Sunday, January 29, 2012

Gardening Calendar

I found this neat site pinned on pinterest today -it's called "".

Enter your zipcode and it will tell you when you should be starting your vegetables. You pick the crops you plan on growing and it generates a planting schedule for you. It'll even send you email reminders telling you when you should be planting each vegetable. It has instructions on how to plant as well.

I think this will be very handy considering I'll be growing in a whole new environment this year. I thought this was just too good not to share!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Highway Robbery

Yesterday morning I had to make my daughters PB&J with one regular slice of bread and a crust (gasp). We were out of her awful white bread. I wondered if I'd her complaints after school or worse yet find a sandwich with just one bite out of it when I emptied here lunch bag this morning. Neither happened -maybe hiding the crust side face down in her sandwich container worked? Don't doubt the devious mind of a Mom in the morning.

I didn't get out all day so when I picked her up from school I needed to get bread. There is a cute little restaurant/store right near here school so I stopped in to get bread. No bread. They don't sell it. They had canned drinks and snacks but didn't stock bread. So I had to take a slight detour to the local convenience/gas stop. You know the kind, shelves stocked with beer of every flavor, coolers full of pop, aisles of chips and snacks, and oh yes, one little shelf with bread on it.

Have you ever noticed that in this kind of store, most of the grocery items don't have prices on them? They're not fools. They know that once you mosey up to the cash register and they ring it up they've just about got you. How many of us have the balls to say the thoughts racing through our mind at that point, such things as "highway robbery", "scandalous" or "what a rip-off"? Not me. I dutifully shelled out my $2.79 for my loaf of white bread. You better believe my frugal mind was calculating how much fuel I had saved by not driving to Walmart (I figured it to be about $1.00) and that my time was worth ever so much, that it certainly justified not spending the additional 25 minutes it would have taken to drive there, park and get the bread.

Oh what a price we pay for convenience. I just can't believe how many people make these kind of stores a regular in their day - the place was packed. Can you imagine how much money these people waste each week? And then they complain about not being able to make ends meet?

You better believe I'm buying two loaves of bread when I do my groceries this week, I'm going to keep a spare loaf in the freezer!

And just for the record, here's what a $2.79 loaf of bread looks like!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

2012 Bucket List

The year of 2012 will be a year of change for my family. When I started this blog I mentioned that we were looking for a new place to settle and put down roots. After four years of searching high and low (literally), driving from the bottom of the front range of Coloardo to the top, making several offers only to have them turned down, we finally found our new "neighborly place". We made an offer on it in last June, and after enough paperwork to wipe out a whole forest, at the end of October it became ours! Our plan is for my daughter and I to move in May and hubby to come as he can (being a horseshoer he can't just pack up and come with us or he'll be unemployed!).

We purchased approximately 16 acres in Bailey, CO. It has beautiful 1920'ish log buildings, a pond, a stream and adjoins acres of national forest. Each time I type a description of our property, I almost have to pinch myself -I consider us so fortunate to be able to own it!

Here's some pictures taken last summer when we first saw the property and fell in love...

A view of the house and it's view

Pasture by the pond

There is a greenhouse!

A view of the shop and outbuildings

The stream complete with waterfall

And the long bucket list that goes with a new property:

  • Move (first my dd and I)
  • Secure the fencing -happily most of the property is fenced, we just need to fix/improve it.
  • Set-up dog kennel
  • Make sheep shelter
  • Move the livestock to property
  • Research what fruit trees do well at 8800' altitude (no that's not a typo -this property is located at some serious altitutude! Plant test trees.
  • Research and plant berry canes
  • Plant vegetable/herb garden
  • Fix greenhouse
  • Remove fallen tree from pond, remove beaver dams where they are changing water flow
  • Fence bottom pasture.
This doesn't look like a huge list but I bet it takes all summer! I can't wait to start work on it.

Friday, January 13, 2012

First Egg of the Year

Last year, I was a chicken failure . I previously posted about my two hens in my post entitled Chicken Run . Chocolate (the runaway chicken) after a day or two of coming back to the coop decided she was a wild chicken. She hid in the cedar trees for about a month. I'd occasionally catch a glimpse of her when she'd come to clean up the grain from under the horse feeders, and then finally we saw her no more. I lost my other hen in the intense heat of July.

That left me with the one chick I hatched out in May -but as fate would have it, she became a he, so I had a Brahma rooster with no girls.

Sydney the Brahma Rooster

A friend of mine had some excess young ducks at the time and being the enabler she is, pawned a pair off on me. Welcome Harriet and Carter.

Harriet & Carter

I then purchased another hen from fellow North Texas blogger the "Modern Day Redneck" a pretty Brahma/Orpington cross. One day while I was working I heard a big ruckus, a looked out my office window, and around the corner of the yard came Harriet and Carter a squawking followed by the Rooster but no hen. I went outside to see what was going on, but there was nothing, except one thing was wrong -the hen was missing. I went back to where the birds free range every day, but there was no sign of the hen. She had vanished. I don't know if a stealthy coyote had sneaked up in the middle of the day and snatched her or if her attacker came from above. She was gone without a trace.

With no hens and winter coming I placed an ad on Craigslist for my rooster and happily someone wanted a breeding rooster, and so he was rehomed.

That left me with the two ducks Harriet and Carter. They were supposed to be a pair but I'm pretty sure I have two females. When they hit five months of age back in November, I was hoping they might start laying. I'd read threads over at Backyardchickens each day of peoples ducks laying their first eggs, but every day I checked my ducks, there were no eggs. My welfare chickens must have rubbed off on the ducks.

With the days now getting a little longer each day, I"ve been on a mission to get these ducks to lay. I've been encouraging them with alfalfa in their nesting box, feeding them freshly picked Dandelions, treats from the house, and adding laying pellets to their grain. Each day I look in the tractor and in their yard, no eggs, that is until today.

Hubby came in this evening and said give me your hand. I did as I was told and in it he put a nice creamy egg. Yippee, our first duck egg. I am so excited you'd think that I had the goose that laid the golden egg!

The "Golden" Egg (I guess I should have cleaned it better for it's moment of glory)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Are they bred?

My hubby is teasing me everday telling me my ram Brennan is "gay". He sniffs at the ewes and makes faces but we've never seen him mount one. He's just about a year old now.

The first ewe I purchased last March, Gypsy is definitely pregnant (she's started developing a milk bag) but she did have a ram lamb Otis last June, could it be possible that the lamb did the dastardly deed before he was sold? He left my farm when he was 4 months old.

I have three other ewes who are of breeding age, one Bella is about a year old, then there are two younger ones, one 10 months and the other 9 months. I would hope the yearling is covered.

I keep having to look up breeding information for lambs -when are they old enough to breed, how long are they in season etc. I found this nice chart at Sheep 201 and thought I'd post it here for future reference.

Reproductive characteristics of ewes
Age at puberty,
5 to 12 months
Length of estrus cycle, days
Duration of estrus, hours
Timing of ovulation
20-30 hours after start of estrus
Gestation, days

Rams are sexually mature at between 5-7 months old. If I follow this guideline I should be safe, Otis left at the end of September when he was 4 months old ( or at least I think that's when he left, I don't seem to have recorded the date) . However other sources say that a ram can breed as young as 3 months old!

I'll be watching Gypsy and checking the calendar and counting back days when the lamb is born. Perhaps Brennan is just shy and did the deed in the dark of the night?