Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A frantic pace

This is the time of year where priorities are tested. There just isn't enough time or energy or willingness to do all of it. There are seedlings to nurture in the basement, there are seeds to sow and weeds to hoe in the garden, there are trees to plant and yards to mow, there are chicks to care for and coops to clean, there are goats to shear and kids (goat kind) to birth, there are kids (humankind) to love and watch over and drive places and play with, there are meals to cook and a house to clean, there are community meetings to go to and oh yeah, there is that silly other thing people call a JOB. You know, that thing that brings home the paycheck?

It's at this time of year that I wonder what the heck I was thinking. Last year I had a post devoted to this particular desperation. It usually lasts only a few weeks, after which I learn to live with a few weeds, a few failed crops, a few shaggy goats, a few missed meetings and a very messy house.

Here are a few of my seedlings. They are De Cicco broccoli I started from seed in my basement. They would normally be outside sunning themselves on the deck, except that we have 40 mph winds (the kind I mentioned in my last post) today and although they might survive the onslaught they wouldn't be very happy about it.

Here is one of the five apple trees we have in our yard. I think this one is a Fireside. And here is Number Three Son, who ran at the last minute to be included in the photo. I put these posts and fencing around the trees last fall to protect them from the deer. It seems to have worked marvelously. Yesterday I went around with a brush and rag to get rid of a few tent caterpillar webs that I found on the branches. Tent caterpillars will eat every leaf off a fruit tree if left to their own devices.

And here is one of the new fruit trees we have, a Evans Bali cherry. We planted four new trees: two cherry, one Luscious pear and one Summercrisp pear. I'll have to fence the cherries off from the deer as well. The pears are planted inside the chicken run which already has a fence. Apparently Benjamin is trying out his Marilyn Monroe pose for the camera.

Our little munchkins are growing quickly. It's hard to believe they are just less than a month old.

If you look closely at the top of this little buckling's head you can see tiny horns starting to grow.

Several years ago I received a lovely gift from a wonderful woman who lives in Maine, who has written a book and created a forum for family cow owners. Comfrey roots! I planted them in several spots in the yard (not the garden, as I was told that they spread easily) and have managed to keep them alive despite all my neglect. Yesterday I pulled bunches of grass away to encourage them to grow. I've heard lots of good things about Comfrey.

And lastly, we had a visitor to our house yesterday morning -- a wood duck, perched about thirty feet up in an aging ash tree. Obviously looking for a good place to nest. I doubt he will stay, since we have no lakes or ponds immediately near our house. But it was fun to have him stopping by.


Erin said...

Well stated! I am suffering from frantic month as well, and with hubby leaving in less than a month for deployment, it will be reaching critical mass soon! After he leaves, I will no doubt resort to lowering my expectations!

Mama Pea said...

Yup, that panic mode is alive and well here in NE Minnesota too. Even though it's still too early for us to be putting things out in the garden . . . or is it? In a normal year it would be a whole month early. But this year? Oh, I am so tempted! The temps are still falling too far at night though. 26 degrees last night so I'm trying to remain reasonable. But the days have been so nice that we've been able to ready the raspberry, blueberry and strawberry beds (almost done) and do lots of yard work. What did we do with all the hours in a day this past winter when there was no outside work to be done?? said...

Glad to hear I'm not the only one in frantic mode right now! Of course, I've already got the weeds, the failed crops (or sad looking seedlings, at least!), shaggy critters and a very messy house :)
Great blog, BTW -- I look forward to reading more!

Karen said...

Thanks for the wonderful update! By the way, on May 9th, we're having people over for Emily's birthday lunch! You are, of course, invited if you're still around!!

Jessika said...

Frantic here too! Your broccoli looks good, and those baby goats are just too cute for words!

Susan said...

I was happy to discover your blog, a similar venture to ours but you have more experience. We are total novices who dived into a small farm in SE MN a year and a half ago, and I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed right now, too. Farmer 's Market just started (we bake breads & pastries), learning to milk a family milk cow, chicks arriving next week, so much to do in the garden...I was kind of happy to see snowflakes this morning and feel smug for not being further along. I look forward to following your blog.

Jo said...

Hi Erin! Yes, things are certainly frantic at your house too. Lowering expectations is always hard, I usually end up doing it several times over the course of a season. Ha!

Hello Mama Pea -- Your garden looks lovely, and I covet your berry beds. This past winter I was mostly lazy. I like to call it hibernating. :)

Hello Fiona! Thanks for the nice comments. I have weeds too! So depressing. And it's been raining too much to go out and pull weeds. Sigh.

Hey Karen -- Sorry I can't make it for Em's shindig, have a great time without me! Send me some Chinese food!

Thanks Jessika! The goats are still cute, but starting to take on their adult characteristics. Like horns!

Hi Susan -- Glad you found my blog -- I just looked at yours and it's great! Glad to be able to read about another Minnesota farm novice who is starting from scratch in the country. Your cow is beautiful!