Taking a Mulligan

After receiving a notice to renew our domain I realized I haven’t posted in a long time. So long, in fact, that I may as well have never started when I did. I was too busy. That’s the excuse I’m going with. That one works for exercise, car maintenance, the dentist, and any other unpleasant tasks we generally avoid. However, I truly enjoy sharing thoughts on my passions with those that are willing to listen. The problem is I have too many passions going at the same time (gardening, bees, chickens, general property improvements, musical pursuits, selling at the local markets, etc.). Continue reading

Aside

With just a couple of weeks to go until we break out of the freezing nights here in Virginia, my to do list is rapidly growing.  Many of the seedlings I started indoors (too early as usual) are begging to be released into their beds and out in the sunlight.  I have a dilemma, however, that I am having difficulty resolving.  The darn chickens.  They have been free ranging all winter because fallen branches and storms knocked out much of the netting I use to contain them in their run.  This particular flock has been rather pesky about escaping the run by going over, under, and through any barriers I have erected.  The land around the coup is far from flat and all their digging is causing some significant erosion, so I opted to let them roam.  Now I want to start putting out the garden but I can’t because of those thieving birds.  My raised beds are spread out here and there in such a way that, other than the main garden at the front of the lot, it is impossible to fence/net off the beds to keep the birds out.  However the quality of the eggs is far superior when the birds are out ranging on grass.  Poor planning on my part.  So I guess what I stopped in to say is this; If you are going to keep chickens, put the coup and run on level ground.  Also, plan your system of containment with this little bit of information,  chickens can fly over a six foot fence!  I’m not sure what I will do but I will let you know when I find the solution.  Any suggestions would be welcome folks.

Bag O Worms

worm binI will not forget to check my worms.  I will not forget to check my worms.  I will not forget to check my worms.  I will …. well you get the point.  Last year I had my worm bins in an out of sight, out of mind location and they became dead, not red, wigglers.  And although the indoor worm bins are really unnecessary due to the four large compost bins I constructed last year, I just love watching the little buggers work their magic. Continue reading

Winter in Virginia…..finally.

Full pollen baskets in mid January.

Full pollen baskets in mid January.

Now that we are having our third snow event in the last ten days I suppose it is finally winter in Virginia.  Good.  We’ve seen snow and enjoyed the unique quiet that a blanket of the white stuff gives to the forest around us.  Now I’m over it.  It’s time to get back outside!  I’m sure the bees are over it as well.  In between the snow falls we had a couple of days in the mid fifties and the bees were taking full advantage.  The photo on the left was taken with a fair amount of snow still on the ground and a few stray dandelions poking their heads up.  Way to go girls.

 

Lettuce doing just fine in the cold frame after a week of freezing temps.

On the gardening front, the cold frames I built last summer out of reclaimed windows from a remodeling job are kicking ass.  Home grown fresh lettuce in late January is a new treat for us, and digging it out from the snow made it that much better.

Christmas Made In…..Not China

Standing on a soapbox spouting my political and religious beliefs is not something that will be happening on this blog.  So relax.  I don’t think that this quite falls into those categories anyway, but I just have to say something about MADE IN CHINA.  My personal goal this Christmas was to purchase all my gifts from someone other than MADE IN CHINA.  It has been tough.  For some items on my list is was impossible.  Several stores I shopped (big box and franchise) were 99% Chinese made goods.  I suppose I could have scoured the net for certain things and found a manufacturer other than China, maybe, if I had started sooner.  Never the less, ninety percent of the list is crossed off and I am 100% Chinese free.  This in no way implies that this Christmas is MADE IN USA, because lets face it (hard to type when you’re laughing your ass off), that wasn’t happening.  Don’t get me wrong here, I don’t want to punish the Chinese, I just want to support my own country and local economy.  OK, before I get into a rant let me say this; Be merry, be kind, buy local, and if you can’t find it local or (your country here) made, buy it from anybody else other than China.  After that, if you still can’t find it, buy it from China (those guys make everything).