it's the wrong one....well, it's only seed right?

Other big news at the homestead - I'm knitting again!!!! As my friend Jim says, "Hope is knitting, all is right with the world". It's amazing to me how much calmer I feel and more connected to all of life now that I can partake once again in my favorite pastime. I've already "finished" a lace scarf of homespun (I think it may need to be longer, so I may frog a bit and lengthen it) and yes this was my first post surgery project (leave it to me to start again with lace ;). I now have a pair of socks on the needles for beloved and I'd like to get 5 pair per family member knit by Yule, plus a sweater for the girl - thinking a cardigan I may try to design myself. As I knit and finish projects I'm happy to post pictures if anyone is interested.

Life is definitely good on our Hopeful, Humble (and Happy) Homestead.