Silence for two weeks may have had a few of you wondering what’s happened. It’s spring and that means lots of little ones arriving and a garden that needs built and planted; plus a medical emergency. Unable to relieve pain for two days, I hurried our granddaughter off to a doctor, then tests, and the E.R. in the next town over. There the doctors figured the classic symptoms for an appendicitis had to be cysts on the ovary so she was sent home, after a weekend of misery her mother took her to the E.R. where surgery discovered an infected and ruptured appendicitis. She’s only thirteen.
Meanwhile at home, I have four goats to milk twice a day and wash up after and seven kid goats need fed three times a day having sold two. I may switch to twice a day as the task by myself has become nearly impossible. They are small no more and seven bodies jumping, shoving each other along with me and the bottles with a few butting moves thrown in, makes keeping the bottles in my hands nearly impossible. I need to get them up for sale. The problem is they crowd around me and I can’t get any photos until the kids come to hold them away from me.
At least at night Kirk helps me when the grandkids aren’t here.
It makes us all the more grateful for the ewes who care for their little ones on their own. Well if you consider on their own, a grandmother ewe, who failed to lamb, lets them play ‘king of the mountain’ on her and often babysits, along with the Auntie’s as we call the goats who also babysit. Yes, our critters are a bit unusual at how well they get along.
Betty Boo kindled and had seven little bunnies. With cold temperatures switching back and forth between rain and snow, I keep flipping up and down over the cage throughout the day the plastic table cloth I quilted batting in between to keep the little ones just right. Hopefully, Anna will kindle the beginning of June. Her appetite makes me think she will.
A neighbor texted that he had just cleaned his calving shed and would I like the dirty straw along with what clean straw he had left from the large bale. You bet I would! It would be perfect for a potato bed. A foot and a half of straw and that much again of well rotted manure will give us a good spot for the taters I saved from last year’s crop. I’m sure the prairie grass will creep up from down below in a few years but I’ve not time to deal with that problem now as we are pressed to get as much ground prepared as possible to put in as much garden as we can manage. Our supplies are low after last year being too ill to do much more than work on the perennials.
I’m taking apart most of the north garden and am shrinking the site. Most of the fence is deer fence which doesn’t hold up. The rabbits eat holes in it and the wind tears it as the sun weakens the fiber. I’ll have to replace it will metal. The ground stays cold and often frozen as the snow towers deep in the winter on this side of the property making it unsuitable for early crops. So we are extending the size of the south garden and shrinking the north.
With part of the deer fence built a temporary fence barrier around the Fall Green Manure from Johnny’s Seed that sprung up. Most of the plants winter killed as they were meant to but of course the winter rye sprung back. The mulch it produces will decay back into the soil enriching it. I thought what a good thing to feed to the sheep for a short time. The girls seeing the tall lush grass rushed in, took two bites, and declared it unfit and promptly busted out of the fence looking for greener pastures. Apparently deer fence doesn’t make fitting sheep fence either. Now to take my hard work apart.
Luckily, the rye grass pulls easily and the thick dead plants will be great mulch. There is a bit of prairie grass lurking here and there but I pulled it as best I could and cleared an area to plant ever-bearing strawberries from another neighbor who is moving. They were developed for our area. I’ve two more tubs of plant to put in but wimped out when the wind chill and blowing snow sent me scurrying for the house. In between rain storms the next couple days I hope to get the fence down and up around the potato patch to keep the chickens out. The deer may not like the potato, garlic, or onion plants but the chickens love disturbed ground and that which is planted will be no more.
Which brings us to the tractor. Being a rainy, cold week, Kirk decided it was time to work on it or rather tear it apart. A friend is putting the new tires on the front rims. They were shredding off this winter. Kirk took off the starter and began a futile search of a new one. Five hundred dollars plus high shipping costs from the internet and high prices locally had Kirk deciding a rebuilt kit would be just the thing along with acquiring another new skill. He’ll be watching Youtube all week trying to figure out how to do it. Also coming is a kit to fix the steering pump. It leaks like a sieve something else he’s never done. The hydraulic cylinder that tilts the bucket has started to leak but will have to wait. Last year it was the hydraulic lines of which there are a few more I’m sure are in our future to replace. Such is the life with an antique tractor. Yet, it is imperative to our lifestyle to have a good sized tractor and newer ones are beyond our price range so we persevere.
With the fresh straw from one neighbor and some box elder wood chips I collected from another woodworking neighbor’s pile, I am layering it to build a mushroom bed but need to go after more wood chips. Wine cap mushroom starts are waiting in the fridge. I have not been able to find out if they will handle our winters though I’ve looked and looked so if you know anything about them, please message me. We love mushrooms and they are so… good for you. I’d like to expand to growing inside too if our house isn’t too cool. It is said they boost the immune system, something that is very important right now.
Meanwhile, I am still caring for four of our grandkids Wednesday evening to Sunday afternoon and often longer while teaching school to the younger two. One, I was homeschooling anyway. The older two are learning their lessons online from the public school. It is a really hard combination to find a balance between the children’s needs, the house, laundry, outside chores, and increased periods of rest for my aging body. I am feeling increasingly better and my bow legs are growing stronger as I empty buckets from the rain barrels on to the trees, walk back and forth to the pasture to bring in and out the livestock, clean stalls, and work in the gardens. Fresh air and work does a body good.